Friday, June 9, 2017

Basil Walnut Pesto

Having a summer garden has always been a favorite of mine! I remember the first time I saw my grandmother cook purple pole beans and when she put them in the boiling water they turned bright green!  After that I believed that everything that came out of the garden was magic!
Every year I plant cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and a copious amount of herbs!  Basil is always one of my favorites as I truly believe the smell of summer comes from this delicious herb.  Here is a little different spin on an old favorite!

Basil Walnut Pesto
original recipe from Once Upon a Chef 

2 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita

Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper and process until mixture resembles a paste, about 1 minute. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly blended. Add the Parmesan and process a minute more. Use pesto immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar or air-tight plastic container, covered with a thin layer of olive oil (this seals out the air and prevents the pesto from oxidizing, which would turn it an ugly brown color). It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. (If you're planning on freezing it, omit the cheese and stir it in once you defrost it.
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Peach Bruschetta with goat cheese, basil and infused honey

Every year I eagerly await the peaches brought to town from The Peach Truck.  As soon as I see their signs around town I scour Pinterest for peach recipes....There are so many ways to enjoy these tasty treats...grilled and served with vanilla ice cream, sliced in a salad with red onions and mint, canned for jams and jellies, or, like I tried this weekend, as bruschetta!

I totally forgot the honey part because I was so excited about the goat cheese and peaches so just know, if you don't have time or don't like honey, this is just as delicious without it as I am sure it is with it!

Peach Bruschetta with goat cheese, basil and infused honey 
as adapted from Feasting at Home Blog Recipe  

1 baguette, sliced at a diagonal into ½ inch thick slices 
Olive oil for brushing bruschetta 
4 oz herbed goat cheese (I used garlic and dill but that is just because it was in the fridge already)
4 oz cream cheese 
¼ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper 
3 ripe peaches­ sliced into wedges 
10­-15 basil leaves  cut into ribbons 
honey (to infuse, see note) 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice baguette into ½ inch slices at a diagonal. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a sheet pan in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Or alternately, grill on a bbq. Set aside. 

Place cream cheese and goat cheese in a bowl and either warm in a microwave until just barley soft enough to combine easily with a fork.  Mix with a fork until smooth. Set aside. 

Assemble: Spread a little goat cheese mixture on each bruschetta and top with a peach wedge. Garnish with a few basil ribbons, then drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cracked pepper. 

Note: To infuse honey, place a cup or so of honey in a small pot on the stove, add a few sprigs of rosemary ( or thyme, sage, or lavender) and warm on medium heat. Once it comes to a gentle simmer, add a couple teaspoons of water, gently stir, turn heat off and let the herbs marinate in the honey, at room temp for a few hours, or overnight. Place in a squeezy bottle. Once cooled, if honey seems to thick, rewarm and stir in little more water.
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