Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo Begins

If you've found this blog as part of VeganMoFo - welcome!  Please feel free to comment, it's so nice to know people actually read my blog :)  I'm excited (and a little nervous) to be participating in this event with so many other amazing bloggers.  On to the food!

Garden Bounty: Part 1
As I mentioned in my last post, the sweet basil in my garden was ready to be hacked back again, and hack I did on Saturday.  Those zucchini are about the size you'd find in the supermarket to give you a reference for how huge that bunch was.  I also pulled 3 little Stupice tomatoes and both Hungarian Hot Wax peppers and Banana peppers.  I'll be posting recipes incorporating all these ingredients soon (if I can prevent B from eating all my tomatoes long enough to actually use them in a recipe).  We'll start with the basil.

I love pesto and this is one of my favorite ways to use it.  I don't actually have a recipe for my pesto, I just do it to taste each time, since the quantity of basil varies each time, but here's what goes in: 
  - Basil (you can add spinach if you need to stretch your basil)
  - Toasted Pine nuts (pecans are a good alternative if you're out of pine nuts)
  - Roasted Garlic (several cloves add nice garlic flavor without the overwhelming sharpness of raw. I separate several heads as a time into cloves and then roast them until soft and mellow. Store in freezer and thaw as needed)
  - Raw Garlic (just a clove or two)
  - Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you can omit the broth and use only oil - it's amazing but not so figure friendly)
  - Veggie Broth (a great way to make your pesto lower fat, but I still recommend adding at least a tablespoon or two of olive oil for flavor and texture)
  - Nutritional Yeast (cheesy flavor and a great source of B-complex vitamins and protein for vegans)
  - Yellow Miso (essential - provides the salty, "aged" flavor of parmesan, and is an excellent source of trace minerals and probiotics)
  - Kosher Salt
I prefer to make pesto in my food processor, but a blender will work (my blender makes it too smooth for me, but B likes the extra creamy texture the blender creates).  The basil in the picture above made a quart of pesto.  I froze half of it in ice cube trays for later, used a cup in the dip below, and the last cup is waiting in the 'fridge to be poured over pasta.  Yum!

Pesto over "Cream Cheese"
This is a super easy and delicious appetizer.  You can make the pesto ahead of time and then pour it over the vegan cream cheese of your choosing just before serving.  This is always gobbled up in a flash.

Pesto-"Cream Cheese" Dip
This is basically the same thing, but with the pesto and "cream cheese" blended together.  It's a nice choice for bigger parties or smaller crackers since all you have to do is dip, making it easier to eat.  I made a sundried tomato-basil version of Julie's crackers to go along with this one, but I need to work on them a little more before I post my modifications.


heather said...

That seems like a huge amount of basil! I never seem to get that much when I grow herbs.

I found you through the veganmofo site.

Jen Treehugger said...

Lucky lucky you. I am a Pesto Freak but my Basil is just about finished in the garden now. There might be enough for a small serving of pesto....


Happy MoFo'ing!

Tami said...

That basil could take over the world!

Amy said...

I was going to say what Tami said!!!

Bex said...

you have crazy basil! My plants were all stunted this year.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh that just sounds divine!

And yay for someone else who likes Elf! My dad hates Will Ferrel for some reason, but we made him watch it, and even he had to admit it was a cute movie :o).

Anonymous said...

I am coveting your garden's harvest right now! I didn't have a garden this year, but I am definitely having one next year - if just for the basil alone. Thanks for the pesto recipe, it really sounds delicious and I love the idea of lower fat pesto!

Chessa said...

I have serious garden envy! I'm taking a gardening class right now and kicking myself for not planting one this year. We moved, we rent, blah blah blah. No more excuses! I want that basil!

That pesto looks amazing! Happy MoFo!

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Yowza! That is a LOT of basil.

Lucky you!!

Bethany said...

what a wonderful garden you have! that pesto dip with those crackers looks really good. snackalicious.

i so want a huge herb garden. i better get cracking next year because everytime I dole out money at the store for herbs, I get annoyed. much more fuel efficient to walk outside and pick them fresh.