Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pestos, Pickling & More

We finally have some semblance of a food processor in my house. My Dad bought a Ninja blender/food processor (I'm assuming to make smoother margaritas, but whatever). It's no 11-cup Cuisinart, but I will take what I can get. In celebration of the momentous occasion, I started attacking my list of things-I-want-to-make-but-can't-easily-because-of-no-food-processor. 

First up, pesto. I bought basil at the Farmer's Market on Saturday for $2.00 since something enjoyed my basil while on vacation.

I used Mark Bittman's recipe for Traditional Pesto (pg. 27) in How to Cook Everything. Here's the shorthand version of the recipe: 2 loosely packed cups of basil, salt to taste, 1/2 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Process all of the ingredients with half of the specified oil, then gradually add in the remaining oil once all ingredients are processed. 

Then, all of that thinking about pesto reminded me of the walnut pesto I enjoyed on a sandwich at Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft in NYC with my sister last spring. A Google search brought me to this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for walnut pesto. I used red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and added a bit of smoked paprika instead of sun dried tomatoes. I think the sun dried tomatoes would have been the "something" the pesto was missing, but it is still very much edible. I've been using both pestos to make a whole wheat sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes this week, very tasty. 

The kitchen motivation rolled on in Sunday afternoon when I decided to try my hand a pickling beets. "The Preservation Society" article in this months Bon Appetit was my inspiration. Motivation dwindled when I realized just how much work goes into pickling, a lot of work for two quarts of pickled beets that might be good. Not unreasonable just not what I was expecting on a relatively "lazy day." I don't think it would take much more effort to pickle larger amounts of produce keeping with the same process. I'll let you know how they turned out in a few short days when I open up one of the jars. 

Finally, I have one more small project to update you on next week. I'm harvesting the coriander seeds from our cilantro coriander plant. The plant is your run-of-the-mill Burpee plant so I doubt I will be able to replant the seeds, but I'm hoping I can use them in a recipe or two (not that I normally do :/). Stay tuned.

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