You know that article that every woman’s magazine runs at least once a year sharing the buzzwords to watch for so that you avoid “calorie overload” when ordering a meal at a restaurant?
Crispy. AKA Fried.
Smothered. Probably with colossal amounts of cheese.
Creamy. Unnecessarily calorie dense.
So on and so on…
Here are the buzzwords used in menu items that I just can’t avoid:
Goat Cheese. So rich and so delicious.
Truffle. The epitome of decadence.
Avocado. Yes, like much of America, I to, am Avocado Obsessed. “Have you seen my new Avo-CAR-do?” Cracks me up. I love a good food pun.
Pesto. I just can’t get enough of it.
I can’t get enough of pesto at home either. It is great on nearly any kind of meat. Works well as a sauce for pizza or pasta. And even compliments some vegetables.
Thanks to my basil plants looking abundant as ever, I decided to give making pesto a try. My mom makes and freezes pesto often. This allows her to enjoy her basil plants throughout the winter.
I visited her over the weekend and asked for her recipe.
“Oh, that’s easy. Just some oil, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts and your Cuisinart.”
… Easy for the Pesto Pro to say.
Wanting to be a little more precise I looked it up on Google and sure enough, that really was it. And it really was easy. Quick too.
So, I am now a Pesto Pro.
… Or maybe more a Pesto Magician because it seemed like the instant I hit the “On” button my ingredients turned into a beautifully, green and delicious pesto paste.
Here is what I did:
Gather two cups of fresh basil (Basil should be packed pretty well.)
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan Romano Cheese
½ cup Pine Nuts (… I read online that you could also use walnuts or almonds. The wonderful Barefoot Contessa uses both walnuts and pine nuts. Things I will try next time.)
3 cloves garlic (I used some from the Farmer’s Market and the cloves were huge! I would tone it down next time if I were working with such big garlic cloves again.)
A touch of salt
I threw it all in the food processor, turned it on and then the magic happened.
Instantaneously, I had pesto.
I stopped it twice to push down the pesto on the sides with a spatula until it was nearly smooth.
From there you can either put your pesto in the fridge and enjoy it within three days or you can freeze it like I did. (Although, I am sure I would have had no problem finishing it all well before three days were up… the flavor was amazing.)
There are a few ways you can freeze pesto.
I scooped small mounds of the pesto onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put the sheet into the freezer. Once solid, I removed the mounds from the parchment paper and put them into a ziplock bag. This way I can grab a serving to add to whatever I am cooking.
My friend’s mom uses an ice maker mold to freeze the pesto and then stores them in ziplock bags once frozen.
Baby food jars also work well.
I did reserve a little pesto to use with our meal last night. Adam grilled shrimp that I had coated with the fresh pesto. As I scooped the pesto on to the shrimp I told Adam to give it a try.
As he did his face lit up. “Mmm,” he admired, “You made that?”
Heck yes I did!
Another thing that magically changed last night was me. I went from twenty five to twenty six.
My good friend Betsy came up to our house from Indianapolis with these amazing cupcakes from The Flying Cupcake, a local and very successful cupcake chain in Indy. I had the Birthday Cupcake, of course. Adam and Betsy both had the one that looks like a “Ho-ho.”
But, what was even more magical than the pesto or slipping into my upper twenties was the awe-inspiring sunset we were blessed with as a backdrop for my celebratory dinner.
Cheers to twenty six!