Preceding the talk was an herbal potluck brunch for MHS members. And preceding this on Friday night, the MHS board members gathered at the president's home for a pizza party with Jim. The president made all the pizza crusts and supplied all the toppings. We had carmelized onion pizza, Thai shrimp pizza, sausage sage pizza, and others. We all congregated in her kitchen to prepare the pizzas and sip wine. I'm sure this enhanced the quality of the pizzas. She made lovely panna cotta infused with bay (I think) and strawberries for dessert.
I wanted to share the recipe for my contribution to Saturday's brunch which would also make an excellent appetizer. They are a little putzy to make, but you get a very good return on time invested.
1 package frozen puff pastry
1 cup or a bit less homemade pesto (or purchased is OK too)
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (not the stuff that's like sawdust in a green can!)
I purchased my puff pastry dough at Whole Foods. I'm sure grocery stores carry it as well. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or for 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the dough in quarters and roll each piece into a 12 inch square on a floured surface. Spread pesto over 2 of the rolled out pastry sheets. I did mine one at a time since that way some of twists can be baking while you're working on the rest. Sprinkle the nuts and cheese on top and then lay another pastry sheet on top. Press down lightly so it stays together. Cut the pastry into 12 one inch wide strips. A pizza cutter works well to do this. Then cut all the strips in half so that you have 24 small pieces. You can do this with just one swipe of the pizza cutter. Twist each piece and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before storing.
Adapted from meals.com
Jim's talk was fascinating. He told us that nothing gets to be in his garden just because its pretty. The plants have to justify their existence. I have the same type of garden on a very tiny scale and grow herbs in containers on the deck of my condo. If you have a chance to go to one of his talks sometime, be sure to do so.