Friday, March 31, 2017

In the Kitchen - Pesto and Preserving Greens

Bill and I have been gardening in our new home for a little over a year now (to be honest, Bill does the majority of the work, we’ll called it 70/30), and the amount of produce our beds have produced really brings my heart so much joy. Little did I know what happiness could come from the food we would grow, and now I talk about wanting a small farm (including chickens and more land) and I am learning what it takes to care for our plants. It really is such a wonderful therapy.

One of the challenges I have found, is when it takes you a few months to grow something, you don’t want to waste even the smallest portion of it. The first crops we had, the concept of waste was not as clear to me, but as we continue, I am learning that every little part of every single plant is precious and hard work. Composting has become a part of my life and I embrace the decomposing of anything that can’t be used in cooking because eventually it will be returned back to our earth to continue to help our plants be healthy. I have been seeking out ways to use up every part of the plants we grow – beets greens in our smoothies, keeping a jar of lemon juice on hand at all times, citrus finishing salts to use our lemon and orange zest (recipe on the blog next week) and this week’s edition which is carrot top pesto! (I have also experimented with mint, arugula and basil pesto’s to preserve other garden goodies, and Y'all they are all wonderful!).

This is a recipe I found through Pinterest, and made a few modifications. I always double (or quadruple) the garlic. I did not measure anything out, but ended up using Romano cheese (similar to Parmesan in flavor) because that is what I had on hand. Bill and I used this pesto as a pizza base this week and it was excellent (added a little extra olive oil to the crust first to ensure that golden baked goodness), and in the link below you will find a roasted carrot recipe that we also tried, and turned out fabulous. 

 Pesto is such a great way to preserve most greens and herbs, and I encourage you to try it the next time you find yourself wondering what to do with greens. If you make this without cheese, put it in airtight container (we have about a million different sized mason jars) and it can be frozen for up to 6 months. With cheese it lasts in the fridge about a week. Make sure to date your jars! We have a very sophisticated blue painter's tape system that works like a charm :)

carrot tops from one bunch of carrots (approximately 2-3 lightly packed cups)
large handful of basil
1 medium clove garlic, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (chopped walnuts may be substituted)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
flaky sea salt, to taste

I haven’t given many updates on our life through this means in a while, and I won’t make any promises, but I felt called to put a few posts together as I felt led. I think the focus is going to shift a little, but I can’t be sure until I dig into this side of myself again. For now, I will let you know, that what I am discovering is my life is what I make of it and I am attempting to be learning to be present with those I love and appreciate every moment I have with them.

Thanks to anyone who reads these words, but the truth is, I am learning if no one reads them, it is in the action of writing them out that I get my reward, not in the followers or comments. Reminding myself that the value lies in the process is so important and has been something I’ve been grasping in a greater way. Eliminate comparison and you will thrive.

Original Recipe Found Here

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