Here’s the thing. Not only is it summer in Texas, but it’s the hottest, driest summer we’ve seen in, well. . . Maybe ever. My husband and I had such grandiose plans for this summer. We’ve lived in our house for about one year now, and we were bound and determined to grow most of our own veggies in the backyard by way of some painstakingly lovingly built raised beds. We started the summer with the best of intentions: by June 1, little baby corn stalks, tomato starts, and pepper plants dotted our beds. They began growing, and I started telling everyone I knew, “Come over in about 65 days! We’ll have so much great home-grown produce to share!” Ever heard of the phrase, “Under-promise, over-deliver?” Well, I over-promised and under-delivered. The heat hit. And the drought continued. And now, it’s a sad, sad little garden out there. We can’t coax the watermelons to fruit or the cucumbers to get any bigger than a gherkin. Yesterday I pulled my crispy tomato plants and fruitless, sad little corn stalks. But there’s one thing growing—and in surplus, too! Basil. I have more basil than I know what to do with. It likes the shade (if yours has bitten the dust, try again in a spot that’s covered in the way-too-hot afternoon) and it’s in a pot so I can water it a little more efficiently. And the great thing about this basil recipe I’m about to share with you? Absolutely no heat is required (unless you want to be all fancy and toast the pecans or baguettes, that is). Pesto is a quick way to use up surplus basil, but here’s the trick: Pecans are a little easier to come by in Texas than pine nuts are, and their flavor is pretty delicious with this particular herb. So beat the heat and make good use of the one thing flourishing in your garden. And if you have more things flourishing in your garden, just don’t come braggin’ to me! Quick Basil-Pecan Pesto 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried 1/2 cup Texas pecans 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated parmesan, to taste 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil, to preferred texture Using a food processor or a blender, mince together the basil, pecans, parmesan, and garlic until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly pour in olive oil until the pesto is at your desired thickness. Serve on baguette rounds (toasted or not) with sliced tomatoes, or use as a pasta sauce. If you go with a thicker pesto (less olive oil), this works well as a sandwich spread. If you’re feeling toasty, toast the pecans just until they’re brown before blending them with the other ingredients (like this recipe). If you want to make a larger batch to freeze, you can freeze it in ice cube trays for smaller, easily-accessible portions. Once they’re frozen, you can pop them out of the tray and into a plastic zipper bag. Have any other fun ways to enjoy a surplus of basil? Do share!