Okay, so I have to state the obvious here: I am merely an experimental cook. I have no experience whatsoever besides my daily forays into the kitchen. And usually I’m really hungry, so I’m not the world’s strictest critic either.
Basically what I’m trying to say here is don’t expect me to bring you stories of eternally successful and flawless recipes. Expect me to tell you the mistakes I made and what I learned in the process. Then, maybe you will be able to build upon them.
I kind of see cooking as a grand experiment. I don’t have the budget to go out and buy every precise expensive ingredient, so I work with what I have on hand. I have a feeling most of us do this. I love throwing ingredients together based upon a loose idea and seeing what comes from it. Yes, that doesn’t make me the most precise cook, but I’d like to think it makes me versatile. And I’m always learning.
So what this is all leading to is the fact that I made pesto yesterday. Except I didn’t have basil, and I did have a lot of kale, so it became a kale pesto. And I didn’t have parmesan, so I used mozzarella. And I didn’t have pine nuts, so I used walnuts (I think you can see a trend here…). And I didn’t really feel like looking up a recipe, so I thought back to when I’d made pesto (once!) with my mom and just went with it.
Surprisingly, it turned out tasty.
When I do it again, I’ll make a few slight changes, but I’ll pass on the wisdom to you and you shall prosper because of it:
-2 cups of chopped kale leaves
-2 cups of cheese (I used mozzarella. It’s mild, so if you have parmesan, use that)
-2 cloves garlic (I suggest making it 3)
-3 to 4 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup walnuts
-black pepper to taste
Make it Happen:
1. Put a small handful of your chopped kale leaves, as well as about 1/4 cup of cheese and the garlic cloves in your blender (I wishwishwish I had a food processor, but blender it had to be).
2. Add about a tablespoon of your olive oil and start the blender action. If you have a kind of crappy blender like mine it probably wont do much. This is when you start using that 1/2 cup of water.
3. Slowly add a bit of water, just enough to get the blender working.
4. Continue adding handfuls of kale and cheese along with olive oil and water (I think some people use all olive oil, but I didn’t want it to be thaaat oily. You, of course, may like more oil and less water!). Be sure to reserve a handful of kale.
5. Once things are pretty well mixed, add in your walnuts and black pepper.
6. Finally (and this is the step I forgot to do) add in that last handful of kale and mix, but not completely. This will give it a nice chunky pesto body. (Mine became more of a pesto puree.)
Anyways, as you can see from all of my editorializing, I could have done a few things differently (more garlic, less puree). But in the end I still really enjoy the taste of my Alterna-Pesto. You can really make pesto out of many different variations of herb/nut/cheese/etc, according to wikipedia (ultimate source on all things true and pure). In fact, after reading that article I really want to bust out my mortar and pestle to make some real legit pesto. Next time!