I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Basil In Winter

The nights are starting to get too cold to leave the herbs outside and I don't want to lose any of them. Herbs can sometimes be difficult to keep fresh once picked. You can dry them which will intensify the flavor. Plus by drying and removing all the moisture the herbs will last for a good length of time. I will sometimes layer the herbs between sheets of wax paper, place in a container and freeze. The shelf life is not quite as long as the drying method but the flavor is a little closer to fresh. One of my favorite ways of keeping that intense basil flavor and aroma for several months is by turning the basil into a pesto. I love reaching for that jar of pesto during the winter months it gives every meal a hint of summer.

Basil Pesto

2 Cups of Basil leaves, stalks removed and torn into pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 Cup of pine nuts or walnuts
3 tablespoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
1 1/4 cup olive oil

Put everything in a food processor and then slowly drizzle in the oil. You do not want this completely smooth. Serve on bread, flavor your meats or seafood or just toss some into your favorite pasta dish.

image WebECoist

Monday, September 13, 2010

Falling Into You

Falling Leaves, falling temperatures no wonder we call this the fall season quite aptly named I would say. While things are falling steadily outside the inside temperatures are on the rise. We slowly raise our thermostats and once again begin to turn up the burners for some cold weather cooking. For me it is an automatic reflex on our very first cold, dark damp day that my soul longs for a big bowl of homemade soup. I never know which one to make first, I have so many favorites but since it is that time of year filled with crisp aromatic apples and rich velvety squash in such great abundance I believe my soup journey should begin here.

Apple Harvest Soup

4 slices day old bread
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 lg. butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 med. onions, sliced
4 c. chicken stock, canned or homemade
3/4 tsp. dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. apple wine, may substitute with apple cider
1/2 c. heavy cream
Sour cream

Make bread crumbs of the bread. Place in stockpot with all ingredients up to apple wine. Simmer 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Puree the mixture and reheat to simmer. Add the apple wine and cream - do not boil. To serve, garnish with dabs of sour cream.