Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Garden variety withdrawn

I miss the summer, I miss my garden, I miss fresh vegetables and the feeling that goes along with preparing food that I've grown myself. If I were to write a sternly worded letter right now it would probably go as follows.

Dear snow, piss off.
Kind regards,

On a more flowery note, grabbed a large bag of sweet basil the other day for one recipe and had more than enough basil leftover to make one wicked batch of pesto. What I love about pesto is the following; a) it's frickin' delicious, I can literally plow through a batch of it with a bag of tortilla chips in an evening, b) I have most of the ingredients in my kitchen at any time, and c) pesto is super easy to make. If you haven't made pesto before, follow along, if you have I would imagine you've already stopped reading. Check out the chips below, certified GF! If you don't know what GF stands for read on.

I've looked up and followed a pesto recipe once in my life, the rest of the time I just add ingredients until everything tastes right. So, rather than spell out a recipe boring measured portion by boring measured portion I'll give you a recipe like this: ensure that you have a blender or preferably a food processor at hand (it's pretty damn hard to make pesto without one).

Add the following ingredients into your food processor; basil, lots but not all of it; that may come in handy later. A splash of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic; add equal portions of parmesean cheese and nuts. I use cashews in my pesto because pretty much everyone I know acts like a five year old about pine nuts, which you would classically use in pesto. Cashews taste delicious anyway. Grind a little black pepper in and start blending. Take a taste, from a texture standpoint your pesto could have larger chunks of nuts, they're nice when it's being served as a spread for breads or crackers but in this instance you don't want it to be too oily. If you're using the pesto in say a pasta or a vegetarian cannelloni, which I have a great recipe for that I'm not sure if I've posted up here, you'll want it to be a little more oily. Use your taste to shape your pesto, maybe it needs more parm, or more nuts; don't think that you may screw it up because you can always add more of something to round it out. Have fun!

Tried FOOD SHOULD TASTE GOOD Brand tortilla chips; I'm three varieties in and I've been happy with what I've tried so far, they have quite a few flavours including chocolate (dare I try the questionable chocolate tortilla chip?). Oddly what I like most about these chips is the bag; that sounds awful but it's true. I'm a bit of a packaging nerd, I work with it, a lot. They have an entire section on every bag that lists symbols identifying what these chips are and what they are not. It's basically nutritional information for dummies but it jumps out at you immediately; for instance, these chips (the flavors I have at home) are Certified GF (Gluten Free, checked Google, the logo is much like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization logo), they are Kosher, cholesterol free, contain no MSG (although I don't think any chips I can buy now contain MSG), they're an essential source of whole grains, low sodium, and they're not genetically modified. A lot of handy information and no fine print, clever. Summary, these chips taste good and you can feel good about eating them!

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