We live in the countryside trying to follow an ecological lifestyle and have quite a big garden where we try to homestead following permaculture principles and produce all kind of stuff and even foraging wild food and growing some unusual things like shiitake mushrooms. At the same time it is interesting to use the raw-materials we provide as a business and develop plant based food fitting to our mostly plant based and flexitarian diet.
Is this pesto?
This spring and summer I have been preparing a lot of different kinds of vegan pesto and also shiitake paté.
My pesto production started a couple of years ago because of garlic. I love garlic and grow winter garlic in our garden. It’s a nice crop which you can plant in the winter just before snow comes. Of course it takes a little bit guessing as to when permanent snow finally comes – last winter it didn’t. Anyway normally I plant in November when otherwise there is not much to do in the garden. The garlic gets an early start in the spring and already at midsummer you get the first yield in the form of curly garlic scapes. If you are growing a lot of garlic you get more scapes than you can use in salads etc. The scapes have to be cut off anyway in order to get a good harvest of garlic bulbs. Preparing a garlic pesto is the perfect solution.
Of course you could prepare pesto of almost any greens that you have available (not sure if Italians agree – maybe pesto is supposed to be from basil only?). The first pesto I made this year was wild foraged nettle (actually a weed in our garden) pesto in mid May. A month later I could prepare pesto from Oregano from our garden and that was really delicious. (It reminds me of some herb starters I had in Turkey many years ago.) Now a week later garlic scapes. We don’t grow enough basil yet but that will change next year for sure!
Of course in a real pesto there is basil and parmesan cheese and pine nuts, but in this case I am using none of those (is it still a pesto?). I am replacing the parmesan with organic brown pea protein concentrate as emulsifier and the pine nuts with organic extruded brown pea flour. In the following photos you will see how.
Organic Nettle Pesto 300 g fresh nettle (30%) 500 g oil (I used organic Finnish rapeseed oil) (50%) 30 g garlic (cloves - I didn't have scapes yet) (3%) 15 g salt (1,5%) 90 g water (9%) 15 g brown pea protein flour (50.0BP) (1,5%) 50 g extruded brown pea flour (17.0BP EC) (5%) (You can replace the pea flours with almost whatever pulse flour you can find.)
After mixing the flour in cold water bring it to a boil while whipping it. Functionality like foaming and emulsification will be activated by heating. In a kettle it is easiest to prepare with 10-15% of brow pea protein flour. If dosage is higher viscosity becomes very high. In case there is no other heat step in the process (like in pesto) you should continue cooking for 6 minutes so that the pea is fully cooked and does not give off flavour to the product.
Organic Garlic Pesto with Shiitake 650 g fresh garlic scapes (32%) 200 g fried fresh shiitake mushroom (10%) 700 g oil (I used organic rapeseed oil) (35%) 50 g balsamico vinegar (2,5%) 20 g salt (1%) 200 g water (10%) 30 g brown pea protein flour (50.0BP) (1,5%) 200 g extruded brown pea flour (17.0BP EC) (10%)
Shiitake Paté is an other recipe I have been developing as I happen to have over 1000 shiitake logs in my forest. In this case my aim was to develop something sliceable that I can put of my bread instead of cheese. You already saw the result in the photo a few steps up.
Organic Shiitake Paté 500 g fresh shiitake 150 g oil 2-3 big onions 40 g garlic (1 big garlic bulb) 250 g water + 50 g Organic Brown Pea Protein flour 75 g water + 100 g Organic Potato Starch 80 g Organic Extruded Brown Pea flour 3 table spoons balsamic vinegar (30 g) 30 g sauerkraut juice 15 g salt black pepper 1) Fry the shiitake adding some water on the pan, add oil, onion and garlic (usually shiitake is so dry that water is necessary) 2) Bring protein flour to a bubble in water (same as in pesto recipe) 3) Put shiitake, cooked protein flour, salt, black pepper, vinegar and sauerkraut in blender and blend into a nice texture (not too fine) 4) Mix potato starch into water and add into blender. However let the blend cool down before adding the starch - otherwise your blender will be in trouble. 5) Put the paté in glass jars and pasteurise in boiling water for 10 minutes. Comments: - I like garlic - again the protein flour is the emulsifier so the preparation is the same as with the pesto - the purpose of the potato starch is to create the gellified cuttable texture. It will have developed in the jar in 24-48 hours after the pasteurisation. Other starches (corn starch, tapioca etc) will not do the job.
Yesterday I made some garlic pesto and shiitake paté and still had quite a lot of shiitake left so I had to improvise something. I tossed the fried shiitake in the blender with extruded pea protein flours, some oil, salt and black pepper. I thought I blended it too fine but actually it turned out good. I made thin patties and fried on the pan.
But why was there no garlic? My wife doesn’t love garlic like I do 🤔 but fortunately I could still spread some garlic pesto on the steak 😊.