Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eat Local!

It's basil season, and it's been a bumper crop so far this year! Already our colleague Diane, who grows it on her roof, apparently on an industrial scale, has brought in two huge bags full of some of the finest basil you'd ever want. And we'll take all we can get. It sure is awesome to have an herb dealer right at work!

Tonight, we had a lovely Caprese salad, with some delicious, marble-size cherry tomatoes, also courtesy of Diane's green thumb. It's always great to eat fresh-picked herbs right away and this simple, classic dish of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, is a perfect showcase for great, fresh basil. Last night it was pesto with fresh fettucine, one of Fork's favorite comfort meals. Thanks, Diane!--S&F

Basic Pesto

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed, and dried
Salt to taste
1/2 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, or more
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)

1. Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender.
2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add additional oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. Store in the refrigerator for a week or two, or in the freezer for several months. Stir in the Parmesan by hand just before serving.

Recipe courtesy of How to Cook Everything

1 comment:

sjr said...

Pesto is wonderful, and so is a fresh, uncooked tomato sauce.

Chop a nice fresh tomato and put in a bowl with all the juices. Chop as much garlic as you like -- half a clove to 3 cloves. Take a good thick handful of basil leaves and slice like a chiffonade. Add a dollop of red wine vinegar and a couple of dollops of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and let marinate while you boil the water for pasta -- I used little elbows the last time I did this. Drain pasta when done, add to the sauce, and stir again.