Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FRIDAY FIX..........oops, make that Tuesday.....

Ok, I know I fell down on the job last Friday, and I apologize profusely. Stuff just got in the way, y'know??

Well, the dog days of August are upon us, and everything in my garden is looking pretty sad. Everything but basil, that is. In fact, I have a bumper crop! (At least SOMETHING grew. Apparently the cool, wet summer was to its liking.) Wow, it's absolutely gorgeous--deep green, and incredibly fragrant. It makes me happy.

But what to do with an overabunance of this green delight? Make pesto, of course. So, today I took a machete to it, brought a big bunch inside, and whipped up a batch. Don't let the picture worry you (my lovely daughter says it looks like puke). It looks better on pasta.

If you've never made your own pesto, think about giving it a whirl. (I use my trusty Cuisinart, but I suppose a plain old blender will do the job, too, although I've never made pesto with one. ) Just think of all those wonderful phytochemicals you'll take in--that is, plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties--hidden in such a delicious treat!

Here's my favorite pesto recipe. Serve it on pasta (I like Barilla Plus farfalle or rotini), spoon it on sliced tomatoes, use it a topping for grilled salmon....I think it's good on just about anything (except ice cream...although I've heard of basil being used in fruit sorbets, so why not??)


2 large garlic cloves, peeled

3 ounces imported Parmesan Cheese, cut up into 1-inch cubes

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (you can also use part Italian parlsey or spinach leaves)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (great source of Omega 3's!!!)

1 cup olive oil

With the processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Add the cheese and chop it by turning the machine on and off about 10 times. Add the basil, salt, and nuts, and mince them by turning the maching on and off about 8 times. With the machine running, drizzle the oil until it is well blended. Makes enough for 6 servings of pasta.

Note: Pesto sauce will keep for months if covered with a thin coat of oil and refrigerated. You can also freeze it (nothing better than garden-fresh pesto in the middle of January!)

TIP: Pesto sauce will oxidize when exposed to air. Adding a zap of fresh lemon juice helps. Also, using part spinach will help keep the color nice and green. Be sure to add sauce to pasta right before serving, not ahead of time, to avoid oxidation as much as possible. (Even if it turns brown it still tastes great, just doesn't look as pretty.)



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