Saturday, January 25, 2020

Cilantro Basil Pesto

One of our local farm market stores had a sale on cilantro, two bunches for fifty cents, so I decided to make some pesto. To tone down the cilantro flavor I decided to add some basil. If you don't like cilantro you can substitute flat leaf parsley or perhaps kale or spinach. Although I haven't tried the substitutes.
In my blender I added 1/2 cup of olive oil, 2 cups of cilantro leaves and one cup of basil leaves. I also added one clove of garlic minced and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Don't omit the lemon juice because it helps keep the mixture from turning dark. Pulse your blender till mixture is smooth. If your blender stalls you can drizzle in a little more olive oil. See how bright green it is.
Meanwhile cook your pasta of choice. When the pasta is al dente, drain and put in a bowl and add the pesto and toss. I sprinkled some grated parmesan on the individual servings. Of course it was delicious. I used to get pre-prepared pesto but for some reason the oil in store bought pesto doesn't agree with me. I was going to add 1/4 cup of cashews but Gary informed me he is allergic. He's also allergic to walnuts. I avoided pine nuts because they are so expensive.  The flavor of the pesto didn't seem to suffer without the nuts.
I found this chickpea fusilli pasta which is gluten free to use for the pasta. Chickpea pasta has a better texture than rice pasta. Of course it is more expensive than rice pasta and rice pasta is more expensive than wheat pasta. But what can a gluten free person do? Pasta with texture like fusilli or bow ties is best to aid in the pesto adhering to the pasta. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Recline in the Mist

A world gone crazy, recline in the mist
Give your weary soul a place to rest
Lean back into soft pillowy air
Breathe in, breathe out, without a care.

In the dripping mist are possibilities
Solace, suggestions, defining moments
Vistas, visions, future intentions
Some lost, some acted upon, most not
Still and all, go forth, recline in the mist.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Navy Beans and Smoked Hog Jowls

Some time ago I recalled reading about a recipe using smoked hog jowls or smoked ham hock for flavoring. I opted for the ham hocks. The meat on the ham hock never did get soft enough to remove from the bone easily. So this time I decided to use hog jowls with my navy beans.

Navy beans are smaller than great northern beans. They are a variety of a common bean native to the Americas. The beans are called navy beans because the United States has served them to sailors since the mid 1800's, due to their nutritious value. Click the link to read about all the benefits of eating navy beans.
When I got the sliced smoked hog jowls home I saw they seemed to have a lot of fat like bacon so I decided to pre-cook them so I could remove most of the fat. I ended up cooking them quite crisp. I hoped that wasn't a mistake. I soaked the navy beans overnight and drained them in the morning.

I chopped an onion and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil. Next I added 3 stalks of chopped celery. Then I added the navy beans and a can of chopped tomatoes. (If tomato acid bothers you, at the end stir in one tablespoon of baking soda and stir till foaming ends). I added two teaspoons of cumin, 2 tablespoons of molasses, 1 1 tablespoon of worchestershire sauce, four bay leaves, one teaspoon of  thyme and garlic powder, salt and pepper. If you like a little heat add one chopped hot pepper or sprinkled in some red pepper flakes

I tossed in the pre-cooked chopped smoked hog jowls. I also added about four cups of water. I brought the bean mixture to a boil and let them simmer for about one and one half hours. When the beans are soft they are ready to eat. To my relief the hog jowls softened up in the beans. Gary raved about the beans and he wasn't a sailor but was in the air force. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Baked Zucchini with Parmesan

I sent Gary to the local farmers produce stand to get some produce on sale.  Among the vegetable items on sale were three cucumbers for a dollar. He asked me what they looked like. I said they are dark green, shiny and waxy. He came home with three zucchini. I ended up making baked Parmesan zucchini. Image borrowed because we ate them too fast to take a photo. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.