Tag Archive | "Basil Fest"

Gardeners’ Delight! Basil Fest, Festival of Flowers Coming Soon

This weekend, at Alzafar Shrine, is the 16th Annual Festival of Flowers. Next weekend, June 1, comes the popular annual Basil Fest at the Pearl. Put away the gardening gloves for a little while and come see all the new plants, information and more out there for beautiful gardens this summer.

Sign up for a class in "Perfecto Pesto" at GauchoGourmet.

Basil Fest at Pearl Farmers Market is June 1!

Get Ready to Make Pesto (and so much more)

The 4th annual Basil Fest, courtesy of the San Antonio Herb Market Association, will be happening at the Pearl on Saturday, June 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is in conjunction with the Pearl Farmers Market, 312 Pearl Parkway. Admission is free and so is the parking.

This annual event’s mission is to foster the use of basil in everyday living and to provide nutritional information on this popular herb.

The program for this year’s Basil Fest will include a seminar on how to grow basil in this area, and the different types available. A cooking demo will showcase basil, and delve into the nutritional aspect of including herbs in your diet.

Children are encouraged to begin their gardening habit by potting up and adopting their own basil plant to take home – for free. Basil plants, recipes and books on the growing and uses of basil and other herbs will be available.

This year’s special feature is  The Chef’s Challenge – “Just Desserts.” It will highlight local chefs vying for the the first place title as they are challenged to develop the best-tasting basil-based dessert. They’ll be competing for monetary votes of audience members, and the money raised will benefit the Good Samaritan Community Shelters in San Antonio.

See recipe here for Thai Basil Lime Sorbet!

For more information on upcoming events and scheduling, visit the website .

16th Annual Festival of Flowers: It’s a big, bloomin’ deal!

Festival of FlowersThe annual Festival of Flowers will happen Saturday (May 25) at the Alzafar Shrine, 901 NW Loop 1604 W., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Want some new yard, garden and flower techniques? This is one of the best events to attend for answers. As their website says, “There’s an expert in every booth.” The Native Plant Society of Texas will be there with information, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard will be selling healthy and beautiful olive trees and the Bexar County Master Gardeners will be there with plants to buy as well as information.

Nature’s Herb Farm will also be there to help cooks and foodies with their kitchen herb gardens — as well as many other types of herbs.

There is also a city-wide herb and plant exchange, an organic roundtable, horticulture show and more. Admission is $6 for adults, and free parking is available.

Visit their website here.


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Luis Morales Pesto Takes Prize at Basil Fest

Crowds at the San Antonio Herb Market’s Basil Fest on Saturday at the Pearl Farmers Market, and the Pesto Challenge named a new winner.

Luis Morales, of Humble House Foods demonstrates making pesto.

Luis Morales of Humble House Foods demonstrated his “secret recipe” Basil Pesto earlier in the day. The difference? Morales uses walnuts in the popular Mediterranean sauce, made of fresh basil leaves, olive oil and cheese.

“Walnuts are less expensive than pine nuts,” Morales explained as he demonstrated how to make his pesto in a food processor. He was handing out recipe cards at the demonstration, so the secret of his pesto was soon revealed. (Click here for recipe.)

Chef Michael Flores also shared his recipe for Piquant Citrus Sauce with Basil & Spinach. It incorporates goat cheese, ricotta cheese, fresh spinach and chiles, and can be a spread, a dressing for a bean salad or tossed with pasta. Check out Flores’ recipe by clicking here.

Malabar Spinach grows as a vine.

Sunny weather and a steady breeze kept things comfortable at the market as customers made their way through the stands and tables. John Marrs had big, healthy basil plants for sale from Marrs’ Garden. Nature’s Herb Farm had a large selection of all types of herbs, as well as some flowers and even a hot weather-friendly green, called Malabar Spinach, that produces spinach-like leaves on a sturdy, climbing vine.

Brilliantly colored cut flowers for vases and fresh vegetables were available, as always, from Oak Hill Farm, and Sol y Luna Bakery did a brisk business with its whole grain baked

Fresh eggs, in a variety of colors, offered at the Pearl.

products. Other sellers had farm-grown tomatoes as well as squash, eggplants, cucumbers, beans, sweet corn, eggs and cuts of grass-fed beef. Indoors, Imagine Farms sold lavender products and olives, olive oil and olive-leaf products were available from the Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard’s table.

