Preserving basil from the garden as pesto

It’s getting to be towards the end of summer growing season in Austin. Our two basil plants are still crazy large, as in, overflowing our garden by a lot. We haven’t used it nearly as much as we should so I decided to preserve some to use throughout the winter. I’ve read about a number of ways to preserve basil, but for today I decided to make my own version of pesto and then freeze it. Maybe I’ll use another method next week.

First I brought in a huge sinkful of basil.


Next I washed it and separated the good leaves from the stems.


After running the leaves through the salad spinner (I had 3 bowls!) I put them in batches into my food processor.


I added olive oil, white miso paste, water, salt, pepper, pine nuts and feta cheese in batches with the basil until the pesto tasted the way I wanted it to.


To freeze the basil, I spooned it into an ice cube tray. I use a tray that has a lid so that I can easily stack things on top of it if I need to. I also had enough pesto to fill up a separate round container. The idea is to thaw individual cubes as needed for a single meal. After the pesto froze, I removed it from the tray and put the cubes in a freezer bag.

Basil-5 Basil-6

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Making miso soup

For a while I’ve had some miso in the fridge. I knew I wanted to try making something with it again so I settled on making soup. I found this recipe from Vegetarian Times that appealed to me because of the variety of vegetables it includes. Of course, I made the decision to change it up so I got extra cremini mushrooms  in addition to the oysters, an extra white onion, a poblano pepper, and went for mustards greens instead of spinach since they were particularly pretty at the store and they’re a winter crop. The grocery store also conspired against me by not having any fresh ginger OR frozen edamame. The nerve!  Of course I also doubled or perhaps tripled the recipe so that it would last all week (and then some it turns out, must remember that I’m only feeding two people).

Anyhow, my version went something like this:

Slice 3 large carrots, one poblano pepper, onion, scallions (AKA green onions), and mushrooms and cook in minimal oil for a few minutes.

Add lots of water to the pot, bring to a boil. Add frozen peas in place of edamame, continue to cook for a few more minutes

Add mustard greens since they are a little tougher than spinach and I assume take longer to cook than the spinach called for in the recipe. Cook a few minutes.

Reduce heat, add rice noodles that had been soaking in water and powdered ginger. I just tend to wing it with ginger since I’m a fan of the spice.

Blend a bunch of brown miso in some warm water with a mini whisk or fork. Add miso, sesame oil, and soy sauce to pot.  Allow to simmer for a while. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Of course, soups are always better the next day. We ended up adding sriracha to our individual bowls to make them a bit spicy.

Turned out pretty well, overall. Definitely more flavorful than many other soups I’ve made. And probably pretty healthy with all of those pretty veggies…




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