Went for the usual walk. On return had only an hour until my appointment time for a haircut, the first professional one since Day 2.157, 138 days ago, back on May 13. I would have had Leah cut my hair at least twice in that time, but whenever a staff member tested positive, they would shut down the part of the building where the little one-chair salon is, to prevent anybody walking through there to infect the AL and SN residents. But it finally opened up last week and I made an appointment right away. Leah did a nice job, here, let me grab a selfie.
After lunch I went down to FOPAL to deal with those multiple signed books by McCracken. Searching the used book market I found that two of the titles were selling over $30 so those five books (multiple copies of each title) could go to high value. The rest are selling around $7-8 dollars, which ordinarily I would price at $3-4 and put on the shelf, however I don’t frankly think any of our customers would want them. I mean, A Guide to Programming in FORTRAN IV, or the COBOL one, etc., are not hot movers. So I sent them to the bargain room. Maybe a hasty decision, and Frank the Bargain Room guy may send them back.
OK to relieve the doom and gloom from yesterday’s essay, I thought I would put in a piece of writing by another member off the writers group, Susan. I thought this was just a very nice piece of writing and should be comforting. Remember, the topic was “What remains to be done.”
The last jar of 2020 Pesto is almost empty, and summer is officially over.
What remains to be done is to make this year’s batch.
The basil plant on the balcony droops thick with big, juicy leaves. I’ve a new bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and there’s a head of fat garlic cloves on the counter. Checking the refrigerator, I see that I need more grated Parmesan and pine nuts and butter. This a good excuse for a walk to Whole Foods, which, for heaven’s sake, has no pine nuts. Nor does the Willows Market, when I drive by later. Ye gods! Is there a glitch in the pine nut supply chain? With trepidation I arrive at the Midtown Safeway. No pine nuts on the shelves under the produce. My heart is in my throat. But never fear … hanging on a rack in the baking aisle is a plethora of little bags of pine nuts. My mouth begins to water in anticipation.
All that remains to be done this afternoon is to exhume the well-washed half-pint jars from last year’s pesto and pull the blender from under the sink. I will set out all the ingredients—the oil, the peeled garlic cloves, the washed basil leaves, the Parmesan and pine nuts and butter and salt—in the proper amounts.
Next I will measure the oil into the blender and toss in the garlic. Setting the blender to “grind” (the lowest setting), I will watch the garlic swirl in the golden oil, gradually dicing and blending. At the proper moment I will begin adding the other ingredients, a handful or spoonful at a time, through the hole in the blender’s lid. I challenge myself to divide up the butter and basil leaves and cheese and nuts and small handfuls of salt so that they come out even as the mixture thickens and turns a gorgeous basil green. Occasionally I stop the blender to run a soft rubber scraper down the blender’s sides, making sure that everything is perfectly combined.
At last, the roar of the blender falls silent, and it’s time to pour and scrape the pesto into two of the little jars. If I’m very careful, none will spill and I can screw on the lids without making a mess. Of course a small spill will be the occasion for swiping a fingerful of pesto straight into my mouth. In either case, I’m the winner, and it’s time to repeat the process with the next collection of ingredients and jars. How many jars will I fill? Not as many as I used to, when I was a daily cook and had cooking friends to supply. But enough.