From Yard to Table – Fresh Basil Pesto

Growing up our parents made pesto every summer. I never really paid attention to how this was done but in college (and after) would love to leave Hattiesburg with a jar or two of frozen gold. Homemade pesto is one of my favorite things in the world, the grocery store stuff just does not compare.

This year I tested my green thumb out with a bed of wildflowers, and my mom suggested I add basil to the bed. Of course that hadn’t crossed my mind since I was on a flower kick, but the small basil plants that we added quickly turned into an abundance of the beautiful green herb. I set out of make my very own batch of pesto and was not disappointed. 

Pesto:

4 c. packed basil leaves

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan

1/4 c. toasted pine nuts

1/3 c. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 tsp. sea salt

Bit of freshly ground black pepper

Wash and dry basil well, pulling leaves from the stems. If you want to buy basil for this I recommend going to Home Depot or your local garden center as small basil plants will be less expensive than fresh grocery store basil.

Toast the pine nuts in a skillet on your stove top. Be careful as nuts can burn so quickly. Stir them around for 3-4 minutes, and once you see a little bit of brown coming through remove them from the heat.

Combine all ingredients, besides olive oil into your food processor. I had to pull out my big food processor for this. Turn on Low and slowly drizzle your olive oil into the batch of ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as need be.

Taste and season to taste. 

  
Add to sandwiches, pastas, on top of salmon (easiest thing ever!), pizzas, etc. You cannot go wrong.

Enjoy!!

Peaches+ Mozzarella+Prosciutto “Caprese” Salad

If you’re looking to make an embarrassingly easy summer appetizer this weekend – we’ve found it.  It’s not a real recipe but it is certainly worth trying! 

I’ve been lucky enough to have an abundance of peaches and wanted to do a take on a caprese salad. Added a bit of prosciutto and this crowd pleaser was created. The combination of sweet peaches, creamy mozz, savory and salty prosciutto and tangy balsamic really cannot be beat.

Ingredients:

1-2 peaches, peel and slice

1 small package of prosciutto, cut into two bite size pieces

1 small bit of fresh mozzarella, cut into two bite size pieces

A small handful of fresh basil

Balsamic Glaze, small drizzle on top of assembled ingredients

Directions:

Assemble, enjoy.

Whipped Feta 

This is one of the easiest best appetizers I have discovered in a long while. Last week I hosted a girl’s night and needed to whip something together with ingredients from my fridge and minimal effort.

Whipped Feta was created. And devoured. Success. I served with some of my favorite crackers from Trader Joe’s but also could be served with torn pieces of naan, spread on a crostini and topped with tomato or prosciutto or a basil leaf and black pepper. The possibilities for this concoction are endless. Please make this and let us know how you use it! 

Whipped Feta

1/2 Package of Feta Cheese

1/2 Package of Cream Cheese

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

Juice and zest of 1/2 of a lemon

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Fresh Basil (optional, but suggested)

Combine two cheeses in food processor until they come together, add all remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until 15 minutes before serving, this needs time to get closer to room temperature but does not take long to do so.

Serve. Enjoy! Be prepared to give out this easy recipe – people will ask for it!

Linguine with Brie, Tomatoes and Basil

Growing up my parents made this special supper once a summer when tomatoes were at their peak. It was always a meal that all four of us looked forward to sharing!

There aren’t many ingredients but it’s important that you have good, summer tomatoes (heirlooms would be great too), a fresh piece of Brie and lots of basil.

The other crucial part is preparing the no-cook-sauce early in the day so it can properly marinate at room temperature.

Here is the tried and true recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook that our mom has used for decades. Please note our few changes.

Linguine with Brie, Tomatoes and Basil
Ingredients:

4 ripe, large summer tomatoes

1 pound Brie cheese, rind removed, torn (yes by hand) into small pieces

1 packed cup of fresh Basil

1-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 – 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. Olive Oil

2 1/2 tsp. salt (divided)

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, with more for garnish

One package of fresh (refrigerated), homemade or regular linguine – cooked according to package directions

Directions:

Combine tomatoes, Brie, 1/2 c. Olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, garlic and black pepper. Let sit for at least two to three hours, covered at room temperature to marinate.

Add remaining olive oil and salt to pasta water and prepare al dente according to package.

Drain pasta and immediately combine sauce with noodles. Top with fresh basil and ground black pepper. Serve quickly.

Enjoy!


 

  

You Say Tomato, I Say Pie

Tomato, tomatoe…Tomato Pie! Tomato Pie is one of my very favorite summer dishes. It’s my go to as soon as I can get my hands on good summer tomatoes. I’m yet to find great ones in Nashville; these tomatoes came up from a friend’s garden in Mississippi with my parents. I have loved putting them to good use! 

Tomato Pie

Ingredients:

1 store bought pie crust

3 large summer tomatoes (I used 2 large, 2 small)

1 Vidalla onion

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh Basil

1/2 c.  Mozzarella, grated

1/2 c. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1/4 c. Mayonnaise

Several dashes of Tabassco

2 tsp. salt (to get water out of tomatoes)

Freshly ground black pepper

 Directions:

Slice the tomatoes, place around a colander and cover with salt to remove water.

Prepare topping. Combine 3/4 of the cheese, all of the mayonnaise, Tabassco, 1/2 of your  basil and black pepper in a small bowl.

Place pie crust in pie plate, and pierce it with a fork. Bake pie crust for 10 minutes at 400. 

While pie crust is baking, sautée onion until softened and add garlic.

After 10 minutes, you will begin to layer your pie. Add tomatoes first then top with your sautéed mixture and the remaining 1/4 of your cheddar and mozzarella combination. Add another layer of tomatoes then add basil and freshly cracked black pepper, finish with your prepared topping.


  
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. After 20 minutes add aluminum foil around the edges of your pie so the crust does not burn.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Top with remaining fresh basil.

Serve and enjoy!