Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer bounty

This past weekend it rained. And it rained. We made it down to the farmers' market between downpours and also had our farm share we picked up the day before, so our kitchen was overflowing with reds, purples, oranges, browns, yellows, blues, and green green greens. Something about the cloudy light made the colors even more vibrant and I wished I had 20 people I needed to feed. It was a day of cooking, one of those rare and luxurious days when there is nothing else to do and a million things I want to make. So I did. I made kale chips, eggplant parmesan, bread, tomato and black bean salad, stuffed zucchini, chocolate chip cookies, prepped peaches for freezing, snacked on raspberries and blueberries fresh from the market, and made pesto.

I can't believe I haven't written about pesto sooner! It's one of those quintessential summer meals and there are as many variations as people to make it. This is nice with pasta or as a rub on meat, or spread onto a sandwich. Try more or less garlic, more oil for a looser pesto, less for a thicker one, add other herbs, add pine nuts, go nuts!

8 cups loosely packed basil leaves, a bit of stem okay, washed and dried

6 medium garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 TBS cilantro salt or 1 1/2 teas. salt

yield ~ 1 1/2 cups

In a food processor or blender, add basil and garlic and puree until you have a smooth consistency. Drizzle in olive oil while blending. Add salt to taste.

Pesto can be frozen, or stay in the refrigerator for about a week.

Herbs that sit in the fridge for a while can get limp and dried out. To revive them, cut off the bottoms of the stems as you would flowers, and put into water. They will usually come back to life nicely.

We also got our meat CSA this weekend, so I made an super easy baked chicken.

Super Easy Baked Chicken

Feeds 2 adults and 2 not very hungry kids. Assume one leg/thigh per adult, with a little left over.

2 whole chicken legs (with thigh still on)

1 shallot bulb, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices lengthwise

1 sprig rosemary

1/4 cup sage leaves

1/4 cup thyme sprigs

salt and pepper

1 lemon, cut in half

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.

Rinse and pat dry chicken and place it into a baking pan with 1 to 2 inch deep sides.

Put shallot slices all around chicken. Tuck rosemary, sage, and thyme around and under chicken.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly squeeze lemon over chicken and put the lemon halves in pan. Drizzle entire pan with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until joint does not bleed when you cut into it.


Anonymous said...

Thank Goodness Renee finally shared her pesto recipe. I had gnocchi with pesto at her house a few weeks ago, and have been waiting anxiously for her to share it ever since. All pesto recipes are surprisingly easy and relatively good, but this one is divine.

maamypatom said...

I'm curious about how your kale chips came out, as mine were nothing to write home about. Any pointers?
At the school garden today the basil plants were covered with flowers. The garden helper pruned them off, and was going to toss them in the compost, but I rescued them, and tonight we had vermicelli into which I tossed chopped fresh tomatoes, a giant handful of basil flowers (with as few stems as possible), garlic and a touch of bacon. I got it to the table piping hot, so the grated Parmesan melted right in. When even making pesto seems like too much work, try this!

Renee said...

That pasta sounds SO good! Thank you for sharing. Who knew basil flowers were a delicacy?

I have found that the kale chips need a bit more time than I first posted. I probably leave them in for 10 to 15 minutes. I also very gently turn them at least once during the baking so get even cooking. They are done when they are crisp, so if it takes longer than what I said but they are still soft, keep going. Also, experiment with spices. I love garlic powder on them, and cilantro salt and pepper, but cayenne might be nice for a little kick or you could try a dash of curry powder. If you do try them again, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

maamypatom said...

Will do. I have a good amount of kale in the garden--one of the few really successful vegies this year.