Rocky running through Philadelphia's Italian Market

Charlie spent the night at my mom's this past Saturday night, so Jonny and I took advantage and drove into Philly for brunch Sunday morning.  We went to a great place called Mi Lah Vegetarian, which is actually vegan.  I've noticed a few other places using the more commonplace "vegetarian" classification.  I wonder if they are afraid of scaring people off?  We shared the blueberry pancakes and seitan burrito and a side of brussels sprouts (Jonny's favorite.) 

After we ate, we didn't feel like going home yet, so we decided to venture down to the Italian Market.  We hadn't been there in a while and it's always a treat.  It's a section of 9th Street in South Philadelphia where the row houses have storefronts with awning-shaded sidewalks brimming with amazingly cheap (although unfortunately not any organic that I could find) produce.  There are also a few shops that sell Italian specialty items.  We had a great time at one place buying really cool shapes of whole wheat pasta and balsamic in white and apple flavors.  One of the most gratifying parts for me was when we drove past the legendary Philly cheesesteak outposts and Jonny said the wafting meat/onion smell did not tempt him AT ALL!

I found the most gorgeous basil, I wish I took a photo of it before I put it in the cuisinart (above).  It was just begging to be made into pesto.  I knew it was probably my last chance to get it in such quality and quantity.  My pesto recipe is very simple:

1. More basil than you think you need
2. Garlic
3. Raw pinenuts
4. Nutritional yeast
5. Salt and pepper

Sorry for no exact measurements, but it's hard to go wrong and I usually adjust the quantities after blending it.  If you put a gun to my head, I would probably say:

4 cups basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
a few grinds of black pepper and 1/4 tsp salt

We had it for dinner last night with some of the beautiful whole wheat pasta, salad and a great soup mix I got too.  I was surprised it was so flavorful, since the ingredients were pinto beans, dried porcini mushrooms, dried carrots (and not a lot of them) and a few spices.  All I added was water!