Tag Archives: salad dressings

Presto Pesto

basilplantTraditional pesto is made with basil, cheese, garlic, and olive oil.  We all know it is delicious on pasta, but there are lots of other savory, delicious, flavor packed ideas for using this classic condiment.

Here are my top 10 ideas for using pesto:

1.  Use pesto like “mayo” Spread it on a BLT , turkey and cheese or other favorite sandwich.

2. Mix It Into Dips Try a little pesto  with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or even guacamole.  Yum.

3. Top Your Breakfast  Drizzle pesto over your favorite breakfast eggs to add a touch of herbs and cheese.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

4. Replace Pizza Sauce  Using pesto instead of traditional tomato sauce adds an entirely different layer of flavor to homemade pizza.  Just use a little, as pesto is flavor packed.

5. Bake It Into Bread  Instead of garlic bread, spread pesto onto crusty bread and toast, or stir pesto into bread dough for wonderfully fragrant dinner rolls. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, just mix the pesto with some softened butter and slather on some rolls or fresh bread.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

6. Mix It Into Salad Dressing  Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, you have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads. Whisk into buttermilk for an Italian version of ranch dressing.

7.  Top Veggies  Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your vegetables. Or skip the butter and sour cream, mix pesto on your baked potato.

8. Quick Appetizer – A smear of pesto topped with a slice of mozzarella on a slice of toasted baguette is a very  quick appetizer.

9. Enhance the Meat  Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and especially fish.  You can also season meatloaf or meatballs with pesto.

Garnish soup with pesto

Garnish soup with pesto

10. Garnish a Soup A traditional French bean and vegetable stew, is meant to be served with a drizzle of pesto over top. Try it with Minestrone other favorites and let us know how you like it.

What is your favorite way to use pesto?

 

 

 

 

Classic Pesto

Pesto has so many uses!

Pesto has so many uses!

1 Cup packed basil
1/2 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
1/4 Cup toasted pine nuts (toast in skillet till browned – about 3 minutes and cool) or walnuts
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin light olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil (or use 6 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Light for mild flavor

In a food processor combine the herbs, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt Process with on/off pulses.Process with the machine running, and SLOWLY add the oil, process to the consistency of soft butter. (This recipe can be done in a blender, but you will need to stop it frequently and push the mixture down to the blades.)

pesto1

Herbal Vinegar Basics

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

Tarragon or other herb flavored vinegars are easy and inexpensive to make and provide a simple, appetizing way to add flavor to salad dressings, marinades, and every day meals. Tasty, distinctive, flavored vinegars can also be added to roasted vegetables, drizzled over fish, splashed into a soup, stew or stir-fry for added flavor, or to baste chicken while it bakes.

The process requires few ingredients, basic equipment, and very little time. Homemade vinegars make a special and unique gift for any occasion. If you don’t have tarragon, try basil, Rosemary, thyme, dill, sage or parsley in an herbal vinegar.  Or try several different versions.

Fill jar with fresh herbs

Fill jar with fresh herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups of French tarragon leaves, fresh and loosely packed – more herbs, more flavor
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, optional

(Additional herb sprig for decoration when bottling)

Preparation

1. Wash tarragon (or herbs) the night before, if needed, so herbs, freshly harvested in the morning, will maintain maximum flavor. Gather herbs in the morning, after the dew has dried. Bruise tarragon or herbs with the back of a chef knife, with a mortar and pestle or crumple herbs by hand to release maximum flavor.
2. Fill a dry sterilized  jar with tarragon or herbs of choice. (A quick run through the dishwasher
herbal+vinegars3. Pack a one quart jar with the herbs and pour the vinegar over the herbs. Cover the container with a plastic lid and leave for 2—3 weeks. This will draw out the flavor of the tarragon into the vinegar.  (Two-piece lids will work, but be aware vinegar will react with the metal screw bands)
4. Line a fine wire-mesh strainer with a paper coffee filter or cheese cloth. Pour vinegar mixture through the strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding the herbs.
5. Fill dry, attractive sterilized glass bottles with a fresh herb sprig, and add strained vinegar. Tightly seal the bottles with nonmetallic lids or corks; store the herbal vinegar in a cool dark place.

Dress fresh salad greens with herbal vinaigraitte

Dress fresh salad greens with vinaigrette

 

TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE (Salad dressing)

3 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 Cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1 tbsp. dried, crumbled

In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, salt, and pepper; add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Stir in tarragon. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Options for Pairing Vinegars and Herbs

White wine vinegar goes well with many herbs and is perfect for herbs or flower petals that produce color. Dill, basil, tarragon, chervil, mints, and lemon balm are well-suited to white wine vinegar.

Red wine vinegar adds a rich flavor and pairs well with sage, thyme, parsley and bay leaves.

Be creative:  mix and match herbs and garlic according to taste!

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home