Grow Your Own Way · Recipes · Tips and Tricks

Classic Pesto

Mmmm, Pesto…it’s so savory and versatile. With more basil than I can handle in my garden right now, how could I not make some pesto to put up this past weekend? I usually double this recipe and freeze it.

I like to throw in parsley as well. It adds a bit of freshness and complexity to the flavor!

Classic Pesto

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Blend olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts (if using) in a blender or food processor. I’ve used both; I find a food processor to be much easier, but it can be done in a blender.

If I don’t have pine nuts on hand, or if I’m feeling too cheap to buy them, I might substitute almonds, which I almost always have in the house. Toasted and blended into pesto, they add a nice flavor. You can also leave the pine nuts out completely if you have guests with an allergy to nuts.

Variations on Pesto:

  • Throw an avocado into the blender for a very creamy pesto
  • Experiment with different varieties of nuts, like walnuts, pine nuts or almonds (just remember to toast them first, which prevents bitterness)
  • Add in arugula for a zippier taste
  • Switch some of the parmesan for pecorino cheese
  • Add in parsley and/or cilantro

How to use Pesto:

  • Put it on a pizza, topped with the veggies & cheese of your choice
  • Toss it with tortellini and chunky tomatoes and fresh basil
  • Slather in a sandwich with mozzarella and tomato
  • Use it as a dip for sliced veggies like peppers and carrots
  • In this awesome recipe for grilled pesto potatoes
Most importantly, enjoy your pesto, however you serve it.
dessert · Grow Your Own Way · Holidays · kid-friendly · Recipes

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb is suddenly abundantly in season, and it’s just begging to be put into a pie or a berry crumble. But why fuss with a pie when you can make something so much easier and, in my opinion, more delicious? Crumble is fast, easy and lets you use that other bountiful fruit: strawberries. I got this recipe from a coworker a couple years ago, and it’s been a hit at every gathering I bring it to.

7a33792314df2ffe00b357f596735753I love how quirky, tart and yet versatile rhubarb is. We didn’t grow any in our garden this year, but a friend told me it’s actually pretty easy to cultivate, so we are going to plant some next year. Do you remember a few months back when I wrote that Mark didn’t want to plant any vegetables? Look how far we’ve come — not only do we have peppers, herbs, tomatoes and zucchini bursting right now, we’re planning on adding rhubarb next year! I’m so proud of him. Maybe I can convince him to do strawberries next year, too?

To make this crumble, start by rinsing and chopping 3 cups of strawberries and 3 cups of rhubarb. This is about one pound of rhubarb, or 4-5 stalks, and about 12 oz. of strawberries (the standard container size). If you’ve never bought rhubarb before — as Mark hadn’t when I sent him to the store for these ingredients — I always say they look like pink celery.

Once you’ve chopped the strawberries and rhubarb into bite-sized pieces, add the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of (white) sugar. Combine in a bowl and let them sit for half an hour so the juices draw out and blend.

In the meantime, you can make the topping. I like to do it over low heat on the stove, so the butter can melt in the pan and then you can add the oats and brown sugar and flour.

Once the mixture has come together, set aside off the burner and get ready to assemble your crumble. Preheat the oven to 375 and get out a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with the crumble mixture, spreading out evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes; it will be browned and bubbling. You can serve it warm or cool. I like to serve it warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups each of strawberries and rhubarb
  • ½ C flour
  • 1 C Sugar

I let those sit together for 30 minutes after mixing. Meanwhile, make the topping.

Crumble topping:

  • 1 C each of butter (yes, that’s two sticks), brown sugar & rolled oats
  • 1 ½ C flour

DIRECTIONS

Spread the berry mixture in a glass 9×13 baking dish and top with the crumble. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and serve either warm or cool. I love it with ice cream! I have also used this recipe filling in a pie.

PS: Do you know the difference between cobbler, crumble and crisp?

 

Recipes

Mexican Baked Eggs with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Why do I love this? Because it’s healthy, hearty, fast, and you can almost certainly make it with things that you already have on hand. I made this on a Sunday night and my husband had — wait for it — thirds. He said, and I quote, “this doesn’t even taste like it’s vegetarian, it’s just delicious.” SCORE!

I found the recipe on the Closet Cooking Blog. It’s a standalone casserole-style dish (OK, I made it in a pie plate if you look closely) but if you want to jazz it up, serve it like I did with fresh sliced avocado, cheddar cheese and homemade pita chips, which are easy to make and have the added bonus of using up any leftover tortillas (corn or flour) you might have from making enchiladas.

To start, chop and saute your onions until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin and jalapeno; saute until fragrant, about a minute. If you want to make it hotter (we didn’t), add in some chipotle chili powder. Next, add the tomatoes, black beans, oregano, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Mine came straight from the garden!

Place half of the mixture into a baking dish, top it with the eggs, and then spoon the remaining mixture around the eggs. You’re going to bake it at 350F for 5 to 8 minutes, just until the eggs set (your oven may take longer), and then throw it under the broiler with some cheese on top to brown.

To make the tortilla chips, simply cut a stack of corn or flour tortillas into wedges (I used 8-inch rounds, and cut up about four of them) and brush with olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and a squeeze of fresh lime (you could also add cumin), and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.

Turn the pan around in the oven and give the chips a stir, then put the pan back in for just a couple more minutes until they are crisp but not burned. Let them cool briefly before serving.

Delicious, and baked instead of deep-fried.

Mexican Baked Eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (more or less to taste
  • jalapeno peppers to taste (I went light)
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or you could use fresh)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese like  jack & cheddar or a Mexican blend

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and jalapeno saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, black beans, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
  • Place half of the mixture into one or more baking dishes, top with the eggs and spoon the remaining mixture around the eggs.
  • Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the eggs just start to set, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Top with the cheese and broil until it melts, no more than a minute or so.

Photo Jun 17, 7 58 10 PM

Photo Jun 17, 7 49 54 PM