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Ask the A2K cooks!

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 04:58 pm
... & you'll get useful answers to your cooking-related questions!

At least I hope! Very Happy

I've often wished that there was some sort of general cooks' Q & A spot here where a person needing some quick answers could easily get them.
I reckon between us cooking folk there's a fair bit of knowledge & expertise here. You know, the sort of stuff that cav used to advise us on.

What do you think?

OK, I'll post a question & see what happens! Very Happy
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Type: Discussion • Score: 43 • Views: 87,777 • Replies: 1,746

 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 05:23 pm
Making & freezing pesto question:

I'm thinking of making some pesto soon, from my summer basil, so it'll be available for winter use.
Given that cheese & oil aren't great "freezers" should I eliminate them & add them later, to the defrosted "sauce"?

What are the tried & true "rules" you use when making a pesto sauce for freezing?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 05:45 pm
I've frozen pesto before myself, especially when I grew lots of basil - the regular kind of pesto, that is - basil and olive oil and parmigiano and pine nuts, and suppose it wasn't as wonderful as out of the garden fresh. But, hey, they freeze spinach, don't they?

I'm not sure why walnut and parsley pesto, or any other variant, would fare better or worse.

I'll stroll in some of my italy cookbooks and see if I find pros and cons. (Yes, I know I can go online, but I like reasons for cookbook closet hunts.)


Grrrrrreeeeeeaaaattttt thread idea, msolga.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 05:49 pm
Nope, go ahead and add them. Also, cover the top of the pesto with some additional oil before freezing or refrigerating and it won't change colors from being exposed to the air at the surface.

The only ingredient I ever heard to omit before freezing was the garlic, if using, as it can tend to be bitter afterwards. I've never omitted the garlic and it's been fine.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 05:50 pm
Rule number one is to take the pesto sauce to the local food fair and trade it in for a tray of pasta. At this point you may have realized that while I do like pasta I do not like pesto. I know I am being a pest but let's put that in the past. I am surprised however that you say cheese is not freezable (is that a word?). I find if I have cooked something with cheese, the cheese freezes rather well and then with a reheating it seems fine.




And why didn't you grow beets? If you grew beets we could get into the mysteries of freezing borscht.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 05:52 pm
Maybe we could get together on some way to identify posts -
for example, on my last post if I'd put FREEZE PESTO? at the top of my post, that might help a person scrolling, or help with an a2k search...

It's true we could all start separate questions, but sometimes one is not in the mood, or is looking for a quick answer.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 06:15 pm
FREEZING PESTO* :

Thanks for the quick responses, osso, Sturgis & JPB.

Anyone disagree with just making up the pesto as usual, then freezing? I'm still listening. I'll have to use up some of that basil, soon, though!

Sturgis! How could anyone NOT drool at even the thought of pesto! Inconceivable! :wink: Surprised


* I'm taking up osso's suggestion & identifying my response, for easy reference! Good idea, especially since (I hope!) we have a few different Qs & As on the go, at one time!
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 06:26 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

I agree that freezing pesto works just fine. JPB's idea of floating a layer of oil is a good one.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 06:34 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

Thanks, k.

OK, that's what I'll do then. (Unless Marcella Hazan (sp?) tells me, via osso, not to! :wink:)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 06:39 pm
FREEZING PESTO

I've not had a problem with the garlic... but then, I tend to use my pesto before, oh, six months.

Off to see if M. Hazan or others will murmur about this matter.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:00 pm
FREEZING PESTO

AHA -

Learn something new every day

at least re MH's The Classic Italian Cook Book -

Let me just quote -

Making Pesto for the freezer

1. Mix all the ingredients in the blender as directed in Step 1 of blender Pesto. (sorry, will have to find that recipe, I don't use butter myself - osso). Do not add the cheese or butter. Spoon the contents of the blender cup into a jar. If you are doubling or tripling the recipe, divide it into as many jars. Seal tightly and freeze.

2. Before using, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, When completely thawed, beat in the grated cheeses and the butter as in Step 2 of blender pesto. Adding the cheese at this time, rather than beforeo freezing, is not more work and it gives the sauce a much fresher flavor.


OK, OK, I'll go look up the blender pesto recipe.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:04 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

Ah, so Marcella thinks the olive oil part is OK, but not the cheese. Interesting, osso!
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:11 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

You could try the trick many professional chefs do with sauces. Portion it into icecube trays, freeze and then remove cubes from tray and place them into freezer bags for storage. Use proportionate cubes for recipes without having to thaw out the whole batch.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:14 pm
FREEZING PESTO

I do the ice cube tray trick, myself. It is awesome! Some pestos are more fatty and freeze less well, those would be harder to keep isloated from one another. I tend to sort of roll up layers of frozen pesto cubes in plastic wrap and then put the whole thing in a freezer bag. It's a lot of plastic, but I reuse the stuff once again the next time. Also, I use my frozen pesto within 5 months.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:18 pm
KAFFIR LEAVES substitute:

While osso's searching for that recipe, here's another question:

A substitute for Kaffir leaves, please?
(You know, you have everything required for a particular recipe, just one ingredient missing! Rolling Eyes I mean you can't have everything in your kitchen, & if you tried to buy each & every ingredient each time the need for a new one appears, your kitchen would be stuffed full of goodies! Besides, sometimes you might only use a particular ingredient very rarely.)


BTW, anyone can post their questions here, even when another topic is being discussed. Just label it clearly, as above, so's we can all keep track!
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:20 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

Thanks for that tip, Butrflynet & k!

Beats scraping the little bit you need out of a great, whopping container of the stuff! Laughing
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:27 pm
KAFFIR LEAVES

I really don't know, but in doing some online searching the best I can come up with is lime zest. Or lemongrass. There's a place in the UK which will mail you some fresh leaves.....
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:29 pm
KAFFIR LEAVES:

Thanks for searching, k.

.... Or perhaps a squeeze of lemon or lime juice would do the trick adequately?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:29 pm
FREEZING PESTO question

Going back and looking at the original recipe (aggg, she has both blender and mortar pesto recipes...) - but it seems it's the dairy bit that's the question.

Hers isn't the only cookbook, it's just where I got to first... I'll post this blender pesto recipe, and then lurk in my closet for other commentary. Lots of other people with points of view out there...



OK,
p. 140 of x edition of Classic Italian Cook Book, Blender Pesto -

Enough for about 6 servicgs of pasta =

2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (she didn't mean Kraft, says osso)
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature (and me, I've usually used all olive oil, but, butter... ummmmmmm.)


1. Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and salt in the blender and mix at high speed. Stop from time to time and scrape the ingredients down toward the bottom of the blender cup with a rubber spatula.

2. When the ingredients are evenly blended, pour into a bowl and beat in the two grated cheeses by hand. (This is not much work, and it results in more interesting texture and better flavor than you get when you mix in the cheese in the blender.) When the cheese has been evenly incorporated into the other ingredients, beat in the softened butter.

3. Before spooning the pesto over pasta, add to it a tablespoon or so of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled.




OK, I've never noticed anything horrible about my olive oil based pesto, even with cheese, futzing up in the freezer. I remain non-committed on this.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 07:32 pm
FREEZING PESTO:

Thanks so much for that, osso.

I'm not sure about the inclusion of butter, though. Especially if you intend to freeze most of it. I think I'd leave it out. You?
 

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