PESTO – WHO KNEW IT COULD BE SO GOOD?


Summer's Fresh Basil the basic ingredient for PESTO.

Summer’s Fresh Basil the basic ingredient for PESTO.

Ahhh… summertime. Cooking out, barbecues, picnics I am always looking for delicious new things to make and eat…

And this summer I have discovered at long last Pesto!

I have to be honest here, when I would read that a recipe included pesto I immediately left it alone. I had no clue as to what pesto was nor did I ever really try to find out. For me it just sounded strange and since I hadn’t heard of it I felt it must not be worth looking at. And I was wrong. Pesto does have its place and quite frankly it is pretty good when combined with Italian style cold cuts, sliced turkey and cheese, meats and other fixens.

To save you from trying to find recipes I have included here some that I have used. I am not crazy about pine nuts so I often make mine with pecans, my favorite nut.

 

Chunky basil pesto

Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cups basil leaves (strip off stems – use stems in stock if you want)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or mix of Parmesan and Romano
3/4-1 cup olive oil

Directions:

Wash and dry the basil in a salad spinner. Toast the nuts – I toss them in a hot, dry, cast iron skillet. Put the garlic in the food processor and chop fine. Add the basil and most of the olive oil. Chop finely. Add Parmesan cheese and nuts. Chop just a bit – I like the nuts to be still chunky. Add salt if desired. Add olive oil if thinner consistency desired.

 

The Pampered Chef ®
Basil-Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, divided
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, divided
1 oz. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed

Directions:

Finely chop half of the basil and half of the walnuts together in cap of Food Chopper (mixture should resemble a thick paste); place into Classic Batter Bowl. Repeat with remaining basil and walnuts.

Using Microplane® Adjustable Grater, finely grate cheese. Add cheese, oil and garlic pressed with Garlic Press to batter bowl. Mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. I always use a Parmesan/Romano blend because I feel it has a richer Italian flavor.

 

 

Simple and Quick                     Chunky Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

8 cups fresh basil rough chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2-4 cloves of garlic peeled
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Pour into your blender or food processor and Blend 8 cups packed fresh cut up basil leaves, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 to 4 garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender until almost smooth.
Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. I always use a Parmesan/Romano blend because I feel it has a richer Italian flavor.

 

Peanut Pesto easier to prepare in food processor.

 

PEANUT PESTO spicy

Ingredients:

1/4 cup peanut butter
3 each cloves garlic
1 each Ginger root (1/2-inch) ginger root, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

In bowl of food processor or blender, place peanut butter, garlic, ginger root, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.

*Toast your nuts for richer flavor. You can do this in a skillet or in the oven. You just want to heat them up and toast them lightly to heat up the natural oils and bring out their flavor.

 

CREATIVE WAYS TO USE PESTO

Lemon-Pesto Dip – Whisk together 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise, Parmesan and pesto, Add 2 tablespoons capers and 2 teaspoons each lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Season dip with salt and pepper to taste.

Pesto Pom Frites Sauce – Whisk together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each pesto and extra virgin olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with hot French fries.

Pesto Butter – Combine 3/4 cup chunky pesto with 1/2 stick of softened butter. Mash together until well combined. I do this with the paddle in my Kitchen Aide Mixer on low. It works perfectly then I press the pesto butter into a crock with a cover to keep in refrigerator until I use it. This is great on steak, pasta, anything you might want to use a flavorful butter. Try it on corn on the cob. Grill or steam corn, then brush with Pesto Butter. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

 

PESTO ON MEATS

Pesto Shrimp – Marinate 1 pound shrimp fresh or frozen in 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil; add 1 lemon (cut into wedges) and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Grill about 3 minutes per side. Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.

Pesto Steak – Mix 1/4 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon hot water. Grill or broil 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak; brush with the pesto just before serving.

Pesto Chicken Wings – Marinate 2 pounds chicken wings in Mixture of 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup each cider vinegar, hot sauce and honey for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Roast at 425 degrees F, 40 minutes. Toss with chopped basil and mint.

