Monday, August 15, 2011

My Kitchen Smells Like Basil

Well, my kitchen smelled like basil at about 2:00 pm today. Now it smells like vinegar, basil, and black-eyed peas. This is not the dessert post promised, but I have volunteered to make a dessert for a dinner party Friday night, so it will be documented this week.

I woke up this morning with the notion that I needed to clean. (Actually, I'd been telling Husband that I would clean Saturday, but I had an ovarian cyst rupture that night, therefore, yesterday was spent mostly in bed or at the computer.) Today though, I was energized to clean, but first, I had a project to do that had been irking me.

When I went grocery shopping, I bought a bag of organic, fresh basil leaves, and decided that I would use them for cooking and make pesto with the rest. It had been sitting in the fridge for a few days, and the desire for it NOT to go bad was strong. I have a habit of buying fresh things sometimes, forgetting about them, and then woe-is-me when I find them shriveled in a vegetable drawer or liquefied in a produce bag.

This was NOT going to happen. Basil is my favorite savory herb. Well, rosemary too. It's so hard to choose just one! Regardless, after a bowl of strawberries and some turbinado sugar, I set to work, while waiting for my friend to arrive so that we could work out.


I rinsed nearly the entire bag of leaves, without stems, in my salad spinner to rinse off the dirt and anything else lurking between the leaves, stuffed them into the blending cup that came with my stick blender (a.k.a. the magic stick) and began adding the olive oil.

I partially peeled the two garlic cloves. By the way, little trick taught to me by my friend, turn the clove sideways on a cutting board, lay your chef's knife broadly over the clove (sharp end away from you!) and smash the clove with a good whack! It cracks it open, releasing oils and making it oh so much easier to peel.

After plopping the peeled cloves into the mix, I grated a good amount of fresh Parmesan cheese and added the two tablespoons. All that was left was the nuts and the blending. The recipe I used, calls for 1/2 cup of pine nuts or pecans, but I just sprinkled a few walnuts in there after I'd started blending.


It took a while, but I finally had a leafy goo that reeked of fresh herbs and poured the lot into a recycled jam jar. It was quite exciting. About that time, my friend showed and I made us some espresso and we hit the gym.


After checking the mail, I was ELATED to find a USPS parcel sitting in our mail box. It is a heap of organic make-up trials and a facial soap from Coast Classic Creations, which I found on the Skin Deep website. SO excited! So far, I have tried the bar and oil. I love the feel of them, also their exfoliating brush. The make-up is wonderful, except one must use  a high amount of the concealer and foundation to cover blemishes, but I expect that from any loose, mineral-powder make-up. It is very light and comfortable. I will keep y'all updated with the soap when it comes to my blemish-prone, extremely oily skin.


Upon returning, I saw a few roaches lurking near our trashcan and something snapped. I was pissed. We've had issues with these infernal roaches since we moved into this apartment. We've called pest control, but after so many fumigations, and especially after all of the research I've been doing, my goodness, we aren't calling them again.

I took matters into my own hands in buying roach and ant traps, throwing them everywhere in the kitchen. This did not help, and trying to dissuade my dog's curiosity of them was growing annoying. I had had it!

I grabbed the one bottle of harsh chemical cleaning product we have left in the house and just started spraying every one I saw, laughing evilly and yelling, "DIE! DIE! DIE! I KILL YOU NOW! SUFFER AND DIE!"

My husband came running into the kitchen to see the commotion and busted out laughing at the spectacle. I realized that there were cracks all in our pantry floor. The boards look like they could be removed for cleaning underneath at some point, but they've been cemented in place by the numerous paint jobs the complex performs after every tenant.

I think there is a nest under there, so I went to spraying all of the cracks, and I am crossing my fingers that I don't see any more. After a fight with the vacuum cleaner and some counter wiping, I decided that the bag of dried black-eyed peas in our pantry needed to be use.

I bought this particular bag probably two years ago (gross, right?), with the intention of making hummus with it. I'm not a huge fan of chick peas, so for this Southern girl, the popular bean was a good substitute in my mind.

Finally finding tahini (sesame seed butter), the adventure was bound to happen. I soaked them and cooked them, only realizing when they were finished that the whole bag was probably a bad idea. I had to double the base recipe and still had about a cup and a half left over.

I never tend to follow recipes closely, unless I am baking, but even then, I tend to stray to accommodate my tastes or replace an ingredient I don't have. In this case, I was short about three lemons. I added some extra salt, a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few fresh basil leaves with a dash of Italian seasoning, which is a hodge-podge of oregano, sage, rosemary, and marjoram.

After taking my magic stick to it, it turned out several, delicious cups of hummus. I will definitely make this again, but try to get a few more lemons and much less peas next time.

Pesto Recipe

2 cloves peeled garlic
3ish cups of tightly packed basil leaves
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pecans or pine nuts (I used a few sprinkles of chopped walnuts)

Process everything except for the nuts in a food processor or blender and then add the nuts when everything else is fairly mixed. Refrigerate after placing it in the jar.

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