Monday, July 26, 2010

basil pesto

here's a simple recipe that's mighty handy. kristin shared this one with me a few years ago and i still use it pretty regularly. the nice thing about it is you can freeze the pesto for a fresh-tasting sauce year round. it's handy to freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray, and then transfer it to a ziploc bag once it's hardened. that way, you can thaw the portion size you need... woo hoo! great to make this if your basil plant is growing like crazy, or basil is pretty cheap at trader joe's. serve this over pasta or use it as sauce on a pizza - delish!

basil pesto
1 c. pine nuts or walnuts
8 c. lightly packed fresh basil leaves (4 oz.)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 c. olive oil
s&p to taste

preheat oven to 350, spread nuts evenly on a pan & toast until golden, tossing once - about 8 minutes. cool. bring 4 c. salted water to boil, submerge basil & then immediately drain in a colander, rinse with cold water to stop cooking. pat dry with paper towels. combine nuts, basil, garlic, and a little s&p in a food processor. process until nuts are finely chopped. while machine is running, add oil and process until smooth. use immediately or freeze.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

pasta puttanesca

pasta puttanesca (or "whore's pasta"... i tried reading up on why it's called this, but still don't understand. fill me in if you're in the know) was one of the first real recipes i learned, shared by my friend and former roommate leslie. instead of just pasta with red sauce, this recipe kicks your meal up a few notches with a richer, heartier flavor. i would recommend using spaghetti or angel hair pasta with this one. and be ye not fearful of the anchovies! when you cook them with the garlic, they basically melt away, but they add a rich (not at all fishy) flavor - yum. last compliment i'll give this recipe: just about all of the ingredients can be on your shelves, waiting until you call on their service. how friendly... but not quite as friendly as the name suggests...

pasta puttanesca
1 lb. pasta
1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1/4 bottle of red wine
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 can anchovies, drained
2 T. capers
1 can black olives, drained & halved

heat oil on medium heat in pot, add garlic and pepper flakes. add anchovies and break them apart as you cook them - less than 5 minutes. stir in sauce, capers & olives. pour in wine and herbs. simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. in another pot, cook pasta. drain and combine with sauce. serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 12, 2010

bulgur salad with grapes and feta

ok, i'm labeling this as a "side", but full disclosure - i have never eaten it as a side. why? because "side" means smaller portions, a food sharing plate space with other edibles to form a meal. and i am hardly ever willing to share plate space with my bulgur (i also find it difficult to share it with others, i like it that much). this is a meal to me - and a tasty, easy, and healthy one at that!
bulgur is a whole grain wheat and i've found it at my local grocery store, usually in the healthy food or natural food section. it's dry, so it's got a nice long shelf life, so i usually make this salad when grapes are on sale. this is another kristin recipe that i have memorized from making it so much - hope you enjoy!

bulgur salad with grapes and feta
1/2 c. fine-grain bulgur wheat
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. boiling water
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
2 T. minced scallions (if i'm lazy, i just substitute a sprinkling of onion powder)
3/4 c. halved seedless grapes
1/4 c. toasted chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/4 c. crumbled feta
s&p to taste

in a medium bowl combine bulgur, salt and boiling water. cover and let stand until bulgur is tender - about 30 minutes. in a large bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. when bulgur is tender, drain off any excess water and add to grape mixture. serve at room temp or chilled.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

blackberry cobbler

extra fourth of july posting! as a special treat to celebrate our independence, i decided to use a simple recipe from (have you read her blog? get right on that). it's yummy, gooey and mighty easy. it calls for self-rising flour, but i have no interest or cabinet space to buy another bag of flour, so i've included a substitute recipe for that at the bottom of the post.

blackberry cobbler
1 stick butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. self-rising flour
1 c. milk
2 c. blackberries (frozen or fresh)

rinse and pat dry blackberries. butter a baking dish. melt butter in a microwavable dish. pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. mix well. pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter, distributing evenly. sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top. bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly.

self-rising flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder