Monthly Archives: July 2012

Basil Pesto

It’s harvest time!
For days now my basil plants have been calling my name.  Stalks of bright green leaves reaching toward me, my taste buds go nuts when I think about the reward for nuturing these plants through our recent drought.  Every morning I take the dog out back and there they are standing tall as if to say, hey lady over here!!  So last night . . . . I listened!

I LOVE basil pesto!  I could smother it over just about anything – tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, crispy baguette toasts, eggs, roasted vegetables, grilled salmon, inside a veggie/cheese wrap or on a portobella mushroom sandwich (see previous post)! 

PK especially likes pesto tossed with pasta.  So that was the plan until I decided to grill some chicken and toss that in too! 

Here’s a quick pic of the basil just before it took a spin in the blender.  I literally had armfuls!  As you can imagine the fragrance filled the kitchen so I took my time, kinda just hung out . . . . you know, let it linger and enjoyed a few deep yoga breaths.    

Here’s the dish right before I tossed it all together . . . .

I used bowtie pasta (aka farfelle).  It seems to hold just the right amount of pesto for every bite! I also used parmesan reggiano, my favorite!  Pesto has a rich flavor so a little goes a long way!  Though it’s loaded with fat, it’s primarily monounsaturated, a healthier fat.  It’s also packed with powerful antioxidants, and compounds that may help reduce inflammation.  It’s a great source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin A and Iron.  A treat indeed!! 

I have a copy of Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis, so I used her recipe.  Delicious!!  If you don’t grow basil it will be showing up at the Farmer’s Markets soon (if you haven’t already found it)!  Enjoy!! 

Basil Pesto
2 cups (packed) basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1.   In a food processor or blender, pulse together the basil, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.
2.   With the blender running, slowly add the the olive oil until pesto is smooth with a thick consistency. 
For Basil Pasta Dish above, toss the finished pesto with pasta of choice and add grilled chicken if desired.  This dish is great served hot or cold!

Pesto Recipe Gently Adapted From,
Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis
Clarkson Potter Publishers, Copyright 2005

Tandoori Pizza

Hey All!
Well, to say it’s been hot in the midwest is nuts.  We’re beyond hot – passed it about 20 degrees ago!  We’re living life in 3-digits in Cary – and I know we’re not alone.  The early morning hours have clearly become “get it done” time (it was 90 degrees by 8 this morning!), whether you’re looking to grab a run, walk the dog, water your plants or go blueberry picking!  Yep, call us crazy but Mick and I headed out bright n’ early today with berries top of mind – and we couldn’t wait to get home and dig in!  Here we are with the fruits of our labor (ok that was bad – must be the heat)!! 

 Point is we’re full swing into SUMMER and loving it! 

Early this week we visited our good friends the Hill’s for an afternoon of crafts, swimming and of course food!  And that’s where the Tandoori Pizza happened.  Talking to Jen we decided to pull together pretty much what we had, and top some pizza’s for supper.  Jen had Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tandoori Naan Bread so we used that for our crust and I gotta tell you it was awesome!  I’ve never used Tandoori bread this way before.  It was crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and provided the perfect individual servings!  Simple.   

Everyone chose from an array of toppings.  Jen and I took orders and Chef Mallory went to work!!  She snipped basil in the yard, and carefully layered the breads with spinach, peppers and slices of fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage! 
Check her out! 

We rounded out the meal with fresh greens from the neighboring garden!

And ice-cold watermelon!  Key word cold!! 

Tandoori is a variety of flatbread used in India and other Central Asian countries.  It’s traditionally baked in a clay oven called a tandoor, hence the name.  It’s frequently used to scoop foods like hummus or to fold around foods like a sandwich.  I’ve used tandoori warmed on the griddle with eggs in the morning.  I will definitely be using it again as pizza crust!

Tandoori Pizza
Here’s How We Did It:
1.   Place the Tandoori Bread on a baking sheet.
2.   Spread sauce of your choice (we used Trader Joe’s – they have both a jar sauce and a fresh, in the refrigerator section, variety).  You may also want to drizzle extra virgin olive oil or perhaps try pesto as a “sauce”.
3.   Next, we layerd our vegetables – spinach, tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes – any seasonal vegetable favorites will work!  
4.   Then we added slices of Amylu’s Sun Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Sausage (Trader Joe’s also has a great variety of chicken sausages to choose from)
5.   And we topped it all off with fresh mozzarella cheese slices (creamy good) and also shredded cheddar! 
6.   Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly!  

Hope it’s a great weekend!  Peace Out!