So can I just say: the best thing about the encroaching spring is, hands down, the sudden cheapness and abundance of fresh basil at the market. Holy crap.
After having bought a large bunch on Friday morning, I realized that perhaps my absolute favorite smell in the whole wide world is, in fact, the smell of fresh basil. Needless to say I was pleased to return to my car and find that it had blossomed with the lovely warm smell of basil, like an herby bouquet, while I ran into the grocery store. So damn good.
And I of course had to make some pesto with it. Especially after my mom decided that, for the birthday dinner I had offered to cook for her, she wanted me to make her one of my tofu and pesto-mayo sammiches with my vegan mac n' cheez and asparagus with roasted garlic sauce. (Needless to say, I had to make fun of her (at least a little bit) for choosing--of all things--mac n' cheez for her b-day meal, since it's so 12-year old, but hey--it made life easier for me, so I couldn't make fun of her for TOO long.)
Not only did I realize this weekend that basil is perhaps my very favorite smell, I also realized that pesto may very well be one of my favorite recipes to make as well.
I love the smell of walnuts roasting. I adore the crisp scent of basil lingering on my fingertips. I like the meditativeness of peeling garlic and dicing it. I like the soft cloud of cheezy-smoke that wafts upwards as I toss in the nutritional yeast. I dig the hum and whir of the food processor as everything comes together just right. It's just so nice and calming to make for some reason. Maybe because it's so simple and yet yields a result that's so lovely and complex-tasting. And one that tastes EXACTLY LIKE SPRING.
Regardless, I dig it. And I dig the VwaV recipe for pesto in particular, which is the one I use each and every time, it's that good. The only strange pesto hang-up I have is that I like my pesto nice and thick, as you can see from the pics. So I tend to use as little olive oil as I possibly can while still binding it all together into a creamier (but thick) mixture.
End result: bliss.
My mom enjoyed it as well, along with all the other numbly sides and whatnot. I was not super-pleased with how the tofu came out (I tried baking it according to a recipe I found on the net, but--though the marinade was yummy, so I'm including the recipe here--the end result was a soggy tofu, even after a) having pressed it and b) throwing it into a frying pan after growing frustrated with its lack of firmness upon baking). Everything else though: *puffing a kiss from my fingertips* MAGNIFIQUE!
And what would a b-day dinner be without dessert? Not much of one.
So yes, I did whip up a yummy dessert. And yes, I plan on posting the recipe. But until then, I'll leave you with this bit of a teaser--what could it be? Oh, what could it be?!?
- 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
- 1.5 T. balsamic vinegar
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 1/2 t. dried rosemary
- 2 T. olive oil (though I'm thinking now that I may have forgotten to add this)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together. Use it as a marinade for tofu. Or seitan. Or mushrooms. Or your big toe, for all I care.
(Adapted from a recipe from Angelica Kitchen)