Presto, Pesto! Quick Pesto Recipe

Want to take your pasta up a notch? Add depth of flavor to burgers? Take a break from basic butter on your toast? There’s a spread that does it all, and then some — and it’s so, so easy to make.

Pesto comes from the Italian word for “pounded,” and though it was originally made in a mortar and pestle (it’s still traditionally made this way in parts of Italy), today, you can whip it up ultra fast thanks to modern cooking appliances like blenders and food processors.

pesto ingredients

All the ingredients you’ll need for a classic, Genovese-style pesto. (Photo via Flickr user umami)

Read our Pesto Genovese recipe below, courtesy of Saveur, and keep scrolling for clever modifications that produce bold, rich flavors, plus tips and tricks for perfect pesto every time.

Pesto Recipe: Pesto Genovese

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Coarse salt, to taste (sea salt preferred)

Recipe:

Place basil, nuts, and garlic in a food processor blender and process until finely minced. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream as the machine is running. Continue adding oil until the mixture is smooth. Then, add the cheese and process just long enough to combine.

Pesto Recipe Variations

Once you master a basic pesto recipe, there are infinite variations! Try different nuts, like pistachios or walnuts. You can also experiment with different oils, like avocado oil or coconut oil, or cheeses like pecorino. Even the herbs are up for experimenting! Skip the basil and try adding parsley, spinach, or kale. Just adhere to the basic recipe below for the ratio you’ll need of each ingredient:

  • 1 part herbs
  • ½ part nuts
  • ½ part cheese
  • ½ part oil
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic

Pesto Pro Tips

Pesto is almost foolproof, but there are a few tips and tricks worth knowing:

  • If you’re using a basil pesto, search for the smallest, palest leaves, which indicate the youngest, freshest plant.
  • If you can’t find young basil, you can soften leaves by blanching them in simmering water for about 30 seconds and then plunging into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  • Italian pine nuts are the gold standard for classic pesto, but they’re also expensive. Save money by opting for walnuts — but soak them first in hot water for at least an hour to alleviate any bitter taste.
  • Lightly toast the nuts for an added depth of flavor.
  • You can modify your pesto to meet vegan requirements by swapping parmesan for vegan cheese.

Need more dinner ideas? Check out all of our cooking tips

Must Know Refrigerator Organization Tips

Do you find yourself practically playing a game of Tetris to fit all of your groceries into your refrigerator? Whether you have a smaller fridge or just more refrigerated items than you know what to do with, don’t stress.

How To Organize Your Fridge

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator:

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator.

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator.

Remove packaging

This is a quick and easy fix for products that are taking up more room than necessary. Many products like rice or prepared food come sealed in a bag inside a large, bulky box. By eliminating the packaging, less space will be needed to store the item in the refrigerator.

Cleanse your fridge

Chances are, you have a lot of products that have been sitting in your refrigerator, neglected for a long period of time. Most likely these items include salad dressing and condiments, wilting produce, half-empty bottles of flat soda, frozen popsicles or prepared meals, just to name a few. Make a habit of routinely cleaning out your fridge to throw out the items that have expired or spoiled.

To keep the surfaces of your refrigerator clean, lay down some easily removable cling film on each shelf of your refrigerator to catch spills and crumbs, and remove them and replace as needed.

Organize your groceries

Smartly utilize your refrigerator space by separating different types of food in designated baskets, like condiments, greens, dairy, fruit and meat. Label the containers to keep to a consistent system going and for quick and easy access.

Best Places To Put Everything In Your Fridge:

Did you know that there is a correct method for organizing your fridge and making the most out of your groceries? Follow these tips to maximize your food’s freshness and save money in the process!

On Top of the Fridge

Store things like cookbooks, paper towels and appliances on top of your fridge. NEVER store bread, wine or produce on top of your refrigerator.

Refrigerator Doors

The door is the warmest part of your fridge, so use it to store products that aren’t as sensitive to temperature, such as confinements and sauces, juice, pickles, sodas and bottled water.

Refrigerator’s Upper Shelves

The upper shelves of your fridge have a consistent cold temperature perfect for storing leftovers, drinks, ready-to-eat prepared foods and herbs.

Refrigerator’s Lower Shelves

The lower shelves of your refrigerator are the coldest part of your fridge, which makes them ideal for keeping your milk, eggs, dairy products and raw meat safe.

Crisper Drawers

Your refrigerator has two crisper drawers for a reason. These are made for storing fruits and vegetables separately.

Other Fridge Storage Tips

There are certain things you NEVER want to refrigerate, including tomatoes, onions, squash and potatoes.

Many items in your kitchen pantry can be stored in your fridge if you prefer, like nuts, peanut butter and almond butter, flour and natural oils. Some medications and beauty products are also best when refrigerated.

How does your fridge stack up?

1st Lake Properties offers spacious kitchens with modern appliances at our many convenient New Orleans area apartments that will make refrigerator organization a breeze.

Greater New Orleans Inc. Rankings Show NOLA’s Star Power

As a long-time New Orleans company, we’re always excited to share good news about the Greater New Orleans area. We already knew NOLA was a star, and now we have STARs (Statistics, Testimonials, Awards and Rankings) to prove it. Greater New Orleans Inc., an economic development organization, released its 2015 STARs data on New Orleans, and we’re so proud to live in a city that has accomplished so much.

The distinctions and statistics collected by GNO Inc. come from a variety of sources. Whether from print and online publications (including everything from Forbes to Thrillist) or from government agencies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans has received praise across the board in areas like talent and workforce, entrepreneurship, quality of life, economic development, and more.

