Tag Archives: green

If you plant a herb garden, you better damn well like pesto.

My herbs are staging a coup d’état in the backyard.

I’m striking back with pesto.

One of my fave 101cookbooks.com blog posts is entitled “How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother”.  She’s right.  It’s a brilliant recipe; however, sometimes I do not have 1) pine nut cash allowance (so expensive!), 2) oh, I don’t know 1000 extra calories to inhale a 2 tablespoon mouthful of wonderfulness or 3) time to chop BY HAND (wtf?!) a zillion leaves into a paste-like substance-I guess that’s where the grandmother part comes in for Heidi Swanson’s recipe; grandmothers have lots of extra time for this stuff.

Tonight when I realized my parsley was about to FLOWER for goodness sake, I took it upon myself to hack it all down, grab some garlic and headed to the food processor to make, “Certainly not an Italian Grandmother’s Pesto” while muttering to myself, “it’s a damn good thing I like pesto.”

Pesto from the Fridge

  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large handfuls of something delish and green from your herb garden (could really be anything)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 if you are not interested in vampire protection (TrueBlood starts at the end of the month)
  • 1/4 C good EVOO

**To make this real pesto, add 1/2 C toasted walnuts or pine nuts,  sometimes called Pinons and 1/2 C grated parm cheese to the mix then increase your EVOO as needed to get a nice puree.

Hack down a bunch of your herbs you have been neglecting, use the tender leaf part for the pesto (wash and dry it) and the stems to clean out your garbage disposal, it will make it smell better after you grind them up in there and send them to their new water home.

In a food processor, take the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and all of that beautiful greenery and blend while slowly adding the EVOO.  You might need less than 1/4 C depending on how liquidy you want the pesto.  I like mine a little bit on the dry side.

To store, I take an old ice cube container, spray a little oil in the bottom and on the sides then portion out my pesto in the little wells which happens to make a nice amount of sauce for 2 people when I decide I need a pasta fix; freeze and then pop out and store in a freezer bag.

I have also used this concoction as:

  • Tofu marinade
  • Combined with greek yogurt to make dip, or thinned with water to make salad dressing.
  • Mixed with more EVOO and a dash of balsamic vinegar to create a quick and flavorful vinaigrette.
  • Tossed with pasta and raw veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Tossed with pasta, a little pasta water, goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a yummy dinner.
  • On top of crusty bread for the base for bruschetta or plain as garlic bread.
  • Tossed with saute’d mushrooms.
  • Base for marinated olives and bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) skewers.
  • Base for tortillini soup.
Technically this recipe might be considered a Coulis due to lack of cheese; but whatever the case, it’s a flexible, cheap, quick and yummy way to put that herb garden to use and just about any herb or green will due.  I’ve even used spinach with fantastic results.  Pulling one of these little cubes out of the freezer in February makes my heart remember spring.

Fancy Nancy Visits: Pad Thai Salad with Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing

I used to live with a good friend of mine, JT or “Fancy Nancy” (it’s a long story).    We shared living space, dog duties, a desire to cook dinners in nearly every night, good olive oil, and obsessive relationships with size 9 pumps, Glamour Magazine and beauty products.  Yeah, I miss her a lot.  I’ve lived in my new place for a while now and it was time for her to see the house, and for Walter the Wonderdog and her dog Max to have some play time.

What girl isn’t watching her weight?  I mean, even the super skinny ones that I want to force-feed veggie burgers to, are watching their weight.  I hate those girls, I have never and will never be what one might label as skinny (and I never want to be skinny-I, like Fergie, like my lovely lady lumps).   I digress…my fave veg cookbook author Isa Chandra (Moskowitz) just released a “fast and filling, low fat” vegan cookbook called Appetite for Reduction (hat tip to Axl Rose) and it is totally FAB.  There isn’t a single recipe that I don’t want to try, honestly.  So, I randomly opened the book to the salad section and tried this one:  Pad Thai Salad with Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing.  Ohhhhh, ahhhhh.  I know, right?!  I particularly LOVE this cookbook because, I sometimes am not really satisfied with 1 C of anything…so if you eat 2 C of something in this book, you aren’t really gonna pay the piper in terms of calories.  It’s still lower than an entree eaten out.  Isa does a great job with nutritional content and zippy tastes from common ingredients.  I used a couple of recipes from the book to make this dish, Pad Thai Salad and Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing.  All fast, and easy.  Enough talk, let’s eat.

Pad Thai Salad

  • 8 C chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 C bean sprouts
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 recipe Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing *
  • 1/4 C roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 C lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges for serving

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuce, sprouts, red onion, and carrot.  Add the dressing and toss to coat.  Distribute the salad among four bowls.  There will most likely be dressing left over as it is fairly thin.  Distribute the dressing among the bowls.  Garnish with roasted peanuts, cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.

Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing

  • 1/2 C roasted peanuts
  • 2 T chopped shallot
  • 1/4 C squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha

Pulse 2 T of the peanuts and all of the shallot in the food processor, just to chop everything up.  Add the lime juice, water, agave, soy sauce, and Sriracha, and blend until smooth.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times.  Now add the remaining 2 T of peanuts and pulse for a bit.  These shouldn’t be blended smooth, just chopped up small.  The dressing will be thin.  Adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container until ready to use, up to 5 days.

In this photo you will see Red Thai Tofu as well, but we will save that recipe for another day.

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