Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Im back with some pesto

Hi folks! Im back. Whew! It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I had a final and had to prepare for my lil one's christening. It's not that I stopped cooking, just didn’t have time to post.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make pesto. I looked at the recipe in the book and it called for a measly amount of cheese and nuts. My recipe, on the other hand, calls for more than double the amount. I was this close to making it anyway but my daughter is a big fan of my pesto and I just couldn’t chance it. I would really hate to disappoint my lil girl. So, ok, I’m cheating a little because this isn’t Deborah Madison's recipe, but I think it's fine. It's not like there's a blog police or anything.

I gathered all my ingredients. It's really easy to remember the amounts of everything:
Maria's Pesto
1 cup nuts (walnuts or pine nuts. I usually use walnuts because pine nuts are crazy expensive)
1 package of Trader Joe's Basil (or 2 cups Basil)
5 cloves of garlic (less if you’re not that into garlic. We LOVE garlic)
1 cup of olive oil
1 cup of parm cheese (I usually add more than a cup though)
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

This recipe is very easy if you have a food processor. The only pain in the arse is cleaning the basil. Thankfully I have a little helper. Here my daughter is separating the basil from the stems. Notice the erase board with a very old menu.

I wash each leaf then I leave it drying in the dish rack and on some paper towels. Super annoying process.

I throw the dry and clean basil into the food processor along with the garlic and the nuts.
Once that’s all chopped up I slowly add the oil through the chute.

After that’s done I add the cheese along with salt and pepper and let the food processor do its till it’s nice and smooth. Here's my daughter giving it a taste test. She said it was delicious but dummy me didn’t listen and I added more salt. After that it was waay too salty. I had to add more nuts to account for the saltiness.

That's it! Easy peasy!

Tomorrow I'll post another dish I made but right now I need to hang out with the husband.
Till tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What to eat...

I haven't made artichokes in a loooong time. I think it was about 10 years ago.
I was a young and clueless back then. 
After cooking the artichoke I kept peeling away wondering what happened to the edible part. I peeled until there was nothing left. Then, upset and confused, I chucked everything away. Yes. Even the heart.

I hadn't cooked an artichoke since then. 

Not really my fault. I didn't grow up eating artichokes. My mom is not familiar with artichokes and I'm pretty sure that till this day she has never eaten one.
Thankfully my husband taught me how to eat them. Honestly I'm still a little confused as to which parts are edible, but I'm able to fake it really well.

I saw instructions on working with artichokes in the cookbook and I thought it was time to revisit this vegetable.  However, I was still worried that I would somehow mess up like I did 10 years ago.

So worried that I kept putting it off until the artichokes looked like this:

I was hoping that they would still taste good despite being old. 

Step 1: Cut the top part of the artichoke.
I feared I would either cut off too much or too little but I guess it's not that important because according to my husband his mom never cuts off the top part.
Step 2: Trim the lil thorns from the bottom leaves.
Thorns, another reason this vegetable worries me.
Step 3: Cut the stem "until it can stand." 
The artichoke on the left is a bad example and the artichoke on the right is a good example.
Step 3:  Wash the artichoke opening the leaves so the water can also clean the inside.

Step 4: Place them upside down in a steamer and steam for 30 min.

Thanks to my son (more about that later), I overcooked them.

Despite being overcooked and old, they were still delicious, especially the heart!
This will definitely not be my last time making these. And not only because there are more recipes in the book with artichokes.

Next I had to figure out what to make for dinner. My initial plan involved going to the market to pick up a couple things but that plan went out the window when my son decided he would not nap despite being super tired and cranky. The morning nap dilemma overcooked my artichokes and after taking over 2 hours to get the baby to nap, I was left with very few ingredients and with very little time. I toyed with the idea of making "Spinach and Herb Torta in a Potato Crust" but without the spinach, herbs or cheeses.  I guess that would have only left me with the crust. 

I finally settled on "Latkes: Potato Pancakes with Eggs and Onions."

 The recipe asked for 2 .5 lbs of potato's and since I don't have a kitchen scale I used what I did have.

It did the job. 
Step 1: Peel and shred the potato's
You can use the large holes from a grater or a food processor.

This is how it should look.
The potato was watery so I dried it a bit with some paper towels.

Step 2: Add the eggs, shredded onion, flour, salt and black pepper to the potato.

Step 3: Mix it all up

Step 4: Spoon the mixture onto a hot oiled pan.

Step 5: Cook for about 6 min on each side or until golden brown. 

Step 6: Serve with sour cream (or in my case Labne) and applesauce.

Simple, quick, cheap and delicious! Tonight could have turned out real ugly but it all worked out.