Tag Archives: basil

Basil Pesto Dip with Pita Chips

basil pesto dipCooking Light is one of my favorite magazines.  They have all of those cool exercise activities that may be tried once, but it feels so good just to be looking at them. No longer do they put yogurt in everything, and butter is even allowed.   The big plus to me is the seasonal dishes that are approachable on a week night.

One little recipe in the July issue looked like a great ditty for this family that loves its chips and dips when friends are over.  Taking a closer look at the recipe, it became clear that it is basically fresh pesto with some light sour cream and lemon juice.  Oh yes, I can do that!  The only part that took a bit of planning was the pita chip bake.  Summer has totally arrived on the delta, and that oven does not get turned on after 8:00 AM. Just baked these little pita lovelies in the morning and all was well.

Is this really yummy, or just healthy, you ask.  Umm, after three days, we’re on our second batch!  Yummy?  Oh my yes!  Healthy? Let’s just not discuss portion control right now.  😉

Basil Pesto DipLon's herbs

1 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup basil pesto

2 tsp fresh lime juice

Directions

1.  Mix all ingredients and chill for 30 minutes.

Pita Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Split pitas, cut each half into 8 wedges.  Place on a baking sheet, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.  Bake for 11 minutes or until crisp.

Notes:

*  Our sour cream was a mixture of regular and light and it held up to the lime juice just fine.  My hunch is that light sour cream with the lime juice would be too runny.

*  The original recipe called for lemon juice, but I’m just on a lime kick these days.

*  Truly, this is addicting!

*  The pesto was made with basil from Lon’s farmstand.

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Basil Pesto trifecta

Lon's signSummer is here and the livin’ is easy.  My strategy this year is to not only enjoy the local bounty today but to also save some for a rainy day.  So many years we just gorge ourselves on the local produce, and honestly think we never want to see it again.  Then the winter months arrive, and surprise, surprise, we’re ready for a taste of summer.

At our local Farmer’s Market and in Lon’s farm stand, basil is ruling the roost.  So, pesto it is!   A few batches of pesto creates treats for months to come.

The Cooking Light magazine has bunches of wonderful summer time treats in the current issue, go figure, but several with pesto caught my eye.  This was not one of those nicely planned, hmmmm, I’m making pesto, what else can I use it in this week kinds of things.  Oh no!  This was one of those, I want to make this, and that, and that other thing, and oh my, what a surprise that they all involve basil pesto.  And at this point some people have their radar way up, considering the word “craving” and may I just stop you right now.  No, nope, nada.  This is really just about the love of the green.  Really.Pesto in food processor

Warning, this is another recipe that will make measuring mavens crazy.  These proportions worked for three hefty bunches of basil.  But really, pesto is forgiving … you can do it!

Enjoy the basic basil pesto along with the sandwich pesto mayo and pesto dip options!basil pesto trifecta

Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

3 bunches basil, leaves removed

8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups pine nuts

4 oz parmesan, grated

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions:basil pesto in food processor

1.  Add add basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts to food processor.  Pulse several times until roughly chopped.  It should look like bulgar at this point.

2.  Add parmesan and pulse processor again.  Slowly add olive oil until it gently puddles at the top of the pesto.  More oil may be needed depending on the temperature that day.

3.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Notes:

*  The parmesan adds a bit of saltiness, so do taste the pesto after adding the cheese and before adding the salt.

*  Don’t get frightened of salt here .. up to a point it just makes the flavor burst!

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches have been a “go to” recipe in our family for years now. The basics of it originate from the book In the Kitchen With Rosie published back in 1994. Rosie is the spa chef that Oprah hired to cook for her at home several diets ago. This is one of those books that I use sometimes for specific recipes, sometimes for lower fat cooking methods in general, and sometimes for a good laugh. I firmly believe that there are some foods that just need to be enjoyed in their full fat version, then we just adapt from there with other light meals during the week or enjoying smaller portions. Somehow many people find those concepts way out there, hence the spa cuisine. Ha!

Below is my adaptation, based on what I tend to have in the fridge and the veggies currently available during the summer. The tomato and lettuce can be omitted, and I just include them when the mood strikes me right. But the basil … that is a must!

Don’t let the long list of ingredients frighten you away. This is a really simple meal! Just toss the dressing ingredients in a blender, and that is done. Slice and grill veggies with a bit of spice, and that is done. Just assemble the sandwiches from there and enjoy! Warning: these are gooey, veggies smooshing out of the sides, drippy sandwiches! Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Dressing:

1/4 cup mayo

1/2 cup light sour cream

3 TBS dijon mustard

1/8 tsp Crystal sauce (or Tobasco)

2 green onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp lemon juice

Sandwich:

1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1 yellow squash, sliced lenthwise into 1/4 inch strips

1 zucchini, sliced lenthwise into 1/4 inch strips

1 red onion, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch rounds

3 tsp Italian seasoning (or just some basil / oregano if that is what’s handy)

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

cooking spray

2 bell peppers, roasted and skins removed, sliced into strips

1 french bread baguette

1 tomato, cored and sliced (optional)

8 fresh basil leaves

8 arugula leaves, or other mixed green leaves

2 TBS jalapeño, sliced

black pepper to taste

Dressing instructions:

1. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and mix at low speed until smooth. The dressing will be a bit thin, but don’t worry.

Sandwich instructions:

1. To each of the eggplant, squash, zucchini, and onion slices, add a bit of oil to each side and dust lightly with Italian seasonings and cayenne pepper. Grill on a hot grill, about 3 minutes per side. These veggies should look a little black around the edges. Trust me, this is good.

2. Cut 1 inch off each end of the baguette. Slice it lengthwise so that the sides remain connected, then cut into 4 portions. Open the baguette and use your fingers to scoop out most of the bread. Grill lightly.

3. Assemble sandwiches by pouring dressing on the top and bottom of each baguette, they layering on the roasted vegetables, tomato, basil, arugula and jalapeño.