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The end of the Pesto era (plus burns and baking)!


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I have legitimately cooked quite a bit since the last time I wrote. I made myself a very tasty pizza with pesto, pepperoni, fontina cheese, mozzerella cheese, red onions, and garlic. It looked so good that I took a picture of it:

I love assembling my own pizza. I don't like tomatoes or tomato sauce, so I substitute anything else when I make pizzas myself. Pesto was a very delicious substitute, and one I'll likely use again in the future.

I actually followed a recipe this week, too. Monday night, I made Pesto Baked Chicken from the cookbook I got for Christmas. I had to reduce the recipe to suit one person, but it turned out very well:

1 chicken breast
4 Tbsp. Basil Pesto
3/4 tsp. sour cream
3/4 tsp. mayo
Parmesan cheese
Pine nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Lay the chicken in a shallow baking dish (I used a pie plate). Mix together pesto, mayo, and sour cream. Spread mixture evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pine nuts. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

I did the whole thing over a bed of red onions, seasoned with any leftover pesto mixture. It was very good. I cooked it for more like 12 minutes so that the onions would caramelize more, and I actually could have left it in for a few more. The pesto effectively flavored the chicken throughout, even though it was just spread on top. This was very easy, pretty tasty, and worth the extreme burn I got on my right hand middle finger.

Yes, I burned myself taking this dish out of the oven. It was completely my own fault. I didn't put the oven door down all the way, and hit my finger on the inside of the door. It looks awesome. Kind of like I got into a fight with just my finger.

Anyway, between the pizza and the chicken, I finally used up all of the prepared pesto. I'll probably stay pesto-less for awhile. A week, at least.

I also did some baking over the past couple days. My fellow VISTA and her friend came over to my hovel to help bake some standard Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe from Better Homes and Gardens).
The cookies turned out well, especially well considering we used organic peanut butter (unsweetened!), organic sugar, and a farm fresh egg. They were the most environmentally conscious cookies I've ever baked.

Last night I tried my hand at short bread. Short bread is insanely easy to mix up. It consists of flour, sugar, and butter. That's it. You can get fancy like I did and add cinnamon, but it is still crazy easy. The hard part was the baking. I tried to get my dough into a nice circle like the picture in Better Homes and Gardens, but what I got instead was a questionable looking mound. Oh well. The edges got a little too brown, but the rest of the shortbread is pretty tasty. Note to self-invest in a rolling pin.


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