About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Basil Pesto, with an Arugula Variation

I've tried many a pesto recipe in my time and this is the one that I've settled on as my favorite. It just seems to have the right ratio of ingredients and I like the unconventional touch of lemon juice in it. There also seems to be something about adding the oil in 2 doses, half before and half after the cheese that produces a good texture.

4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves, about 4 to 5 oz.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmigiano, about 2 oz.
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Food processor method. Process the garlic and pine nuts until minced. Add the basil to the workbowl and process until the basil is chopped. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. With the processor running, add the lemon juice and half of the olive oil in a slow steady stream. Turn off the processor,  add all the cheese and process until the cheese is absorbed. With the processor running, slowly add the remaining olive oil. When the pesto is creamy add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in a container with a film of oil covering the pesto and keep it tightly covered and refrigerated.

Omit the cheese if you want to freeze the pesto. To use frozen pesto, thaw it out and stir in the cheese.

For a more lemony pesto, add the peel of 1/2 meyer lemon with the garlic and pine nuts. Increase the lemon juice to 2 tablespoons of meyer lemon juice.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

For Arugula Pesto:

- use 2 cloves of garlic
- substitute toasted skinned almonds for the pine nuts
- same weight of arugula instead of basil
- use the meyer lemon peel

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