Friday, September 10, 2010

Pesto.... mmmmmm

If you read the previous post "Sheri's Garden" you know that I was given a gigantic shopping bag filled with fresh basil sprigs from my friend Sheri's garden.  I used them to make an enormous batch of Pesto, one of my now favorite summer dishes, partly for the easy prep, and mostly for the delicious flavorful taste.  I found a very easy recipe sometime last year, most likely off the food network website where I access many of my recipes.  I keep this one posted on the fridge so I don't have to hunt for it when I need it, although I think I almost have it memorized.
This time I had Ceci sitting at the table eating her dinner when I got out the food processor to start making the pesto, and Ceci had a fit.  She demanded that I get her down from the table and let her help make the pesto.  She loves to run the food processor, to the point I often have to unplug it while she is helping to keep her from turning it on.  I should also mention that lately she climbs right onto the island counter to help with any and all projects I am working on.  This day was no exception, she climbed right up and grabbed a basil sprig and started very carefully picking leaves off and placing them into the food processor.  I have to say she was probably more selective than I was, maybe I should just let her cook our dinners from now on and take a break.  She also decided to control how much olive oil I used while we were running the food pro, by placing her hand at the bottom end of the bottle and not letting me retract it when I felt there was enough in already.

I hope you enjoy the pesto as much as we do over a bowl of nice warm noodles.

2 cloves of garlic
1/4 Cup Pine nuts (or walnuts)
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Cups fresh Basil leaves
1/3-1/2 Cup Olive oil Drizzled in

Place all ingredients, except the olive oil into the food processor and turn on, drizzle olive oil through top of processor as it's working.  Mixture will loosen up as the olive oil incorporates, mix until desired consistency and turn off food pro.  Open up and eat IMMEDIATELY over warm fresh cooked noodles. The Pesto will oxidize very quickly making it look brown and unappealing, this has no bearing on the flavor and should be totally ignored.
If you would like to enjoy Pesto outside of the summer time, you have a couple of options, you can freeze the leaves and then defrost them and make the pesto when you want.  Or you can make the pesto without the Parmesan cheese, and freeze, defrost when ready, and add Parmesan before you eat it.

Sheri's Garden


This weekend I attended a professional conference and my husband had to go out of town leaving us in deep need of childcare.  I am fortunate enough to call an amazing woman my friend who took Ceci for two days of the weekend.  Not only did she care for and love Ceci, but she also fed us a very delicious dinner, on Sunday night, but gave us enough left overs and pickings from her garden to have more fantastic dinners for the next couple of nights.  
  Lets start with Sheri's baked ziti that we ate on Sunday night, one of Ceci's favorite meals in the world.  Have I ever mentioned that this child would live on pasta and sauce with a little cheese if I would let her?  This version was a light red sauce over Tinkyada brown rice penne with melted cheese on top, baked in the oven to finish.  After Ceci and I both polished off a big bowl each, we had some very happy tummies.  And if that wasn't enough, we were also treated to bread related treats from Bare Naked Bakery and Cafe, including a pepperoni roll, a chicken roll, and a baguette, which Sheri doctored up with some garlic, butter, and herbs.  Sadly many of Bare Naked Bakeries products retain a very over powering flavor/after taste of yeast, which was the case again here.  I can say that the spiciness of the pepperoni in the roll was enough to cover up the yeast based crime, but the chicken could not hide the flavor.
  When dinner was over Sheri invited me to her small but over productive garden to take home some veggies and herbs.  She sent me home with a shopping bag filled with basil, 4 good size tomatoes, 1 huge cucumber, and a handful of cherry tomatoes (that are not the size of cherries, but rather apricots).  
  I sliced up one tomato for my lunch sandwich and realized I had forgotten how good veggies SHOULD taste.  This gave me inspiration for tonight's dinner, I already knew the basil was destined for a huge batch of pesto, which has become a favorite dish of my husband and I.  But the fresh tomato and cucumber intrigued me.  I decided to chop them into large bite size chunks and toss them together, which was delicious in it's own right.  You will find as you follow this blog, that I'm mildly incapable of seasoning food on my own, so I leave this to my husband Tim.  He added Kosher Salt, ground Tellicherry pepper, and dried dill.  The tomatoes took on a sweet velvety texture, while the cucumbers became more lemony, and retained their crunch.  I probably could have eaten the whole bowl by myself, but I managed to control myself and eat only a big portion.  
  It was sooooo good!  And so super simple to make.