Archive for the ‘pesto’ Category

garlic scape pesto

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July will be a garlic scape month for sure. This year I planted  a lot more garlic bulbs in my garden and these are the first scapes I harvested.

They are such a treat that I will plant more garlic next year just to have more scapes. I don’t have enough to make a batch of pesto so I was lucky to get some from Lisa at Herbivor Farm. I added some fresh basil, parsley, and chives from the garden along with 1/2 cup of hemp seeds and olive oil. Place everything in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy and smooth.

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lovage pesto

lovage pesto

lovage pesto

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This is the lovage plant in my garden which is now a few feet tall.

By the end of the summer it will grow to over six feet.

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One lovage plant is plenty for any garden. The plant grows so big, you’ll never use it all. The taste is very similar to celery and is sometimes called wild celery. The best time to use the tender leaves are April through June.  In hot weather this herb can turn bitter, so use it early on for best taste.  After flowering, but before the seeds fall to the ground, cut the plant back to about one foot from the ground to encourage fresh growth and save the work of rooting out seedlings.

Every part of the lovage plant is edible. It has a much stronger flavor than the more familiar celery, so only use about half as much in any given recipe. Here I used the leaves to make pesto, but you can use it in soups, salads, casseroles, as a spice for flavoring any dish just to name a few.

Both leaves and stems may be dried for winter use. To prepare the leaves for your spice shelf, rinse the stems in water, then clip off the leaflets and spread them out on a tray until dry and ready to be stored in airtight containers. The seed heads which mature in August should be laid out flat to dry, then put in a large bag and shaken to remove the nutlets. Also the stems are hollow, so they can be used as a straw to sip your favorite summer drink!

cool lemonade with fruit and a lovage straw

cool lemonade with fruit and a lovage straw

lovage stems can be used as a straw

 lovage stems can be used as straws

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2 cups of chopped lovage leaves

1 cup parsley

1 cup basil

1 whole head of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pine nuts, almonds, walnuts (toasted) or hemp seeds

1 cup olive oil

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Blanch the lovage leaves in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes

Chill in a cold water bath, drain and squeeze excess water

Add all ingredients, except oil, to a food processor, process until roughly chopped then drizzle in your olive oil

Note:

I add parmesan cheese if I use the pesto right away. If I make a batch to freeze, I leave out the cheese and add it in when I use the pesto in a recipe.

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carrot greens pesto

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IMG_3632These carrot greens were too perfect to discard. Freshly picked at Herbivor Farm, not a spot on them and organic, I opted to make some pesto. I made a simple version of pesto, with just salt, pepper, olive oil, a handful of basil and parsley along with a couple of cloves of garlic. Pesto freezes so well that I’m planning to make enough to last the winter.

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ingredients

3 garlic cloves

2 cups carrot greens  (stems removed)

1/2 cup basil leaves

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1 cup olive oil

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blanch all greens together

pulse garlic

add carrot greens, basil and parsley, process until puree forms

add enough olive oil to make the paste smooth

season with salt and pepper

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IMG_3167This year I have lots of basil growing in the garden. Greek, Italian, African, Asian, big leaf, small leaf, curly, not curly. There are so many varieties of basil, but one thing for sure they all make great pesto. The best way to preserve the pesto is by freezing it either in ice cube trays, zip lock bags or small plastic containers. The basil can be blanched before processing, but for this batch I decided to puree the fresh leaves without blanching.

The basil in the picture above came from Herbivor Farm in Ottawa. Beautiful aroma, perfect leaves and best of all it’s organic.

The basil was extremely clean and dry so I separated all the leaves from the stems which I freeze separately in zip lock bags to use when I make stock or add a couple of stems to tea.

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For this batch instead of garlic I used garlic scapes. Not as potent as garlic , they have a mellower, tamer kind of taste.

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Start off with the scapes, when blended thoroughly add the basil and process it for a minute or so.

I don’t like to freeze finished pesto; the nuts & cheese tend to get rancid in the freezer after a few weeks. However, the puree of fresh basil keeps beautifully green in the freezer.

Sometimes I even leave out the garlic and just puree the basil alone.

I add the nuts, cheese, and additional olive oil to my basil just before using it.

Parsley and other herbs like, verbena, oregano (very small amount) or other favorite herbs can also be added to give your pesto more aroma.  I like to try different nuts and have also added shelled hemp seeds (my favorite) .

I like to use a lot of garlic, plenty of olive oil, and sometimes make a batch with some jalapeño or serrano pepper.

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IMG_3177IMG_3181Top the containers with olive oil and place them in the freezer.

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kale pesto

Kale

What’s New and Beneficial About Kale

Freshly picked kale from Lisa’s vegetable garden ready to be made into kale pesto.

blanched kale

kale pesto in small tupperware ready to be frozen

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2 bunches of kale, thick stems removed and discarded, leaves shredded

1 cup parsley

1 cup basil

1 whole head of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pine nuts, almonds or walnuts (toasted)

1 cup olive oil

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Blanch the kale in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes

Chill in a cold water bath, drain and squeeze excess water

Add all ingredients, except oil, to a food processor, process until roughly chopped then drizzle in your olive oil

Note:

I add parmesan cheese if I use the pesto right away. If I make a batch to freeze, I leave out the cheese and add it in when I use the pesto in a recipe.

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arugula pesto

With temperatures still the high 20’s, the last thing we want to think about is the end of summer. However, when I take a look at my garden that is not as green as a few weeks ago, I feel the end is near.

We can’t preserve the summer heat for later use, but a short visit to your local market will tempt you to preserve just about everything you see. From tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, fruits, and every herb imaginable, you can be preserving the whole month of September. However, if you are not an avid canner or preserver, take baby steps and start small. You will definitely enjoy your hard work later during the year when you are mixing arugula pesto to your penne, gnocchis or spaghetti.

There are hundreds of ways to make pesto. Use your imagination and pick herbs and ingredients you enjoy. In this recipe I used arugula instead of basil. You can also use both, but I wanted the taste and smell of arugula to dominate the dish.

We are so lucky to have fresh baby arugula leaves available all year. But the taste from locally grown plants and of course your garden is something special. The older the arugula plant is the stronger the flavor. I prefer the taste of the young leaves. I find the older leaves are too bitter.

A few cloves of fresh garlic

Hemp is a great alternative to pine nuts or walnuts

Mix everything together in a food processor and fill your containers leaving some headroom for expansion. When I make pesto to use right away, I add parmesan cheese. But if I make a batch for freezing I leave out the cheese and add it fresh when it’s defrosted.

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ingredients

olive oil (hemp oil)

2 cups arugula leaves (washed and dried)

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup hemp seeds (pine nuts, pine nuts or pistachio nuts)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

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Mix everything in a food processor

Fill small containers leaving headroom for expansion

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