Today, I am writing about the fun of preparing food and not necessarily following the recipe. I didn’t have pine nuts or basil… but I still wanted to make pesto.
I had started experimenting with replacing basil with other greens some time ago. I first started with spinach, which was fun because it made the pesto look like such a bright green that it could have been a lawn. It was funny but it was yummy. So, last year was my first experience with community supported agriculture. I picked up a small box full of delicious produce from Becker Farms every other week. Although the box was called “small,” it was full of stuff. Usually, I got an email with a list of the stuff that I was going to get. It gave me a little heads’ up on the Frantic Recipe Search, especially when I got kohlrabi, beets, and other vegetables that, until that point, I had never prepared.
I was definitely unprepared, however, for the massive amounts of kale that I received throughout the growing season. In the middle of the growing season, I wondered if I might try using kale for pesto. I had already tried garlic scapes and that was delicious. I made kale pesto and discovered that it worked well as a substitute for basil in pesto. And, since I didn’t have any pine nuts, I replaced those with walnuts. That was a successful experiment, too. My experiments weren’t always successful. I tried replacing the pinenuts with pecans and that was awful. The pecans tasted bitter and the pesto remained unappetizing, despite the addition of a large quantity of lemon juice.
Today, I had a big container of a “spring mix” (organic).
The following items could be included: baby romain, baby chard, baby mizuma, radicchio, baby leaf lettuce, baby green leaf, baby oak leaf, baby arugula, baby spinach, and baby butter lettuce. I had walnuts, instead of pinenuts. The rest of the ingredients were the ones called for in the recipe: parmsan cheese, garlic cloves, and olive oil. I also add a little lemon juice because I think that brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. Garlic and lemon make everything better and never bitter.
All of the ingredients are prepared in a food processor. Once it was finished, I serve it on top of angel hair pasta. Another option would be to put the pesto on spaghetti squash, which is also a tasty combination.
It can also be used on bread or as a salad dressing. I’ve also tried mixing it into tuna fish and that was appetizing as well.
Today’s question: how do you like to adjust recipes so that you can use whatever you have on hand, but still come up with a tasty dish?