The author and cook, Heather


It's Always Freezer Season

We grow basil every year, because it's one of the easiest annual herbs to grow around here. Parsley and cilantro go to seed very early in the heat, and butterflies enjoy laying eggs on those, so the leaves and stems are quickly eaten up by the little worms as they grow if you don't check them every day. But basil is mostly left alone!

So we always end up making pesto a couple times a year, but can rarely use up a whole batch before it loses its beautiful bright green color. I always intend to freeze it, gets lost in the fridge and forgotten. This time I made sure to freeze it immediately after we finished dinner, so now we have a bag full of pesto ready for future use!

I have never blanched the basil for pesto before, though. I don't think I could tell in the finished product that the basil was "cooked" before use. And, it's supposed to hold the bright green color longer that way. I think it works for me.





Serving SizeTBA


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:04]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather
[00:07]: today we're going to be starting on a
[00:09]: new book of ours called it's always
[00:12]: freezer season so this is ashley
[00:15]: christensen of the pools diner cookbook
[00:18]: it's this is her second cookbook and it
[00:20]: came out pretty recently
[00:23]: she got the idea for this cookbook when
[00:25]: she was making the pool's diner cookbook
[00:27]: and she had lots of things left over so
[00:29]: she ended up freezing batches of them
[00:31]: and then that makes cooking later a lot
[00:33]: easier because you have something to
[00:35]: start with
[00:36]: and so that was the
[00:39]: basis for this book
[00:44]: so it reminds me an awful lot of this
[00:46]: will make it taste good so sort of
[00:48]: having these things available to you
[00:51]: uh in your freezer or whatever in this
[00:53]: case definitely in your freezer
[00:55]: to help you
[00:57]: make a
[00:58]: quicker
[00:60]: meal
[01:01]: later
[01:02]: so
[01:03]: it is summer here and our basil has been
[01:06]: going crazy and it was time to sort of
[01:08]: trim it back in which means we usually
[01:09]: make pesto
[01:11]: so today we're going to be making pesto
[01:13]: from this and i'm going to be using some
[01:15]: of it
[01:16]: today
[01:17]: for
[01:18]: our dinner
[01:20]: but this should make plenty and then
[01:22]: we're going to freeze it so once we get
[01:24]: this made i'll show you how she says to
[01:26]: freeze it
[01:27]: there are a couple of other
[01:29]: recipes sort of in this section that she
[01:31]: handles the same way
[01:34]: but that pesto is all we're going to be
[01:36]: making today
[01:37]: but there's an interesting method that i
[01:40]: don't think i've ever done
[01:42]: with pesto before and i'm not going to
[01:44]: show you
[01:46]: all of this step but what we're going to
[01:47]: do is
[01:49]: we're going to this is this is our basil
[01:51]: by the way this is probably a little bit
[01:53]: more than she calls for i waited out
[01:56]: i
[01:57]: picked it washed it uh dried it weighed
[02:01]: it out because this does go by ounces
[02:04]: which was very helpful because sometimes
[02:06]: you're like i don't know how much
[02:08]: how much do i pack it down anyway
[02:11]: so
[02:13]: this is a lot of basil if you don't have
[02:15]: a basil plant you should probably grow
[02:16]: one if you have um
[02:20]: the the season for it it they grow very
[02:23]: very easily and the bugs don't like them
[02:25]: nearly as much as some other things
[02:29]: so
[02:30]: we're going to shock this
[02:32]: so the way we're going to do that is
[02:35]: i've got a large pot of water coming to
[02:38]: a boil back there
[02:40]: and what i'm gonna do is fill up this
[02:42]: strainer
[02:43]: with
[02:45]: some basil
[02:48]: and then i'm going to
[02:50]: dip it in the water for about 10 seconds
[02:54]: and then i'm going to take it out
[02:56]: and i'm going to shock it
[02:57]: in ice water
[02:60]: so what i'm going to do is sort of empty
[03:02]: this out onto a uh i've got a
[03:06]: kitchen towel back there i'm just going
[03:08]: to empty that out on a kitchen towel i'm
[03:10]: going to put ice water in here to be
