I made 7 jars of pasta sauce from 30+ lbs of tomatos from the garden.
Mid July is the time to harvest Basil and make Pesto!
I got myself a nice food-processor for making Zuccinni Bread but it makes short work of basil as well.
I opted for the $99 Cuisinart Food processor and I LOVE it. I’m glad I read all those articles by Daniel Pelegreen on the subject. I had no idea just how much easier and quicker and mostly- QUIETER a nice food processor is than my little 3 cup one. It grates zuccinni like a charm and making Pesto is quick!
I pick the leaves off the basil:
I actually throw my herb stalks in my “compost” area which is mainly just where I put the leaves I rake up. The vermin don’t like the herbs so I figure they are mostly safe. I don’t bother with composting the rest of my veggie scraps. We have entirely too many raccoons/squirrels/fishers/Opossums for it to be worth it.
To make pesto, I use about 3 Table spoons of Basil slurry, a good bit of grated parmesean cheese, plenty of olive oil, and some pine nuts. Process-away and enjoy with chicken, bread, etc.
The pine-nuts come in this sweet little jar and sweet little jars deserve flowers.
I’ll be honest, the flowers may have been my favorite part of the pesto-making process.
Stefan and I went to a friend’s house recently for a pasta dinner, make your own pasta. It was super fun. We had a pasta press but had to cut the noodles by hand. I decided to try it again and I found some simple instructions over at thepioneerwoman.com. I have to say this would be a great cooking project with kids. Kids love pasta and this is a fun and easy project that cooks up fast.
2 eggs, 1 cup flour
Mix, Kneed, and roll. I just kneeded it in my hand like I was playing with playdough. It was about that consistency and since I just made enough for 2 people, it was nice and easy to kneed. If I was making a big batch, I’d use my kitchenaid.
I cut it using a nice kitchen knife and just accepted that I would have shorter noodles.
They turned out super well. 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes and a little water for the sauce and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 lb ground beef for the meatballs. I seasoned the sauce with oregano, thyme, and basil while the meatballs cooked in it.
After I cut the pasta, I had a nice mound of it, perfect for 2 people. Way more meatballs than pasta but they are great for leftovers.
Boil some salted water, cook for 2-3 min, and voila. It didn’t take long at all and was definitely a tasty meal. If I had a cool pasta maker, I think I’d make this all the time. This one is only $30 and looks like it would do the trick.
Once I get my walk-in pantry, I’ll have room for more cooking toys!
Try pasta tonight. It’s not as hard as it seems and was mighty tasty!
I’ve made this pie twice and It is delish every time. I use the America’s Test Kitchen recipe which is AMAZING and much-loved in this house.
If you don’t own this one, it’s a good one to have around.
The key to this recipe is to get the custard really hot so that it helps cook the meringue layer.
The first step is to pre-cook your pie crust. The guys over at America’s Test Kitchen are probably not happy with me but I cheated and used a pre-made crust. I find these pre-made crusts to be flaky and yummy and waaaaay less work than homemade.
Once you get the crust in the pieplate, cover it with aluminum foil and bake for 20 min. Then remove foil and bake for 15 more min until nice and toasty brown.
Go ahead and let that cool while you make the custard filling. The guys over at America’s Test Kitchen spend a lot of time and money making awesome recipies so you’ll have to head over to their website to get the recipe. There is a 14 day free trial or you can buy access to the website, or just buy the book.
The recipe does call for 6 egg yolks in the custard and 4 egg whites in the meringue. For that many eggs, I used the handy dandy egg separator.
Now normally, I think egg separators are dumb but for 6 eggs, worth the extra dirty kitchen tool.
I also zested 2 lemons and squeezed half a cup of lemon juice. A good zester is another great investment. I love my pink one.
So 6 egg yolks, some water, some sugar, some corn starch, lemon zest and lemon juice get cooked on the stove.
Then we take them off the stove and lay plastic over the top so the custard doesn’t form a film.
Now we make our meringue. Whip up the egg whites, sugar, and cornstarch to a stiff peak.
Note the difference. You want stiff peak.
Toss the custard back on the stove when you are at soft peak and leave the mixer going up to stiff peak while you re-heat the custard. When the meringue is done, quickly put the custard in the piecrust and top with the meringue. Use the back of a spoon to make the pretty swoops and toss it in the oven.
Cook until the tips of the swirls are a nice golden brown. I may have over-cooked mine just a tad but it was still yummy!
I hope you have the courage to try baking something challenging this weekend! It’s a fun adventure.