The Hobo Kitchen will generally focus on meals that are easy or take shortcuts, because that's the hobo way. But they're also really, really yummy — no beans eaten straight from a can here. Though I have done that in the past. Because I'm a bona fide hobo, yo.
I'm also going to assume that you're not an expert cook, because if you are — seriously, why are you coming to me? So I'm going to give you some easy kitchen tips mixed in with the recipe, which you can ignore if you're thinking, Um, yeah, I know.
A lot of our meals are vegetarian, though not all, but pretty much none are vegan, because we love cheese. But if you're a vegan whiz at translating cheese out of recipes, feel free to follow along.
I'm starting off easy with a topping:
Poor Man's Pesto
I've named it this because it's a pretty cheap pesto to make from what you might already have around the home. We've been growing basil in our garden, so I wanted to find a way to feature it. We're also growing garlic, but it's not ready yet.
So here are all the ingredients, as lined up above. (I take pictures like this so I can remember!) I have no idea on amounts. I guess I used about equal amounts of the basil, nuts, and parmesan, one garlic clove, and then eyeballed the oil and salt and pepper. I really don't think there's a way to mess this up, though, as long as you're using your eyes and your common sense.
- basil leaves
- walnuts (if you're feeling fancy, go with pine nuts, but it will no longer be Poor Man's Pesto)
- parmesan cheese (you can go with grated parmesan from a can or get fancy with a shredded kind)
- olive oil (whatever quality you can swing)
To put the ingredients together, you need a cutting board and a knife. See, I'm extrapolating Poor Man's Pesto to assume you don't have access to a food processor. Or that you're too lazy to get it out and clean it after. Ahem.
To cut finely or mince with a chef's knife, you can put one hand on the handle and the other balanced on the dull top, then just rock it back and forth over what you're cutting. (This video shows it well at about 1:07.)
Working with real garlic cloves is easy, if you haven't done it before. Just pop out one of the cloves from the garlic bulb and then hit it with the flat side of the knife blade. That will loosen the papery outer layer so you can easily peel it off. You might need to cut an end first, which is fine. Then just cut off the very ends of the garlic clove and throw them into your yard waste or compost. The rest of the garlic, then, you can mince as above.
- Finely chop or mince the garlic, basil, and walnuts. To make a smoother pesto, use a food processor. Otherwise, your pesto will be as chunky or thin as your knife skills allow. I don't mind a nice chunky pesto, though! It's got a nice texture to it. Maybe I should have titled this Lazy Woman's Pesto.
- Put all the chopped ingredients in a bowl. Add the parmesan cheese according to how cheesy you like your pesto. (I like super cheesy.)
- Pour in some olive oil, and begin mixing it through. If it looks dry, add more. If it looks sopping, add more parmesan to soak it up. You want the consistency to be nice and oily but holding together. If you're using the food processor, it should be like a paste.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. I never actually taste as I'm adding, though. I take that directive to mean "as I think will taste good based on how it looks."
Now you can use your pesto! We had bagels on hand, so onto bagels it went. Pesto goes well on top of any breads or toasted under cheese. It makes a divine pasta sauce and can also be added to fish or chicken dishes or pizza. You can use it as is or add it into a tomato-based sauce. Speaking of which, tomato soup becomes gourmet when you add some pesto and a rich grated cheese. You can mix pesto into rice and couscous dishes as well, and it plays well with garbanzo beans. Whatever you choose, wear your garlic breath with pride.
If you want to freeze pesto for later use, some say to skip the cheese and add it after thawing instead, but drizzle more olive oil on top of the pesto before sealing the container. You could also add a little lemon juice to help prevent browning from oxidation. (It won't have gone bad, but pesto just looks best nice and green.) You can freeze it in cubes for easier use. That should help you take care of any overgrown basil production in your garden!
Linked up at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Friday Food at Momtrends, Food on Friday at Ann Kroeker, Wholesome Whole Foods at Health Food Lover, Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home. Although I'm a little nervous about partying with these foodie types.