[03:12]: able to sort of shock it when it's done
[03:14]: and then we're going to put the result
[03:16]: back onto the kitchen towel and we're
[03:18]: gonna do this probably two or three
[03:21]: batches but it's just 10 seconds in
[03:24]: boiling water
[03:26]: so
[03:27]: we'll be back when that's all done
[03:30]: got my water coming to a boil my ice
[03:33]: bath ready
[03:35]: we're just waiting now for the boil
[03:38]: okay
[03:40]: first one going in
[03:42]: 10 seconds i expect it all to just float
[03:44]: out we'll see what happens
[03:55]: [Music]
[03:60]: all right
[04:01]: that's
[04:03]: not all of it but okay
[04:07]: you see what else i can do here
[04:14]: all right we're gonna put this in the
[04:17]: cold water to shock it
[04:21]: there we go try to get these out
[04:31]: all right well that is something
[04:36]: all right
[04:40]: see how much it
[04:42]: deflates
[04:47]: there's one
[04:56]: batches
[04:58]: [Music]
[05:08]: i'm gonna let my basil leaves just kind
[05:10]: of sit back there for a second uh
[05:12]: because we don't need them right this
[05:14]: minute
[05:15]: um
[05:18]: but
[05:20]: she says to make this in a blender so
[05:23]: that's what i'm gonna do take out
[05:26]: my garlic clove which i had sitting in
[05:28]: my pine nuts just because we don't need
[05:30]: that right now we have a little bit of
[05:32]: pine nuts here
[05:33]: um
[05:35]: not toasted just
[05:37]: plain i keep mine in the freezer but i
[05:39]: took them out a while ago so they're not
[05:40]: frozen
[05:41]: and now we're going to
[05:43]: add
[05:44]: some of our salt actually all of our
[05:46]: salt
[05:54]: and about a third of our olive oil she
[05:57]: says extra virgin olive oil i'm just
[05:59]: this is just the stuff i keep all the
[06:00]: time it's not super special
[06:02]: but
[06:03]: that is what i've got
[06:14]: that's about right
[06:16]: all right
[06:18]: so we're going to
[06:19]: blend this to a puree
[06:26]: [Music]
[06:31]: that's
[06:33]: i guess good enough for me
[06:35]: um i don't see any big pieces of nuts in
[06:38]: there so that's good
[06:40]: and now um
[06:42]: i need i can put my garlic in this is
[06:45]: just whole
[06:47]: it doesn't say
[06:49]: no
[06:50]: doesn't say to cut it up at all
[06:52]: and now i need
[06:54]: my basil
[06:56]: so what i'm going to do is
[06:60]: squeeze out as much of the
[07:03]: moisture as i can my towel will probably
[07:05]: get green but i don't care about that
[07:07]: because i don't really care about those
[07:09]: towels i keep all my old towels
[07:12]: for things like this just
[07:14]: clean but in a different drawer so i
[07:16]: have it the ones i don't care about
[07:19]: i'm gonna do this
[07:20]: over the sink
[07:22]: so
[07:23]: that huge bowl
[07:25]: of basil
[07:26]: that we had
[07:28]: is now just this little
[07:32]: ball that i'm going to put in here
[07:48]: my towel is not very green so that's
[07:50]: good
[07:51]: so and then we're gonna add the rest of
[07:54]: our olive oil
[08:03]: there we go
[08:05]: and we're going to
[08:08]: blend it until it looks creamy
[08:13]: so i'm gonna use the puree setting i
[08:16]: don't know if that's right but that's
[08:18]: what i'm gonna use
[08:20]: [Music]
[08:23]: kind of looks creamy
[08:28]: i guess
[08:30]: hard to say
[08:33]: still see pieces of basil in there
[08:36]: [Music]
[08:38]: good enough for me and then the last
[08:41]: thing we need to add here
[08:43]: is
[08:44]: some cheese so there are two kinds of
[08:46]: cheese and there's an awful lot of
[08:48]: cheese and i just
[08:49]: had my husband buy it pre-shredded
[08:52]: um
[08:53]: supposed to be finely grated whatever
[08:55]: this is what i have um
[08:59]: it's pretty finely shredded
[09:02]: not quite microplane but whatever and so
[09:05]: this is i don't know i don't remember
[09:06]: which is which but i think this was
[09:07]: pecorino romano and then this is
[09:10]: parmesan so
[09:12]: we're going to add these in and then
[09:14]: we're just going to blend until it's
[09:16]: just mixed i might blend a little bit
[09:19]: longer just because
[09:21]: my cheeses are a little bit larger or
[09:24]: you know
[09:26]: ground a little bit larger
[09:28]: shredded a little bit larger than sort
