My absolute favorite foods are... Tomatoes, Basil, and Tomatoes. Seriously there is nothing I love more than a gorgeous organic tomato right off the vine. The farmers at Farmers Market are awesome, and of course I have made many friends among them. However the lovely people who run the heirloom tomato stands in summer know me on a whole other level. Crazy tomato girl level. This is one of my very favorite dishes to entertain with. It’s simple, and sinfully delicious. It wows a crowd, and yet does not stress the host to the point of drinking all the wine before everyone shows up. Win, win if you ask me!
The Goods for the Pesto
2 1⁄2 cups of basil
2 large garlic cloves, or 3 smaller cloves (use your taste buds if you want it stronger add more, but go slow!)
1/4 cup pine nuts
A small handful of walnuts
The juice of 2 lemons (add more or less depending on taste)
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of olive oil to make a smooth lovely pesto. Just add slowly, use more or less depending on what consistency you love.
Pink Himalayan Salt and Pepper to taste
The Goods for the Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers
16 ounces sugar plum tomatoes (You can roast any tomatoes you like, however for presentation I always use Organic Sugar Plum Tomatoes!)
2-3 bell peppers, I love yellow with the red and green, but feel free to use any color you like and add more or less!
1⁄2 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Olive oil
A whole head of Garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon of each Basil and Parsley, minced
The Goods to put all this great stuff on
I use Organic French Baguettes sliced and toasted. You can use any bread you like really even Gluten Free!! Yum!! And feel free to toast with some olive oil and garlic! I also really love a dark walnut boule. Amazing.
I prepare the pesto first as it can sit in the fridge and get even tastier while I cook the rest. If you want to prep it the night before go for it! Just beware that the green can become less vibrant while sitting overnight but if you add more lemon on top it lessens the discoloration a bit! You will need a food processor or a blender for this pesto.
Start off by toasting the nuts lightly in a pan on low heat. Watch them carefully, I have personally murdered many a pine nut. Once the nuts are toasted set them aside. Wash your basil and make sure to pick as close to the stem as possible. If you get to many stems in the pesto it will be bitter! Place the basil in the food processor and process until chopped.
Add the nuts, lemon, and garlic. Start processing and slowly pour in the olive oil until there is a nice smooth consistency. Lastly add salt and pepper, add slowly and keep processing until the flavor is just right.
With this recipe it is really based on personal taste. I love lemon, and I adore salt so I am pretty generous with both. Taste throughout and find your perfect pesto! Now onto the roasting of tomatoes and peppers. Your house is going to smell like bliss so be ready to start twirling around your kitchen with happiness.
Place tomatoes and peppers on separate roasting pans. The peppers may be roasted whole. Place whole garlic cloves in and add a little chopped basil and parsley if you have it! Drizzle olive oil, and balsamic over the veggies and use your hands to coat evenly. Add just a tiny splash of sherry and once again use your hands to coat!
Put in over on 375 F for about 35-40 minutes. Toast bread lightly in the oven and then slather the pesto on each piece, add tomatoes and peppers in whichever way is visually pleasing to you, and then devour! Remember to save some for your guests and family. I hope you all love these little bites as much as I do! Enjoy!