Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eating Omily: Pesto, or, Other Reasons Canning Could Save Your Life

The blog got put on hold a bit, what with hurricane preparations and all...right now, before things get exciting and the lights go out, is probably a good time to drop some pearls of wisdom before ye...what have I been eating this week?

I had tomatoes left over after the Round 2 of Whole Tomato-canning, so fresh salsa every day! So awesome...had another frittata with chopped tomatoes and fresh corn on the cob the other day. The tomatoes made the frittata really juicy, which was nice.

This heart-shaped tomato was blowing my mind.

We made a massive batch of pesto with all the basil we've been saving in jars of water, enough to freeze two jars full, and have another in the fridge to savor slowly. We smeared it on our pizza on Monday. As long as you've got a food proccessor, pesto is basically the quickest, easiest, most accessible home-preservation project there is. Toast your pinenuts, then get them crumbly in the processor along with the garlic and Parmesan cheese. Add the basil, chop it a bit, then run the processor while drizzling in really good olive oil till it reaches the consistency of your liking. I prefer to keep it really thick and pasty. You can always add more olive oil to it if you want it runnier to toss with pasta more effectively, for example. There's nothing in the world like home-made gnocchi and home-made pesto...but I'll save that recipe for the wintertime. Spoon your pesto into smallish jars, and freeze it. Pesto won't freeze solid because of the quantity of fat in it. It'll thaw to edible in just a few minutes in a bowl of warm water, which makes it an exceedingly decadent, and nutritious if portion sizes are within reason, convenience food!

But now, we're holed up with six bottles of wine, food that can be eaten as is or cooked deliciously on our (gas, thank God) stove, and a case of quart-jars washed out and filled with water for drinking, along with the 21.5-quart canner, and the bathtub, just in case. Battery operated radio-check. Candles-check. Rum-check. The husband is running out for more chips and a couple of avocados. If Irene's bringing the tropical storm, I say it's time for a taste of the forbidden-tropical fruit!
I laugh at anyone who went out and spent money on water in containers. Canners are prepared for anything!

The cats, interestingly enough, have already taken refuge under large pieces of furniture, but seem otherwise calm. If only I had made a last-minute library run...I just finished my last book! I know there's stuff on these shelves I haven't gotten to yet, though. And once we're operating by candlelight, there will be mandatory readings of Poe while we drink the sherry-bonus points if you know why the sherry is important.

Perhaps I'll have a terribly exciting report of our hurricane-adventures early next week, or what creative dishes we whipped up in the absence of an oven, or last-minute ingredient additions. I see wild rice salad in our future...except that the husband ate all the raisins...hmmm...we'll see.

Batten down the hatches!!

~em

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