CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Used to be, when I read “pesto” as an ingredient in recipes, I skipped over it. I didn’t know what it was – a spice? Something that comes in a little jar in the condiment section of the store? Something from a foreign market?

I’m not sure when I discovered pesto as being one of those divine little “additions” that makes taste buds dance with joy. Whenever it was, I’ve since become a devoted fan. It helps if you have a little spot in your garden to grow a few basil plants (sweet basil) so you have a ready supply. Then you can whip up a fresh batch of pesto throughout the summer.


2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil (prefer extra virgin)
¼ cup pine nuts (or walnuts or pecans)
½ cup Parmesan, grated

Combine garlic, salt, and oil in a food processor until smooth. Add the basil, nuts, and Parmesan until desired consistency (I prefer it slightly coarse).

That’s it – you’re ready to go with your favorite recipe.

So . . . just what do you use it in?

BRUSCHETTA – Top toasted rounds of French bread with a teaspoon of pesto. Add chopped tomato and a bit of green onion. Yummy appetizer or addition to any Italian meal.

SANDWICH SPREAD – Can be used as is or mixed with a bit of mayo or Dijon mustard for an interesting flavor to any summertime sandwich.

PASTA SALAD – Use in place of part of the oil or dressing for a burst of flavor.

SOUPS and STEWS – Have the taste of fresh pesto year round by freezing prepared pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out into a zip lock bag to extend freezer life. Use one or two cubes of pesto into marinara or spaghetti sauce, vegetable soups, jambalayas, or crock pot meals. Easy and saves finding fresh herbs in the winter.
Note: Omit Parmesan when making pesto to freeze.

That’s it! Thanks for stopping by the café. Are there any “foreign-sounding” or “weird” foods you’ve come across that turned out to be one of your favorites? I’d be happy to give them a try.


Erica Vetsch said...

I should try this...I'm in the 'just gloss over that ingredient' territory still. :)

Myra Johnson said...

I usually buy my pesto in a jar. And then forget it's in the fridge.

My favorite foreign-sounding food is hummus! Love it on toasted pita triangles! My daughter, who spend three years in the Middle East, came home with some good recipes.

carla stewart said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies. Myra, I've never bought pesto in a jar. You'll have to share your hummus recipes with me. The only ones I've had seemed sort of bland - maybe yours have a little more zip!

Myra Johnson said...

My daughter says the key to smooth hummus is to peel each chickpea. Messy, messy!!! But it does help.