Summers Magic Sauce, Basil Pesto Cream

summer basil

It’s no secret that I have fondness for fresh basil, I look forward to summertime when I can walk out into my garden and pick my own. This season has been particularly great for growing it as you can tell by my beautiful bounty pictured above, at least 2020 was good for something…

It’s mid July here and so far I’ve used my basil in so many different meals, plus I’ve already made pesto a couple of times, some for me and some for family and friends. I like making pesto, it can be used to enhance so many dishes, it’s so intense in flavor, I love it!

 

pesto swirl

One of my absolute favorite treats whenever I make basil pesto is to turn it into a cream sauce. Ok, let’s stop here and let me say that if you’ve never tasted a basil pesto cream sauce, you’re really missing out!

It’s beyond decadent and creamy and so delicious with seafood, meats, veggies, pasta, I could go on and on, and the best thing is, it’s super simple to make.

It’s definitely summers magic sauce!

homemade pesto

It all starts with the making of your own homemade basil pesto, very important, homemade. Here’s how I do it.

It’s so delicious because it’s filled with fresh basil leaves, quality parmesan cheese, garlic and toasted nuts. I guess you could use store bought in a pinch as long as it’s a good quality one, but I really recommend you making your own, it really makes a difference.

basil cream

There are very few ingredients used to make this luscious sauce, just your homemade pesto and some heavy cream, how easy is that?

Grab a pint of heavy cream, it must be heavy, pour it into a saucepan and simmer it low and slow until it starts to thicken, you’ll begin to see the cream bubbling along the edges of the pan.

When it thickens turn off the heat and start adding your prepared basil pesto, tablespoon by tablespoon whisk it in, it should be a nice balance between the pesto and the cream.

No need to add any other seasoning, it’s a wonderful marriage of the two. If you end up with some leftover sauce it heats up well the next day just put it on a low flame and maybe add a little more cream to loosen it up, but making it the day you’re going to use it is best.

basil cream scallops

I recently seared some scallops and placed them into a puddle of this scrumptious sauce, no words, pure deliciousness!

Think of it smeared on salmon, into your favorite pasta shape, roasted or grilled veggies and different meats, like I said, the possibilities are endless. I hope you make this magic sauce!

 

Signature

Creamy Polenta With Summer Garden Veggies

summer veggie polenta

Since I started this blog way back in 2007 ( next month will be 13 years!) I have posted many different polenta recipes, needless to say we adore polenta in our house.

If you do a search here on my blog you’ll find polenta muffins, polenta biscotti, a polenta tart, croutons, grilled polenta and many different ways to serve it with meat, eggs and various vegetables that are highlighted during the seasons.

 

polenta with veggies

Today I made a creamy polenta that showcases all the summer garden veggies like corn and zucchini that are readily available right now. It’s a fun and very delicious way to highlight both.

polenta ingredients

I use instant polenta which takes no time at all to cook up, and if you prep a few of the other ingredients ahead of time, this comes together quickly.

I roasted a pint of cherry tomatoes the other day and I had some grilled corn leftover from the weekend so I added zucchini and yellow squash and picked some fresh basil from my garden. Just a few ingredients makes such a spectacular meal, but this can also serve as a side dish with something you cook up on the grill.

I also like to serve this up alongside grilled shrimp, it’s such a nice combo!

whisking polentapolenta and veggies

So all you have to do is whisk up some creamy polenta, top it off with julienned strips of zucchini, smokey charred corn along with sweet, juicy roasted cherry tomatoes. Polenta tends to firm up after it sits for a while so if you have leftovers no problem, cut it into wedges and serve it like a pizza!

A summertime dish you won’t forget!

