Ok, so Ally just asked me to post a pesto recipe for some basil she has landed and I have to say that I have never, ever, in my life, followed a recipe for pesto. I’ve read a few just to be inspired but I always make the stuff by feel. If you have a mini-prep, use that …for sure. Here is my best shot at what I think that I do:):

– 1.5 to 2 cups basil leaves (a little stem is ok)
– 1/4 to 1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
– the juice of 1/3 fresh lemon (keeps the basil green and adds a little something)
– 2 to 3 cloves of garlic (depending on taste…you might want to only use one clove if serving this to picky toddlers)

First put all into food processor/grinder and do a grind with the above. Then add about 1 to 2 (up to 3?) tbsp. of olive oil. A paste should form. You can freeze this in small containers and it lasts in the fridge up to 3 days.

Optional additions:

– broccolli rabe ( take bunch of rabe, blanche it, grind it up and add the above recipe to the mixture. May take a bit more nuts, oil and lemon juice. Really good served as a "bed" under a fish (white…like talapia or sole) fillet.)

– parmesan (wouldn’t add this if you are freezing…just me…also, if you have a lactose intolerant in the house, just put cheese on the table and don’t add to the pesto)

– chilies (for spicy!)

Also, don’t forget you can make sage pesto with sage, pecans and olive oil. Cilantro pesto with walnuts or pine nuts, olive oil, chilies, garlic and lemon juice.

idea for use:

– fish
– pasta
– risotto (cook w/ broth and add pesto toward the last of cooking process. serve with some sauteed greens or snow peas on top)
– steamed veggies
– as seasoning for sauce (like…throw it into a can of crushed tomatoes with a chopped shallot and you are done with the pasta sauce cooking!)
– on chicken, fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper sandwich
– mixed w/ ricotta and stuffed into shells for stuffed shells
– mixed w/ ricotta and used as a filling for a savory tart on puff pastry


Folie à deux

April 4, 2008

Folie à deux  roughly is a syndrome where two people, usually living together, share a similar delusional belief. The below is from wikipedia:

Margaret and her husband Michael, both aged 34 years, were discovered to be suffering from folie à deux when they were both found to be sharing similar persecutory delusions. They believed that certain persons were entering their house, spreading dust and fluff and “wearing down their shoes”. Both had, in addition, other symptoms supporting a diagnosis of paranoid psychosis, which could be made independently in either case.

This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.

MY GOD but doesn’t this sound a lot like parents of an infant? Increased isolation after the initial throng of visitors, increased dust bunnies due to lack of time to do things like sweep and certainly there were many times I would awake from a sleep deprived haze to wonder how I might have ended up at point B and where the heck was point A again…which would explain why my shoes might have gotten worn out…all the aimless wandering. 

Pesto Part Deux 

– green peas (cooked), fresh basil, parm, olive oil, pine nuts

– artichoke hearts (cooked), arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, a splash of a crisp dry white wine

The above are both good with pasta, of course ,but also work with various seafood or tossed in to add a spike of flavor to sauteed broccolini, rabe, green beans and so forth.

I have people in my life. Tremendous people. Luck has made it possible for me to keep in contact with many of them through the years. Luck and the miracle of email. 

Apparently, in my latest “snooze fest” where I’m not paying attention to anything but my own little universe, some peeps have been having a fairly rough fracking time and well, as you’ll see on this post of a sister o’ mine, she seems to be having … a time:


We are all blessed in one way or another. Her blessings seem to be a lot of love and positive thinking. I thought my life was going badly…just had cuts atmy “job” that I originally took almost two years ago as a “stop gap job” to help me find another um, “REAL job”! Still here. Ugh. But…hey, I haven’t been fired. My job got “restructured” so I’m floating around now but…I’m still making the same and did I mention…I HAVE A JOB. Anyway, we got this ridiculous mass mailing to put together for two days straight and I was utterly depressed to be working on something so WASTEFUL (of skills, time, resources, creativity, etc.). It was soul-sucking. However, I went home to a full fridge last night and my husband and I both have our jobs, our health and a wonderfully healthy baby boy.

