Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Basil to Pesto

I'm on deadline for several writing assignments, which means I am avoiding writing. Or at least, the writing I'm supposed to be doing. Fall is here. Canada geese just honked over the house. I decided it was the perfect night to harvest my basil plant and make pesto for the winter. Because I'll be freezing the pesto for later (in ice cube trays for single serving cubes), I hold off adding the Parmesan cheese until it's ready to use. Fresh leaves, lots of garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, pepper... I also add a bit of parsley. It keeps the pesto green without changing the base flavor. In the winter I put it on toast for breakfast or stir it into soup. When used in a pasta dish, I add 1/3 cup of pasta cooking water to 2/3 cup pesto to allow the pesto to thin a bit and better coat the linguine.

I'm also making chicken stock from the bones of a chicken I roasted earlier this week. The smell of it is filling the house. The hand's down best recipe for whole roasted chicken is in the Gourmet cookbook. Butter, salt, pepper, a dutch oven. That's it. You can make a delicious pan gravy from the drippings with a touch of fresh lemon juice.