Monday, April 20, 2015


For years I tried to nurse straggling basil plants along. I planted them in sunny raised beds with compost enriched soil, but they were modest at best. This time we put one little plant in amongst other herbs in an Earth Box and the results were like Audrey Jr in "Little Shop of Horrors". It seemed to double in size each day. This first cutting back of the leaves produced an entire quart of homemade pesto. Look for some of it in the Roasted Veggie Stromboli below.

Completed Pesto, more than the sum of its parts
If you find yourself in a similar mega basil situation, here is Marcella Hazan's wonderful recipe for BASIL PESTO.
2     cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/2  cup extra virgin olive oil
3     TBL pine nuts
2     garlic cloves, chopped fine before putting in the processor
       salt to taste
1/3  cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2     TBL pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated
3     TBL butter, softened to room temperature

  1. Briefly soak and wash the basil in cold water, and gently pat it thoroughly DRY with paper towels.
  2. Put the basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, chopped garlic, and an ample pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to a uniform, creamy consistency.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the two grated cheeses by hand. It is worth the slight effort to do it by hand to obtain the notably superior texture it produces.
  4. When the cheese has been evenly amalgamated with the other ingredients, mix in the softened butter, distributing it uniformly into the sauce.
  5. When spooning the pesto over pasta, dilute it slightly with a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta was cooked.
  6. Freezing pesto: Make the sauce through to the end of Step 2, cover with a layer of olive oil and freeze it without cheese and butter in it. I like to use a plastic ice cube tray. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving.
Then, if you have extra Pesto left over (like me) here's a quick vinaigrette that you can use with salad or to brush on kebabs for the grill.
Bonni's Pesto  Vinaigrette
½  Cup Olive Oil (4 oz)
¼  Cup Pesto (2 oz)
Juice of half a lemon

Whisk the olive oil, pesto & lemon juice together.

The little Lemon Thyme plant is doing very well.  I suspect we'll be seeing some its leaves showing up in recipes in the coming weeks.

And there has been a lot of Monarch butterfly activity around the Butterfly Bushes over the past few weeks. We're hoping for a basket of eggs, followed by multi-striped caterpillars turning into a flurry of Monarchs. You go girls!!

Here's what you can expect out of my nature inspired kitchen.

THIS WEEK'S MENU     Pick-up  Fri  April 24  1-5 pm

Each cookie has its own personality & unique flavor profile. Some are seductive, using the allure of Belgium chocolate to get your attention. Others invoke memories of childhood or a less complicated time. Find your match amongst Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Orange Walnut Belgium Bittersweet Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate ChipSnickerdoodlePecan Coconut Belgium Milk Chocolate. 

My legendary chocolate delivery system made with melted Belgium bittersweet chocolate throughout, toasted fresh almonds, chocolate chips & very little flour. Sold in packages of 4 because you must have more than one.

A rich blending of fresh sweet banana punctuated by loads of melty dark chocolate chips. So satisfying it could pass for dessert. Perfect with a glass of milk!

POPPYSEED (MOHN) BARS     $3.50/pkg
In Yiddish poppyseeds are known as "mohn", and they crop up often in eastern European recipes. In this case they are used as a moist filling between a shortbread base and a streusel topping sprinkled with powdered sugar. Cut in small bars so they're easy to share.

When you want something very light, crisp and full of flavor, try a bag of these. Each one is rolled out by hand, seeded and cut into unique shards. Perfect with soup, salad, dips or in a bread basket.

Straight off the menu at BONNI BAKES Bakery/Cafe, an individual portion complete with BONNI BAKES Red Sauce for dipping. Under the crisp stromboli shell you'll find roasted veggies (zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, onion & peppers) slathered with homemade Garden Pesto & topped with mozzarella and parmesan. Add a salad & there's dinner!

This perfect sandwich bread is also delicious toasted or grilled. White whole wheat flour provides the nutrition without a strong bite, along with oats and a subtle taste of honey.

JAM & CHUTNEY      $4/jar  
Made in small batches with locally available fruit, including Keitt mangoes & Meyer lemons from my own pesticide-free trees. MANGO CHUTNEY, GINGER PEAR CHUTNEY, BERRY BASKET JAM & MANGO PINEAPPLE RUM JAM.

No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives EVER!!


all items in limited supply... first come, first served

PICK UP FRIDAY 1-5 pm at Bonni's Treehouse

in the Village of the Arts

   932 12th Street West 

(down the driveway thru the white wrought iron gate) 


or call me at (941) 746-6647 


 Hugs from my kitchen,


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