I am writing this blog with new eyes, having my last cataract operation this past Monday and having new lens installed in both eyes, so I will now have perfect vision. Whew! What a great idea! To help with all the details, Lou's family came from Taiwan and their daughter, Eliza Christen and significant other, Mark, came out from New York City. And all of us love to cook!
Mark Ordaz, a chef at the Family Restaurant of the Blue Hills Farm and Restaurant in New YHork City is an exceptional wonder. He looked through my herbs and didn't stop there to find new flavors for the dishes he was going to create. Have you ever heard of eating nasturtium leaves in smashed potatoes along with the seed buds? Well he made a very flavorful side dish of Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cooked and smashed and blended with grilled corn, on the cob mixed with salt, butter and the nasturtium leaves and buds...producing great flavors hot and cold.
From our garden he gathered purslane, three kinds of basil marjoram, 2 kinds of mint, and marigold, leaves and blossoms to mince together with cilantro --making a delightful herb blend he used tossed with extra virgin olive oil, and three kinds of vinegar to create a yummy topping for a Caprese salad created from our garden tomatoes.
The main entree was a pork loin that he generously rubbed with salt, then grilled with a baste of agave, a bit of olive oil, balsamic, red and cider vinegars. He frequently brushed the pork and turned it often, creating totally yummy flavors with a garnish of minced mint, basil and cilantro.
I made a pesto bread braid to accompany the meal and an apricot gallette for dessert. Totally fun and delicious!!
To add flavor, health and spice--I am offering our pure highest quality Mild chile on a 25% OFF sale until Sunday, September 19, 2021. Sign up now for our next classes. During Balloon Fiesta Week, we are offering our always popular Green Chile class on Monday, October 4 at 12 noon, followed by our Tamale Roll class at 11 AM. For more of our classes, check out our calendar on our website. Our next weekend class is October 8 - 10 and our next full participation week long class is October 25 - 27, 2021.
Here's the Pesto Braid recipe and my favorite Pesto recipe. With pine nuts in short supply, try slivered almonds--they work just as well. The Pesto Braid is a sister recipe to the Red Chile Cheddar Swirl Bread which is also yummy and attractive. Both follow.
PESTO BRAID BREAD
This is a beautiful and flavorful bread, that is wonderful with a main dish salad. You can actually make one loaf with the red chile and cheddar swirl and one loaf like this.
Baking Temperature: 375 F
Baking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
½ recipe of the Red Chile Cheddar Swirl Bread
½ cup or more Pesto
Butter for buttering the sheet pan
- Prepare ½ recipe of the Red Chile Swirl Bread. Then roll out as in step 4 of the Red Chile Bread, creating a rectangle of about 9 inches by 12 inches.
- Using a sharp knife cut the bread from the long 12 inch side into 3 inch slices on each side. Place on a generously buttered baking sheet. Using a table knife, spread the pesto mixture thickly—about 1/8 inch thick down the solid center. Then “braid” the dough by taking the left cut piece and overlapping the pesto, and placing the right cut side overlapped on the first side. Continue until the cut pieces have been overlapped all the way to the bottom.
- Cover and let rise until almost doubled. Preheat the oven to 375F during the last 10 minutes of rising. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when thumped. Place on cooling rack and generously butter, then remove to a cutting board.
This is my all-time favorite basil based pesto recipe. I got the original concept from Marcella Hazen and have modified it some. I love to make it and freeze it in glass jars. Always remember to reserve some of the pasta cooking water to mix with the pesto before adding the pasta back to the cooking pot. I also use it for making salad dressings, appetizers of all sorts and braiding into bread. Jane Butel
Yield: about 1 cup or 6 to 8 servings
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts (can substitute other nuts—I have used almonds, which are healthier)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Romano(can use 5/8 cup of combination of the two or either one)
3 Tablespoons room temperature butter
2 to 3 Tablespoons pasta cooking water
- Place the first 5 ingredients in food processor bowl and pulse until evently pureed. Add cheeses and butter and pulse until well mixed.
- Cook desired pasta or use as desired. If using over pasta, cook until al dente, reserving some pasta cooking water (see above). Place pesto in hot pasta cooking pot and whisk in the pasta cooking liquid until a smooth pudding like consistency. Then fold in hot cooked pasta and enjoy!!!
RED CHILE CHEDDAR SWIRL BREAD
The swirl of red chile and cheddar makes for a beautiful and festive bread—perfect anytime of year and particularly during the holidays. The bread is richly flavored with cheddar and beautifully accented by a rich, red chile-cheese filling that is tucked into a twirl throughout.
Baking Temperature: 375F
Baking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: two, 9x5 loaves
1 package active dry yeast or 1 scant Tablespoon
¼ cup warm water
1,1/3 cups milk
1, 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons honey
6 ½ cups all-purpose or bread flour (about)
2 Tablespoons ground, pure mild red chile
2 Tablespoons butter for buttering the pans and top of baked loaves
- Sprinkle yeast over warm water and whisk or beat with a fork until foamy and well dissolved.
- Combine the milk with 2/3 cup cheese, salt and honey and mix until well blended. Add 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, using a dough hook of your mixer, if available. Or, mix by hand. Add the fourth cup of flour and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Mix in the fifth cup of flour to make a stiff dough.
- Measure the sixth cup of flour and sprinkle about half the amount on the bread board or kneading surface. Turn out the dough and knead, working only enough flour into the dough to make a smooth and satiny dough that has very well developed gluten, which you can tell by stretching a pinch of dough between your fingers until it forms threads as you pull it.
- Place the bowl over the dough and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and squeeze out the air bubbles with your hands and roll out to about ½ inch thickness. Scatter the 1 cup cheese over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the red chile. Roll as for a jelly roll, pinching the seam of dough as you roll the lengthwise edge of dough together. Cut in half.
- Generously butter 2, 9 x 5 inch bread loaf pans. Place half of the dough in each pan. Cover and place in a warm place to rise until almost doubled. Preheat the oven to 375F during last 10 minutes of rising. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Place on cooling racks. Remove from pans after about 10 minutes and generously butter the top of each loaf.