Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekly Recipes 7 (The glorious garden edition)

{Groovy Girl and cousin}

Summer is winding down and school looms in the near future.  It's all good. I'm blessed to have a summer off with my kids and my books. Recently I dropped Groovy Girl in Deephaven, MN at the home of my youngest brother, Jason, and his two sons who are similarly aged, 13 and 11.  She was to have a week of playing with the cousins in their neighborhood and they were able to do a handful of interesting activities while she was there. Tubing and boating, Valley Fair, and the MN Institue of Art were part of the fun.

While she's been gone I've been alternatally reading, writing, and creating in the kitchen. Having my own fun! I had an armload of freshly cut basil from my mom's garden and I turned that into several containers worth of pesto.
{Just one jar left}
I also took a few pounds of our tomatoes and turned it into tomato sauce. Last year my mom canned several jars and gave them to me and I loved using the sauce throughout the winter, dumping a jar into soups, chilis, and curries.  So this year I'm creating my own jars.  I used this recipe to make the sauce and I used this recipe to double check my hot water pack canning method, both from The Kitchn. The sauce is delicious and I look forward to using it during the snowy months to come.

{3 of the 6 jars}

As to the bunches of basil I used a new recipe this year because I'm tired of searching high and low for pine nuts that don't cost a fortune.  My husband found this recipe that uses walnuts and we happened to have a big bag of those already in the kitchen.

Basil-Spinach Pesto with walnuts

1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup packed basil leaves (about 2 ozs)
1 cup packed spinach leaves (about 2 ozs)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp diced garlic
1/2 tsp kosher sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Place walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes; remove and set aside to cool.

2. In a food processor, combine basil, spinach, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, salt and red pepper.  Cover and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add oil and process until smooth.

3. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Thaw frozen pesto in refrigerator overnight.  

This is what I did differently: I did not use spinach.  I didn't have any and so I just used extra basil this time - I had that much.  I may try the spinach part next week when I will have another huge batch of basil. I did add my own homemade dried pepper chunks from last year's garden.  My pesto lasts longer in the freezer than this recommendation.  Sometimes I've left the cheese out to freeze but I've found it does not really matter.

I had a pretty big batch made but after using it for an appetizer for a pre-school party and after giving college boy a big container I haven't frozen any yet.  Luckily my mom is bringing me more so I will go through this process again.

What's coming up in your garden?


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