Sacred Website Management, Cooking for the Blog and Recipe Development Day
also known as
Ok, I will work on a new title for the days I cook here in the Schinkel home.
All day I thought about Pesto.
My niece, Desiree shared a recipe with me last week and I have been waiting rather impatiently to get a chance to make it. Monday I was very intentional in my grocery planning. I checked my
pantry and made sure I had noodles and basics. I made sure I picked up the sun dried tomatoes
from No Frills and chicken from Schinkels’ as well as my usual groceries. On Tuesday, I snuck
into Bulk Barn and bought pine nuts (ok, I also bought a huge amount of fundsorts and panned
eggs – Easter has arrived at Bulk Barn). I was good to go. This afternoon I arrived home from training at the agency and was all set.
Except I didn’t have fresh basil.
Ok, so on Monday, I had noticed there was no basil at the store here in town and on Tuesday I
tried the Superstore, but they didn’t have any either, so I had filed it under, “Better get that
before Thursday” in my mind.
Everyone who knows me knows how well that doesn’t work for me.
So extra quick run out to Foodland to get basil (and a fresh lemon for the zest I hadn’t noticed in
the recipe earlier in the week) and then a slight detour to pick up the toddler I had kinda
forgotten to pick up on my way back into town from training. It’s all good, I had at least told them
I needed care in the afternoon, I had just intended on picking him up at 1:30, not 2:15.
Told you, I had Pesto on my mind.
Now, I was ready to go.
Here are the links to the recipes for the pasta and the pesto
(click on the picture for full size) Desiree gave me:
I started with the pesto. In case I haven’t mentioned it, fresh basil is not always available at
grocery stores. Suddenly, I’m getting the urge to grow some this year. Especially since the recipe
calls for 3 cups of fresh basil, and the one package of basil doesn’t quite make 1 cup. Yikes! I
ended up using the dried basil equivalent for the remaining 2 cups since there was no way I was
loading up the toddler for a one-item grocery trip. Some websites were telling me it was ok to
substitute and some bossier websites were telling me not to, but I chose to ignore them. They
won’t find out any way. I doubt they will read my blog. Definitely need to grow basil this year, though.
The rest of the pesto was pretty easy – I had some roasted garlic left over from another recipe
(I’ll be sharing my roasted red pepper soup recipe another day), so I used that as well as some
roasted pine nuts. Note on the pine nut roasting: pine nuts are insanely expensive- so do not
leave them unattended. I roasted mine for 2 minutes at 350°F and I think they were actually a bit
too done. Next time, I’ll stir them at one minute and then sit with my face close to the glass watching the last minute.
Lemon zest – just grate a little bit of the skin – adds a bit of zing. I also had some red pepper flakes in my cupboard, so I added some of those, too. Google didn’t say it wasn’t allowed, so I added it to my recipe card – obviously, you don’t need to add that if you don’t have any.
Another thing I discovered by error – put all the ingredients into the blender except the oil. When you are pulsing/blending, slowly drizzle the oil in. Otherwise it pretty much doesn’t work – all the ingredients just get mashed up the sides and you have to keep scraping it down. That’s what the internet told me to do on two different sites, but I didn’t do it. So I don’t actually know if the drizzling idea works, but it has to be better than the way I did it. If anyone has any other great ideas to avoid this, leave a comment on the Facebook post. I haven’t figured out how to have comments on the blog page yet.
Otherwise, I think my first batch of pesto went rather well.
Now it was on to the Pasta recipe Desiree gave me.
This was what she made and shared a photo with me.
And so this is what you can make if you follow the recipe on the card above.
However, as with all things me, I tweaked it a bit to accommodate my larger family and all their picky, I mean discerning tastes.
While Greg and I adore asparagus, it is sadly wasted on my little people. I made salad as a side, and kept the pasta vegetable-free. Which ensured that there won’t be any leftovers –
the animals, I mean children, love a nice, vegetable-free pasta. I mixed some roasted chicken with pesto and parmesan. I added some milk, flour and sour cream to the chicken broth
that remained after roasting my chicken, and that made a nice, easy creamy sauce. Stirred the chicken mixture and sauce into cooked rotini and simmered it a bit to thicken and heat through.
For myself, however, I sautéd up some peppers and onions, threw in the pesto, cooked chicken, sundried tomatoes and some asiago cheese and sautéd it all up together until it was cooked through. Served that up with the roasted red pepper soup I haven’t told you about yet, and some salad.
Greg had a healthy (enormous) serving of all three dishes.
Now, about the cheese. Desiree’s recipe called for Parmesan.
I have some pretty strong feelings about cheese,
so I’ll take a moment to let you know my feelings about Parmesan.
First: when a recipe calls for Parmesan, please feel free to consider that a request for freshly shredded Parmesan. Go, quickly, and get yourself a fancy restaurant style cheese grater if you don’t have one. Seriously, once you try fresh Parmesan, you really will wonder how they pass off the powdered stuff as cheese.
Think about this for a moment – usually you can buy a container of Parmesan and it’s not in the refrigerated section of the store.
Sometimes, it even in the pasta sauce section. Could that really qualify as a dairy product if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated? hmmm….
Second: when a recipe calls for Parmesan, and you did run out and get a nice cheese grater, consider trying Asiago ( pronounced : ä-zhē-ˈä-(ˌ)gō ) cheese. It’s very similar to Parmesan, but there is a little bit more moisture in it, which allows it to melt just a bit smoother, yet still has that nice, sharp flavour.
And thus ends another
Thanks for reading all the way to the end.
Feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook post.
Hoping sometime soon to make an appointment with a guy who will show me some tricks like comment plugins and visitor counters.