FOOD Chef Char Morse



1 cup raw walnuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 9 cloves)
3 oz. fresh basil, large or woody stems removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. With the processor running, slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. This recipe makes about 3 cups of pesto.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.


1 egg, fried
2 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy
2 slices fresh tomato
1 slice cheese (white cheddar, colby or pepper jack)
1 Tablespoon pesto
1 thin sandwich bun

After frying an egg, remove egg from pan and place the two pieces for the sandwich bun on the pan to lightly toast the bread. Spread pesto on one piece of the bun and place a slice of cheese on the other piece of the bun. Add egg, fresh sliced tomato and bacon on top of the pesto bun and then top with the sliced cheese and remaining bun.


(Serves 4)
1 package spaghetti noodles, cooked
8 ounces cooked chicken breasts, (bones and skin removed)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pesto
Garnish: shredded parmesan cheese and basil leaves cut into ribbons (chiffonade)

Cook chicken breasts and cut up into bite size pieces. In a saute pan over low heat, add cooked chicken, lemon juice, tomato, olive oil and garlic and cook about five minutes until tomatoes soften. Boil noodles according to package directions and drain. Place noodles back in the pan, stir in pesto and the chicken and tomato mixture. Garnish with parmesan cheese and basil, if desired. Serve immediately.

Char_MorseAbout Char Morse

I have been cooking for the absolute love of it for many years. I grew up in a farming community on Michigan’s west side where much of the food has always come from sources such as my dad’s enormous garden, the vast orchards of a few farmer friends, the depths of the waters of Lake Michigan and even the humble woods of my backyard. The best things I discover while “playing with food” are shared with students in the hands-on cooking classes and recipe demonstrations I do. Follow me on Facebook

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