Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kitchen Herbs - A Brown Thumb's Best Friend (Plus Pesto Recipe)



As I’ve stated before, I suck at gardening (despite my love of it). Sucking doesn’t stop me from spending lots of time doing it, but it does cause the death of lots and lots of my plant friends; I have a dead house fern on top of my china cabinet I keep forgetting to throw out. I need a step stool to get it down, but I just keep passing it, thinking “Poor fern”, and then forgetting….which is why it’s dead in the first place.
But just look at my kitchen herbs on the sill above my sink! Their health is a shining testament to the ease with which these guys can be grown. I guess because they’re right there – right above the faucet, they get drinks when no one else does.
I have two types of basil (one is a cinnamon basil with a great spicy scent to it), oregano, chives and…..something else. I’m just a terrible gardener. Could be a different type of oregano….
The pots are from the dollar store (the dollar store where everything is actually a dollar) and they’ve been doing a great job for almost two years. I use enough of the fresh herb cuttings for cooking that they don’t over run the place.
If you’ve never made pesto, you probably don’t know how ridiculously easy it is to make – you may never want to buy the overpriced, itty, bitty jar at the grocery store again......
Basil Pesto
4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (I use a garlic roaster to toast nuts - in 350 oven until golden - watch them closely!)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp. salt
black pepper, to taste
In a blender or food processor, blend the basil, oil, nuts, and garlic until they make a thick paste.
Dump in the parmesan cheese and the salt. Blend.
Scoop pesto out into a bowl and stir in pepper to taste.
Serve immediately or cover surface of pesto in a fine layer of olive oil and store in the fridge up to five days in ajar or tupperware container. Makes one cup.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE AND PRINT]
Then you can make this Tomato Pesto Pizza (from Pillsbury).
Hey! You can’t make EVERYTHING from scratch!

Tomato Pesto Pizza
1 can (11 oz.) Pillsbury® refrigerated thin pizza crust
¼ cup basil pesto
2 large plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (4 oz.)
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 400°F. Unroll dough on olive oiled cookie sheet; starting at center, press dough into 15x10-inch rectangle OR preheat an oiled pizza stone, shape pizza with dough on cutting board or second sheet, then transfer to hot stone.
Spread pesto to within ½ inch of edges of dough. Top with tomatoes; sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until crust edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil (and maybe add pepperoni! I can’t eat pizza without pepperoni…..).
I also like to use (believe it or not) Chef Boyardee's "Pizza Kit". It's much faster than starting dough from scratch, and you can keep the kit in the pantry longer than the refrigerated Pillsbury dough. I also like the pizza sauce it comes with. Don't get the pepperoni kit, though, because there are weird little pepperoni pieces in the sauce ..... no one wants their pepperoni in the sauce. Ew.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this, can't wait to go home & try it out....I've got tons of basil in my garden...xxoxoxo

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