Basil Pesto

We had a ton of basil.  It was a staple in our herb garden this year, and the plants were plentiful and prolific.  As the weather started to get cooler, I was doing everything I could to prevent a frost from getting in and taking out the remainder of the plants.  Even as we had hard frosts, I was covering the plants every night with towels to nurse them through to the last big get together at our house when we had the field hockey team over for homemade pizza.

But last weekend was it–we had to get them up and out.  So what do you do with a ton of basil? PESTO!  And it really could not be easier.  We ended up with a little over four cups of basil leaves, so combining about a cup of toasted walnuts, about 6 cloves of garlic, a good handful of parmesan cheese, and enough olive oil to make the whole mixture smooth while whipping it around the food processor created a delicious basil pesto.  It made a ton of it, so we froze the majority of it.  On the half cup we didn’t freeze, we’ve been putting it on pizza, pasta, anything that needed that salty, garlicky goodness on it.

 

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Catching Up

I feel like there’s so much to post–all of the awesome New Englandy things I experienced and was inspired by during my last travel trip, the gorgeous fall weather we’ve been having here in VA, and the local apples that were phenomenal this weekend, and the like.  But as we sit here in front of the first fire of the fall, I figured I’d start with dinner tonight–turkey sausage, pasta and (probably) the last tomatoes of the season.

I whipped this together in between grinding our own hamburger and making a couple of different casseroles for later this week.  I used fresh late season tomatoes and some beautiful basil combined with some turkey sausage–it was savory and perfect for the cool weather, but it still had the bright, fresh flavors that we’ve grown accustom to this summer.  The end result was delicious, and probably will have JGL and I jockeying for who will get the leftovers tomorrow.

Turkey Sausage with Pasta and Tomatoes
 
2 Turkey Sausage Links, casings removed
1 Tablespoon whole wheat flour
White wine
Lemon Juice
Tomatoes
Basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta
 
Before starting with sauce, bring a pot of water to a boil, add pasta.  Take sausage and brown in pan.  Once cooked through, work flour into sausage and let the fat get absorbed by flour.  While the sausage cooks, dice tomatoes and cut basil into ribbons.  Add about a 1/4 cup of wine and about a 1/4 cup of lemon juice into sausage mixture and let get thick.  Drain pasta, but leave a little bit of pasta water in the bottom of the pan;  add to sausage mixture and stir.  Just before serving, add the tomatoes and basil and salt and pepper to taste.  

Tomato, Basil, Cheese Big Girl Sandwich

I am so content right now–we finally have some rain, the house is prepped and ready for my parents, the Tony’s are on tonight, and we just had a simple but fabulous dinner.

If I close my eyes, I might just fall asleep in a “I’m full, happy, and life is good” kind of way.

These sandwiches are essentially grilled cheeses for adults.  You take toasted bread and insert extra sharp cheddar cheese, basil and fresh tomatoes, and warm it through so the cheese is nice and melted, and the maters are just starting to warm up.  Tonight we served it up with grilled corn, but the sandwiches are good enough to eat without a side.

The only thing that could make this better was that if the maters had come from our own garden.  But soon, Folks, soon!

Filling up the Cold Frame

After our weekly trip to WW, we ventured down to our Fabulous Farmer, Seed and Supply Store and picked up seeds to start.  I can’t believe it’s only February 26th and we’re starting seeds, but the weather has been beautiful and it looks like it will continue to be as such for the foreseeable future.  We’ll certainly take it!

We filled up the fabulous cold frame with our reusable seed starting containers we inherited from my family, and filled them up with potting soil.  After that we put in several varieties of tomatoes (Rutgers, Jubilee, Roma and Yellow Pear), a few jalapenos, basil and petunias into about 24 pots.  So here’s to starting early and fingers crossed for a FABULOUS yield!

Detoxing with Tomatoes

“I feel bloated” has been a favorite phrase in our house for the past few days.  I guess one can only eat so many donuts and coffee before starting to feel…craptastic.

It’s also been a crazy week in terms of food–we’ve had friends invite us out to dinner, someone brought in delicious oatmeal bars and zucchini bread to work, and I’m slowly working off of my coffee addiction by making myself these awesome frosty coffee treats in the morning.

I guess I should be lucky that “bloated” is all we’re feeling.

Anyhoo, tonight is the only night this week that JGL and I just get to sit down, eat dinner together, and spend some quality JGL/GAL time.  Plus puppies, of course.  Plus the explosion of tomatoes that we have now that the temps are ultra steamy and there’s rain in the evenings.

So tonight we attempted to detox from the coffee, donuts, too many servings of delicious steak tips, and in general the overindulgences of the past week and a half.  Tonight, we had tomato salad.

This is a favorite for us, and there are no pictures because, well–we ate it all before I could snap a shot of it.  It’s so simple, too–tomatoes, basil, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and tonight I added chunked up mozzarella cheese.  I don’t measure–add what looks about right and makes you happy, and I promise it won’t disappoint.  Add some chunks of day old bread, and you’ve got yourselves the makings of a pretty decent panzanella salad.

This is about as close as we get to “detox food” here in our house, but at least we’re trying!

That and we have to make room for the raspberry  sherbet we just “had to have…” sherbet is better for you than ice cream, right? Right!

Happy eating!

Pesto with the Most-o

Basil on tomatoes.  Basil on salads.  Basil on sandwiches.  I could put basil on anything.  And do.

But what do you do when you have a TON of basil?

When life hands you basil, I say make pesto!  It’s so simple, and all you need is a food processor.  Can this bad boy and you’ll be a rock star with your family and friends all year-long.

GAL’s Delish Pecan-Basil Pesto

  • Two good handfuls of basil
  • One good handful of pecans (or your favorite nut will do–pine nuts are traditionally found in pestos)
  • 2-3 (or 4-5 depending on how you like it…) cloves of garlic
  • Handful of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil (enough to get the mixture to come together)

Put the first five ingredients into your food processor.  Pulse to get them started. Slowly add olive oil until the mixture comes together into a creamy, dreamy pesto paste.

Meanwhile, cook 1 pound of your favorite pasta (as the directions on the box tell you to) with a good handful of salt.  When done, drain and return to the pan.  Toss with the pesto mixture and serve.  Bon a petit!