August 27, 2012

Basil Pesto and Potato Chicken Recipes

I've made pesto for years and frozen it. All these years I've made it with pine nuts, and then freeze without the parmesan cheese - adding it as I use the pesto. Now I'm going to be making it with my soaked and dried walnuts instead of the pine nuts. And I'm not going to add the nuts when freezing, adding them as well as the parmesan when using. I'll occasionally still use pine nuts, but I'm liking the walnut variety better.

First put the basil leaves, 2 oz is about 2 cups, in a food processor. I've not tried making pesto in a blender, but it probably would work too.

Basil in food processor

Add 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic
pinch of salt

Process, then add 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan.

Walnuts, garlic, olive oil added to basil in food processor

Processed Basil Walnut Pesto

- I cook up a chicken breast or two in plenty of salted water to cover till tender. Remove the chicken to cool enough to shred.
- Cut a potato or two in match-stick pieces and add to the water you cooked the chicken in.
- About 10 minutes before you think the potatoes will be tender add about 1/4-1/2 pound of broken up fettucini pasta to the pot to cook till tender.

Match-stick cut potatoes cooking in chicken broth and added fettucini
My goal is to not have much liquid left by the time everything is done cooking. If you do have lots of liquid left, pour or ladle it off, or thicken it with arrowroot or cornstarch. Add the shredded chicken and toss with the pesto sauce and serve. I've made this with home-made pasta ... My favorite homemade pasta is sourdough pasta. I'll be posting that recipe in the future.

Potato, Pasta and shredded chicken, all cooked in chicken broth, tossed with basil walnut pesto

I made this pesto with my soaked and dried walnuts to test the flavor. Now that I know it's great, I'll be making a lot of the beginning process of the basil without the walnuts and parmesan for freezing - both in either freezer bags, containers, or ice cube tray portions.

For example - the ice cube portion of pesto is excellent on a baked halved tomato, adding the crushed nuts and grated parmesan on top, then broil a bit at the end. I use my frozen pesto on homemade pizza too. It's good tossed with cooked spaghetti squash and chopped tomatoes.  

August 16, 2012


When did I start making kombucha? Sometime last early Spring, and I'm still making it. If you Google it you'll find tons of posts on it. I don't want to write about all it's benefits and history (it has been around a long time). I just want to post some pictures and how I do it.

Kombucha continual brew crock on seed starting mat and electric temp regulator (and some culturing dairy)

I do the continuous brew method. I bought a SCOBY online and initially got it started in a quart jar. Then I moved it into a 2 gallon crock with a tap I already had ... And it's still there. I clean the crock about 4 every months. I don't have to touch my scoby weekly with the typical method (some people refer to it as a mushroom, tho it's not). I've only touched my scoby when separating it to give to someone - their "baby" to get their own brew going. And I've split it in two to create a "Kombucha Scoby Hotel", which sits on a shelf in a cool room - if ever I need it. Most people rubber band a cloth over the top of their crock. Since my lid is not air-tight it works fine.

I read it does best around 75-85 degrees, so I bought an electric seed starting mat and a temp regulator (which saves electricity)(my mat is 9x20"). In the picture you will notice other things sitting beside the kombucha crock - usually my dairy kefir and anything else needing a bit more warmth (like a refrigerated sourdough bread dough boost, ginger ale bug/fermenting beverage ...)

Large tea ball and stainless steel spoon
The Kombucha scoby feeds from a strong sweetened black brewed tea. I start tapping some off in a glass to taste around day 5. I don't want it too sweet. If left too long, like after 7 days (unless the temp is cooler, so it ferments slower) it starts taking on a vinegar taste. This summer I've been tapping it off every 6 days, filling jars until no more comes out of the tap, which is leaving the scoby and enough brew as starter for the next batch. I make a large amount of the sweetened tea and let cool to room temp. You don't want to add a too hot tea to the scoby or you'll kill it. Then I add more water up to my crock's shoulder.

KOMBUCHA Recipe to refill my crock -
about 1 1/2 gallons
- 1 1/2 scant cups organic cane sugar (Costco carries the most economical 10# bag)
- 8 tsp tea (mostly black tea, sometimes a bit of green)
- Boiling water initially to dissolve sugar and brew the tea.

Put the tea leaves in a large stainless steel tea ball (or 8-10 tea bags) and the sugar on the bottom of the heat-proof jar (mine's a Vlasic pickle jar I found at a thrift store. It's best that the jar opening is wide so a large tea strainer ball will fit down in. I put a long stainless steel spoon into the jar to diffuse the boiling water's heat). A lot of this could be done in a saucepan ... Remember to let it cool to room temp. Or if you want it to be done with quick, just add cold water to the pan before dumping it on the scoby. Yes, I said you just dump your tea over the scoby. It'll rise to the top of the liquid level as you add water.

I started with using all black tea (an organic English Breakfast Tea I order from Amazon), then started doing 1/2 and 1/2 with sencha green tea. But I've returned to doing it all black. I find the green tea produces a more sour taste.

I've bought stuff and learned the most from Kombucha Mamma. Cultures for Health is another good source for learning about all types of fermenting.

Sweetened strong tea to feed Kombucha Scoby. See (smell ;^) the sweet peas?

August 15, 2012

Monte's Art

Monte is writing a book - The Secret of Singing Springs. It's in the editing and formatting stage. He's just finishing up the art work. Monte's got his own unique style. Some of his techniques come from his many years of geologic mapping. I told him I'd like to post one of his pictures, so here it is ...

Elk Fighting

The book's beginnings came from treasure hunts Monte used to set up around our property for our kids and friends, utilizing orienteering skills. Now it's evolved into more of the areas surrounding us where they've played, built forts, and hiked. Some local history, including my family's history, has been included in the book now too.

He'd want me to add that our first date was us sitting on a mountainside sketching. Monte sketches more photographically real. Like on that date he only got 1/10th of a tree we now have hanging in a hand-carved frame he made. I sketched probably ten things that date.

August 13, 2012

Combined Blogs

I've not posted on any of my blogs for months. Yes I typed "blogs" - plural. I wrote almost daily for several years at Karey's Contemplations, which was Karey's Overflow originally, at (which I still want to create a web page for). Karey's Overflow became more textile art oriented, and then I created Karey's Kitchen. But now I want to post whatever ... So I combined all my blogs back into one and renamed and redesigned it (maybe I just like creating blog looks!). So here I am ... and here you are ...

New Blog Banner
I've not posted anything since last April. It got busy around here. We had a wedding in our Aspen Grove - on the edge of the woods on one side, and the meadow and my lower garden on the other side (going to have to post some pictures). Now everyone is married. Now we have four grandchildren: 2 boys and 2 girls - all three and under. I'm still occasionally teaching felting related classes. I want to write two books right away - another cook/ recipes for life book, and Cycle of Celebrations - which I've blogged on.

I'll end on that note.

I will start writing and posting. I have taken pictures of lots of kitchen exploration and homemaking recipes and techniques. I need to describe what "Homemaking Beyond Maintenance" means to me ... but would love to hear what that phrase might mean to you?

I might as well add pics of my other three blog banners I designed, just to have them all displayed in one place ... and they are connected to this blog's title.

August 1, 2012

Deer and Elk in Velvet

I see a lot from my kitchen window . . . Lots of Wonder-FULL views! These photos were taken within one week of each other. I missed a good picture of a fox almost in the same spot!

Deer in velvet
Elk in velvet

Elk in velvet

Elk in velvet

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...