Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Every night, I tuck My Boys into their beds. Just about every night, by the time I make my way back to go to sleep, I stumble upon this. In my bed. Make yourself comfy, son.

Last night, I finally crawled into bed around 2 am. Don't ask. I then tossed and turned and fidgeted. I tried counting sheep, I tried reading. I could hear Scotty tossing and turning in the next room.

At 3:30, I went into his room, crawled into his bed, and waited for him to curl into me. Worked like a charm. Two hours of sleep, by the way? Not enough.

On days like today, where I'm working hard, on little sleep, with no end in sight, I am so grateful to have some infrastructure in place. It just saves me! Truthfully, it saves all of us.

This basil plant is my first successful foray into basil. I've tried to grow it three times, and it sucks every time. This time, I planted 4 basil starts. By far, this is my go-to-gal, my Super Star. But, I didn't even need this one for the pesto I made Sunday...I used my second-stringers, and still made enough for my favorite pasta dish, and had a pint leftover. I'll tackle this one when I have time to bust out some pesto for preserving...that should be...uh...I'll keep you posted.

When I stumbled, bleary-eyed, from Scotty's bedroom just before sun-up this morning, I was happy to find some leftovers that quickly went into my portable pyrex for the day. I have absolutely no idea where this recipe came from, originally. It's possible I made it up. Largely because it's so simple. My favorite kind.

You can use a jar of pesto from the store, or make your own. Pesto is so easy to make, but if you're counting calories, I say buy it pre-made. See, this way, you remain unaware of exactly how much oil it takes to make this simple paste. By keeping yourself uninformed, you are excused from the accountability of eating it in copious amounts. You're welcome!

To make pesto you will need basil, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, fresh shredded parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Using a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of walnut pieces. "Classic" pesto uses pine nuts, but they are expensive, and require a 'special trip'. Hello, walnuts.

Take a bunch of store-bought basil, or collect some from your garden...I use one of those glass, two-cup measuring cups, and it's plenty. Break off most of the stems, rinse it well. Pulse it in with the walnuts.

Add minced garlic. Your call, I use three cloves. (Okay. Look. I'll just say it. The clove is one of the pieces, not the whole bulb, which is made up of many cloves. Wish somebody had been this explicit with me, the first time I made gaspacho, when I was 17. Just saying.) Keeping the food processor running, steadily pour in the extra virgin olive oil. I use 1/3 cup. (After adding the oil, I always have to use a silicon spatula here, turning off the food processor first, to scrape down the sides and get it all pushed in to mix correctly. Pulse a few times.) Add about 1/3 cup of the parmesan. Then another pinch. Then another pinch.

Taste it...if it's too 'green-y' (I don't know how else to describe it! You'll know if it's too...much) start adding salt and pepper until tastes good. Pinch of salt, sprinkle of pepper usually does it for me.

That's it! Now, for the easiest pesto-based meal ever:

Boil a pound of bow tie pasta, according to package. Drain and rinse. Toss with the pesto to coat. (I use about half of the recipe above.)
Take a bunch of grape tomatoes, cut into halves, and cook in a frying pan in balsamic vinegar and salt until the skins split and they are softening (but don't go into mushy territory!).
Toss the tomatoes into the pasta.

To eat as a pasta 'salad', chill the whole thing. Sprinkle with feta cheese when you're ready to eat.

To eat as a hot dish, heat a sweet or spicy sausage, dice it up, mix it in. Sprinkle with feta cheese when you're ready to eat.

Tastes good for lunch, then dinner, then lunch, then dinner, and, today, lunch again. Enjoy!