Pesto can be used on chicken top chicken with pesto bake at 375 about 35 minutes sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sliced green onions when cooked.

Pesto Roast Whole Chicken – Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup pesto and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes; rub onto a 6-pound whole chicken. Stuff with peeled whole garlic cloves and one quartered lemon. Roast in a 375 degrees F oven, about 2 hours.

Pesto Salmon Cakes – Mix 1 pound cooked flaked salmon with 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs, very fine), 1/4 cup pesto, 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Form patties; cook in an oiled skillet, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with tartar sauce* mixed with pesto. (to make * tartar sauce- Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons), 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle, 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion (from about 1 medium scallion, white and light green parts only), 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons finely chopped capers are optional. Keep in a covered jar in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Pesto Swordfish – Mix 1/4 cup pesto with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon hot water. Spoon over grilled or broiled swordfish.

 

PESTO ON VEGGIES

Pesto Hummus – Mix 1 cup hummus with 2 tablespoons pesto. Top with chopped mint, toasted pine nuts and a dash of paprika.

Pesto Green Beans – Toss 1 pound steamed green beans with 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Easily steam green beans in the microwave, just place beans in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tsp water, cover and microwave for 3-5 minutes. Perfect every time.

Pancetta-Pesto Peas – Cook 4 ounces diced pancetta in a skillet with olive oil until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon. Add 1 bag frozen peas and 1 cup water to the skillet; simmer until tender, 10 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and heat through.

Pesto Orzo with Peas – Make Pancetta-Pesto Peas above. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

Pesto Potato Salad – Boil 2 pounds quartered new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and cool slightly. Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1 lemon; toss with the potatoes, add 1 cup diced celery.

Pesto Succotash – Microwave 5 cups corn in microwave safe dish with cover for 3-5 minutes, remove from microwave and transfer to a skillet. Add 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup chopped red onion with 1 tablespoon butter and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked lima beans and 1/4 cup heavy cream; heat through, just before serving stir in 2 tablespoons pesto.

Pesto Beans – Sauté 5 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a skillet with 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 cans cannellini beans drained and 1 cup water; simmer until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

Pesto Mash Potatoes – Boil 3 pounds peeled russet potatoes until tender. Mash with 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 3 tablespoons pesto.

 

PESTO ON SALADS

Pesto Salad – Whisk 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar and 1/4 cup pesto. Toss with baby greens and serve with baguette toasts spread with Feta cheese (goat cheese).

Pesto Caesar Salad – Whisk 2 tablespoons pesto with 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Toss with romaine and croutons; top with shaved Parmesan. I always use a Parmesan/Romano Blend for the richer Italian Flavor.

Pesto Croutons – Toss 4 cups bread cubes, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet; bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. When cubing the bread freeze it first it is so much easier to cut up.
Pesto Panzanella (or panmolle is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer.) – Toss Pesto Croutons with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, some chopped tomatoes and cucumber, sliced red onion and more pesto.

Pesto Chicken Salad – Whisk 3 tablespoons basil walnut pesto with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in 4 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup each chopped red onion, walnuts and crisp bacon.

Pesto Egg Salad – Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons pesto, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Fold in 8 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup chopped celery and 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion.

Pesto Tuna Salad – Toss 3oz. cans drained tuna, 1 can drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley, 1/4 cup red onion and 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

 

PESTO ON SANDWICHES

Hot Turkey Melt

Hot Turkey Melt

Pesto Turkey Melt – for this sandwich use a Torra, Kaiser roll or other large roll. On a microwave safe plate layer thinly sliced turkey about 6 pieces, sliced tomato, thinly sliced red onion and then provolone or Swiss cheese slices, heat in microwave on high for 45 seconds just until cheese begins to melt. Using a spatula, lift heated meat n veggies onto roll, top with pesto sauce and then bake in oven for 4-5 minutes to crisp the roll. Serve hot. Yummy

Pesto Grilled Cheese – Brush 2 slices rustic bread like sour dough with pesto, then layer in sliced cheddar or provolone. Butter the outside of the bread and cook in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and cheese is all melty.