So, I’m gonna leave the pity party behind and do something useful. Cheap eats to the rescue of our lady of the empty pantry! Additionally, for all ya’ll looking for some home grown veggies, locally grown goods, farmers aid to participate in on personal level, check out this link and join if you can:


Cheapy Eaties (pt. 1)

***My Favorite $3.75 dinner:

1-16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes – if you use one of the cheaper Italian brands, this could be around $.99 to $1.25.
1-8ish oz. can of garbanzo bean (you can reconstitute dried beans. I would take 3/4 cup of dried beans and reconstitute in water overnight) – I use the Goya brand which is around $.69 a can.
2 – cloves of garlic crushed
* herb of choice, fresh or dried (use twice the amount of fresh that you would dried). I use 2 tbsp. of chopped fresh rosemary, usually. Rosemary is great because you can get a LOT of it for anywhere from $1.50 to $3 but properly stored it will last up to 3 weeks and you can use it on soooo many things. I think you use about $.30 worth in this recipe!
* chopped onion (I say onion because you should use what you have around. I use 2 chopped shallots but if you have a 1/2 of a medium yellow onion in the fridge you need to use, that will work JUST fine!)
* oil (1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil)
* long pasta of choice. I use linguine and I usually use Barilla which in NYC can range from $.99 on sale to $1.40 a box.

Take beans and run through a “Mini-prep”, food processor or blender to grind. Don’t make the beans smooth…just break them up a bit. You want this as texture AND a thickening agent for the sauce. Start heating water for pasta (salt your water!). Heat oil over medium heat in saute pan and add garlic and onion. Be careful not to brown and add chopped herb and ground beans. Add a dash of water, a little salt and some ground pepper. Let heat for about a minute or two and then turn heat down to simmer, add tomatoes and let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and serve with sauce and grated cheese of choice (I think Parm, Piave and grana are great for this but I LOVE Romano most of all for it and Romano happens to still be pretty cheap and lasts a long time wrapped properly in the fridge.) If you want this to be vegan just leave the cheese off and make this with a vegan brand/type of pasta.

*** That’s a spicy beans and rice for 4:

4- chorizo sausages sliced ( look in both the meat and deli section…you can get some really good packaged ones with jalapenos added. Don’t be afraid of a little Latin flavor! and most of these are made in California, just inspired by south of the border recipes. YOU CAN GET FRESH CHORIZO. Places like Whole Foods and Fresh Direct will have it if not all the time, occasionally. Buy it when you see it and freeze it for up to 3 months.

2 – 8 oz cans of black beans drained (you can use dried. reconstitute 1 and 1/2 cups of black beans overnight) – I use Goya.

2 – crushed garlic cloves

1 to 2 tbsp. of dried ground cumin

* 1 – small yellow onion (or whatever you have to use)
* chopped fresh herb ( I like rosemary or marjoram and I use about one tbsp.)
* dash of cayenne pepper, * two dashes of crushed red pepper, *salt and pepper (all too taste. I like mine hot. I also add some tobasco or some kind of hot sauce depending on how spicy the chorizo already is)

1 cup of brown or white basmati rice (prepare the rice as you like to. You’ll be serving the beans over the rice.)

Prepare rice while preparing beans. Start by prepping the onions, garlic and sausage. Sweat onions and garlic over medium heat and then add chorizo. Brown sausage and then add beans and spices. Add 1/3 tp 1/2 cup of water, wine or broth of choice. Turn down heat to simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over rice in individual, deep bowls. Garnishing ideas include: chopped green scallions, dallop of sour cream, grated cheddar (or piave or parm), chopped Italian parsley, etc.

Ideas for Pesto:

OK! I have like, a million ideas for pesto and I’ll admit that I stole a few of them but the whole POINT of pesto is to cook with what (little) you have.


Fresh Italian parsley, garlic cloves, parm or grana parm and olive oil. Grind together, saute in olive oil or butter and toss with spagetti.


Fresh Sage leaves, pecans, olive oil and orange zest. You have to play with the amounts but grind into “almost” a paste. You then saute the paste in butter and then toss with pasta of choice. I use linguine with this one.


Fresh rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic cloves, bread crumbs and feta. Grind together and mix with 1/2 pd. of ground lamb and one egg. Makes AMAZING meatballs.

*** Thyme:

Fresh Thyme, walnuts, fresh marjoram, piave, garlic cloves, olive oil and orange zest. Grind together, then add to 3/4 pds of sweet Italian sausage and saute in olive oil. Add arugula, raddicio (sp?) or dandelion greens almost at the very last. Turn off heat and toss with linguine and serve, perhaps with a tad more grated piave.

*** my version of Basil:

Fresh Basil, walnuts or pine nuts (or both), lemon zest, parm, garlic cloves and olive oil.

*** Broccoli Rabe:
Fresh Basil, broccoli rabe (blanch first), walnuts, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Make this with the rabe basil ratio 3 to 1 and I wouldn’t go very heavy on the garlic. Serve on a white fish like Talapia.

*** Arugula:
Fresh Arugula, fresh basil, pine nuts, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil and grana. I like to add this to ricotta and stuff shells with it (and then bake with a fresh tomato sauce poured over.)