Well hidey-ho neighborinos!
Yup, I am – and dang how I’ve missed you guys. But I know you all were well looked after by some absolutely lovely ladies who so graciously entertained you and tantalized your taste buds with Chocolate chip pretzel bars from Simply Scratch, Maple Pecan cookies from Bake Your Day, Garlic Pasta from Table for Two, Cherry Gazpacho from Running to the Kitchen and of course Bacon and Carmalized Onion Pizza from Kvetchin’ Kitchen.
Sooo, with all these lovely ladies around I’m sure I wasn’t missed at all.
Before I left for eastern Washington and this whirlwind of a wedding…
Exhibit A –
I had about 15 basil plants that were going to wither in the apartment due to lack of sunlight, love, water and the fact that they had to be relegated indoors because our apartment’s undergoing a complete over haul whilst we’ve been gone. Go figure. And after nuturing those poor little genovese basil plants from seedlings all spring – I wasn’t about to let them cry for help and wither without hacking them off at the root and shoving them into my fancy new food processor to mulch them into something tasty and delicious.
How heartless would that be? It’d be heartless. Poor defenseless basil plants.
My last action item was to frappe my basil and freeze it for later use. There are, of course, downsides to this whole plan, because pesto is always better fresh – but when you’ve got the Jeopardy song playing in the background and feeling like Ethan Hunt, you’ll do anything to get everything done and not waste one little ounce of green leafy goodness.
Into the processor the basil leaves went, along with a hefty dose of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a little garlic (ie: Lawttss of garlic), salt, pepper, and for a dash of sass I made two batches – one with pine nuts and one with California walnuts.
Look at me, such a rebel.
The flavors of the two different nuts give the pesto a little oomph. Pine nuts give pesto that classic taste, but the walnuts yield a nice earthy flavor. I couldn’t choose which one I liked more. Really, no foolin’. Depending on your mood – pick your poison. Or nut, as it were.
After each batch was made – a dollop was siphoned into a 24 count mini muffin tin. Draping plastic wrap over the top of it and pressing lightly down on top of each divot of pesto to keep as much air off of the cups as I could, it was then wrapped in finally sealed with aluminum foil and put into the freezer for a little rest. (*note* It takes 4 batches to fill up one 24-count mini muffin tin. Each batch of pesto yields about one cup of fresh pesto)
Fast forward 12 days – and after coming home with nary a thing in the fridge, laundry out the arse, and a stale dead plant smell in the air of my (read: our) hermetically sealed apartment – these cups were perfect to pop out of the tin, toss into some boiled pasta and tossed around until they coated the noodles. This is precisely the thing weeknight dinners are made of.
And holy frijole, Batman. My night was made. And most of the laundry got done.
Best of all – Huck is back home with me now. Dayummm, did I miss those soft labradork ears.
Yeah. You just know he missed me too…. Not.
Presto Pesto Cups
Frozen mini-cups of pesto for busy weeknight meals
2 cups Basil Leaves, packed
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Pine nuts, or Walnuts
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded or flaked
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
4 cloves Garlic
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice, optional
In food processor, add in basil, nuts, salt, pepper and garlic.
Pulse food processor until the ingredients are roughly chopped. About 6 pulses. Then turn on and while processing pour in olive oil. Allow to combine until nuts, garlic and basil have been throughly blended. Finish with squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
Spoon into mini muffin tin. Cover with plastic wrap and gently press plastic wrap to the top of each cup to make sure minimal air is allowing in. Cover with aluminum foil. Freeze.
Pop our of muffin tin when frozen through and place in a freezer safe container for later use.
When using in a recipe, allow them to defrost at room temperature. Or if making with pasta - drain pasta, and in the same pot that you used for boiling pasta, toss a couple of cubes per pasta serving into the empty warm pot, allow to melt and then toss in drained pasta to combine. Serve warm.