Thursday, 17 November 2011

Enjoying the fruits of our labour


Enjoying the benefits in winter of what you have harvested in the summer is immense. Celebrate the honest and earthy goodness of flavours from the garden by using them in both new and classic ways.You may remember back in September I sundried my tomatoes on the dashboard of the car, well Its only a short ride from sunning on a vine in the summer to the stain down the front of a shirt in the winter.
Pesto can be made in either a blender or food processor;a food processor usually does a better job though. Note: when using a blender to prepare pesto, it may be necessary to add the oil at the same time as the herbs.
This home made sun-dried tomato pesto is pure condensed summer in a jar, and one of the best things I've ever tasted.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto or Spread
makes about 6 cups

2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
(drain oil before measuring if there is a lot)
2 cups coarsely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup home made tomato sauce 
2 tablespoons of pine nuts or toasted pistachios or a combination of both
6 large cloves garlic
sea salt to taste, about 2 tsp.
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Put garlic cloves into the food processor and process until finely chopped. (You could use the food processor to chop the basil and parsley if you wanted too, but I just chopped it with a chef's knife.)
Add sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, olive oil, basil, parsley, tomato sauce, and process until mixture is well combined. I kept mine a tiny bit chunky. Season with salt and pepper, buzz for a few seconds to combine again.

(If you don't have the fresh tomatoes to make fresh tomato sauce, use 2 cans diced tomatoes, puree in food processor with some fresh torn basil leaves, then cook down to make 1 cup sauce. Cool before using in this recipe. You could also use canned tomato sauce, but the flavor would not be as fresh.)

This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a month. Chance would be a fine thing, it will never last that long!

Sundried tomato pesto pairings
A container of home made pesto in the refrigerator can be the inspiration for any number of interesting dishes.

Slather it on sandwiches
Toss it in with spaghetti
Stir it into risotto or soup
Use it as a pizza base
Blend it into a dressing
This pesto can become addictive and is well worth
keeping on hand as a store cupboard staple.
A fun way to turn a simple supper into a special occasion.

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