Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Sundried Tomato Pesto

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I have a question for all of you who have your own blogs - how do you feel about other people using your material? I get many requests to use my photos or recipes on other people's blogs, and usually, I'm pretty ok with that as long as I'm asked and as long as there is proper attribution. But recently, I found a website that reposted a copy of my feed from Google Reader IN FULL. They did link to Confessions of a Tart and attributed the content to me, but still, they had reposted everything, from all of my posts. This website apparently has no original content - all they do is publish other people's material. And, to make matters worse, they had ads all over the website, so they are also profiting from other people's creativity.

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I got very, very angry. In fact, I think I had to take a few deep breaths to calm down before I did anything. Granted, I don't consider this blog a work of art or whatever, but it's my little corner of the world, my baby, even if I open it up for everyone to see. It's my words and my photos and sometimes, even my own recipes. It's something so very personal to me, and, having now been blogging for a year and a half, it's something that I'm pretty proud of.

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I wrote an email to the website from my personal email address and asked them nicely to take down my content. They agreed. Two months later, they still kept posting the full feeds from my blog. Grr. I took it to the next level and wrote them a more detailed and much less nice email from my business account - you know, the one that says in small but scary letters that I'm an Esq. and that I'm not afraid to kick some ass (in legal terms) should I feel the need to do so. After that, they finally complied with my request and removed my content.

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I guess this is going to happen (and I've already had to deal with this several times, so not the first and not the last), but what made me really sad was that I had to bring out the big guns for someone to do the right thing. Why did I have to take my time away from family, friends, work and this blog to write a two-page email, citing relevant law and threatening legal action, for someone to stop stealing my work for their own profit? I'm 30 years old, but the ways of the world still disappoint me sometimes.

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Meanwhile, I made you pesto. Delicious, delicious pesto. I made it by hand, and I cannot even tell you how much better it is that the food processor version. I mean, worlds, WORLDS apart. Universes, even! That's how good it was. No, really, that's how good it was. In fact, I think it was the best pesto I've ever had, so go and make this while basil is still fragrant and garlic is fresh and pink and you can sit on the patio with a glass of very crisp, very cold white wine and dip your bread into this explosion of bright green flavors and just focus on the beautiful things in life.

Summer Sundried Tomato Pesto
(serves 4 for dipping or mixing into pasta)

2 bunches basil
1 bunch parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
scant 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how thick you want the pesto to be)
salt & pepper

There are two ways to make this - with a knife or with a mortar & pestle. Either way, crushing the basil and parsley is important because it really brings out the full flavor of the greens.

If using a mortar & pestle: Crush the garlic with about 1/4 tsp of salt and throw it into a large bowl. Then, very roughly chop the basil and parsley (some people use parsley stems, but I take them out) and crush, first the basil and then the parsley, rubbing the pestle against the sides of the mortar to bring out the flavor. You will know when you're doing well because the greens will look dark and bruised and the smell will be incredible. Sometimes, a small drizzle of olive oil helps get the process going. Add to the garlic in the big bowl.

Toast and crush the pine nuts and then chop the sundried tomatoes finely. Note: if using dry sundried tomatoes (as opposed to packed in oil), soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes first to make them nice and plump. Add to the bowl, throw in the parmesan, and mix with a fork, adding the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until you have achieved the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If not using a mortar & pestle: Roughly chop the garlic cloves. Sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp of salt and then crush with the back of a large knife until you have a paste. Throw the garlic past into a large bowl. Chop the basil and parsley finely. Then, put the chopped greens into a ziploc bag and gently hit them with the back of a large knife or the flatter side of a meat tenderizer until the greens darken in color and look bruised. I would do this one at a time (once for basil and once for parsley). Add to the large bowl with the garlic.

Toast and chop finely the pine nuts, then chop finely the sundried tomatoes. Note: if using dry sundried tomatoes (as opposed to packed in oil), soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes first to make them nice and plump. Add to the bowl, throw in the parmesan, and mix with a fork, adding the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until you have achieved the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with some crusty bread and a crisp glass of white wine!


Sam@BingeNYC said...

Sorry to hear that happened - I can only imagine how how frustrating that must be. On a happier note, I've never made pesto with a mortar and pestle...looks delicious! I'm definitely trying it this way next time!!!

Lina said...

that pesto looks lovely! that sux that someone practically stole your material. i borrow your recipes once in a while but i promise to link back to you if i ever use them! :)

ChichaJo said...

That's sorry that it happened to you! I have requests asking to use a recipe or photo and, like you, it's usually ok as long as they credit me and link bak...but your whole feed without even asking? And then putting it back up after you already asked to take it horrid :(

But this pesto looks wonderful and is indeed one of the beautiful things in life :) I have yet to make pesto in a mortar and sounds brilliant!