The Pearl Farmers Market is every Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.







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Humble House Foods Basil Pesto

This is a simple recipe, but rich and versatile. You can use it as a spread or a sauce, a dip or to toss into hot pasta. It’s become a summer classic, but this one, by chef Luis Morales, is made with walnuts instead of pine nuts. You can substitute pine nuts for walnuts in this recipe if you want the more traditional pesto.


Humble House Foods Pesto

8 ounces fresh basil leaves
1 pound Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
8 ounces walnuts
2 ounces fresh, peeled garlic
2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt

Basil is the main ingredient in a classic pesto.8 ounces walnuts”2 ounces fresh, peeled garlic2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is achieved. Use immediately or freeze for later. It will last about six months in the freezer, too.

Makes about a quart of pesto.

From Luis Morales at Humble House Foods



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Michael Flores’ Piquant Citrus Sauce with Basil and Spinach

Michael Flores, chef.

Michael Flores, chef and cooking teacher, offered this recipe at the Pearl Farmers Market Saturday. It uses lots of fresh basil, which is flourishing right now. And, calls for two types of cheese along with fresh spinach and some red chile flakes to give it bite.

Piquant Citrus Sauce with Basil and Spinach

1 1/3 ounce fresh basil, trimmed and washed
16 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
15 ounces ricotta cheese (fat free)
10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, trimmed, washed and drained
2 teaspoons red chile flakes, or to taste
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lemon

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Store in refrigerator and use as needed.

Note: Serve tossed with cannellini beans over salmon fillet, toss with cooked noodles for a pasta salad, mix with diced tomatoes and serve atop toasted croutons for bruschetta, or present alonside grilled or boiled shrimp as a dipping sauce.

From Michael H. Flores (

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Basil Fest is Saturday at the Pearl

Basil is one of the top herbs that cooks keep in their kitchen gardens.

If you’re going to the Pearl Brewery’s farmers market this weekend, you have the added enticement of the San Antonio Herb Market’s Basil Fest, with lots of information, plants for sale, a Pesto Challenge and recipes by chef Michael Flores.

The Basil Fest will be during the same hours as the farmers market, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. There is no entrance fee.

For a complete list about the events happening during the day, click here.

Below is an unusual cookie recipe calling for cinnamon basil. If you don’t have cinnamon basil, regular basil would work.


Cinnamon Basil-Lime Cookies

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh cinnamon basil, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped lime peel (zest)
1 cup pistachios, chopped

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl beat butter at medium speed until light. Gradually beat in sugar; add egg, vanilla basil and lime peel, beating until very light and fluffy.

At low speed, beat in dry ingredients in 3-4 additions. Mix in chopped nuts, using hands if necessary.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each half into a roll 6-7 inches long. Roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut dough into 1/8-inch slices and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around bottom of cookies (do not overcook). Immediately remove from sheet with spatula and place on wire rack to cool. When completely cool, store in airtight containers.

Note: Rolls of dough may be frozen. Thaw for a short time before baking.

From “Southern Herb Growing” by Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay with Jean Hardy

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Pesto and More at Pearl Basil Fest

Calling all basil lovers!

Basil and tomatoes, a classic combination.

If you’re a devotee of this glossy green herb that is as beautiful in your garden as it is in pasta or a salad, you’ll want to be at the first Basil Fest. It will be held at the Pearl Farmers Market, June 26.

Here’s the slate of activities:

From 9:30 – 10 a.m., Mary Dunford of Nature’s Herb Farm presents a seminar on growing and harvesting basil.

At 10:15 a.m. will be a seminar on Mediterranean cooking by members of the San Antonio Herb Society.

Also, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Bexar County Junior Master Gardeners will be on hand to help kids to plant their own basil in pots to take home.

The Pesto Challenge is slated for 10:45 p.m. – noon.  Attendees pick their favorite pesto made from participating chefs. Funds from this cook-off (raised by the number of votes) will benefit the San Antonio Food Bank. While this event is still in the planning stages, at least four chefs have signed up to vie for “best pesto” maker.

Stay tuned to SavorSA for late-developing news on the growing Pesto Challenge.

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