I see you making that face when I tell you to eat dark leafy greens! It's not that I want to torture you; they are good for your skin.
How do you feel about herbs?
My husband grew herbs this year, and then I received more at the CSA. There were way too many to use while fresh, so my go-to option was to find a way to preserve my good vegetables so they didn't go to waste. So as I pondered the possibilities with the herb preservation, my mind wandered back to childhood.
Growing up we had a neighbor named Mary, who was one of those strong willed, faith-bound, generous ladies that you love to have in a neighborhood because she's a solid friend. Mary and her husband, Sam the photographer/building inspector had 6 children, so getting a meal on the table was a financial as well as a culinary feat. Nothing went to waste in that house, and quite frankly if you didn't eat what was served, you didn't eat.
Mary grew basil, along with other vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, chard, cucumbers, squash, etc. At harvest time, she taught me how to make pesto. Most of use think about pesto as basil, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil, maybe garlic. Pine nuts, although delicious, didn't fit into Mary's budget; she always used walnuts.
I considered the herbs in front of me - basil, thai basil, cilantro and mint. Was a pesto only made of basil? Were walnuts the only nut to use? You see where I'm going with this.
So I combined the classic basil with pine nuts and garlic. But then I used cilantro with pumpkin seeds and garlic; thai basil with walnuts and a tiny bit of hot pepper; mint with walnuts (no garlic or pepper). As I was happily buzzing my food processor (something Mary didn't have and probably would have scoffed at), proud that I wasn't wasting anything, I thought that you, my lovely clients, would probably be more open to pesto for your dark leafy greens. Hey, you have to start somewhere!
I'll share Mary's preservation trick if you promise to try it. Simply make the pesto by combining herb, nuts, parmesan, olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Garlic and/or hot peppers are optional. Now take heaping spoonfuls and place on a plate that has been schmeared with olive oil. The pesto should be thick enough to take some form. Stick the plate in the freezer, and after a few hours, slip them off the plate, pop them into a storage container and put back into the freezer.
I've successfully used ice cube trays if I used the olive oil to coat the tray so the pesto "cubes" came out easily. In this case where I made 4 batches of differing recipes, I labeled the containers before putting them back into the freezer.
Either way, you can take 1 or 2 out when you need them. Mary would cook up a bunch of macaroni (you know, the stuff we now call pasta) and throw the pesto ball into the hot macaroni, tossing well until it was melted and covering each piece of macaroni.
I use them with brown rice, or as a sauce (thinned with some more olive oil) over roast chicken or grilled fish. Pesto is also the base of my homemade pizza. They also make great sandwich spreads.
I understand that this is not a cooking blog; I'm just motivated to get you to eat your greens so your skin will get the benefits.
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