Monday, November 19, 2007

Homemade pesto

Holy cow. If you have never had fresh pesto, this is something to try immediately! The trick is to use ingredients as fresh as possible. It is worth buying a basil plant just to have fresh basil cause the leaves will give this such a pop. Also, when chopping up these ingredients, put in handfuls of each item at a time. that way some pieces are chopped into oblivion and others are still a little more coarse. It gives it an amazing flavor.

Mix this with some cooked pasta or just spread on fresh bread.

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED

lastly, a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.

Vegetarian Sarma

this comes from my friend Jackie. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds amazing.

Prep Time: 45 mins (including steaming the rice)

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Yield: 6 servings (12 cabbage rolls)

1 large head of cabbage (about 3 lbs)
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped pine nuts
11/2 cups brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup golden raisins
15oz can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp blk pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
15oz can seasoned stewed tomatoes (italian style)
1 cup water or veg. broth

1) Wash and core cabbage head. Place it in a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook until the leaves become soft and pliable, about 20 mins. Remove it from the pot and gently remove 10 to 12 leaves from the cabbage and cut the core from each leaf.

2) Shred about half the remaining cabbage head in a food processor. Spread it on the bottom of a large baking dish and set aside.

3) Preheat oven 350 degrees

4) In a medium skillet, heat some olive oil. Cook the onions and garlic in the oil on medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 7 mins. Add the chopped pine nuts, rice, parsley, raisins, mashed beans, salt, blk pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

5) Using approx 1/4 cup filling for each cabbage leaf, place the filling in at the core end of each leaf and fold the sides to envelope the filling. Roll or tuck into a neat package and arrange the rolls over the shredded cabbage.

6) Mix the water into the tomatoes and pour over the cabbage rolls.

7) Cover and back for at least 30 mins, or up to 45 mins if you desire softer cabbage.

spiced butter

this makes a lot so that you can store and use in cooking. amazing on sauteed veggies or stir fry. also would be good in fried rice!

1 pound unsalted butter
1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
8 basil leaves

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. As foam rises to the top, skim and discard it. Continue cooking, without letting the butter brown. Until no more foam appears. Add the onions garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, cardamom, oregano, tumeric, and basil and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let stand until the spices settle. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve before using.

(Store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 3 weeks.)