Friday, October 16, 2009

End of Summer Recipe. Just a tad late.

I made this Pesto back at the end of July after one of my many Basil harvests. What else am I supposed to do with mounds of basil? Next year I'm not planting so many seeds because I end up with more than I can use. This was my first time growing plants from seeds successfully. I'm so proud! I think having a growing kit helped.

I was searching around for a good recipe, and I think David Lebovit has a pretty good one. If you don't have one on hand, I would suggest mashing and adding parmesean, basil, pine nuts, and oil until you get the right consistency/flavor. That's what I do when I'm too lazy to measure.

I wanted to make the pesto old school, so for a long time I was searching for a decently priced mortar and pestle. It's harder to find than you think. At first I didn't think I wanted one of those stone ones. Too heavy and costly. $30? too much! The one I'm using here is a chrome one from Vietnam. It was one of things I wouldn't leave the county until I found. It was only a few bucks I think. I don't like it now, and I'll explain below.
David Lebovitz's Pesto Recipe
Four servings (about 1 cup)

If using a mini-chopper, or similar device, simply blitz all the ingredients together until as smooth as inhumanly possible.

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
5 cups (20g) loosely-packed basil leaves
5 tablespoons (75ml) olive oil
2 ounces (60g) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (30g) pine nuts, toasted

1. Smash the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle until smooth.

2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, then add them to the mortar and pounding them into the garlic as you add them.

3. Once well-mashed, when they've become a fairly-smooth paste, pound in the olive oil, adding it a spoonful at a time, until well-incorporated.

4. Lastly, pound in the cheese, then the pine nuts.

5. Continue mashing everything for a few minutes until the pesto is as smooth as possible.

Fresh pesto should be served within a day or two after it's made. Otherwise the garlic can become overpowering. It can also be frozen for a few months, if well-wrapped.

My stash fresh from the garden. You gotta wash it and dry it! I left some of it in a cup of water, and it started to grow roots. No, not more basil!

The reason I don't like this mortar and pestle is because you can't get a good grip with a chrome mortar and pestle. I thought having it shiny and smooth would be good, but I learned that it's not. You need it to be able to have some friction, or you'll be smashing and pounding away forever. It would still be good for gauc though.

I finally found a promising one at World Market last weekend. They were having a 25% off friends and family deal so I ran out and bought it. I haven't tested it out yet, but it's rough on the inside so I think it will do just fine!

Sorry I've neglected the "garden" part of this blog for so long... Until next time!