Presto — pesto!

September 8, 2010

Wherein this:


Becomes this:

Concentrated greenery, with other stuff.

“But wait!” those of you with a working familiarity with herbs protest. “That’s not basil!”

Au contraire. That is, in fact, basil — Thai basil. Which had been growing its tiny little heart out on my deck all summer long, patiently enduring me pinching off its flowers so it wouldn’t bolt, awaiting the day I cooked something Asian.

Guess what. I haven’t cooked anything Asian all summer, in contrast to last summer, when Asian was the cuisine du jour.

Guess what else? I haven’t cooked Asian tonight, either, because the pesto, and geometry homework, and a large glass of wine are as far as I’ve gotten. I may catch a second wind; I may not. We’ll see.

But in the past year or two, I’ve read enough food blogs and cookbooks to realize you can go in most any direction you want to go with pesto. Pine nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts. Basil, sage, parsley, arugula, lemon verbena. In any event, since I was being different with the pesto, I figured I’d go whole hog different. I figured if Thai basil = Asian, I’d add traditional Asian stuff. So instead of the traditional pine nuts or walnuts, I used almonds.

Almonds don’t work so very good in pesto, I discovered. Too hard. They don’t grind up real evenly, leaving your pesto with a somewhat gritty texture. Good flavor, though.

I figured it wanted some ginger. So I added a knob of ginger. Then I hit it with the olive oil (probably should’ve used something neutral, but, hey, I didn’t), blended, and tasted.

H’mm. It wanted something. I added some lemon juice, some more oil. Blended again. It wanted salt. I added too much salt. Tasted again. Doused in some mirin, one more ring-around-the-FoPro, and called it done.

It’s not bad. Would be pretty good, in fact, if the almonds had been smoothed out (I guess there’s a way to do that, maybe softening them by soaking them first?) and I hadn’t oversalted. But at that point, I really didn’t feel like broiling up the tilapia filets I’d thawed when I got home (NS wanted Popeyes Chicken, and I indulged him) and plating them with some pesto, or maybe a coconut pesto sauce (how’d THAT be for weird?), so I stuck the whole mess in the fridge, to contemplate another time.

Besides which, if I catch a second wind, it’ll be to mix up two pounds of ground beef, a pound of ground pork and a pound of ground veal (which I found last night while reorganizing the freezer, along with several other doubtful looking things I chunked without looking real closely) and separate the resultant meat into one batch for a meat loaf and another for meatballs. Not sure if that is tonight or tomorrow’s undertaking.  I figure the meatballs will get baked and go in the freezer, for meatball sandwiches and pasta and the like, while the meat loaf…well, I’m in the notion for meat loaf.

New Son thought the pesto looked, in the cut-to-the-chase fashion of 15-year-olds, “like puke.” (In fairness, it won’t win beauty contests.) On the other hand, he’s delirious with joy at the prospect of meat loaf and mac and cheese, and meatball sandwiches. That kid’s got to have some serious Italian genes back there somewhere. He loves him some meatballs.

If he can pass that geometry exam tomorrow, I’ll make him mac and cheese and meatballs every night for a week. And you and y’mama ‘n ’em can come over and sample the pesto.


One Response to “Presto — pesto!”

  1. Pamela Coulter Says:

    Kay that looks nasty. I agree with new son yuk. Do over is in order lol

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