I have a confession.
I, I who touted simplicity in kitchen equipment and who tut-tutted at fancy gadgets, own a food processor.
I said it.
I got it off my chest.
I feel a little bit better now that I am being honest with you.
I know. Bitty kitchen. And high rent. Where do you put it and how do you afford one?
Let me explain.
My boyfriend is Greek. Well, Greek and Armenian, but this story concerns his Greek side.
His father’s mother, my boyfriend’s yia-yia, passed away a number of years ago, long before i knew him, long before we knew of each other’s existence even.
I’m close with my boyfriend’s father. He and I are both only children, so we get each other. I understand his independence and stubbornness and his occasional need for solitude and for quiet because, well, I’m the same way.
My boyfriend and I were discussing the other day, that everyone always focuses on the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. But father-in-law and daughter-in-law is a very under valued relationship. His dad has two sons and no daughter. It’s nice for him to add a female to his family. Especially since it’s great practice for the four granddaughters I pray he gets!
But back to yia-yia. I didn’t get to meet her, but my boyfriend’s dad says I remind him of her. From what I’ve heard, she was an elegant and incredibly intelligent woman (spoke 7 languages and had a Masters degree from NYU! A Masters. At the time! Imagine!). So I happily take the comparison as a compliment.
When yia-yia passed, the contents of her house were moved to her son’s basement. This was more than ten years ago, keep in mind.
So, we were at their house. And I happened to mention wanting a food processor one day.
His mom jumped right up to say she had one in the basement, unused, still in the box. It was yia-yia’s.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you yia-yia’s ancient Cuisinart!
This thing weighs a ton.
It’s a great weapon in case someone ever breaks in.
But guess what? It works. Perfectly.
I don’t care that it’s ancient.
It’s a little bulky, but I made space for it. It’s yia-yia’s!
And I kind of like that it was hers. It brings her into our kitchen and gives our home that feeling of history and of family that’s not always easy to get in a rental apartment.
So now, I can make one of my favorite things ever.
I know I could have made it before with a mortar and pestle the old-fashioned way.
But, I want more than just basil.
I want to spice things up and mix up tradition.
Get it? Mix up? Food processor? Tradition? yia-yia’s food processor?
Also, we were away all weekend celebrating my boyfriend’s brother’s graduation from college.
After getting back at like midnight on a Sunday from a weekend of heavy dinners, too much wine and lots of running around to sit in auditoriums, I just don’t have the time.
I need something ridiculously easy.
And when I’m standing in the kitchen going Oh s*, what’s for dinner? I always turn to broccoli pesto.
I always have parmesan cheese, olive oil and garlic in my kitchen. If you keep so frozen veggies in your freezer, you’re good to go for any last minute guest or any moment of crap, there’s no food in my house!
I make this in the morning before work sometimes so it can hang in the fridge all day. You can make this in advance and freeze it too.
You will need
2-3 cloves of garlic
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Or, if you’re using frozen broccoli, follow the defrosting directions on the package.
Or, put a little bit of water in a microwave-safe bowl, toss in the broccoli and zap!
You don’t really want to cook the broccoli, you just want to take away the rawness.
I throw mine in a pot of boiling water for like thirty seconds, until the florets turn a bright green.
Meanwhile, throw the garlic cloves into the food processor and pulse.
I put the garlic in by itself to get it all chopped up so it combines more evenly with the broccoli. But you can put everything in at once.
Remove the broccoli from the water and put in with the garlic. Pulse to chop a bit.
Drizzle in some olive oil and blend.
If the mixture seizes, add more oil. Or, if you want to keep this lighter, add a little bit of the water from boiling the broccoli.
I try not to use a lot of oil. Especially after the four course meal we ate in Baltimore this weekend.
Blend until you have the consistency you want. I get it fairly smooth with little bits of broccoli peeking out so you can tell this is not your ordinary basil pesto.
If you’re serving immediately, throw in a handful of parmesan cheese and blend.
If you’re storing this for later, hold off on the cheese for now.
I’m putting this into Tupperware and refrigerating until dinner.
Tonight, I’ll boil some hot water, toss in some angel air and pour the pesto over.
A sprinkle of cheese on top, a crispy romaine side salad and some bread to mop the bowl.