To market, to market
Whenever I go to the Farmer’s Market I always wonder why I don’t go more. The main reason I went this time was to get some local small-ranch, grass-only beef to compare with the La Censa I got sent. That mission was somewhat successful – I was not able to mirror the cuts exactly since our local ranch is running low on what it has from the single cow or so it slaughters at a time.
But I naturally shopped around as well. Here’s what we got: 2 pounds lovely white peaches – perfect in every way. Two pints of raspberries so fragrant you could smell them from ten yards away. Two pints of blackberries. Two pounds of rich, juicy pluots. A pound of crisp, fresh spinach. A pound of teeny tiny button crimini mushrooms. And the big score – 3 pounds of basil at $3 per pound. Do you know how much basil a pound of basil is?
Half of it is already pesto – made simply and cleanly. Here are the proportions. I am sacreligious and use a blender because – well I have a life to live too. I also use walnuts because walnuts are a real local nut and although pinenuts ought to be they aren’t so much.
2 really packed cups of basil leaves.
4 cloves fresh garlic
3/4 cup of the best olive oil you can afford to use
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Multiply as many times as necessary – I start with one batch and leave it in the blender and keep adding until the blender can’t blend it any more.
Blend it all together in a food processor or blender. Most recipes make this seem easy – it isn’t – it takes a lot of work for your blender to really puree all those leaves. I use a rubber spatula and pulse mode and keep scraping down and it takes a total of about ten minutes.
So – a few notes. First – no parmesan. I am of the school that says add the parmesan when serving. So that’s what I do. Second, lemon juice? Well – I think it improves the taste and it helps the pesto hold its color longer. Once made, you can freeze or keep in the fridge for quite a while but you will want to cover with a small amount of olive oil to prevent oxidation. Finally – the nut allergic can make a passable imitation using toasted breadcrumbs. The consistency won’t quite match but overall it will work.
Based on your commentary about the beef, I’m guessing we may have passed each other at the market on Saturday — Walnut Creek?
Maybe my browser is playing up, how many walnuts did you use?
Hah! my dirty secret is out – I don’t measure very carefully. But in this case I do know – 1/2 cup walnuts. I’ll update
what happened to the September Paper Chef…no results, no explanation…so I’m wondering…is it dead? Give it to me straight — I can take it…
Actually – Ilva – the judge – had a serious personal issue to deal with and I am trying to soft-pedal Paper Chef so she can concentrate on important things. I was thinking about getting the roundup soon with an explanation though…
Certainly local farmer’s markets are the best choice to make for health also.
A guest blogger recently submitted this to my blog.