The end of summer

By Mélanie, on Sunday, September 28, 2008

You might think that I forgot about my blog during my holidays. I have not been very active since I came back. Well, this is so not true. As a matter of fact, I’ve been writing my future post every day, walking to work. It’s just that it stayed “written” in my head, and I never had time to type it… And, as the weeks passed, along with the weather, the next recipe kept changing.

At first it was the beginning of September. You know how it is, even if there’s no back to school since a long time (don’t make me count!!), you still feel like a new year is beginning, and you want to make a fresh start. So my good resolution was to clean my “to post file”, full of summer recipes, before starting with the new ones. And then I had too much work, too much cooking (ohh, it was so disastrous… don’t ever try to bake a celebration cake after 13 hours spent in the plane and not having slept in the last 36 hour. well, unless you’ve got 8 eggs to throw away, along with the 2 curds you just messed up!), and finally I started to make new things that I wanted to tell you about.

And to be honest, do I really want to give you the recipe for the mascarpone mousse with berries? It was too contrasted, I would not make it again… That cream cheese and cherry cake? Too salty (St Moret cannot replace Philadelphia, believe me !). The 2 strawberries pies? Sooo good (of course! They’re strawberries pie!). But we’re out of season now. That’s sad enough, I don’t want to twist the knife in the wound! I’ll just try to forget it and focus on fall’s fruits until next year. So I did clear my file, just not the way I thought I would!
So, what happened in my kitchen in the last 3 weeks? I mean, except for the chocolate birthday cake (turned out way too chocolaty, as I just could not manage not to ruin the passion fruit curd), the 4 different kinds of cupcakes I made for a housewarming party (each worse than the other), or the bland and sticky angel food cupcakes? (I am picky, you see!)
I had a good surprise. You see, when I came back from my holidays, I was worried for the plantations on my balcony. I shouldn’t have! The basil had really enjoyed the fertilizer, and was now more than 3 feet high. I couldn’t let the cold (and the caterpillar) get it. I had to do something. What could I do with basil? With a lot of basil?

So I made pesto. Pesto is a sauce coming from Italy (more specifically, from Liguria), with basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Traditionally, you would use a mortar to prepare it (it integrates the ingredients better than a machine and produces a creamier sauce), but even though it really makes a difference, I used a food processor (I told you. I had a lot of basil)
It’s the perfect way to keep it longer, and it’s incredible how many uses you’ll find for it. Of course it can be enjoyed with fresh pasta. I personally find it too strong and too nutty to use it solely with pasta. But it accompanied nicely halibut with fresh vegetables. It was used as a dressing for orzo salad (perfect for a picnic next summer). And it totally made the difference in a minestrone. And I still have one more jar to use!

Adapted from Ma Little Italy, Laura Zavan

For 2 jars of pesto
5 cups clean and dry fresh basil
½ cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp salt
¾ cup olive oil
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. With food processor running, drop in nuts and coarsely crush them.
Finely chop garlic and basil. Add them to the nuts, salt and mix quickly. Do not use the robot too long, the sauce would loose its flavors. With motor running, add oil and cheese, blending until incorporated.

Orzo with pesto and cherry tomatoes

For 4 people
¼ pound orzo
6 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pint)
1/4 pound feta
4 Tbsp pesto
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Fill a 4-quart pasta pot three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for orzo.
Quarter tomatoes and coarsely crumble feta. In a large bowl whisk together pesto, vinegar, remaining tablespoon oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and feta and gently toss to combine.
Cook orzo in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. In a large sieve drain orzo and rinse slightly until just warm. Drain orzo well and add to tomato mixture, tossing until just combined.

Adapté de Ma Little Italy, Laura Zavan

Pour 2 pots de pesto
80g de basilic lavé et séché
40g de pignons de pins
2 gousses d’ail
1 cuillère de sel
20cl d’huile d’olive
50g de parmesan

Faites griller 5 minutes les pignons dans une poêle antiadhésive. Passez-les ensuite au robot mixer afin de les concasser grossièrement.
Emincez l’ail et le basilic finement. Ajoutez les aux pignons avec le sel et mixez rapidement. N’utilisez pas le robot trop longuement car cela fait perdre sa saveur à la sauce. Ajoutez ensuite le parmesan et l’huile versée en filet fin.

Riso au pesto et aux tomates cerises

Pour 4 personnes
200g de riso (pâtes en forme de riz)
200g de tomates cerises
100g de feta
4 cuillères à soupe de pesto
1 cuillère d’huile d’olive
1 cuillère de vinaigre de vin
Sel et poivre

Dans une casserole d’eau bouillante, faites cuire les pâtes selon les spécifications. Pendant ce temps, coupez les tomates cerise en 4 et la feta en petits dés.
Egouttez les pates, passez les sous l’eau froide pour stopper la cuisson et versez les dans un saladier. Ajoutez les tomates, le fromage, le pesto, l’huile d’olive et le vinaigre. Salez et poivrez à votre goût.

2 commentaires:

cax2010 said...

Le pesto, pour faire des tartines salée ou dans les pates c'est délicieux. il doit t'en rester non?

Mélanie said...

Oui, mais moi je n'aime pas ca dans les pates, juste comme ça. il faut que je trouve une autre utilisation pour mon pot restant...
A moins que ce message soit une offre pour m'en débarrasser? ;-)

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