Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Third Time's (Not) a Charm

My expectations for today were quite low.  In addition to having a late morning appointment to totally break up my day, I had plans to run a couple of errands after my appointment.  The errands were postponed due to weather.  The roads weren't yet clear and my little red car wasn't navigating them so well.  Sorry, Hobby Lobby.  You'll have to wait for another day to get some of the hubs' money.  And I'm sporting an incredibly rude headache that wasn't invited and won't leave. 

When I got home, I decided to resist the urge to find a cool pillow and a dark room; but I knew I wasn't up for anything complicated.  When perusing drawers in the refrigerator the other day, I noticed I had an abundant supply of various nuts.  So today was for simple things that could be done relatively quickly and use nuts:  pesto and cocoa granola (not together, of course). 

Feeling nutty:  Almonds in three forms, walnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts. 
The pine nuts are stashed out of sight, and I think I have some pistachios hidden in my baking cabinet. 
Much to my dismay, I'm out of pecans.
We're having pasta tonight and in taking inventory, all I have is whole wheat pasta.  I like whole wheat pasta (obviously, I bought it) but I do think it needs an assertive sauce.  There are a couple of sauces in my repertoire that I would say fall into this category, but I had noticed a bag of basil leaves in the freezer and was curious about making pesto with them.  It didn't turn out badly by any means, but probably not something I would recommend.  The basil really seemed to have lost a lot of its flavor, which surprised me a bit as its fragrance was still quite intact.  Aside from using frozen basil leaves, I was also out of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  That's not a big deal to me as I'm not a purist when it comes to pesto.  Instead of the parm I used some Pecorino Romano, which I like better, and some Grana Padano because I didn't have enough Pecorino Romano.  (I'm a big fan of Italian grating cheeses.)  And walnuts instead of pine nuts.  I had some pine nuts, but not nearly enough and they're for my cockatoo anyway.  She can be very vocal when she doesn't get her pine nuts.

I still hadn't managed to get the cocoa granola to my liking and it's not complicated, so I figured I give that a round three.  Closer, but not quite.  This time I bumped up the cocoa a little, used blanched, slivered almonds and honey.  It's still missing something.  I think I want it to be a bit more salty.  In this batch, I used some French grey sea salt.  I think next time I'll go with kosher salt.  The grey sea salt seems to like to stick to itself (vanity is so unattractive) so one bite may be really salty and the next seems to be entirely salt free.  I think the kosher salt will distribute more evenly.

So for a day I had pretty much written off as useless, I managed to get two recipes made (and one more to go for dinner) and even get a few loads of laundry done.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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