Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pesto Two Ways

Well guys, I had an awesome moment this week.  Sometimes people just need some encouragement.  It's amazing what a simple word can do.  I know it's a cliche. (I also know that saying "I know it's a cliche" is a cliche.  Whatever.)  One of my new friends sent me an e-mail to tell me she was putting my recipe for guacamole into her meal plan for the week.  It made me so excited to know that someone is actually going to make one of my recipes!  I love blogging, but let me tell you - typing out recipes is really not all that fun.  It's actually my least favorite part of this, and it's probably the main reason I don't blog more often.  She's actually the second person to tell me that they made something of mine, and the first time was pretty cool, too.  :-)  Just hearing that kind of gave me a new motivation to keep doing this.

So listen, if you see someone working hard, tell them.  If a new mom is doing a good job, tell her.  If you like someone's cooking, tell them.  Seriously, why not?

Ok, so see this little basil plant here?  The one that's devouring the petunia beside it?  The one that's 3 feet tall?  See it?

I'm just a "little" proud of it.  I realize a 5-year-old could grow basil, but I'm lucky if I can keep silk flowers alive, so I'm pretty happy with Herb (that's his name).  Anyways, I needed to use up some of that basil, so I decided to attempt homemade pesto.  I actually had no idea what went in pesto, so when I looked up a couple pesto recipes online, I decided to try two different methods.  The first was using only golden nuggets pine nuts, which, incidentally, cost a heckuvalotta dough.  Like, dang.  The second was using walnuts.  I was a little skeptical, but in the end, I surprised myself and liked the walnut pesto better (I mean that literally - I tend to have expensive taste buds).  The pine nut one was really good, but the walnuts tasted fresher and lighter.

I also tried making the pesto "properly" by first processing the nuts and garlic, then adding the basil, then adding the oil.  That was pretty much a disaster.  I just ended up with a hard paste that took forever to break up.  So then I tried the "shortcut" method of throwing it all in together and hey look! Pesto!  It worked better.

Aaaannnd one final random thought.  I actually don't like Parmesan cheese, or at least I thought I didn't.  The powdery kind you shake on spaghetti just doesn't do it for me.  Even the pre-grated kind...not so much.  Then I bought a block of the real stuff and grated it myself.  And ohmigosh.  It was so good I was eating it by the slice.  The slice, people!  Also, it makes your breath smell awesome.

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup (more or less depending on taste) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or a combination
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (to keep it bright green, and also to take away some of the heaviness)
Put nuts, oil, lemon juice, and garlic in food processor and run it until smooth.  Add basil by the handful and process until smooth.  Add more olive oil if needed until it reaches your desired texture.  Add cheese last.

 Pesto can be kept fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-6 months.


  1. Here basil is not easily grown; it often gets diseased. My basil is doing well but our local garden club told me they gave up on trying to grow it here. It is such a delightful herb! I am excited for your success.
    My favorite pesto has pine nuts in it so I had to look for alternatives too. (I refuse to spend the money even if I had it!) Since I cannot eat walnuts, I kept looking. I thought I had the recipe on my site, but I noticed I haven't added it yet.
    Your pesto looks delicious!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you are able to grow basil, even though it's not the best environment.

  2. that looks incredible!!! And I like the pictures you took!