Since my garden is literally loaded with herbs, tomatoes and other yummy veggies, I decided it was time to cook so nothing would go to waste. After all, I can’t eat that many tomatoes on the same day! So I started by doing some Basil Pesto, then I moved on to Tomato Sauce and then I baked a Lemon and Zucchini loaf (Recipe found on Pinterest, slightly modified). And of course I documented the process with photos.
Here are the recipes, please note that I’m not good at measures, and that for Pesto or Tomato Sauce, I improvise depending on how much I harvested. But the basic ingredients and process stays the same, so I’ll share anyway.
Let’s start with Basil Pesto!
-Basil, as much as you have. You can also use other herbs to fill. I sometimes add oregano or thyme. As long as Basil is what you have most. Other herbs can serve as filler or for adding a touch of flavor. It takes a good amount of herbs if you are planning to make a lot of pesto.
-Extra-virgin Olive oil.
-Pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, any one will do). A handful. Pine nuts are expensive and I use walnuts most of the time, tastes just as good!
-Fresh Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 of a cup.
-Garlic. I’d say a clove of garlic for about 2 cups of fresh herbs.
-Juice of half a lemon and zest.
-Salt, fresh ground black pepper.
In the food processor, add your basil and a little bit of olive oil. Pulse a bit, so it’s shredded. Add all the other ingredients, and pulse again until the nuts are finely chopped. While doing it, constantly add a fine stream of oil so it doesn’t go into clumps. Add oil and pulse until it has the texture you are looking for. I like to have some tiny chunky bits of garlic and nuts in it. You may want to have it creamier, you decide!
That’s all there is to it actually. Put in small containers or jars. Freeze what you won’t be using in the next days. Ice cube trays can be handy too. Freeze them and put the cubes in a ziploc freezer bag, use only the amount you will need.
-Fresh ripe tomatoes, as many as you have. Italian tomatoes have less seeds, but all I had at this time were big fat tomatoes. They taste just as good!
-Herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary). To taste, it all depends on how big of a batch you are making. I use fresh herbs since my garden has plenty, so if you use fresh herbs, add them at the end, just before removing the sauce from the heat, the taste of fresh herbs is finer and the herbs will lose it if you cook them too much. If you are using dried herbs, add them at the start.
-Salt, fresh ground black pepper, to taste.
-Sugar, two or three teaspoons, to counter acidity.
-Red wine, just a little, it all depends on how much sauce you are making.
-Garlic, again, to taste.
-Extra-virgin Olive oil. To slightly cover the bottom of your pan.
Start by peeling your tomatoes. How do you peel a tomato you ask? Make a mark with a knife at the bottom of the tomato, not deep, just a scarring. Plunge them in boiling water for around 10 seconds. It may take just a bit more if you have huge tomatoes. But not much. You want to make the skin peel on the mark edges so you can tear it away from there, but you don’t want to cook the tomatoes. Otherwise they will be too soft to peel. Remove the skin and quarter them. Remove most of the water and seeds, then dice them.
In your pan, heat the oil slowly, adding the garlic to it. If you heat your oil too fast the garlic will burn, go slowly so the garlic infuses the oil. We’re making sauce not steak 🙂
When the garlic has softened, add your tomatoes. If you are using dried herbs, add them. Add your sugar, salt, pepper and red wine. Let it simmer, covered, until the tomatoes become purée. When you can easily squish them with a wooden spoon and it’s got that sauce texture you are looking for, it’s ready. Adjust seasoning (If you are using fresh herbs add them now).
Let it cool down and put in jars.
Lemon & Zucchini loaf, recipe from NancyCreative.
Found this recipe on Pinterest and it has everything I was looking for. Before, when making zucchini loaf, I would use a basic banana bread recipe and simply switch the bananas for zucchini. But this one has lemon in it also, and I love lemon cake!!
So I will just post the photos and direct you to the original post for this recipe. I did make some changes to it, I used brown sugar. And I was more generous on the lemon juice. I also added lemon zest in the glaze, only because I think it looks prettier. The recipe uses Buttermilk, read the comments on the original post if you don’t have buttermilk, there are many ways to replace it!
Find the recipe here: http://nancycreative.com/2012/03/25/lemon-zucchini-loaf-with-lemon-glaze/
So that’s it! All of my weekend cooking shared with you all! I need to add that I rewarded myself with Caramel à la Fleur de sel 🙂 Will post photos and share my recipe soon…