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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Presto Chango: Pesto!

We LOVE basil. And, my customers are pretty fond of it as well. So, I decided I was going to have plenty of basil this year. I planted it by the tomatoes in two different gardens, in the raised beds, in a flower bed and have three jars "rooting" in the green house.

Traditionally, basil--Ocimum basilicum--Treats fevers, cold and flu. Alleviates stomach cramps, vomiting and indigestion. Basil has many reputed medicinal properties, such as the ability to draw out poison from insect bites, as a sedative, for treating digestive disorders, soothing pain, promoting perspiration, and promoting production of breast milk in nursing mothers.

As a food basil is delicious whole leaf--top it on sandwiches, salads and summer soups. And, the world renown Genoa sauce famous for it's versatility, it's rich, wonderful, flavor-packed greeny goodness: pesto. It can be a sauce, a condiment, a topping or an ingredient for other recipes. Although it's quick and easy from a food processor, many folks still like the hands-on, tactile earthyness of using a mortar & pestle.

I do love a good matrix. (check out the Smoothie Matrix HERE)
It puts a lot of info in a birds eye view. I made a new one for pesto that will be on the website ( www.rockycreekvalley.com ) but here is the basics for now.

Pesto's three main ingredients are herbs, cheese and nuts. These three can be switched and swapped to suit your taste or recipe.

Herbs- 2 cups: basil, cilantro, spinach, arugula, parsley, mint, broccoli rabe
Cheese- 1/4 cup: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, Grana Padano, Manchego
Nuts- 1/2 cup: pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios

Other stuff: 1/4 cup olive oil-extra virgin, 2 Rocky Creek garlic cloves, 1/2 t sea salt, 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice

Put all ingredients except EVOO & cheese in food processor add EVOO in a streat and pulse to desired consistency. Add cheese & pulse. Serves 8.
TIPS: Toasted nuts will UP the WOW factor. Spread on baking sheet for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees, stir occasionally.
Freeze pesto in ice cube trays to pop into soup this winter.
Walnuts add that extra Omega-3 we all need.

For Chef Gary's more detailed description of making pesto check our website: www.rockycreekvalley.com

MMMMMmmmmm...I can taste it now. Life is good. :) e
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