Thursday, October 6, 2011

Basil and Spices

In the spring I planted two small basil plants in my herb splotch of bare ground garden, and then I ignored them all summer.  When one of the basil plants got big enough to start wandering over the walkway, I finally decided to pay them some attention and cut them up for pesto.

Why, oh WHY have I never experienced the aromatic and culinary delights of pesto before?!!!!  If I'd known the practically religious ecstasy of gustationary bliss that would have occurred I would have been a pesto making priestess all summer!

I didn't want to spend the money on pine nuts (plus I couldn't seem to find any in our area, but I live in the Midwest where basil is a bit of an exotic herb) so I used walnuts instead.  Before adding them to my blender with the washed basil, I toasted them a bit first in my little toaster oven.  The flavor was much better, and well worth the small extra step.  Then I added a bit of parmesan cheese and olive oil for a typical pesto mix.

To preserve it, I put it into ice cube trays (thanks Penny for the idea!) and once they were frozen I popped them out and put them into a large ziploc bag for later use.

Pure ecstasy.  Sometimes when I'm stressed I pull them out of the freezer and sniff them.

I know, I'm weird.  It's my version of crack.

The other spice that I've been whipping up is my own homemade version of chili powder.  It's much better than the store bought thing for several reasons.

1) it's not too difficult
2) it gives you an excuse to grow lethal peppers
3) it provides an excellent method of torture should you ever need it on an unsuspecting family member or friend
4) the flavor has more depth and the heat is muuuuuuuuuuuch more intense, (which I should have probably listed as reason number 1 before reason number 3, but then, we all have our own set of priorities)

See how innocent and innocuous it looks? 

Looks can be deceiving.

(I have a tutorial here that you can view if you'd like to learn how to make your own pepper powder spice)


Anonymous said...

wow! Pesto! My favorite thing at the Clemson cafeteria was the Pesto Panini(my food memory is excellent.) The nutrition info on store bought pesto is ridiculous(not the good kind of ridiculous) so I tend to avoid it, but your homemade pesto looks dericious :) BTW I can't wait to try the pepper :P