Summer Pesto

Remember way back in May, when Kay and I made these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Well, they were pretty awesome cookies. 

While we didn't win the chance to go to a taping of ATK, they graciously invited participants to a tour of their office. Whaaaaaaaat?

Some tidbits?
They have 2 full time grocery shoppers. TWO. In one year, they spend about $500,000 on groceries alone. Half a million. 

ATK has a great collection of cookbooks, one of the biggest! Why so many? To test new recipes, test cooks must first do research and gather 5 different recipes and try each one. From there, they can make adjustments until they get it perfect.  

Currently, their top selling book is the Slow Cooker Revolution. Because the making of this book requires numerous slow cookers going on at once, ATK had to build a special wall with special electricity wiring (I really don't know what I'm talking about) in order to sustain all the slow cookers. So hardcore!

There are a jabillion cookbooks... puts my library to shame. I have... four?
(And that's three just from this summer...)

The kitchen! 

It was a great visit and a big thanks to Steph for taking the time to show me around!

After my exam was over, I was ready to get back into the kitchen.  Taking advantage of some fresh basil -a bit from my makeshift garden and mostly from the farmer's market- my roommate and I ventured out of our comfort zone to make some fresh pesto!

While the pesto didn't exactly turn out looking....good, it was pretty delicious when we added it to our pasta!

I'll say it. It looks like poop-eee.

Not as bad...

The whole process was kind of stressful, but it was delicious. Plus we froze the leftovers to use when we're in a dinner-making crisis! Helpful tip, freeze pesto in an ice cube tray and just pop out however many when you want it.

Recipe (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes 3/4 cup, enough for 1 lb. of pasta
Can be kept in airtight container covered with thin layer of oil in fridge up to 4 days, or frozen for 1 month.

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I used almonds)
3 medium cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves (optional -use this to make your pesto look happier than ours)
7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper

Toast nuts in skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant (5 min). Set aside.
Toast the garlic in skillet until fragrant (7 min).
Let garlic cool, then peel, and chop.

Place herbs in a plastic bag and pound the bag until all the leaves are bruised.
Process the nuts and garlic in a food processor. Take out and then process the herbs until chopped into smaller pieces. 
Add the nuts and garlic back in, add oil, and salt and process until smooth.
Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

And to share some cuteness... an email from my mom. 

Subject: Happy tomato

Hi, do u like my harvest?


  1. I want a full time job that involves me just grocery fun!

  2. [1] Agreed. Your mom is too adorable.
    [2] I loved these pictures from ATK! Was it just you on the tour?! How lucky if so! And even if lucky! Imagining you just geeking out is too much. Like mother like daughter.


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