Monday, October 14, 2013

HOW TO Make Delicious Herb Pesto!

Maybe the herbs in your garden are giving their last. looking a little spent, or just a tiny bit tired. Have you opened the veggie drawer in your fridge and found some sad looking parsley or cilantro looking back at you?  Don't just toss 'em...make pesto.

Pesto is one of the fastest easiest condiments to make - and pesto makes almost anything taste better! Need a quick appetizer before friends pop over? Pesto. Want to make a soup or stew taste fantastic? Pesto. Rocking a sandwich for lunch today again? Pesto. You can use almost any combo of herbs - some of our favorites in the Taste and Savor kitchen are bright flavors like cilantro and dill, mint and basil, parsley or something a little different like arugula and oregano. Shake up your flavors and you'll  discover tastes that make you and your family happy.

Some wildly yummy pestos have come from experimentation. We sometimes use lemon or lime zest to add a pop of flavor when we are topping fish or chicken, leave out the cheese and increase the nuts for our vegan friends, and use outside-the-box herbs like horseradish to create a pesto for a shrimp cocktail!

All you have to have is a food processor or blender. (One of my buddies has a "ninja" bullet processor that she swears make the best pesto.) Yes, the glamorous shots of the mortar and pestle on some food blogs are seductive. But I've found that the food processor makes yummy pesto in about a third of the time. You can be enjoying it on a cracker in a jif.

Your pesto creation will keep about 4 - 5 days in the fridge, but it also freezes great, too! I have an old ice cube tray that I spoon a triple recipe of pesto into, and freeze. When hard, I pop the cubes out and put them in a plastic bag. It makes a pleasing "plop" when I put it in soup I am heating up on the stove, and I know my soup is going to taste incredible. Let me know what you do with your pesto, I'd love to have more ideas!

Delicious Herb Pesto

¼ Cup Nuts
2 Garlic Cloves
4 Cups Herb Leaves (loosely packed)
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese or any other hard cheese like aged Gouda, Asiago, etc,
1/4 Tsp Each Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blender and pulse to chop and combine. Will keep in fridge for 
5 days or in the freezer for several months.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Hummus with Handmade Pita Chips Tonight!

Sous Chef Lea and I are in Fayette tonight getting ready for a demo this evening - after a busy weekend and a super duper busy week in head of us! I'm standing at the kitchen counter quickly passing on this recipe to you. Its one we've already made a couple times this fall - and the picture above is from a class that made it as an appetizer last week! All the yumminess of hummus with the fall tastes of warm spices and pumpkin...

Pumpkin Hummus with Handmade Pita Chips

2 Cans (15 oz) Cannellini, well drained and rinsed
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
2 TB Lemon Juice
2 Garlic Cloves, grated
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Cumin
½ Tsp Allspice
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Cup Crumbled Goat cheese
½ Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (see note for toasting; reserve about 2-3 tbsp for garnish)

In a food processor add all ingredients except the goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Remove from the processor, spread on a plate and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

Handmade Pita Chips

6 Whole Wheat Pita Pockets
Olive Oil Spray
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cut the Pita Pockets in fourths and the tear each quarter in half – you should have 8 pita chips from each pocket. Spray them and then salt and pepper them well. Place on a sheet pan and cook in a 400F oven for a about 10 – 15 minutes turning once.