Has it happened to you? You sit at the computer and stare at the screen, but have nothing to say? Absolutely nothing. When I think of something – anything – to say it’s mind-numbingly boring. My inner bitch is on vacation. How else can I explain it?
It’s the same with the comments. I go to my favourite blogs, stare at the screen and can’t really frame a rational sentence to post. My mind is in stasis when it comes to blogging. I am working on a project that needs intense concentration and analysis, but my brain has great difficulty switching off from that and migrating to this alternate universe. I have tons of e-mails to respond to from blogger friends and readers. I apologise for being so slack and promise to get to them this weekend.
I need to be more organised. I’ve shortened my Safari reader list to 140 blogs. I plan to handle 20 a day. That’s a good start. Both of us have a lot on our plates right now, so while we’ll try to post twice a week, it’s not a promise.
I was looking at the Events Calendar for inspiration for today’s post and found the Pesto Event for Hay Hay It’s Donna Day hosted this month by Joey @ 80 Breakfasts. The rules state that you are required to either follow the posted Donna Hay pesto recipe or put your “own spin” to it. We have no problems with spins and though this departs a bit from the traditional Italian version, it works for us.
While I love pesto alla genovese (Basil pesto), I have a few fundamental problems making it myself.
** The first is logistical. To get a cup of pesto. you need a LOT of basil leaves of the Genovese variety – 9 to 10 loosely packed cups. I never have enough. In summer I have a couple of pots in my backyard, not a bush.
And she forgot the stars, the moon, the sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells,where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when day was done,
And the new morn she saw not: but in peace
Hung over her sweet Basil evermore …..
‘For cruel ’tis,’ said she,
‘To steal my Basil-pot away from me.’
- John Keats
Hey, if you want to make sure no one steals your basil pot, get a pot lock.
I make pesto with a combination of herbs – cilantro, basil, pineapple sage, mint, whatever I have on hand. I love the combination of flavours.
** I dislike pine nuts. They taste like egg yolk to me. I use other nuts/seeds like cashews, almonds, or pumpkin seeds.
** Most pesto recipes have a lot of extra-virgin olive oil – half to three-quarters of a cup.
I use between 2 to 4 tbsps of good extra virgin olive oil (I especially love the ones from Spain). Sometimes I replace part of it with silken tofu. (Check out this recipe.)
** I rarely have good Parmesan cheese on hand. So I use white miso instead – lots of flavour, very little fat and it lasts forever in the fridge. It’s ideal for vegans.
Depending upon my mood, I adjust the quantity of nuts to the herbs – more nuts for a creamier (fattier) pesto. If you have fresh spinach, add a few leaves to the blend. It yields a greener pesto. (I learnt this and the miso trick from the Tassajara Cookbook.)
Here’s how I made this batch.
For about 1 cup pesto
(we usually make half this quantity)
1 cup nuts/seeds (I used almonds)
in a food processer until coarse.
About 10 cups of loosely packed fresh herbs
** I used 4 cups Genovese Basil plus a combo of Thai basil, pineapple sage, lemon basil and cilantro.
3 tbsps lime juice or 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tbsp white miso
a few spinach leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and chilli flakes to taste
Blend until smooth and add more oil if you want it creamier.
We love it with gnocchi, or as a dip.