Simply Sensational Fresh Pesto

I am becoming totally obsessed with gardening.  It’s a really fun hobby and produces fresh, organic produce for you to eat.  What more could you want?  And herbs are one of the easiest things to grow.  Basil is especially easy.  It’s happy just sitting in a sunny window and being watered every couple of days.  We bought this basil plant from the farmer’s market and kept it inside because snails totally dig on basil.  It’s like donuts for snails.  They go nuts.  (Get it…donuts make you go nuts.)  Anywho, even inside and out of the direct sun our basil plant quickly outgrew it’s little spot and my mom was asking me to please get rid of some of it.  So, I thought, what is a great dish that uses tons of basil?  Well, pesto, of course!

This recipe only needs 5 ingredients.  Here they are:

Pine nuts

Extra virgin olive oil

Fresh basil leaves

Parmesano Reggiano cheese

Coarse salt

Now, I didn’t add any measurements because you can kind of adjust them based on how you like your pesto.  You can also thrown in a garlic clove if you want some garlicky stuff.  Start with about a quarter cup of olive oil and about the same amount of pine nuts.  Then throw in a good handful of basil leaves.  I used a bunch, because I like my pesto really green and basily.

See.

Crumble up a few slices of cheese in there too before you blend.  Don’t add the salt right away, because the cheese is pretty salty and you might find that the salt in the cheese is all you need.  I used a hand blender because I like it a little chunkier, but you can use a regular blender or food processor if you want a smoother product.  Feel free to blend and taste, adding a bit more of what you think the mixture needs.  To thicken it, add more pine nuts.  To thin it, more olive oil.  For more flavor, add more cheese, basil and/or salt.  If you want to go totally wild you can toast your pine nuts by heating them with just a smidge of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat for a couple minutes, stirring frequently and making sure they don’t burn.

That’s it!  This pesto is great as a dip, a spread, or the old fashioned way: right on pasta.  You can make as much as you want at once and freeze it, but it’s so quick and simple I’d recommend preparing it fresh.  Buen provecho!  I’ll leave you with a sexy little shot of some cheese.

Is it hot in here?

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Bacon arugula sandwich with parmesan crisps and garlic-basil mayo

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Oh great! Another bacon themed post on a food blog.  Just what we need!”  Well, you’re right.  It is great and it is just what we need.

Although the title is a mouthful (and a delicious one at that) the sandwich only takes about fifteen minutes to make and looks and tastes gourmet and fantastic.  Ingredients are as follows

For the mayo:

2 (big-ish) tbls of mayo

1 tsp chopped basil (dried basil actually works fine)

2 tsp minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder if you can’t handle the raw garlic.  Few can.)

For the sammich:

2 slices toasted sourdough bread (I actually don’t have access to sourdough in Chile, but I know it would be great)

3-10,000 slices of cooked bacon (all depends on how much you love bacon.  I used three.)

A handful (is that a legitimate measurement?) of baby arugula

4 tbls grated parmesan cheese

Alright so I made the mayo first and set it aside.  It’s very simple.  You mix the mayo, basil and garlic (or garlic powder) in a small bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

Next, start cooking the bacon because it takes a little while.  On a medium heat cook them for about ten minutes, flipping occasionally.  You don’t want the bacon too crispy because it won’t stay on the sandwich.

uh oh. bacon.

When the bacon is done frying remove the bacon to another plate, preferably with a paper towel on it so some of the grease can be absorbed and LEAVE THE BACON GREASE IN THE PAN BECAUSE WE GONNA COOK WITH IT.

That’s right, folks.  We’re cooking with (bacon) grease.

This is where the parmesan comes in.  Leaving the heat on medium, drop your 4 tbls of parmesan cheese into the grease and flatten it out.  (Now is a good time to put your bread in the toaster, by the way, if you want everything to work out.)  Let the parmesan sizzle in the grease for about three minutes then carefully flip it over for another minute or so.  Remove it from the grease onto the plate with the bacon.  Now wash off your arugula and you have all your ingredients ready!

Pile it on however you like.  Mine turned out like this:

pretty good.

This is a great and easy sandwich to make and impress people with your sandwich-making prowess.  Buen provecho!

Pear and gruyere tart

Check me out, I’m on a roll.

Also, look at these pears!

Aren’t those lovely?  They are the key ingredient in my pear and gruyere tart.  Other key ingredients include…

1 pie crust

4 pears (peeled and sliced)

1 tbs lemon juice

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp almond extract

8 oz gruyere cheese (grated)

Another pear picture for good measure

Okay so preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Once it’s heated up, put the pie crust in for about 15 minutes.  While your crust is baking you can make your filling.

Mix pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond extract in a bowl.  Then mix in about 2/3 of the grated cheese.

When the pie crust is done add the filling and then top with the rest of the cheese.  Put it back in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cheese is a nice golden brown.  Take it out and allow it to cool before serving.  IT’S SOOO GOOOOOOD.

cheeeese.