Monday, June 13, 2011

Pesto and pestles

Mortar and Pestle Set by clamlab
I saw this lovely mortar and pestle set on Etsy a few weeks back, and I got all excited because it's made out of porcelain on the wheel. I thought "Yay! I can make that!" I've been wanting a little mortar and pestle for the kitchen, but I never thought of making my own. I also wanted one for grinding glaze materials at the studio.

Around the same time, I saw a pesto recipe in Traditional Home magazine that calls for a mortar and pestle, and I've never made pesto by hand before. I love pesto! So I decided I had to do this.

I decided that the green one was coming home to the kitchen, and the little blue one could be my studio set.
We normally have pizza on Sundays, and my husband just got a brand new bread machine for $5 at a moving sale, so I thought we should try making our own pizza dough, and I could put pesto on it. I can't have dairy right now because baby Maddy can't digest it, so I made my half of the pizza without cheese.
Best pizza ever!!! I didn't miss the cheese at all. The crust was nice and crispy, and the olive oil soaked in and make it taste like good bread. Nich had chicken alfredo pizza, and mine was chicken with tomatoes, portabella mushrooms, and calamata olives.

Making pesto by hand with the mortar and pestle was definitely labor intensive, but man was it good! I've now decided I need to grow some basil so I can have fresh pesto whenever I want.

The pizza dough recipe I used is on allrecipes. You can find it here.

The aromatic herb pesto recipe is as follows:
Aromatic Herb Pesto:
In mortar, place pinch of coarse sea salt and five basil leaves. Crush with pestle. Add, a few at a time, about 25 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup parsley, 8 mint and 2 sage leaves, and 2 garlic cloves, crushing after each addition and pounding until mixture becomes a paste. Add 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts; work into paste. Add 2 tablespoons shredded Grana Padano cheese. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Work all into creamy consistency. (If using blender, add salt, basil, parsley, mint, sage, and garlic to blender. Cover; blend to make paste. Add pine nuts. With motor running, slowly pour half the olive oil through opening in lid. Add Grana Padano cheese and remaining olive oil. Cover; blend until mixture becomes creamy paste.) You can also spread pesto on grilled Italian bread or use it as a condiment for beef and chicken.

I'm really pleased with the way my sets came out. They're not quite as elegant as the ones on Etsy, but they're pretty cute. I'm debating whether to make more or not. What do you think?

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