Tag Archives: pesto

Pistachio Pesto

Seasoned to Taste - Pistachio Pesto

What to do when you have a Costco-sized bag of toasted pistachio nuts…you sprinkle them on salads, chop to coat fish or meat, and you make pesto.

Normally, I wouldn’t consider pesto without basil. It just seems wrong, like using walnuts instead of pine nuts. But basil isn’t exactly in season during the winter, so I took a chance with what I had on hand: parsley, Parmesan, garlic and tons of pistachios. What developed was a unique combination of flavors that I can’t wait to make again.

Without something strongly floral like basil, you have to rely on the nuts to provide the bulk of the pesto, which produces a thicker sauce than you might be used to. Pistachios (the roasted kind) are also drier, less fatty, so aren’t quite as creamy when pureed.

I love the dark greenish-brownish hue the pesto takes on …

Easy Pistachio Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. roasted shelled pistachio nuts (mine were salted)
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil

In food processor, pulse the nuts, cheese, garlic and parsley. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil until you reach your desired consistency – probably 1/3 – 1/2 c. for me. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper. If you used salted nuts, you won’t need as much salt.

Seasoned to Taste - Pistachio Pesto

This will probably keep a couple weeks in the fridge, but I wouldn’t know because mine didn’t last that long!

I immediately used my batch with some angel hair pasta and fresh tomatoes, which was a delicious and light dinner. Later, I used the leftover pesto in many ways: stirred into couscous, spread onto a sandwich and mixed with ricotta for an upcoming lasagna this week.

Here’s a crude snapshot of my pistachio pesto pasta leftovers, ready to go to work:

Seasoned to Taste - Pistachio Pesto

Enjoy, friends!

Bacon-Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

There comes a time in every food blogger’s life when she  makes something so devilishly delicious that she simply must post about it, even if the photos are terrible.

Green tomatoes are easy to find around this time of year, as farmers wait for that first frost to pull down the plants.

Having lived in The South for a couple years, I’m already over fried-green tomatoes. Everybody makes them and puts them on salads or between bread or as a game-day appetizer. But then I saw someone write about skipping the sweet cornmeal batter and frying them in bacon grease! It is so much easier this way.

Here I give you bacon-fried green tomatoes that I turned into a fabulous BLT and then took bad, no-natural-light photos of.

Bacon-Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 small green tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • Lettuce or salad mix
  • Mayo (I mixed mine with a little pesto – a must!)
  • Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, fry up the bacon until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1-2 T of the bacon grease and return pan to heat. Add green tomato slices and fry until browned on each side and slightly softened, 4-5 min. per side. Remove to drain.

Assemble sandwiches. Preheat broiler and toast your bread. On non-buttered side, spread 1-2 tsp mayo, then layer lettuce, bacon and tomato. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Place the other piece of toast on top, then slice in  half.

Then DIG IN! Too good to be true.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pesto, goat cheese and sundried tomato palmiers

Puff pastry is the after-work-cocktail-hour-hostess’s best friend. Simply roll it out, cover it in things you like, fold up, slice and bake. At a small get-together recently, I made Ina Garten’s savory palmiers to go with Grant’s grilled chicken and ginger-infused vodka cocktail.

Using my friend Tonya’s homemade pesto and some goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts, these really do make a wonderful and easy little appetizer. They look like little elephant ears.

Pesto, Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Palmiers

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, rolled out to 9×12 inches
  • 1/4 c. pesto
  • 1/4 c. goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 c. sliced sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil

Cover puff pastry with pesto, then sprinkle on cheese, nuts and tomatoes. Starting on short ends, roll the opposite ends halfway to the middle, then roll them over again to meet at the center. Then, roll one half on the other, pressing down lightly. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for 45  min. or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400. Slice dough in 1/4-inch pieces and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake for 14 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pesto lasagna

Got cheese?

For the person who is usually unimpressed by traditional lasagna, this one is a winner. It is simple and easy, and allows a lot of variation. For example, adding mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes or sausages. It is hard to go wrong with homemade pesto melted into creamy, cheesytown with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.

We thoroughly enjoyed this meal for two dinners and two lunches. Just delicious. And I LOVE pesto.

WriteGal’s Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound chicken sausage (or other flavorful sausage)
  • 1 tub of part-skim ricotta cheese (about 1 c.)
  • 10-16 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (Whole Foods has the best deal on this, I think)
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups), leaves and stems (those soft stems have flavor! Use them!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, plus another 1-2 c. for layering
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While that heats, brown your sausage in a nonstick skillet until well-cooked. Set aside. Add salt and lasagna noodles to the water and cook per the box’s directions. You want them with a little bite, 6-8 min.

In a blender or food processor, add the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, basil and Parmesan. Process until combined, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and mix with ricotta. Set aside.

To assemble lasagna, grease a glass baking dish and layer the lasagna noodles, then pesto mixture (dollop a few spoonfuls and spread as best you can), then add some sausage, then some Parmesan cheese, then mozzarella. Repeat until you are out of pesto, ending with mozzarella and lots of Parmesan on top. It will look uneven and not exactly like something that will turn out well. Trust me…

Place in oven and bake until melted, bubbling and slightly browned on top, roughly 20 min. Let stand for another 20 min.

Cut into large pieces and serve! I love how the ricotta makes everything creamier and the mozzarella is salty and stringy. And of course the pesto, with that bite of flavor. I was pleased to see that a little went a long way, and I only did five or six layers. Even if you have two layers, this will be good!

Please enjoy, friends! xoxo

Caprese panino

Attack of the giant panini!

Attack of the giant panini!

Question: is there any discernable taste difference between sweet and Thai basil? In my opinion, not when you cook with it.

I found all this Thai basil stuffed in our crisper drawer from last week’s farmers market (oops) and hurried to turn it into a pesto, hoping to salvage whatever I could. Tasting the basil raw, it definitely had a more lemony, almost peppery flavor, compared to the sweet licorice of the “other” basil. Moreover, the physical differences are greater: Thai basil has more pointy leaves that are roughly textured, and are almost purple.

Still, basil is basil, in my opinion, and it all tastes good in pesto.

I made the quick pesto with roughly two handfuls of basil leaves, one palmful of pine nuts, four chopped garlic cloves, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese and 1/4 c. EVOO. Blend with salt and pepper to taste.

I shmeared the pesto on the beautifully bubbly ciabatta bread we picked up today from Ollie’s bakery downtown. Then, I layered sliced fresh mozarella and heirloom tomatoes (don’t even bother with the non-heirloom variety here).

I pressed the sandwich in a hot skillet with a little butter, my substitution for a real panini press. It was delicious. I really think that ciabatta bread is the best bread for panini.

Just look at that bread!

Just look at that bread!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo