27 July 2010

Pea and Basil Soup

I am currently obsessed with basil. I want to eat it all the time. I am always obsessed with soup. I went out and bought new bowls so I could have more soup.

I had half a bunch of basil leftover and decided I wanted some SOUP! I also had this bag of frozen peas that I had bought for a different recipe and never used. I will admit that growing up, I hated pea soup. It wasn't even something my mom would try and force me to eat because she knew I wouldn't. But for some reason, I wanted to try and make pea soup. This was nothing at all like the salty sour canned split pea soup I grew up loathing. This tastes fresh and light and summery. It goes great with some crusty bread!

10-12 oz bag frozen peas
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups veggie stock
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
4 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup dairy... cream, milk, evaporated milk, soy milk, whatever
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. Boil stock and about 1 tsp salt over high heat.
2. Lower heat to medium and add peas and onion.
3. Cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies are soft.
4. While the veggies are cooking, put basil and garlic on a food processor or blender and process until very fine. You don't want them to cook very long to keep their flavors fresh, so don't put them in the stock with the veggies.
5. When the veggies are ready, blend them, in batches if necessary, until smooth.
6. Return the veggies to the pot. Add basil, garlic, milk and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and reheat until parmesan cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve! Garnish with parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil if you'd like!

Japanese (Benihana) Ginger Salad Dressing #1

Makes ~1 cup.

1/4 cup onion,. chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, chopped
1 tablespoon celery, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste (i don't remember wat i used, but it may have just been ketchup)
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash each salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender of food processor. Process until almost smooth.

19 July 2010

Avocado Corn Muffins

from this recipe

I love muffins for breakfast. It's such a treat! I love making them. I love muffin tops. I love muffin stumps. I bought a giant muffin tin because I can happily eat one giant muffin, but I feel like a fatty if I eat 2 or 3 small muffins... even though a giant muffin is about three and a half small muffins. Judge. Whatever.

Heather made avocado muffins a while back. I always meant to try making them, but I never did (and I still haven't!) My friend brought me ten avocados and I had to use them up before they went bad... hence the avocado pesto from last week. I'd had a hankering for corn muffins and thought... well avocado goes with corn! I like that this recipe uses avocado in lieu of butter or oil. There isn't much flavor from the avocado but the muffins have a really smooth texture and a cool green color. The original recipe isn't very sweet, so I increased the sugar. I also used some whole wheat flour in some sort of healthy attempt.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 large ripe avocado (I used 2 small)

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour a cupcake tin, or line with cupcake wrappers.  This will make 3 large or 10-12 small muffins.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
3. Add the eggs one at a time.
4. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until it's really smooth, you really don't want any avocado lumps at all.
5. Add the avocado and milk to the flour egg mixture and mix well.
6. Scoop into cupcake tins, you want to fill the tins almost to the top to get a nice round delicious muffin top. Sprinkle some sugar on top if you want.
7. Bake from 20-30 minutes or until tops are firm and slightly golden. Remove from the tins immediately. In my opinion, muffins taste better the next day, not right out of the oven. The flavors melt together. So bake these at night and eat one for breakfast the next day!

13 July 2010

Avocado Pesto

Avocado pesto has been on my radar for a while. Ted Leo twittered (tweeted? twatted? don't judge me! I don't have a twitter, I just stalk "famous" people on them) about making avocado pesto a while ago and kept promising to post the recipe, but he never did... So I looked it up myself.

I found a handful of recipes at different websites. Epicurious had one but the reviews weren't that great and I didn't really like the way the recipe looked anyway. I looked around and ended up using this recipe which I think might have been the one Ted Leo used, based on what his picture looked like. (And because it's vegan!) I will admit I was planning on adding parmesan cheese but I didn't have any.

The reviews on all the websites were pretty mixed, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But it is a perfect harmony of guacamole and pesto! I was a little worried about the lime juice, but it complemented both the avocado and the basil nicely. Avocados don't have a whole lot of flavor, but they give the pesto a great smooth texture. The avocado also makes it really thick, as opposed to regular pesto that is just held together by oil. As it is, this is a pretty even mix of avocado and basil. You could make it more of a basil guacamole if you preferred, or have less avocado for a stronger basil flavor. I ate this over pasta, but it would be good as a dip for pita chips, or as a spread on sandwiches, or just to roll around in because it's that good.

A note of caution! Avocados brown after being exposed to air, so if you don't finish all of the pesto in one day, squeeze some extra lime on top and cover it tightly with cling wrap.

1 bunch of basil leaves, stems removed, leaves rinsed
2 large avocados, peeled and pitted (I had small ones so I used 3)
5-10 large cloves of garlic (I love garlic and I want my pesto to be spicy with garlic! you can use less if you want)
1/2 cup pine nuts
2-4 limes (you never know how much juice will come out of them... so have extras just in case!)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Toast the pine nuts until they turn golden and the oils come to the surface.
2. Put the basil leaves, avocado, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor. Squeeze two of the limes into the food processor.
3. Process until you have a paste.
4. Taste. Add the juice from one more lime if you'd like. Add salt and pepper and olive oil.
5. Process again until everything is mixed in. Season with more salt or pepper (or lime) if you'd like. If it seems dry, you can add more olive oil.