Archive for the ‘Cooking from the Garden’ Category

Two-Basil Walnut Pesto and Chard Stem Gratin

Today I did something I have wanted to do for a long time – I made pesto! I used my genovese and cinnamon basil from the garden, and some chopped walnuts and olive oil I had on hand.

4 cups packed basil leaves (I used genovese and cinnamon basil)
2/3 cup walnuts
6 garlic cloves (could use more if desired)
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional, I didn’t add any at this point because I wanted to freeze some. I just added it later with the pasta but if you are planning on eating it right away just toss the cheese in ASAP).

Grind up the basil, walnuts, and garlic in the food processor. I just have a little mini one and this project helped me decide that I want a big awesome food processor instead. At first I tried to do this in the blender so that I wouldn’t have to do it in shifts but that was a sloppy mess and had to put it back in the processor anyway. ¬†Add the oil a bit at a time (you should add in a steady stream, but if you have a mini food processor like me this isn’t an option). Then add as much salt and pepper as you like, and voila!

This made about 2 cups of pesto. It is more oily than I prefer, I think next time I’ll reduce the amount of olive oil. But it’s still phenomenal! I froze half of it, ate some on Triscuits immediately, and used about 1/2 cup on some pasta for dinner! I tossed it with some garlic basil linguine from Trader Joe’s and shelled garden peas, and garnished with some chopped walnuts and basil. It was heavenly!
Despite my aversion to turning on the oven in the heat, we had some fantastic swiss chard stem gratin on the side. I really didn’t want to waste the beautiful stems. I read online that you can parboil them for a bit to make them tender. Here’s my recipe, I will definitely be making this again, may even harvest chard just for the stems, I loved it so much!

Stems from 2-3 bunches of swiss chard
1/3 c. Bread crumbs
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Boil the stems for 10-15 min, until tender. Some might still be tough after boiling, discard those. Chop stems on the diagonal into 2″ pieces. Put into baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Toss with bread crumbs and cheese, salt & pepper to taste.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until bubbly. SOOOO awesome! This will probably be a standard at my house for Thanksgiving, it was so good.


Chard Nugget

Coop’s not done yet. We’re not going to get into that here, though. The heat’s been sweltering, and my greens bed was crying out for help.

I’ve been meaning to saute up some kale and swiss chard, but there was no way I could find a use for the amount that I have! Rather than just letting my crops go to the rabbits, I decided to freeze my greens.

I followed the procedure on NotMartha, it was easy to follow and successful. I used the same process for the chard and the kale, I think the blanching was a bit too long for the chard and if I were to do it again I’d probably only blanchthe chard for 1 minute. But overall I’m very happy with the results! I processed about 4 bunches each of the

chard and kale so now I have some frozen chard nuggets (wouldn’t that make a great insult? YOU CHARD NUGGET!) and kale patties! Now we’ll have freshly frozen greens at the ready to pop into anything!

Beautiful swiss chard stems! I wish I had something to dye! I think I’m going to try and make a gratin out of them:

My processing station:

Kale all rinsed, trimmed and waiting:

Kale laid out to dry (left) and chard nuggets ready for freezing. I promise, these are dark leafy greens and not an illicit substance!