Nut-Free Basil Pesto

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My family planted a large garden when I was growing up and the herb garden was my place to take care of. So making lots and lots of basil pesto was something I made almost every summer. After awhile of making big batches of pesto, the price of pine nuts starts to add up, so I started using walnuts and that worked but then I also discovered pinto beans are very yummy and make a very creamy pesto, not to mention way less expensive! It is also a great option for those you have nut allergies and sensitivities.

I also freeze most of my pesto so that I can use it any time of the year (see directions below on how I do that.)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

1/3 cup cooked and cooled pinto beans

4 cloves garlic, cut in half

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse a few times and then scrape sides of processor to make sure leaves aren’t sticking to the sides. Turn it on again and let it pulverize until everything is well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and more olive oil if desired.

Store in the refrigerator for a few days or spoon into ice cube trays and place into the freezer. Once they’re fully frozen take out and put into a ziplock bag. These pesto cubes will last in the freezer for several months. I love to use them in the winter and add them to pastas or soups etc. So easy and it adds a fresh touch to those long winter months.

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Mulberry Pie Recipe

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We discovered a mulberry tree near our house along the creek. They are sweet little berries that grow on a tree almost resembling the look of a small blackberry. They’re rich in vitamins and antioxidants and have many health benefits to them.

We easily picked three cups of berries and stained our hands. 😄

Ingredients:

3 cups mulberries

3/4 cup sugar (or 1 cup if you would like it on the sweeter side)

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup flour

Slight squeeze of lemon

1 tablespoon butter

Prepared double crust

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the washed and dried mulberries with sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla. Mix until combined trying not to break up the berries too much.

Place into prepared crust and squeeze just a bit of lemon juice on the top. Add bits of butter evenly over the top.

Now it’s time for the top crust. You can easily use a simple crust or make a lattice. Reference pictures below for lattice crust.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until filling is bubbly and crust is golden.

Cool and refrigerate until well chilled.

Basically create a hashtag, making sure each piece alternates going over and under the others. Keep adding out from there.

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And the finished product. Enjoy!

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My Grandma’s Plum Pie

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My grandma W. was a hard working, strong, and stubborn German woman. My love of baking was inspired from her. Not that I made much with her but I grew up around amazing smelling homemade food while I played with cousins, building castles in the sand box or playing ping pong or pool in the basement. I feel like I learned how to make pies and pie crust by osmosis just because she and my sisters were always making them.

She was so stubborn I thought she would be around much longer than ninety-five years old. But during the quarantine she quickly and quietly left us. So in honor of all my meaningful memories with her, I went through the stack of letters she wrote to me growing up. I found several handwritten recipes and out of all of them I felt the Plum Pie recipe is the best to share. It reminded me of the plum trees in her backyard this time of year.

I hope you enjoy! Honestly, I was so impressed with the color of the filling! Plums are in season from end of May (her birthday) through October!

Ingredients:

9 plums

Boiling water

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon almond extract (I used vanilla)

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons tapioca or cornstarch

Double pie crust

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place plums in a container and pour over the boiling water adding the baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Drain well and remove pits leaving skin on, slice into pan. Add just a few tablespoons of water to the plums and cook bringing to a boil. Cook 20 minutes or until skins are soft.

Add the almond or vanilla extract and sugar and tapioca. It’s best to mix the tapioca or cornstarch with a little bit of water before adding to the hot plums.

Pour into prepared crust and then top with a lattice crust or just plain crust. Bake in 350 degree fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes. Crust will be golden brown. Let cool and it’s best after chilling in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!

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