Pesto Quesadilla – Sauté 1/2 cup each sliced scallions, mushrooms and zucchini with 1-2 tablespoons pesto, add minced jalapenos and cilantro. Brown a flour tortilla in a skillet with butter; top with the vegetables, shredded Muenster and then place another tortilla on top, brush with melted butter. Flip and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Quick to make, a delight to eat...pesto adds a subtle flavor of basil and nuts.

Quick to make, a delight to eat…pesto adds a subtle flavor of basil and nuts.

 

until next time… betti : )

 

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BARBEQUE COUNTRY STYLE RIBS, RUBS, AND CHARCOAL GRILLING TIPS

 

It’s grilling time. There is nothing better than cooking on the bar-be.

Tonight we made these Country style ribs with sides of Dill Potato Salad, 3 Bean Salad and Corn Bread.
I am loving our charcoal grill. I use an electric starter which is so easy to use. No muss no fuss. Just place it in the coals, plug it in and in less than 10 minutes you are ready to cook. Without it I don’t think I could start my charcoal with it I am a pro.

 

This is the one I use.

This is the one I use. You will find them at most Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, anywhere they sell Grills and accessories.

Place in charcoal, some under and some over. Plug in.

Place in charcoal, some under and some over. Plug in.

See how the charcoal is lit.

Look at those coals. I am telling you it is fast and effortless. This is just after about 7 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIP: Preparing your ribs for cookin. For ribs remove the fatty membrane from the rack of ribs using a sharp knife, (a boning knife is excellent for this) . See *TIP for more about the membrane.

SAUCY PORK RIBS  – MILD

Mild bar-b-que Country Ribs.

Mild bar-b-que Country Ribs.

 

Ingredients:

4 LBS Country Style Ribs (boneless)
1 LARGE Bottle of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce or try this one Smokey BBQ Sauce with Chipotle below under rubs
1 or 2 Thinly Sliced Onions
1/4 Brown Sugar1tsp Garlic Powder

Directions:

Prepare ribs, remove membrane. Place ribs in large 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle on brown sugar & garlic and top with the sliced onion.

***By doing a Pre-cook ribs can be finished in the oven or on the grill.

Pre-cook in the oven -Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.or Pre-cook in the microwave – Instead of precooking with the baking method, a Quick way to pre-cook ribs is  using your microwave. After seasoning ribs cut between each bone to separate rack into individual ribs, then arrange cut side down in two layers in a microwave safe deep dish covered casserole. Add just a little water, maybe 1/4 cup, cover and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Remove from microwave and turn the ribs over. Return to microwave and microwave on HIGH now for 7 to 10 minutes. They should register *145 – 160 degrees F using a pocket cooking thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the rib and should no longer be pink. (145 degrees F   is the new done temperature for pork per the USDA)

Bake for an additional 2 1/2 more hrs. at 250 degrees. If you are planning of grilling the ribs, during the last 30 minutes Remove ribs from oven. Drain fat from meat. Place on grill and sprinkle with a little more garlic and brown sugar to taste. Baste with more barbeque sauce, top with more sliced onion, cover the grill and let them smoke. Don’t over cook. Remove from oven or grill and enjoy.

 TIP:

*****Home made quick and easy:

Smokey BBQ Sauce with Chipotle

Ingredients:

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bown sugar packed
2 TBSP Chipotle Rub commercial or use Homemade Chipotle Seasoning/Rub below under RUBS
1/2 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
3 tsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

Directions:

In a small saucepan combine the ketchup, brown sugar, Chipotle rub, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer stirring often for about 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.

If you like this recipe just use the BBQ sauce as you would any other. It will just give your meats a subtle smokey Chipotle flavor.

