07 May 2012

A Food Processor, a Moral Conundrum, and a Delicious Poor Man’s Pesto.

I need your advice. Please contemplate this scenario, and then get back to me.

Good Friend decides to move to Italy.
Good Friend gives away almost all of her earthly possessions to avoid hefty shipping costs, leaving you with her mint-condition Cuisinart food processor.
You give your old, crappy Hamilton Beach food processor to a friend.
That friend moves to California, taking Crappy Food Processor with her.
You fall madly and deeply in love with your new, Not-crappy Food Processor.  ‘Tis a bittersweet love, however, as your heart aches for your dear ex-pat friend each time you tenderly press the pulse button.
Several years later, Good Friend moves back from Italy, which she has deemed crappy.
Crappy, crap, crappy. Instead of those razor-edged blades puréeing your tomatoes, they purée your happiness. The elation brought on by your Good Friend’s return is destroyed by the all-consuming guilt you feel for still owning a kickass food processor while your friend has zero food processors.

What is the right thing to do?  Give her back her food processor? Perhaps, but then I would resent her for the rest of my life. Fly back to California to re-claim Crappy Food Processor? Dumb. Keep Not-crappy Food Processor, but feel guilty every time I use it? Silly. Buy Good Friend a crappy replacement? Mean.

After spending hours and hours mulling over this dilemma, I came to the conclusion that  the only reasonable solution was to break my beloved machine. Then neither of us would have it, and all would be right with the world. My plan was to keep cramming it with food until it jammed up, and then I could say, “Oh sorry, Good Friend,  by the way, your food processor broke, now we both have to buy a new one.” And it would suck, but at least it would be fair.

Full to the limit!

So I made a super duper triple batch of Poor Man’s Pesto. I filled my baby up all the way to the top, sniffling as I stuffed in handful after handful of pesto ingredients.  I stifled full-blown sobs as the olive oil glugged in.  I pressed the switch, whispering sorrowful adieus to my cherished appliance.   At first, the blades caught and stuck, and I thought my plan was successful. But after a few gentle coaxes from the pulse button, the blades whirred to life, the spinach was sucked into the flurry, and pesto!, the pesto was finished.

The good news:I have 4 or 5 cups of delicious pesto that did not cost a fortune to make.
The bad news: I still have a working, not-crappy food processor, and my friend still has zero food processors.
But more good news: it turns out that I don’t care about the moral solution to this problem. I have decided to keep the food processor. I cannot be parted with my love.
And...more bad news: it turns out I am a Crappy Friend.
But wait! More good news: To appease my guilt at being a Crappy Friend who owns a Not-crappy Food Processor, I have decided to make anyone anything with pesto in it anytime they want. Like this pizza, with  pesto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic sausage. It is not crappy.

Put it in my mouth!

Poor Man’s Pesto
Replacing some of the basil with spinach, and some of the pine nuts with pecans, brings down the price of this pesto.  Added bonus:  you don’t have to wait for basil season.
Also, the pecans give the pesto a slighty nuttier taste, which is unexpected, yet pleasing.
Feel free to vary the proportions according to your taste or what you have available in your kitchen.

Makes about 4 cups of pesto.

3/4 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 large handfuls of spinach leaves
1 large handful of basil leaves
6 large cloves of garlic (or more!)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Whir ingredients together in your food processor. Hopefully your food processor is not crappy and does not break.
(Note: I actually did this in a few batches because I made an even larger batch and could not physically fit everything into the processor, even if I was trying to break it.)

Eat some right away, and then portion the rest out into various sizes for freezing.  I like to do a few 1-cup sizes for pasta salads, and a few 1/4 cup sizes for sandwiches, pizzas, soup garnishes, and whatever else comes up.


Kirstie said...

This feels very similar to a similar conundrum I have about my beloved dutch oven. A friend gave it to me because she never used it and I wanted one. It wasn't till much later that someone with expertise in old cast iron dutch ovens went "oooo, aaaaa, look at that early 20th century Griswald" that I discovered some of these babies are selling for $400-500 on Ebay. I still haven't brought myself to asking her if she's like it back in light of this new information. But I don't think I'll really be able to take the destructive route, considering the material.

Yvette said...

Sweet solution: Make a bucket of pesto, make lovely presentation packages that can be frozen, give them to your generous friend who hasn't asked for her processor back. If it helps, they've been updated so much in the past few years, she would probably prefer a brand new one, herself.

Julie said...

After reading this twice, I feel you are in the moral clear. Time lapse is "a few years" and no request for return of food processor. Plus, even if you receive such a request, you can always respond in a manner similar to how my MIL did when we asked for our cats back, after repatriating ourselves: she said no, she was now too attached to them to let them go. Clearly, you too have formed a bond with the food processor.

Lynn said...

Ha! It is hard to step back from good appliances once tried. Btw, we made pesto from nearly-bolted arugula once on the advice of a cousin. Even in a not crappy blender, it was crap.