Creamy Polenta With Summer Garden Veggies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of grilled corn with planks cut off the cob, make some planks along with the kernals
  • 1 small zucchini, julienned
  • 1 small yellow squash, julienned
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, rainbow colored
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • FOR THE POLENTA
  • 1 cup of instant polenta
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth preferably, or water
  • ½ cup parmigiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
  • additional ¼ cup or so of water to thin it out a bit if needed at the end
Instructions
  1. Prep your tomatoes by placing them whole on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle generously with olive oil all over and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if made the day before just warm them up a bit the day of.
  2. Roast at 400 until they burst and all the juices mingle with the oil.
  3. Grill both ears of corn cutting the kernels off the cob and making some into planks, it looks nice when placed on top of the polenta.
  4. Julienne both zucchini and yellow squash then place into a bowl and add a squeeze of lemon and a little olive oil just to wilt them down a bit.
  5. MAKE THE POLENTA
  6. In a medium saucepan add the broth or water, get it to a boil and whisk in the polenta, now turn the heat down and let it cook til it thickens, it doesn’t take long.
  7. Shut off the heat and stir in the butter, chopped basil and parmigiano, taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper, maybbe more cheese.
  8. When polenta is finished pour it into your serving dish and "decorate" the top to your liking with all the ingredients including the green onion and extra sprinkle of basil and cheese for finishing. You'll probably have some leftover ingredients, especially the roasted tomatoes.Be sure to spoon some of the tomato oil on too.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Signature

How To Grill An Herb Stuffed Pork Loin

pork roast

Grilling season is in full force and Father’s Day is just around the corner and so you might be thinking of something special to make, may I suggest grilling a pork loin. A pork loin is excellent to make on the grill if you’re having a small or large group, you can feed a crowd with a pork roast being the main course and then just  have some wonderful side dishes to serve along side it.

A pork loin has a much richer flavor because of the marbling throughout, as opposed to a very lean pork tenderloin.

A grilled pork loin that’s smothered with fresh herbs inside and out is easier than you think to make, plus it can be stuffed, rolled and tied a day ahead or hours before which makes for a stress free day of entertaining.

grilled pork roast

 

Ask your butcher what size roast you should get according to the amount of people that you’ll will be serving. Look for a pinkish red color when picking your fresh roast and one with some marbling, because as we know, fat = flavor.

herb paste

I used three herbs for my rub, sage, rosemary and thyme along with garlic and olive oil of course!

herb filled pork roast

If you have a smaller roast, two to three pounds, you can cut it down the center, lengthwise with a sharp knife, being very careful not to go all the way and cut through the bottom, then gently open it up like a book.

Cover the meat with plastic wrap and beat it all over with a meat mallet until it’s about a half inch thickness. If you have a larger roast, four to five pounds, you’ll have to be a little more precise in opening it up.  Here’s a good visual for details on the cutting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Vl78vJMJ8

rolled and tied pork roast

It’s best to get the roast all prepped and ready for the grill ahead of time so all the flavors can marinate together as it sits in the fridge.

 

herb filled roastgrilled roast

The smell when it’s grilling is out of this world, your neighbors will be so jealous!

grilled pork roast

Each bite is jam packed with flavor and the pork retains all it’s juices.

Happy Grilling!

How To Grill An Herb Stuffed Pork Loin
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 lb. fresh pork loin
  • meat mallet
  • butchers twine
  • a small handful each of rosemary, sage and thyme plus extra branches for decorating the roast, and your platter.
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. To Make your herb paste:
  2. On a cutting board or a small food processor place the herbs, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Chop or pulsing the herb mix then drizzle in some olive until the mixture becomes a loose paste, set aside.
  4. To open up the pork loin take a sharp knife and cut down the center, being care not to cut all the way through.
  5. Open the roast up like you do a book.
  6. (If roast is bigger, refer to the youtube link I provided in the post, and double the herb mixture.)
  7. Lay some plastic wrap on top of opened meat.
  8. Take your meat mallet and pound all over the surface, you want it to be about a half inch thick all around.
  9. Remove plastic wrap and smear all over the surface, reserving enough for the outside of the roast.
  10. Have your butchers twine cut and ready to tie the meat
  11. Now roll up the meat as close and tight as you can and secure it with the twine in 2 inch intervals.
  12. Rub the outside all over with remaining herb mixture and add a branch of each herb under one tie.
  13. At this point you can place in a fridge overnight or you can place in fridge for a couple of hours before grilling, you want the flavors to mingle for a while.
  14. FOR A GAS GRILL
  15. Take roast out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  16. Sear both sides on a medium high flame for a few minutes then lower it down to medium, around 350 until internal temp reaches 140. You will have to move it from time to time checking it and watching your temp but other than that it's hands free, and of course cover your grill.
  17. Remove roast and let it rest under loose foil for 15 minutes.
  18. Cut the twine off and it's ready to slice!

 

Signature