Pesto is really ugly...

January 18, 2011
...but it's as good as all get out!

Is it even possible to make pesto look pretty?  I tried.  I really did.  
In any case, basil pesto is simple to make and so nice to have keep on hand.  A dip for your bread or a spread on the top of your bare chicken.  
Here it is: 
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. If you're using it immediately, go ahead and add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. 
  5. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese. 
  6. If you're freezing for later use, transfer it to an airtight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. (Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in the cheese.)
My pesto-painted Udi's bread...

Snow Fiesta

My name is Jess and I'm a horrible snow-driver.
Yes, it's true.  I drive like Helen Keller in the snow.  Correction: I drive like Helen Keller all the time.  My lack of skills are only more pronounced in the snow.  I shouldn't be allowed to even look at a car when it's snowy out, much less sit in the driver's seat.  By the grace of God, I happened to make it to work today.  Normal motorists faced a slippery ride. I faced far more than that.

Because I like to celebrate the small things in life, I say these cookies should serve as quite a reward for making it out of my car alive and for not injuring anyone in my path.

Toasted Walnut Corn Muffins

Yesterday was spent shaking, shivering and skiing in Pennsylvania, so Sunday was destined to be an indoor, snuggly day.   The ski day began at 5:45 a.m. so we could be the first on the slopes.  I’m a skier and Pete is a boarder/caretaker and we both wore ourselves out going up and down the mountain all day.  While a lot of his time and attention went to the mountain, quite a large portion of the day was spent taking care of me.  Poor guy had to tuck in a pig-tail here, stuff in a ski-lift tag there, pull up a neck warmer here and he may or may not have had to wipe a nose or two.  To repay his kind efforts that far surpassed any normal boyfriendly duty, I knew he deserved something extra special.  
These muffins are delicious right out of the oven with a little butter, maybe even some jam.  The ingredients are simple and lack ingredients called for in other corn muffin recipes (namely sour cream or buttermilk) that couldn’t be found in my refrigerator.   I only wanted a small batch of them so I played around with measurements and made it for 6 muffins, which worked out delightfully.