I love pesto and I loooove the smell of basil. It's so fresh and earthy and I love making things with it. My basil plants pretty much died when I was gone for a week and are just coming back, but Amber shared a bunch of hers with me and I was overly excited about it. Since my basil doesn't live all year round outside, I like to make cubes of it in ice trays. When you are ready for 1 cube (or the whole bunch), you can just thaw them out and have fresh pesto!
Pesto can be used in so many ways. I plan on making a grilled chicken with pasta, peas, and pesto soon. It's also great in place of mayonnaise/mustard on a sandwich. It's excellent as a spread on pizza or crusty bread, too! This recipe comes from Cooking Light, and if you click the link, they offer a bunch more suggestions for it. Any way you try it, I hope you enjoy it!
Classic Pestofrom Cooking Light
4 cups basil leaves
2 Tbsp pine nuts (or walnuts)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Combine all ingredients in food processor. It should be a runny paste consistency. (is that even a good descriptor??:) Add olive oil as needed. I don't like mine super thick, so I tend to add a little more olive oil. Don't add too much at one time or it will just taste like olive oil and you'll miss the other bright, fresh flavors! I like to add the lemon juice to brighten the flavor a little, but you don't have to! Taste it pre-lemon juice and add it if you feel it needs it.
I went to a demonstration at the farmer's market today and learned a different perspective. The chef said that he blanches his basil leaves (basically dip in boiling water then shock in ice cold water), cuts them up a little, puts them in ice cube trays, pours water over them, then freezes them. That way he has fresh basil that he can use whatever way he wants all year round. He also said he never freezes his pesto with the oil and parmesan cheese already in it, which is something I haven't heard before. I will try both ways and see which way works better!! Sounds like a good idea though, so the oil and cheese and fresh in the pesto when you are ready to use it!
Country road, take me home...
This is our "bored" activity--driving around in the country with the dogs in the back dreaming of living in the boondocks with our own pond. We see some pretty hilarious things, like the peacocks I have previously mentioned. Last night we saw a random really short bulldog standing on the side of the road staring at us. Missed the picture, but it made me laugh for a while!