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No, I Da Snowman!: You know how sometimes you work and work to find the cause of a bug, and after hours of debugging it turns out to need a one-line fix? Well, I just committed a four-line fix. Four times as satisfying!

[Comments] (5) Pesto Myths And Facts: I should be sleeping off my NewsBruiser triumph, but instead I'm writing this because I promised Sumana to demystify pesto tonight. So let me tell you that I made pesto on a whim without ever having made it before and it was great. I made it out of less-than-fresh basil and it was great. I made "Panic Pesto" out of whatever vaguely relevant ingredients I had lying around, and it was great. It's hard to screw up pesto. With that in mind, let me clear up some common misconceptions about pesto and its manufacture.

Myth: Pesto is just olive oil and basil.
Fact: Pesto is also three other things.

To make pesto you combine basil, nuts, cheese, and garlic in a food processor, then, with the food processor on, drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes semi-liquid. There should be a lot of basil, the same amount of nuts as cheese, and garlic to taste.

You can add pepper if you want. I wouldn't add salt if I were you. There's plenty of salt in the cheese, and if you are some kind of salt vampire or humanoid deer you should just keep your freakish lifestyle to yourself. There is no room in the blues for your petty sentimentality!

Myth: You must use hand-carved pine nuts.
Fact: That doesn't even make sense.

You can make pesto with any kind of nut. Panic Pesto was made of half pine nuts and half walnuts. Does it make a difference? Sure. In the way it tastes. Not in whether or not it's pesto. It still tastes fine.

Myth: Only Parmesan cheese is acceptable.
Fact: The previous statement is a myth, whereas this one is fact.

Panic Pesto was made of 1/4 Parmesan and 3/4 Jarlsberg fondue leftovers. If Jarlsberg works, then any white hard or semi-soft cheese should work. Maybe bleu cheese would work. Maybe even cheddar would work.

Myth: The non-use of basil in pesto will anger the pesto king.
Fact: The pesto king is an imposter and a fraud. So who cares?

I have only ever made pesto with basil, because both Sumana and I are crazy about basil. But you could make it with parsley instead, or spinach, or anything that's leafy and green with some flavor. You could even make mint pesto, though I wouldn't put it on pasta.

Myth: Blah blah blah.
Fact: Just put whatever you want in pesto. Make it with walnut oil. Substitute some other aromatic for garlic. Make hummus instead. You could probably come up with a combination that is awful, but my feeling is you'd have to ignore some other common-sense rule of cooking to do it.


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