[09:30]: of microplane but
[09:33]: here we go
[09:39]: i'm gonna
[09:41]: get a
[09:43]: thing and push that down the sides it's
[09:45]: my spatula that's kind of seen better
[09:47]: days because it's been
[09:50]: in a food processor and gotten nicked a
[09:53]: little bit but it's not gonna
[09:56]: hurt anything
[10:05]: [Music]
[10:09]: all right
[10:11]: i think that's it so there's
[10:14]: a little bit of salt but a lot of cheese
[10:16]: but no pepper or anything else in
[10:19]: in this pesto
[10:22]: it's nicely bright green that
[10:25]: shocking
[10:26]: the basil should help keep it just
[10:29]: bright green so it won't go dull
[10:33]: we'll see
[10:36]: so we're going to use a little bit of
[10:37]: this with our dinner tonight but there
[10:39]: will definitely be leftovers and we are
[10:41]: going to show you how to freeze it
[10:44]: after that freeze whatever is left over
[10:47]: like she says in the book so we'll let
[10:50]: we'll show you that in just a minute
[10:52]: [Music]
[10:56]: okay so we've eaten dinner we just had
[10:58]: some pesto pasta it's really good by the
[11:01]: way um
[11:03]: i thought it was a good recipe i enjoyed
[11:06]: the pesto pasta
[11:08]: uh and so did everybody else so that's
[11:10]: good
[11:11]: um
[11:13]: i just added it
[11:15]: like a doll above it to the pasta and a
[11:17]: little bit of the pasta water stirred it
[11:19]: all up it was really good
[11:21]: so i put this
[11:24]: plastic wrap on top just to make sure
[11:26]: the top didn't get too
[11:29]: brown while we waited and i put it in
[11:32]: the refrigerator too
[11:33]: but now we're going to prepare it for
[11:36]: freezing and i'm just going to stir the
[11:38]: oil that kind of separates a little bit
[11:41]: into it and
[11:43]: i've got a
[11:45]: baking sheet with some parchment paper
[11:47]: that's supposed to
[11:49]: supposed to overlap the sides by at
[11:51]: least a couple of inches but you know oh
[11:54]: well
[11:56]: so i'm just going to put this on the
[11:58]: baking sheet
[12:01]: so we can freeze this
[12:11]: there we go
[12:13]: and i'm just gonna spread it out
[12:16]: and we're gonna put this
[12:18]: uh in the freezer i hope i can find a
[12:20]: nice place for it to be
[12:22]: um
[12:23]: flat
[12:26]: and when
[12:27]: uh when we're done when it's completely
[12:30]: frozen
[12:31]: uh she says four hours or up to
[12:33]: overnight you don't want to leave it
[12:34]: like this in the freezer for too long
[12:37]: because it'll get a little bit freezer
[12:39]: burnt
[12:42]: um
[12:43]: but that's that's pretty good
[12:45]: and then tomorrow because i'm not going
[12:47]: to do that
[12:48]: after midnight
[12:50]: tomorrow we'll come back we're going to
[12:54]: take the full sheet
[12:57]: of pesto
[12:59]: put it on a
[13:01]: cutting board and just use our knife to
[13:03]: cut it into smaller bits
[13:07]: however big you want is fine
[13:09]: and then
[13:11]: put that into a
[13:13]: freezer bag a plastic freezer bag
[13:17]: and then when you need a little bit you
[13:19]: can take out as little or as much as you
[13:21]: need for your recipe
[13:24]: um i've seen it done in
[13:27]: ice cube trays
[13:28]: which is also fine that's another thing
[13:31]: where you can kind of take as little or
[13:32]: as much although as small as you get is
[13:35]: you know an ice cube
[13:37]: but yeah that's it and i'm uh there's
[13:40]: with this recipe there's also a
[13:41]: chimichurri recipe and a salsa verde
[13:44]: recipe where you freeze them both
[13:46]: pretty much exactly like this um
[13:50]: and so i'm i'm always looking for a good
[13:52]: chimichurri recipe i've had a hard time
[13:54]: finding one that i like so hopefully
[13:56]: i'll be doing that one again or
[13:58]: hopefully i'll be doing that one soon
[14:00]: we have tons of mint although my parsley
[14:03]: is not doing well in my cilantro i just
[14:06]: can't kill the cilantro
[14:08]: um
[14:09]: so i'll have to buy those but
[14:11]: basil's really easy to grow
[14:13]: anyway
[14:14]: if you enjoyed watching me make this
[14:16]: please give me a thumbs up hit the
[14:18]: subscribe button and come back and watch
[14:20]: me make something else next week
[14:25]: okay so cheese