* MORE ABOUT The membrane on ribs found underneath the rack is not only tough it also holds in excess fat making the meat greasy. Removing the membrane helps to render out the fat during cooking. To remove the membrane, lay the rack down on the cutting board meaty side down. Using the tip of the boning knife, gently cut under the membrane on one corner. Using a paper towel, grasp the corner of the membrane and pull gently away from the bones. Using the knife trim away any leftover pieces of fat along the underside of the rack of ribs.

 

 

BAR BBQ PORK RIBS RECIPES – SPICY

4 lbs pork baby back ribs or pork spareribs

Ribs with rub.

Ribs with rub.

Additional Ingredients:

1/2 cup new spicy Mexican chili powder – or you can use regular chili powder it just won’t be as spicy
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 TBSP celery salt
1 TBSP cumin
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp coriander powder

Directions:

Combine rub ingredients together and apply to ribs. Refrigerate ribs in a plastic bag preferably overnight. Cook ribs in a 200 degree oven, wrapped in 2 layers of foil for 3 to 4 hours or until tender. Remove ribs from oven and Grill about 5 to 10 minutes per side. Remove  pork ribs from grill and enjoy this world famous recipe. It’s our little secret.

 

RUBS – MAKE YOUR OWN RUB FOR YOURSELF OR FOR A GIFT!

These are versatile rubs that are delicious on steak, pork, ribs, chicken, or shrimp. Make it ahead and store it so you’ll have it on hand. It keeps well in a mason jar with tight fitting lid. Date it when you make it and it will stay fresh for 6 months if the seasonings were fresh when you made it so check those dates.

 

CHIPOTLE SEASONING/ RUB

Ingredients:

2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP ground chipotle chili peppers
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika (smoked paprika if available)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano (Mexican Oregano if available)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Grind coriander, if necessary.
Add the sugar and other spices to ground coriander and mix thoroughly. If you don’t like the sweetness omit the brown sugar.
Store in air tight container and use as called for in recipes.

This can be used as a rub or to season dishes.

 

 

EVERYDAY GRILLING RUB

Ingredients:

4 TBSP Chili powder
8 TBSP dehydrated onion flakes
4 TBSP dehydrated garlic flakes
4 TBSP sweet paprika
6 TBSP ground cumin
2 TBSP ground coriander
4 TBSP crushed thyme
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sea salt
4 TBSP coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Gently stir until well blended.
Rub is ready to use right away.
Rub onto meat to be grilled.
Store in a tightly sealed jar (away from heat and light) will keep for up to 6 months.

Makes a great gift. Scoop into small mason jars, Close tightly and cover top with material sq. held on
with rubber band and then cover rubber band with ribbon and a bow.
There are a lot of recipes calling for Jamaican Jerk Rub Mix

I first used this in Pampered Chef it is one of their spice blends but I discovered this recipe and I now use this all the time in place of the pc brand in all my recipes. Try the small batch and see if you like it and if you do make up a large batch and keep it handy. You won’t be disappointed.

 

HOMEMADE JAMAICAN JERK RUB MIX (just like the one sold by Pampered Chef)

SMALL Batch  makes about 4 TBS –  this is enough for one or two recipes to try to see if you like it.

Ingredients:

1 TBSP Onion powder
1 TBSP packed dark brown sugar
1 TBSP crushed dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Directions:

In a bowl combine ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid and store with your other spices and seasonings. Use in recipes as listed.

 

LARGE BATCH makes about 3/4 of a cup   –   This is enough to store for yourself or give some as a gift.

Ingredients:

4 TBSP onion powder
4 TBSP dark brown sugar packed
4 TBSP dried thyme crushed
6 tsp ground allspice
4 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Directions:

In a bowl combine ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid and store with your other spices and seasonings. Use in recipes as listed.

 

I hope this helps you with your grilling. Don’t hesitate to cook out. It’s easy when you use the right tools. Have fun!

until later   betti : )