One of my big kitchen goals is to make things without using recipes. Toss in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and voila! Deliciousness! I’m getting better at it, but most of the time I just use a recipe- food is expensive, and if I screw up I have to eat whatever mess I made. Sometimes I’m able to compromise though, and recreate something I’ve made using a recipe in the past, but without strictly following the directions. It isn’t as good as inventing my own recipes, but it makes me feel pretty cool when I can whip up some legit dish from memory.
My friend Sam is a man of many talents, and one of my favorites is his ability to make knock-your-socks-off hummus. The boy has a gift. He made some truly dazzling pesto hummus for our friend’s birthday last weekend, and I’ve had basil on the brain ever since (his girlfriend confessed to me that she gets up in the middle of the night when she stays at his place and eats hummus with her fingers, and I don’t blame her in the least). Of course the best pesto in the world is made by my mother (Happy Mothers Day!), but even though I knew I could never live up to that standard I had to try. I just got a new blender (with a Target giftcard I got as a thank-you present from a Birth Companions mom, which made it even nicer), and so I made sure to pick up a big bunch of basil at the market on Saturday so I could give it a proper christening.
I know people like to get all fancy with pesto, but I keep it simple- basil, garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Heavy on the garlic, and because I wanted a smoother texture (so I could use it on salads), heavy on the oil as well. I didn’t use a recipe, and just sort of guessed at proportions, tasting as I went. I was a little skeptical that my little blender would be up to the task, but it handled like a dream, and now I have a jar of gorgeous pesto, just begging to be eaten on toast for breakfast (a habit I picked up from my childhood babysitter).