Posts tagged ‘basil’

Are you Italian? No? Me neither.

But sometimes I sure wish I was, at least when it comes to PESTO!

Kale pesto ingredients

That’s right, it’s that time of the summer. The basil is high and ready for picking and we’re all craving something aromatic and tastebud pleasing from the garden. Enter one of the world’s finest, yet simplest, and honestly most flexible, “sauces” around. Traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, hard cheese, olive oil and garlic, “pesto” can be made with a variety of herbs, greens, nuts and seeds. Over the last few years, the price of pine nuts has sky rocketed, so many alternatives have become popular. One of my favorite cheap options is Kale Pesto. This “poor mans” pesto is a great way to use up kale when you’re not sure what else to do with it (or need a way to convince those who “hate” kale to eat it) and also save some money – this recipe uses no cheese and substitutes sunflower seeds for the nut. It also allows for some creativity, depending on how you’re using it, when it comes to the herb flavor. Choose basil for a more traditional taste or branch out and try oregano or marjoram.

If you grow your own basil and have an abundance, I highly recommend making LOTS of pesto and freezing it. This allows for enjoyment all winter long and it takes very little space to store. One option for freezing is in little jars, saved from jams or jellies, but the best way I have found is to make your pesto (some people recommend leaving out the cheese and mixing that in when you us it. I could go either way on this) and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Once the pesto is solid, take the cubes out and put them in freezer bags or whatever container you like. These are the perfect size for single servings and are much easier to use than a large amount frozen in a jar. However, if you do go the jar route, the best way to defrost the pesto – if you’re not using the entire jar – is to put it in a pot of close to boiling water and allow it to thaw from the outside. Heat until you have enough for your meal and then pop the jar back in the freezer. This limits the amount of pesto that is thawed and refrozen each time you use it.

Now that you’re dreaming of green, go make some! Try making some with arugula. Maybe some lemon basil (we did this once and put it on grilled fish – yum). Walnuts or almonds are both grand, and there is nothing that says you have to use Parmesan for the cheese. Try it on pasta, fish, veggies and bread. Use a bunch fresh and freeze even more. Basically, when it comes to pesto, think outside the box and have fun!


August 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

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