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Baker. Cook. Gardener. Animal Lover.

Friday, September 25, 2009


With summer now gone, I have been making and freezing alot of pesto. And I don't know why. It seems silly, really. You can get basil all year round now at stores like Trader Jo's who get it from hothouse growers.

And maybe that right there is the point. It comes from Trader Jo's and it is grown in a hothouse. It's not picked from my garden, leaves still warm and then turned right into pesto.

But lately, there is a problem lurking. Pesto that turns dark. And it drives me crazy. I want that bright emerald green pesto. The kind you see in Gourmet. And at those fancy restaurants. What's the deal? Why does mine go dark...so fast. I tried the mortar and pestle route. Grinding and grinding by hand.This is sure alot of work I thought to myself, but if it works, it will be worth it.Things looked like they were going pretty well for a while and then....everything went south. OMG! It turned dark. O.K. I'll try the Cuisinart. No luck there either. Is it the blade on the Cuisinart that turns the pesto dark.?. So after much research and investigating, I think I finally discovered the secret (at least it was a secret to me.) Blanching. You have to blanch the basil in boiling water for about 30 seconds to set the color, then shock it with ice water. And it worked. it was GREEN. Basil Green. Fresh from the Garden Green. That was the answer. Ta-Da ! I put the pesto on a warm baby white rose potato salad. John was horrified. 'What's that?" "No mayo?"....nope, I'm mayo-ed out. I mayo-ed my way through potato salad all summer long. And I'm tired of it. Tonight it's pesto potato.

If I was really going to do it right, I would have drug out the mortar and pestle. But it's heavy. And I was expecting company in 30 minutes. I didn't want to be standing in my little kitchen grinding basil and walnuts ( yeah, I said walnuts...not pine nuts) in a mortar. They would think I was taking it over the top. Too much time on my hands and all that. And I didn't want to hear it."You're obsessed."they would proclaim. "I know."