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Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

These days I have an abundance of fresh basil leaves. I don’t have much of a green thumb but basil plants and I somehow get along really well. And so I am trying not to let this wonderful aromatic herb go to waste by making some basil pesto. It is quick and easy to make and, although I have not tried it myself, I have read that pesto also can be made using walnuts, unsalted cashews, almonds, pistachios and even  sunflower seeds. Besides using pesto on your pasta, it can also be used as a sandwich spread, baked into bread, add a little to your soup or marinara sauce for extra flavor. Today I am freezing mine by dropping spoonfuls into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, I pop them out of the tray and into a freezer bag for later use. Enjoy!

Basil Pesto (makes approx 1 cup)

Ingredients:

2 cups packed basil leaves

1-2 large garlic cloves

60 grams pine nuts

1/2 cup reggiano parmesan cheese, shredded and loosely packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

lemon juice, a big squeeze

salt to taste, a pinch

Directions:

Place basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and cheese into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. While the food processor is running, add olive oil and lemon juice. Scraping down sides, process until desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Hardy Carrot Soup With Tomatoes

What’s up with the weather in Virginia Beach? So far, winter has been unusually mild and the most snow we have gotten is a few flurries which literally melted within a couple of hours. It never ceases to amaze me how the weather here changes all the time. It’s been fluctuating between 70 degrees and close to freezing. But despite the temperatures bouncing around I feel like there is still a bit of winter left in the air, even though I saw daffodils in full bloom while driving home from work (the poor little things are confused too). So I say, there is still time for a delicious warm soothing soup.

One of my favorite types of lunch food is home-made soup. I make a big batch, divide it up and stick it in the freezer. Then just take it out as I need it, easy! This is my version of carrot soup, of course I had to add some tomatoes in there just to make sure I meet my daily tomato quota.  I didn’t want any dairy products in this particular soup but still got a wonderful creamy consistency by blending the vegetables. I choose to leave it a little on the thick side but it can certainly be thinned out by adding more stock. Please note: do not blend hot liquids or there is a good chance that you and your white kitchen cabinets will be wearing it. I speak from experience 🙂

Ingredients:

28 ounces canned whole plum tomatoes

5 large carrots

2 celery stalks

1/2 large white onion

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 tablespoon pesto

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Dice carrots, celery and onions. Place butter and oil in a pan over medium heat, add diced vegetables and cook until tender. Run canned tomatoes through a food mill to break up tomatoes and remove any seeds/skin. (If you don’t have a food mill, the same effect can be achieved with a food processor  and then pressing tomatoes through a sieve.) Place tomatoes into a cooking pot over medium heat. Place cooked vegetables in food processor (or blender) and process until desired coarseness. Add vegetables into tomatoes. Add chicken stock and pesto and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper in small increments to taste. Continue to simmer for 1 hour. Serve warm with crusty bread and enjoy!

Hardy Carrot Soup With Tomatoes

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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