Saturday, October 8, 2011

Easy pesto recipe from the garden to the plate

I fill a small colander or bowl (dimensions) of basil leaves with their stems. If you are buying at the farmers market that would be two bunches of basil.  Before leaving the garden, I planted the end of the stems containing the seeds for the future. Thus, I only took stems with leaves, no flowers or seeds to the kitchen table.

At the kitchen, I washed the stems+ leaves with tap water, and washed my hands...very important for cooks to do this steps particularly when dealing with food that will be eaten fresh or stored raw/non-cook.

Next, separate the leaves from the stems a place them on a separate bowl or directly on a blender. Also mince one garlic (terminology?) and get the olive oil and the cup measure ready. I

I use 2 1/2 cups of olive oil. I add the first cup and about 1/3 of the leaves and press grind. Now add the garlic and grind. Mix.

Add the other 1 1/2 cup of olive oil and the leaves in small increment. At this time the blender will begin to protest and you need to help a little stirring the mix from top with the help of a wooden spoon.  Continue the process until you grind all the leaves. This is really the basic pesto. This recipe yields a 300-400 g of plain pesto.

 If you want to keep the pesto for a long period of time, you need to add some kind of preservatives. I prefer spices such as pepper and salt.

Specialty pesto:
You can experiment with pesto flavors. The most common additives for enhanced flavors include sea salt, aged Mozzarella cheese, hot peppers, and pine nuts.  

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