Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oregano Pesto and Marinated Artichoke Hearts

It is the end of the season here and I still have a pot of fresh herbs growing outside. This year all I grew was oregano, rosemary, thyme and chives. Last year I grew so many more but with feeling so low energy from the GP and allergies and knowing that I would be gone for a week during the hottest part of the summer I didn't think I could keep up. Then, unfortunately, I really didn't use the herbs either during the summer. I was off of cooking, feeling that everything just made me sick, and just made basic meals. Since Im on a cooking vegetarian kick right now I wanted to do something with all the oregano that grew. It and the chives were the only things that really thrived this year. I was in the grocery store, getting food for the cats, and figured I could make an oregano pesto.

The store also had a display of cans of artichoke hearts. I haven't had artichokes since I was in elementary school. My dad wanted me to try a steamed artichoke and I refused, however I wanted to move my bedroom from one room to the spare room in the house. My dad said that he would do it if I ate the whole artichoke. So, I ate it. Didn't enjoy it, but I dipped the leaves in Italian dressing and at the end ended up eating artichokes and nacho cheese Doritos and managed to finish it so I could move my bed. Now Im trying them again for the first time to try to expand my veggie diet. Again, my phone was my handy recipe book, and found a recipe for marinated artichokes while in the store.

Oregano Pesto
Adapted from this Recipe

1 cup of oregano (leaves removed from stems)
1 cup of toasted pine nuts
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil, oil for drizzling

Place peeled garlic cloves in olive oil in a saucepan and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Toast pine nuts. Place garlic and oil, pine nuts and oregano into a food processor and drizzle in olive oil until it is at the consistency you like.

I mixed my pesto with gluten free pasta, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Did you know you can freeze pesto? Put pesto into a ice cube tray. People recommend first putting it into a zip lock bag, cutting a hole in the bag, and piping it out into the trays but I just use a spoon. Place plastic wrap over the top so it doesn't oxidize. Freeze the tray. After the cubes are frozen take them out of the tray and put them in a freezer bag so they last longer.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Adapted from Saveur

2 cans of artichoke hearts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Rince artichoke hearts under cold water. Put together the artichoke hearts, olive oil, salt, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature and stir in lemon juice.

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