Thursday, September 17, 2009

CSA cooking: pesto and bruschetta

basket inventory: BIG time basil, carrots, curly kale, dandelion greens, avocados, cantaloupe, various citrus, eggplant...and some other items. to be honest, i gave more than 1/2 of my basket away to a gentleman in our neighborhood who hard been having a hard time looking for work and was really struggling. The best that i could do was give him some of my food so that he could help his family..times are tough!
The great thing about CSA food is that it lasts a lot longer than "conventional"/store bought produce, i still have items from even 2 weeks ago! so i have been using what i have to get us through to next week.

big handful of basil leaves
cup or so of Parmesan cheese (which i will call "parm" from now on)
salt, or spicy salt in our case!
cup of nuts (usually people use pine nuts, but i have seen walnuts, you want "buttery" flavored nuts) this time i used a mix of pine nuts and pepitas (pumkin seeds) for mexi-flair
olive oil

combine everything but the oil in a food processor until well chopped. then little by little, add the oil until it is the consistency that you like. taste; add more basil if you like more basil, nuts if you like more nuts, salt/ get it. store in the fridge for a week.
pesto is great on pasta, toasted bread, on top on an Italian-themed egg dish, it is just plain good. add more peppers or cilantro for variation. we used ours on spaghetti squash i bought at the Irvine Farmers Market.

* my internship at Avanti Cafe (which i will be talking about later) has taught me even more that simple food is incredible when using great ingredients, this recipe was derived from watching Chef Tanya make a family meal a few weeks ago. This is a wonderful recipe to get rid of tomatoes that are getting soft or if you don't want the trouble of making a sauce.

tomatoes (at least a cup, but more is better), diced in irregular pieces
dash or 2 of salt (to taste)
pepper, italian spice mix (to your liking, start with small amounts- 1 tsp), Avnati makes a good one called Tuscan Kiss
olive oil about 1-2 tbsp
finely chopped basil (have 5 leaves and add more after tasting, we like a lot)
1 shallot or small red onion sliced fine

mix everything in a bowl except oil. taste; add oil slowly until it is where you like it. let it sit on the counter for a little bit and then chill for 30 min. mix again. add to crusty bread or we added scoops to our squash and pesto!


Rebel Girl said...


i love the pepitas in the pesto.

We did various pizzas last night - using a massive onion from our CSA basket from two weeks ago - I cooked it and cooked and cooked it and cooked it with olive oil until it became a kind of translucent sauce then slathered it on the fresh dough with chopped tomatoes, zucchini, basil etc. lvoely. and leftovers for breakfast.

You're right about the food lasting longer - it does.

I'm trying your pesto tonight.

delilah said...

love the onions idea, that sounds so good!
let me know how the pesto goes!

Gustavo Arellano said...

Mexi-flair: LOVE IT!