Homemade Pesto

When we say pesto most of us think of basil as the primary ingredient.  But pesto(s) can be made from a variety of herbs, vegetables and condiments; or combinations there of.  What is needed is a food processor–and chop, chop–you can be enjoying the flavors of summer all year long.  I include the making of pesto in my series on kitchen basics, because it is so easy, and so useful in a great number of ways.

Depending on what flavor you have on hand you can do any of the following with it:  spread it on grilled corn, toss with grilled veggies for extra flavor, spoon over a spreadable cheese and serve with crackers for an appetizer, use in place of sauce on pizza, stir some into eggs for a seasoned omelet, add a spoonful to soup for an extra flavor hit.   See how versatile it is?  I’m sure you can think of other uses, too.

It is so easy to make that I am giving the general directions first, followed by the ingredients list for four (4) different kinds.  Each one makes  about 2 cups of pesto.  I like to divide mine up into 1/2 – 1 cup amounts and store in the freezer, removing a small container of it as needed.  The flavor stays as fresh as the day you made it.

GENERAL DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Period!  Did I say Easy?   Divide up into small jars or plastic  containers, and use creatively.

BASIL

1.  BASIL PESTO

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

CILANTRO

2.  CILANTRO PESTO

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

ROSEMARY

3.  OLIVE PESTO

  • 1  7 0z. jar pitted kalamata olives, drained
  • 1  7 oz. jar pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  •  3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

OREGANO

4.  MIXED HERBS PESTO

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or  1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, or 1  teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

SOURCE:   adapted from  Foods, Quick and Easy.

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Raspberry Shortcakes

Raspberries are like little jewels;  beautiful in color, bursting with juiciness and sweet-tart on the tongue.  I just love them!  They are, however, very fragile and perishable.  So when you get some you had better have a plan for using them within a short period of time.  Whenever I pick raspberries I usually freeze most of them for later use, but save out a few to enjoy on cereal,  over ice-cream,  or in this case in a shortcake.

What drew me to this recipe is the fact that the berries are in the biscuits as well as in the  filling.  Heck, you can never have too much of a good thing can you?  But if you didn’t want to have a whole shortcake, the biscuit alone with a cup of tea or glass of lemonade is still great.

INGREDIENTS

Serves  8

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • sanding sugar  (optional)
  • whipped cream and berries for the filling

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in cream, buttermilk, and raspberries until  just combined.  Do not over mix.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Divide dough into eight ( 8) portions and shape into rounds.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if using, and freeze for 15 minutes.
  3. Bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes.  Let cool completely on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
I sampled one while it was still warm from the oven.  The texture is tender and flaky;  absolutely delicious!.
To serve, split biscuits in half, fill with whipped cream or whipped topping and raspberries.  I added a few blue berries, too for color.
     
SOURCE:  Everyday  Food.