Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Polka and Pesto

This picture shows the fog sitting above the river to the
south of our ranch
This past Sunday we went to a Czech festival. The local heritage is primarily German, Polish and Czech. My family heritage in 100% Czech. We had the most marvelous Czech traditional meal at the festival - Czech sausage, sauerkraut (zeli) and potato dumplings (knedlik) with pork gravy (To Die For!- maybe literally).   I would have bought the gravy if they were selling it but unfortunately they were not. All that lovely ethnic food was followed by kolache - the traditional Czech sweet roll with fruit filling. Wow!

These are my homemade Kolache from my Mom's
recipe. The fruit is cherry and blueberry along with
the traditional poppy seed - our all time favorite!
Of course, we ate lunch with POLKA as our background music!  At one point there were 30+ people on stage playing the Beer Barrel Polka with accordions. We had to laugh - my Mom would have LOVED it - she was so into dancing the polka! And of course, they had the Czech queens in native costume from all the various towns around NE and Kansas.  It was great fun!
Wash herbs

Remove leaves from stems

Thoroughly dry herbs before freezing

Add enough leaves to Ziploc bag to pack tightly
into a roll
This is what the packed herbs look like; next
roll up while pushing out all the air

The rolled herbs in the air tight bags sealed on
each side with rubber bands & labeled

Place the wrapped & bound herb packages
into a larger Ziploc bag to store in freezer; you
can simply cut off the amount you need from
the frozen roll
Today I'm freezing the fresh garden herbs for the winter.  It is really an easy process.  Cut the herbs, wash and dry completely.  Once dried, put into a plastic Ziplock bag and roll up, removing all air, and zip!  When you want to use during the winter, just cut off a piece from the roll and use in soup or whatever. It's a way to have fresh herbs without paying the big bucks for them during the winter. 
Pesto in freezer trays ready for freezing

I also made pesto, one of my favorite flavorings for many dishes.  I used the traditional basil herb but you could use parsley or other herbs.

1/4 C walnuts
1/4 C Pine nuts or Pignolis
3     T diced garlic (9 cloves)
5     C fresh basil leaves, packed
1     tsp kosher salt
1     tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 C good olive oil
1      C freshly grated grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade; process for 30 seconds; add the basil leaves & salt & pepper.
With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube  & process until the pesto is finely pureed.  Add the Parmesan cheese and puree for a minute. Store the pesto in the refrigerator or freeze.
Once frozen remove the pesto cubes from ice cube tray 
and place in plastic bag. You can use a cube or two at a
time in your savory dishes this winter

To freeze: When basil is in season, I  make pesto and freeze for the winter. I put the pesto in ice cube trays, top each with olive oil to cover, then freeze. The oil locks out the air which will keep the herb green. Once frozen, remove and place in freezer quality zip lock bags to be used later.  It is delicious added to pasta sauce and soups.

We are having cool days and very cool nights.  The Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce is doing fabulous and we are enjoying it every day.  We have been cleaning up the garden and getting the beds ready for next year.  I've planned the garden layout for next year and have dried many seeds so I'll have a head start in early spring and will start seedlings for early planting.

The turkey family visiting the Dots early morning;
of course, there is lots of delicious corn they'd like
to share

I can't resist including pictures of the local turkeys. They feel safe at our place and I find them fascinating as they roam around.  Before living here, I had never seen a wild turkey up close. It is amazing to be this close to nature.

They spotted me so are running off

Dot Update: I am now collecting between 15 and 16 eggs per day! I wish more of you lived close so I could share them with you. There are a total of 17 chickens so one hasn't started laying as yet.


Anonymous said...

Are those poppyseed kolaches I see there?? Mmmmmm! Oh how I miss those. One of the best flavors in my childhood memory bank!


Anonymous said...

I dig the pesto recipe! For an alternative try toasting some pecans and using them instead of pine nuts and walnuts. They keep better than pine nuts which have a much shorter shelf life, especially some African varieties. Christy can tell you all about pine nuts.

Wish I could get our parsley to grow so well! I'd be lucky to get a half a bag!

Janet said...

The view from your place is amazing. Oh, I can smell the kolache's from mom's kitchen as I write this. And bet your's are as delicious. Once again, you are so well stocked for the winter. Just hope that doesn't come too soon.