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Pesto!!

2 Aug

Pesto is one of my favorite things about basil. It’s garlicky, it’s salty, it’s creamy, and it keeps so well in the freezer. And there are so many uses! On pizza, in soups, in a tomato & mozzarella salad, on a grilled veggie sandwich, and simply on some good pasta.  I always try to ration my frozen cubes of pesto to last through the winter but I always find myself eating lots of pesto spaghetti squash in the fall.

Pesto is also a major PITA for me to make. Mostly because I’m too cheap to buy a food processor (a mixer comes first, creaming butter and sugar is absolutely necessary for the perfect cookie). My blender is trusty but the sporadically spaced ribbed insides makes scraping thick condiments (tzaziki, humus) a chore. Alas, the pay off is supreme.

Pesto is hard to mess up. It’s basically everything you see above. Portions are to your taste.

3 large garlic cloves
3 cups grated Romano
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup olive oil
4 cups packed fresh basil

I omit salt to compensate for how much I love grated hard cheeses. And there’s a little extra olive oil to help the blender along. Super simple: chop the pine nuts and the garlic (in the blender!!), add half the olive oil, half the basil, and half the Romano. Blender-ize it till it looks and tastes like pesto. Repeat with the remaining basil, olive oil, and Romano. I scooped almost the entire batch into one ice cube tray to freeze so I can have portioned cubes for autumn’s squash feast.

For lunch, I scraped down the sides of the blender with my trusty mini spatula, cut three tomatoes, half a log of mozzarella, and mixed it all together. A pinch of salt here, a couple cigarillos of basil, and voila! Lunch for two!

House Salad

29 Jul

I’ve long felt that the more ingredients in salads, the more exciting they are to eat. I’m talking grilled zucchini, julienne red bell pepper, peas, tuna, chipped extra sharp white cheddar, halved seedless grapes, basically, anything to up the nutritional value of salad greens. In my attempt to control my caloric intake, I’m letting all that go. Not only is cheese in salad a bad idea, but I was really losing out on the low-cal aspect of the salad when I started loading it up with a bajallion toppings.

So I’ve settled on this mix of four veggies: matchstick carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and spring baby mix. Tossed with a light homemade vinaigrette. If I can sub out one meal a day with this salad, maybe I’ll lose five pounds before heading back to Shanghai… Before I get the third degree from my mother about my eating habits.

House Dressing

1 clove garlic
1/4 small red onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 table spoon sugar
4 tablespoon olive oil.

Press the garlic and red onion through a garlic press. Insert into a bottle with the remainder of the ingredients. Shake well. Allow to sit in fridge overnight for the flavors to develop. Use as necessary! I probably use about 2 tablespoons of the dressing for a large salad. Yummers!