Pesto mashed potatoes

Posted in Garden, Pesto, Potatoes, Vegetables on March 3rd, 2011 by admin – 3 Comments

Pesto night came upon us again and this time I was able to take a picture of the aftermath.

For some reason when I get an idea, I have to Google it to validate it… and then become disappointed that I’m not the first to think of it. Things like ‘I wonder if you can make pesto mashed potatoes.’

Yes you can, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect, doesn’t need a recipe. I certainly didn’t follow Rachel Ray’s recipe, which explicitly says “1 cup prepared store bought pesto”. (Andrew says she doesn’t cook, she assembles things.)

Coincidentally I did use the red potatoes in her recipe.

I almost feel like this should be saved for a token St. Patrick’s Day post because this looks like such the typical “let’s take a normal food and turn it green for the holiday”.

I didn’t do anything special except add a bit of milk to make it mash easier so it tastes… exactly like pesto and mashed potatoes would taste, if they happened to be mixed together, instead of sitting next to each other. Nothing special, but not bad if you really need a new idea for all that pesto.

The harvest: Tri-basil Pesto

Posted in Garden, Pesto, Spreads/Dips on March 2nd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

The basil in the AeroGarden went crazy despite our best efforts to throw basil into practically everything we cooked. Macaroni and basil? Sure. Tuna salad and basil? Why not? That meant it was time to make pesto. In fact Andrew’s theory was that pesto was invented just to use up the insane amount of basil that grows on a plant. I think he is right.

I thought I took an “after” picture for comparison but it’s too late now since the garden looks pretty much the same again. More pesto coming this week.

Andrew gets full credit for actually making the pesto, using this recipe:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

This was a “tri-basil pesto” because we used leaves off of our three plants – genovese, globe, and lemon basils. Genovese is the traditional pesto-making basil. Next time I’m planning one type of basil, since pesto is still good, but more other herbs we actually want to use. Cilantro please!

I don’t remember off the top of my head, but knowing Andrew he wasn’t content to stick to one kind of cheese either and must have used his three-cheese Italian blend. The little bag of pine nuts seems more authentic than walnuts, but was pretty expensive for what you get.


  • Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

  • Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Watching Andrew do the “to taste” part, I realized that phrase never really caught on in my head except for making cheese sauce. I have to remember how that works… or let the husband cook for us more.

Served with some fancy bread… and finished on pasta the next day.

AeroGarden update

Posted in Garden on January 27th, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

That’s enough basil to pesto a whole noodle!

The Aero Garden

Posted in Garden on January 22nd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

We got a good haul for Christmas this year. I feel like a little kid naming off their toys but for us it was kitchen toys, including a KitchenAid mixer and an immersion blender. It also included a very large Cuisinart food processor, while we already own a “regular sized” Cuisinart from from the wedding registry. This led to a dilemma of whether to keep it in storage (the spare room) until the day we own a house with a kitchen large enough to use it, or return it and use the money for something else. We decided on returning it to buy something that would still be in the spirit of the original gift.

Over the summer I tried to start an indoor herb garden. Cilantro, parsley, and chives sprouted in cute little mini-pots on my windowsill, and then promptly died when they decided something was the slightest bit off. This continued over the summer until I felt too guilty for my death toll. In the end the only thing I grew successfully was cat grass.

So one of the things we picked up with the exchange was a 7-pod AeroGarden. We saw these over the summer but it was way out of our budget. The starter set is a little heavy on the basil so I see homemade pesto in our future.

One week later we have cute little sprouts from each of the pods. Wish me luck on not killing these – all I have to do is watch this time.