Monday, July 9, 2007

Cooking with Herbs

So I haven't done much in the way of gardening lately, it's mostly just been watering. The grass is cut and not growing as it's too hot out. I'm eagerly awaiting my tomatoes which I'm hoping the 100 degree heat will ripen in the next few days, in the meantime we've been experimenting with cooking the herb garden.

Friday night we made a creamy pesto with pasta and pork tenderloin. Here's what we did:

2 cups basil (packed)
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 c pine nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan
a bit of parsley (the parsley is growing slowly)

Put all this into the food processer and process until it is a puree, then slowly add about a cup of heavy cream. I let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge before using it (as that's when we ate).

We browned some rounds of pork tenderloin in butter until they were 1/2 cooked, removed them and deglazed the pan with some Pinot Grigio. Then I added about 1/4 cup of the pesto sauce and the tenderloin rounds and cooked for about 10 minutes until they were done. I boiled some shells and added some more of the pesto to that. We actually browned the pork and made the pesto around 4pm and then finished it up at 7 only taking 10 minutes or so. Presto pasta meal. Now we just have to finish the pesto, I don't think it's going to freeze well with the cream in it.


Sunday night we made a chilled cream soup with sorrel, fennel fronds (left over from grilling the fennel bulb the night before), shallot and avocado. Here's how:

Chop up the shallot and saute until soft in butter
Add fennel and about 2 cups of chicken stock (we use minors at home)
cook until fennel is tender
Add about 2 cups of chopped sorrel (removing woody stems) and let cook another 2 minutes
Turn off heat and add cream, 1 chopped avocado and a bit of lemon juice. Puree with the immersion blender being careful not to slop it all over the kitchen counter like I did. Salt to taste. Pour into bowls and chill for 1/2 hour.

The soup was still warm in the middle but cool around the edges so the dichotomy between cool and warm soup was interesting. I like mine all the way pureed but if you wanted avocado chunks you could mash it in with a potato masher, though it wouldn't be as creamy.

Next time I make something herblike I'll try and post pictures. Tomatoes please ripen!!!

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