Friday, July 29, 2011

a quick Summer Basil Pesto Rush

Today I got a delivery of a Kilo of freshly picked Basil leaves. Since the leaves very quickly darken and loose their fabulous Summer tanginess I was itchy to get home and rush them into delicious pesto.
So the recipe I used was my variation on the classic Basil pesto. Remember that the below recipe is per batch so if you are making a few batches and then jarring them you have to repeat the recipe a few times.

4 Cups of tightly packed Basil leaves
1/2 a cup of the best Olive oil you can find and then a very generous squirt of Hemp Oil
3/4 cup of mixed 1/2 and 1/2 Walnuts and Pumpkin seeds
3/4 to a cup of mixed Parmigano type Italian cheeses
4 Garlic cloves
liberal amounts of ground black pepper and salt to taste

And here we go......

The cheeses I used here were regular Parmesan, Pecorino and a new cheese called Piave Stravecchio that turned out to be a sweeter variety of parmesan.

I bashed up some Redmond Sea Salt from the bottom of an ancient lake in south central Utah and some fresh black peppercorns in my Jamie Oliver universal crusher thingy and added it to the mix of the oil, garlic and basil into the blender.

The three finely grated cheeses.

all bashed up not tooooo fine....the walnuts and pumpkin seeds

Getting the basil and oil to swirl into a nice mush like this isn't easy but try a variety of ways to push the leaves down into the mix without touching the blender blades. Do a few batches and put them into a bowl.

Add the nuts to the big bowl of tasty mush.

Then mix in the aromatic cheeses and add seasoning to taste.

Spoon the mix into canning jars making sure you bump all the naughty air bubbles out otherwise bugs will grow in the mix and all your hard work will be in vain. 

get some flaxseed three things here.

FULLY cover the spooned in pesto making sure the sides of the jar mouth are very well cleaned off otherwise bad bugs will grow.

So there you are........a batch of rushed Summer pesto ready to put in the back of the fridge and use at leisure to add a healthy taste sensation to any dish that begs for it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A weekend of Mushrooms with Paul Stammet (part 2)

A large Morrel.

Saturday and off to Fungi Perfecti about 25 km's West of Olympia. The course was a gruelling two days of info about how to grow mushrooms from tissue clones, spores derived directly from mushroom gills and also from mycelial cultures on agar medium. We also learned how to innoculate logs with plug spawn, make up pasteurized straw growing bags and make sterilized hard wood media to grow mushrooms in. The mushrooms we concentrated on were Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus), Shitake (Lentinula edodes), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) and Lion's Mane/Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus). During the two days we were not allowed to take photos in the propagation lab where we did agar plate cultures since it was a highly sterile environment
Lab with the blue roof and lecture theater with the green roof.
Some of the class about to check out the growing rooms.
Paul Stammet and an attentive group.

Two of the growing rooms.
A large area used for preparing media to be sterilized
A barrel of rice straw being prepared for Oyster Mushroom inoculation.

The entrance to the can see the two ante rooms for changing into sterile gear. Also the very large autoclave that extends into the lab.
Lion's Mane


Pink Oyster grows in the warmer season.

Hen of the Woods.

White oyster.



Blue oyster likes to grow in the cooler season.

Pino Pino.
some agar culture plates I did

Having fun with mycelium cultures.

A straw bag full of embryonic Oyster mushrooms and a bag full of future Shitake on hardwood chips.

My spawn log of Shitake.

The Americans certainly do the Nationalism thing well. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend.

In my rear view mirror in the ferry line up out of Port Angeles. This sort of view is yet another reason I'm happy to get back to Canada....

A Weekend of Mushrooms with Paul Stammet (part 1)

A lovely Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushroom.

This weekend I went on my long awaited Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms course at Fungi Perfecti in Washington State with Paul Stammets the author of many fungi texts and especially Mycelium Running. Paul is renowned as one of the World's leading Mycologists and has given TED lectures, supplies mycelial products to institutions all over the World and has one of the largest mushroom spawn libraries.

The empress Hotel in Victoria.

A seaplane following us as we left the harbour.

The James Bay houseboats with the Olympic Mountains in the background.

The Coho Ferry. 
I left on Thursday afternoon and spent the night in sleepy old Victoria and got up early the next day to catch the 10.45 Coho ferry to Port Angeles. The day was lovely and sunny, and ideal day for crossing the Straights of Juan de Fuca to the USA.
For some reason or other this couple decided to get married on board . It was all rather odd but sweet too.

A photosynth pic of the ferry seating.

The North view from Mnt Walker to Seattle and Mnt Rainier.

Looking East down towards Olympia.
The South view overlooking the Olympic Mountains.

From Port Angeles the trip is down the Olympic peninsula to Olympia the capital of washington State. The scenery is lovely with the road snaking through mountains and along heavily forested coastal Sounds/ inlets. I took a side road up to Mnt Walker which gives a lovely view of Mnt Rainier and Seattle on the North side and the snowy peaks of the Olympics on the South. Because the day was so nice I had the sunroof down and the music loud. Not a good situation for the first suntan of the year......arrived redfaced at the hotel that night.

That night I took a walk around the very quiet, old town part of Olympia. Nothing much goes on in this city. The shops only open at about 10am and close before 5pm. Night life is concentrated on 4th Avenue. I stayed at the Governor Hotel which is opposite the main central garden but I had a view over the Capitol Lake and the State buildings.

You can see the tall windows of the Urban Onion Restaurant at the far end of the city garden. 
The capital Dome overlooking Capitol Lake.

 Most evening I ate at the Urban onion which had some nice vegetarian fare and is in the converted grand ballroom of an old hotel with tall windows overlooking the central gardens.