Junglefrog said...

It's definitely frustrating when something like that happens! Why do people even think that it would be ok to do something like that? I guess there will always be people out there that like to profit from someone's work. It's ridiculous but seems to be the norm these days..

But on the bright side; your pesto looks delicious!

Elra said...

Yum... I looooove pesto, though never add sun dried tomato in it. Should try this one day!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I'm sorry they took your material. It's one thing to ask to borrow a picture, it's another to steal your whole blog. I hear a lot of bloggers complain about this. I don't get it? Why do people steal other peoples hard work? With all that said your pesto does look delicious. I bet making this by hand really helped get your frustration:)

Pam said...

I've heard about blogs that do that, but I've never spotted my stuff on one.

On the other hand, I am going to get out my mortar and pestle.

Irene said...

Lina - it actually makes me really happy when people make recipes that I've made and post about them. That's what the blogging community is all about, all of us sharing our recipes, our stories, our photos. Most of my recipes come from other bloggers, in fact. It's the thing that makes us a community! But this website was definitely commercial - they had ads all over the place without having any original content. *That* pissed me off. If you're going to make money, you'd better work for it! And they didn't actually test any of the recipes themselves, just posted other bloggers' full feeds. Ugh! So not cool!

veron said...

Sites like that irritate. I do not mind if it is a partial teaser feed and that would lead to my site but a full feed is almost not attributing anything to the original poster.
This pesto looks delicious! We love sundried tomatoes in our household.

Ash said...

oh.. I shall try this version... since I'm hearing it's oh so good!

Manggy said...

Yikes, sorry to hear that, but I'm glad it was handled with little fuss (some of them even like to argue!). Your content is definitely unique and fantastic- I guess they couldn't resist republishing it :/

Anali said...

Your blog IS a work of art and you have every reason to be upset.

I've had similar things happen to me. The time that it takes to hunt down the right people to write to and get everything in order has infuriated me each and every time. Plus it made me feel very violated. My heart and soul goes into my blog and to see it used by someone else just hurt me.

I never pulled out the Esq gun though. I hate to use it for matters like this. It's always the last resort. Maybe I could have straightened things out faster if I had. *sigh*

The Caked Crusader said...

You have combined two of my fave things here: sundried tomatoes and pesto. Looks divine. I'd happily dive into a swimming pool of it!

Irene said...

Anali - I did try it the nice way first :) I have a policy to always try it the "civilian" way first before using big legalese sounding words.

But (and unfortunately), my experience is that once you pull out the esq. card, things tend to get done quickly. Don't like doing it, but in this case, I didn't feel bad whatsoever.

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

Your layout of this blog entry is rather interesting. You are writing about your experience with the site stealing your content, and in between each paragraph you lure our attention away with this delicious pesto in the making.

To be honest, it was quiet distracting. I almost forgot about it--will try the pesto this weekend.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Eeeks, sorry this happened to you. How horrid, but I'm glad you fought back. Just so annoying...
I love the pesto a LOT, and also love the fact that it's made by hand. Moreish, rustic & gorgeous! WOW!!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Oh I am sorry to hear that has happened!! Love the pesto I could just dive in and eat on its own - YUM!

Jessica said...

I just started my blog, so I haven't experienced any egregious "borrowing." The scenario you describe is interesting on many levels. I don't think etiquette rules (or "netiquette" if you may) are as established when it comes to the internet. Similarly, while most people know it's wrong and illegal to publish (in print) someone else's words and ideas verbatim without proper credit, it's a bit nebulous on the web. As someone else has pointed out, blogging creates a niche community, where people recycle ideas and photos. Having said that, it's really annoying that someone was blatantly stealing your work for profit. I think these "spam" websites are, unfortunately, quite common. They'll copy and paste content from wikipedia or other sites and inundate the site with ads to generate revenue.

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I just had a conversation about this with my husband. I've been getting very upset about this as well. Unfortunately, I don't have any ESQ power. =( It makes me angry because there's a ton of websites that do this and another problem is that many are not based in the US so even with legal help, we wouldn't be able to do much (i think?)

Moving on, these photos are beautiful. I like the 3rd one the most.

Jane said...

Hi Irene, Wow . . . I can just imagine how angry and upset that kind of thing would make me! I haven't been blogging long at all and I must be naive because I have never heard of a blog's content being ripped off wholesale like that. Talk about the nerve. It's the anonymity factor that gives some low life the guts to try something so lowdown. I think it's very cool that you flashed your lawyer badge at them! You go, girl!! I absolutely love your blog--always have--and the thought of it being pirated just burns my toast, as they say.

Oooooo, the thought of it makes me steamin' mad.