Tag Archives: olive oil

Basil Walnut Pesto (pine nut and dairy-free)

23 Jun
Pesto!

Pesto!

Basil. Honestly, what’s not to love? Now is the perfect time to enjoy this beautifully blooming herb. I love it chopped fresh on sautéed vegetable salads and I love it in pesto. Since I’m allergic to pine nuts and dairy gives me a less-than-desired pubescent complexion, I opt for my own rendition–skipping the dairy, lessening the oil (most pestos are too oily for my taste) and adding in walnuts. Enjoy it drizzled on fresh vegetables, in place of salad dressing and topped on grilled chicken or scrambled eggs.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup walnut pieces

1/4 tsp garlic powder or 3 cloves finely minced

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 1/2 cups fresh basil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

 

Directions:

1. Place walnuts, garlic, sea salt and 1/2 of the olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Add basil, the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice to the walnut mixture. Blend until smooth. Add more olive oil, salt and garlic powder if you need to reach your desired taste and consistency.

 

For more ways to eat healthfully and deliciously, visit my recipe page.

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Fresh Herbs Any Thyme

23 Sep
My very own green goddesses.

My very own green goddesses.

I love going out to my garden and picking fresh cilantro for guacamole or basil for homemade pizza sauce. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have fresh herbs all year long to dress up your favorite dish? Here are some tips for year round herbs that trump grocery store dried varieties any day of the week.

Indoor Garden. Many herbs like oregano, marjoram, chives, basil, cilantro, thyme, mint, rosemary and lavender do wonderful indoors if started from seed or a starter plant. Invest in good potting soil and a nice clay pot (plastic doesn’t work well). Keep these green beauties trimmed, well watered and cozy in bright direct light and warm temps above 60°. If you are looking at bringing the outdoors in, it is best to transplant your herbs in September before the first frost hits. Cilantro and basil do not work well as transplant herbs, but the others do just fine. Again, place them in clay pots with good potting soil and slowly acclimate them to lower light levels before moving them indoors for good.

Dry Out. My dad dried basil last winter and it worked beautifully! All you need is some string and brown paper bags. First, clean and pat dry the herbs keeping leaves on the stems. Once herbs are dry, tie the stems together, place them in a paper bag and hang them upside down to dry for 4-6 weeks. Pick the dried leaves off the stem and place them in a tightly sealed container. Do not crush the leaves until you are ready to use them in your recipe. Crushing them will release their aromatic oils which adds all of the flavor and aroma to your tasty dishes.

Freeze In Fat. Freezing your herbs in a fat such as olive oil helps preserve the lovely oils that add so much flavor to your wintry stews. For this method, you’ll want to pick the leaves off the stems, wash and dry them in a salad spinner or pat dry with a paper towel. Place the leaves in a food processor with olive oil (1/3 cup olive oil for every 2 cups of leaves). Process the herbs until they are finely chopped and place 1 cup of the herb-oil mixture into a 1-quart zip-top bag and lay the bag flat in the freezer so the mixture will freeze in a nice, even layer. Use within 6 months by cutting off as much of the herb oil you need for pestos, soups, stews, salad dressings, hummus and more.