Now I know I wrote about dieting ideas last week and now here I am giving you Gerry's fabulous buttermilk scone recipe this week-- how unfair is that? Maybe we could just have one though? This week I want to tell you about pesto sauce. We had some friends over last weekend and I was in a pinch for a sauce to go on my homemade pizza. I used up the tomato sauce on the pepperoni pizza and didn't have the ingredients (fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil) to make a traditional pesto. So, what to do? Improvise! So, I made a new pesto and I think I might like it even better. What is that line about necessity being the mother of invention? Anyhow, I used one box of frozen chopped spinach-- thawed and well squeezed out to remove all the water. I dropped this into the food processor. Then, I convinced my husband to shell the last of the fresh walnuts from Christmas-- about 1 cup by the time he was done. These went into the food processor as well. Then I used about thee cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (but if you are not a huge garlic fan, I would cut that down to one or two cloves). The garlic goes in with the spinach and the nuts. Then I put in a whole bunch of fresh parsley. Not a whole bunch meaning a lot, but a whole bunch meaning the entire amount that comes in the elastic band from the store. I washed it, patted it dry and then with one cut, sliced off the majority of the stems and was left with the leaves and a few stems. This I gave a rough chop to and then tossed it in the food processor too. On goes the lid and turn the power on. I let the processor go until everything was finely chopped and mixed together well. Then, with the processor on still, I poured some olive oil through the feed tube until the desired consistency had been reached. I left mine fairly thick (because I had visions of the dieting article stuck in my head and was afraid of all the oil), but you could keep going until you reached pouring consistency if you like. I did not use any parmesan cheese because I didn't have any and I wasn't sure what I would be using all the pesto for and wasn't sure I wanted cheese in it this time. It could always be added later if needed. I also added salt and freshly ground black pepper right at the end. Once completed, pesto makes a wonderfully fresh accompaniment to your food. It can be used as a sauce for pasta-- just drain your pasta and then toss the pesto into it. Mix some pesto with your traditional Dijon salad dressing and what a great treat that is on a green salad! Spread some pesto on a sandwich in place of mustard or mayo. Coat your salmon with a thick layer of pesto before cooking and see what you think. Add a hearty spoonful of pesto to your mashed potatoes. Add a spoon of pesto to your chicken noodle soup, right before eating. And, of course, use the pesto as the sauce for your pizza-- what a fantastic food pesto is. Have fun and keep cooking! (Lori and Gerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
· 3 cups all-purpose flour · 1/3 cup granulated sugar · 2 1/2 tsp baking powder · 1/2 tsp baking soda · 1/2 tsp salt · 6 oz unsalted butter, chilled · 1 cup buttermilk · 3/4 cup currants · 2 tsp orange zest, finely grated · 2 tbsp whipping cream (coffee cream is okay)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly butter a baking sheet. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt into a large mixing bowl (or combine them in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse once or twice to aerate). 2. Roll the cold butter in flour to make it easier to handle, and then cut into slices. Roll in flour again, and then cut into sticks, and the sticks into cubes. If making by hand, use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until mixture has a breadcrumb texture. (Or distribute the butter over the flour in the food processor and process briefly to the breadcrumb texture; then turn into a bowl) 3. Add the buttermilk, currants, and orange zest. Mix lightly with a fork-- just enough that the mixture is moistened and forms a soft dough. 4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead very gently for 8 to 10 turns, and then pat the dough out into a large circle, one half inch thick. Using a cookie cutter (or an upside-down glass), cut out round circles of dough, or cut them into pieshaped wedges. Place them one-inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the cream. 5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve them warm, with fresh butter and homemade jam.