(Photo via Flickr user Billy Metcalf Photography)

(Photo via Flickr user Billy Metcalf Photography)

Here are just a few of the many stellar accolades bestowed upon New Orleans:

Greater New Orleans Inc. STARs

  • Named the No. 1 Most Cost-Friendly Place for Businesses in the United States (KPMG)
  • Ranked No. 1 in the USA for export growth (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • Ranked No. 2 boomtown in America due to population and GDP growth (Bloomberg)
  • Named the No. 3 big city winning the IT jobs battle, after Silicon Valley and San Francisco (Forbes)
  • Ranked  No. 1 most improved metro in the USA (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ranked No. 1 brainpower city in the USA (Forbes)
  • Ranked No. 1 in the USA for in-migration of workers in their prime, ages 35-49 (Forbes)
  • Ranked No. 2 in the USA for women in technology (U.S. Census)
  • Leads the USA by 56% in the number of startups per capita (GNO Community Data Center)
  • Ranked No. 1 “food city” in America (Thrillist)
  • Named “America’s Favorite City” (Travel + Leisure)
  • Named a top 10 city in the world (Travel + Leisure)
  • Among the top 5 cities in the U.S. for an increasing share of millennial jobs (CareerBuilder)

Visit GNO Inc.’s full list of STARs. Congrats, New Orleans!

Best Apartments for Dogs in New Orleans

When you have a dog, they’re part of the family — and just as you want the very best space for yourself and loved ones, you also want a space ideal for your four-legged friend.

1st Lake Properties is a pet-friendly company with thousands of apartments ideal for dogs across Greater New Orleans. However, a few of our properties are especially suited to pups for their proximity to sprawling outdoor spaces like Lafreniere Park.

Even better, Bella Ridge has a dog park called Bella Bark right on the premises that’s ideal for you and your dog.

Learn more about our pet policies and best apartments for dogs in New Orleans below.

The exclusive Bella Bark dog park at Bella Ridge.

The exclusive Bella Bark dog park at Bella Ridge.

Best Apartments for Dogs in New Orleans

Bella Ridge

How great would it be to have a dog park at arm’s length? That’s the reality at Bella Ridge, a luxury apartment community in River Ridge that’s thought of every last detail from oversized tubs to a dedicated space for your pet. The on-site dog park, Bella Bark, is a safe, convenient, well-lit place for dogs and owners alike to mingle and get some fresh air. It also features agility equipment to keep your dog fit while having fun. This exclusive dog park is available only for Bella Ridge residents — contact us today for specials!

Apartments with Proximity to Lafreniere Park

Several of our Metairie apartment communities like Sandpiper, Parktowne, Boardwalk, and Breakers are all just a short distance from Lafreniere Park. This sprawling green space in Metairie features a dog park called Bark Park, a 5-acre space just for pups. The park is open on Tuesdays through Sundays from 7 a.m. until dusk. On Mondays, the park opens at 1 p.m. and remains open through dusk. Separated into two sub-parks — one for large dogs and one for dogs under 22 pounds — Bark Park features agility courses and scenic views.

1st Lake Properties Pet Policy

  • Our pet deposit for one pet (20 pounds or less full grown) is $300, $100 of which is non-refundable. Following the deposit, 1st Lake charges a pet fee of $15 per month.
  • If you have two pets, 1st Lake requires a $600 deposit, $100 of which is non-refundable. The monthly pet fee thereafter is $25 per month.
  • All pets must be on leashes when walking around property grounds.
  • For a list of restricted dog breeds, visit our Pet Policy blog post.

 

Guide to French Quarter Festival Fun (2016 Edition)

It’s arguably the best time of the year in New Orleans right now. Yes it’s spring, but in addition to blooming flowers and pleasant weather, it’s officially festival season!

French Quarter Festival will bring four days of incredible New Orleans music and food to the entire historic French Quarter neighborhood. Take a look at what you can expect and reserve April 7-10, 2016 on your calendar for French Quarter Fest fun, just a short drive from any of our New Orleans area apartment communities!

french quarter festival

Photo by Zack Smith

Music

French Quarter Fest spans the entire downtown neighborhood, with more than twenty music stages scattered throughout. Enjoy some of the city’s best artists with genres ranging from blues to jazz, funk, rock, brass bands, Cajun and soul. Check out the full music schedule on the French Quarter Festival website.

Food

It’s hard to say if the music or the food is better at French Quarter Fest, but luckily, attendees can enjoy both to their hearts’ content. There are a variety of food options available at French Quarter Fest, each with delectable delicacies like jambalaya, meat pies, snoballs, alligator sausage, oysters, crawfish, bread pudding, po-boys and much more.

french quarter fest 2014

Swing dancing lessons are part of French Quarter Festival. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Ipung_zan)

Special Events

Because New Orleans always takes their festivals to the next level, it doesn’t stop at the food and music. There’s just as many other events going on as the food and the music, including the second line kick-off parade, an entire family section with kid-friendly activities, a film fest, free dance lessons and much more. Check out the full special events schedule online.

Getting There

Many of our properties, especially those in Metairie and River Ridge, are just a short drive from downtown New Orleans. However, be aware that French Quarter Fest brings in a lot of traffic, so you’ll want to avoid parking in the French Quarter itself and seek parking garages in the Central Business District instead (there’s even a Park-n-Ride shuttle available.)

Apartment Search

Find Your

Apartment

View Available Apartments »

Map Search »