Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Purple Pesto (on a diet)


This recipe is made with the flowering bits of cinnamon basil, which are a lovely dark purple.
Do you see the pretty light-purple blooms toward the top/middle of the photo? Yeah...I didn't quite get them picked as soon as I should. But, oh well, it's still totally edible. They'd probably make a sweet garnish, too.

equal parts finely chopped basil leaves*
and walnuts
2-3T olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese
3 stalks of green garlic*

Items with a * came from the garden.

I decided to not use a food processor this time. I heard that hand chopping the ingredients for pesto is much more authentic and brings out better flavor.

Pictured above is equal parts finely chopped basil leaves/blooms and walnuts. Yes, walnuts. Why not pine nuts? I didn't have any and didn't feel like running to the store. Don't try to tell me that walnuts aren't used in pesto, because I already know pine nuts are traditional, but I don't think purple cinnamon-basil pesto is exactly traditional to begin with, and I'm going to deviate from tradition even more. Hold onto your pants. ;)

I mixed them up with just a couple tablespoons of really light, delicate olive oil and about 1/2 a cup of low fat Parmesan cheese. ("Real" pesto uses a whole hell of a lot more oil and real cheese, not the stuff I get out of a plastic tub. But I'm poor and on a diet.)

To that I added minced green garlic. What's green garlic? In a word: delicious. Another word: subtle. And another: delicate. It's like food poetry it's so good. Actually it's just grocery store dry garlic cloves I stuck in a pot, they sprout, and those green spears usually get snipped off for my lust for green garlic long before the plant would start reproducing. I'll do a post just on green garlic soon. Promise.

Here's the finished pesto! I added a little milk to smooth it out. It already had dairy from the parmesan cheese, so I figured it'd work out fine. It did. Very creamy :)

Oh, and it was delicious. I used it as a dip for crackers and a spread on a pita. Maybe next time I'll put it on pasta.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Potato, Pepper + Basil Stovetop Casserole


I dunno...Can you call a stovetop recipe a casserole? But it turned out looking and tasting like a casserole!

My dinner prep started with these funky peppers. They came off a plant I got from Burpee, but I don't think I was supposed to get a purple pepper! So either they weren't quite ripe, or they were a fluke.

I also had a bag of small potatoes I got on sale at the grocery store. Despite a majority of my ancestors being Irish, I don't eat a lot of potatoes, although I do love them. ;) These had been sitting around for awhile and had just started to get wrinkly — definitely time to use them up!

I found a recipe online that I sort of followed...but not really. I'd love to link to it, but I haven't been able to replicate the search :(

1 bag of B (small) potatoes, quartered.
1 large onion, sliced
2 sweet peppers, sliced *
1 Anaheim pepper, sliced *
1 T veg oil
1/2 cup of cream
1/4 cup of low-fat Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil *

(ingredients marked with a * came from my garden.)

Add oil to large pan on medium heat. Add potatoes. Cook until they start to soften a bit. Add water if they start to stick to the pan. Then add onions. Cook a bit, then add peppers. Cook till everything is soft. I think I ended up adding 1/4-1/2 cup of water a bit at at time to keep things lubed so they didn't stick and burn.

When those look nice and cooked, keep the heat on and let them dry out a bit and get a bit of a crust on the potatoes, but keep a close eye so they don't burn! Then turn off the heat, add cream, cheese and basil.

Let it sit a couple minutes, then serve!

I really liked it. My husband thought it was OK. He's pretty damn picky, so that's pretty good coming from him. I think next time I'll add breadcrumbs, though. Or maybe crushed potato chips. It needed a bit of a crunch. And a bit hotter of a pepper, or a dash of cayenne powder. The Anaheim didn't do much.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Garlic Eggplant + Grits — Update


So here's what it looked like cooked! I sliced them lengthwise this time, and they held together a little better.

(I've been super busy lately working a full-time job + martial arts training/teaching 15 hours/week and crazy weekend activities! And my garden has suffered a bit, but I'll finally have some free time this weekend to get everything back in order!)