First think I’d like to say:
Growing basil and mint is one of the smartest things a home cook can do. They grow like weeds because well, they kind of are. Their abundance of leaves means lots of uses without having to spend a pretty penny at the grocery store. For this recipe, I pretty much picked my whole basil plant. I’m not too worried though, since I know it will be replenished in about 2 weeks. Until then, I’ll be spreading my basil-mint pesto on just about everything.
Second thing I’d like to say:
Crossover is an amazing beer. I first sampled it at Collaboration Fest this year and it was the only brew that caused me to go back for seconds. It also sparked my love affair with TRVE Brewing Company – the most badass heavy metal brewery on the planet. When I first had it, Crossover was super crisp, clean and fruity. The second time around, in a bottle a few months later, I could sense the strong flavors of oak where the fruitiness had slightly died down. Aging in barrels had done great things for this beer. I love how everything evolves in the beer world and I love that I get to drink and cook with it all.
1 ½ cups of fresh basil
½ cup of fresh mint
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of olive oil
¼ cup of walnuts
½ cup of Parmesan
about ½ cup of Bianchina cheese (a fresh, soft goats milk cheese, a bit less pungent than classic goat cheese – has all the right flavors to be mixed with Crossover)
2 tbsp + 2 tsp of Crossover – a rustic saison aged in white wine barrels (collaboration of TRVE and Black Fox – seriously the bomb dot com)
2-3 apricots (depending on size)
2-3 tomatoes on the vine (depending on size)
¼ cup minced red onion
Pick your basil and mint and thoroughly wash. For me, this involves dunking the leaves in a big bowl of water for a few minutes and swirling them around.
Once clean, throw them in a food processor along with the other pesto ingredients besides the olive oil. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil and pulse until you get the desired texture.
For the cheese, you simply add a bit (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) of the beer to the cheese and mix with a fork. This works best if your cheese is room temperature.
Chop up the apricots and tomatoes. I just need to say this – apricots are really annoying. They stay ripe for like 5 minutes and then go bad on you. I bought 6 knowing some sort of disaster would go down. Luckily I got some juicy, ripe meat from a little over 2 of them. I combined these in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes and red onions, then squeezed juice from half a lemon over the mix, just to kick up the acidity a bit.
When all the toppings are ready, slice the baguette into ½ inch thick slices and lay them out on a tray with a bit of olive oil below and on top of them. Sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper. Broil on high for about a minute and a half – until they become toasted.
Once the bread slices are toasted, top with pesto, then cheese, then the apricot-tomato mix. Now you’ve either created an amazing appetizer or a delicious side to the main dish. Enjoy with the rest of the Crossover.
I served mine with chicken coated in the pesto and some sauteed zucchini.