Summer Basil

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Every summer I grow fresh herbs in pots that sit on the deck right outside of my kitchen. I love being able to step outside and cut fresh herbs for our cooking. This year I grew three kinds of basil: Siam Queen (Thai Basil), Nufar Basil, and Genovese Compact Basil. The Thai Basil is great for salads and Thai cooking. The Nufar and Genovese are great for making Italian Pesto sauce. Pesto sauce is made with basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Today I made two kinds of Pesto, one with Pistachio nuts and the other with Pine nuts. Tonight we are enjoying  Paccheri Rigati, a wide large noodle resembling a rigatoni, with the Pistachio nut Pesto. The other Pesto I am bringing to my son who is spending the summer in New York City and he loves home-made pesto. We will our accompany the meal with a nice salad and delicious Focaccia bread.

Today I share a great quote from Albert Einstein.

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today I share a quote by Malala, the Pakistani girl who was shot in her school by the Taliban in 2012. I also share a link to my other blog with a story that I wrote in 2013 about Malala and women’s rights. https://thelabyrinthguide.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/malala-and-the-papal-conclave/

One year ago we celebrated the occasion with Chicken Fricassee, a classic French dish. To prepare Chicken Fricassee you begin by sautéing the chicken and setting it aside. Then you use the same pan to make a sauce with wine, chicken broth, mushrooms, onions, egg yolk, sour cream, lemon, and fresh tarragon which adds a distinctive flavor to the dish.

In 2014, we enjoyed a pasta dish with our homemade pesto. Pesto is a sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. In the summer I grow a lot of fresh basil so we make Pesto sauce A LOT! The traditional recipe for pesto calls for pine nuts.However, if I don’t have pine nuts I substitute other toasted nuts like walnut or chestnut. We use Pesto on pasta, pizzas, and sandwiches. My children made up a funny song a long time ago, “Por supuesto, es tiempo para Pesto”, which translates, “Of course, it is time for Pesto”.

Pasta Friday Nights

Fridays are a good day to throw together a fun pasta dish.  I was not sure what we would be having tonight. So when I was out earlier today running errands I bought a roast chicken. The beauty of a roast chicken is that you can transform it into so many wonderful dishes. It was either going to be quesadillas or pasta. We decided to go with a pasta. After shredding some of the chicken I will sauté it in a little olive oil with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. In a separate pan I’ll sauté the spinach to wilt it.  I’ll make a light parmesan cream sauce to which I’ll add the chicken, spinach, and the cooked pasta. And there you have it, a fun Friday night pasta.

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I share with you a Japanese proverb.

Three years ago we  enjoyed another pasta dish. This time a pesto pasta with chicken and sausage. Pesto sauce is a sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts), parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. During the summers I grow a lot of basil to make our pesto sauce. In the winters we buy fresh basil to continue making and enjoying pesto dishes.

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