Whenever I’m leaving town for more than a couple days, the first thing I think of, is how to use up all the fresh food in the refrigerator. The night before we leave, I usually make a big “garbage” pasta dish. “Garbage” as in, throwing any and every thing into it.
I’ll show you what that pasta dish looked like in a future post. Today, I’m showing you what I did with an unopened bag of arugula that would have been too much for the pasta.
I used it to make pesto and then I froze the pesto for later use.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, which is in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese),and traditionally consists of crushed basil, garlic, and pine nuts that are blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). The name is from the word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and a wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Nowadays it’s most commonly made in a food processor, at least in the States, it is.
Although basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are the traditional pesto ingredients, feel free to use any variety and combination of greens or herbs, nuts, and cheese. Here are just a few combinations to get your creative juices flowing. Mix and match to make your own signature pesto.
- Cilantro and Pepitas
- Parsley, Anchovy and Capers
- Sage, Parsley, and Hazelnuts
- Spinach in place or in addition to the Basil
- Mixed Herb; Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley, with Spinach and Asiago
- Dill, Lemon, Walnut and Romano
- Fennel Fond
I’ve given this tip before, but it merits repeating. When you have a thick or sticky mixture in a food processor. Remove what you easily can with a rubber spatula, then put the bowl back on the machine and process for just a second or two. The stuff on the blade will be thrown off to the sides of the bowl by centrifugal force and you’ll be able to get all the mixture easily from the bowl.
May 23, 2013 1 Comment
If my husband, Dave, sees the word “Caesar” on a menu, he is immediately drawn to that dish and will most likely order it. It is nearly impossible for him to NOT order Caesar Salad at any new restaurant we visit. He won’t pass up the opportunity to see if THIS is the best Caesar Salad ever. More often than not, he is disappointed. The one thing that will make him happy, even if the salad is lacking? If there are anchovies laying there in plain sight on top of the salad. My man loves his anchovies!
I didn’t go so far as to lay anchovies over these Caesar green beans, but I did sneak a bit of anchovy paste into the dressing… leave it out if you would like… it is not essential in this particular recipe.
September 9, 2012 1 Comment
Back in early June, I told you how I was going to join a CSA. Well, I did, and I was able to pick up a box of fresh Crooked Sky Farm produce every Thursday morning for the past eight weeks. What fun it was to be surprised by the bounty I received.
For the last four weeks of the eight, there was fresh corn. Corn is one vegetable we never get tired of. This is one of the many “easy-breezy” dishes I created to use up all that corn. Of course, many a night, it was plain old corn on the cob, always a wonderful summer-time treat!
August 12, 2012 3 Comments
Do you have a child in your life?
Does he/she love spaghetti?
Do you want to see a huge smile on their face?
Then make this – and be sure have them help you!
July 6, 2012 1 Comment
For our Meatless Monday classes this summer, one of the favorites has been this salad. An adaptation of the iconic Stetson Chopped Salad from Cowboy Ciao, which has been open on Stetson Drive in Old Town Scottsdale for 15 years.
Traditionally the salad has a row of chopped smoked salmon. We have left it out to make it a vegetarian dish. If you would like to make it the Cowboy Ciao way, (which is exactly what I would do!!) add in 4-ounces diced smoked salmon as the last row of the salad.
The photo above is the salad at Cowboy Ciao. It is an individual serving, brought to the table with the dressing on two spoons, ready for you to toss in as you like.
This recipe makes enough for 8 and is also brought to the table to have the dressing added at the last minute and then served family style.
June 26, 2012 7 Comments
For Easter, I rearranged the hanging basket, over the sunken swim-up kitchen… keeping the ivy and replacing the roses with purple iris, daisies, and lilies.
Then, I drew all the new drop-cloth drapes on the patio, to keep the sun and warmth out, turned on the ceiling fans, and we had a beautiful late-afternoon dinner outside.
The placesettings consisted of my collection of pink and green Bordallo Pinheiro majolica plates. Here is how I built each setting.
The green salad plate varied from one seat to another.
The bunny plate on the bottom right is my favorite, I particularly love the edging on that one!
For holiday dinners, I usually plate each course, but since Connor’s roommate was joining us, I didn’t want to make any assumptions about what he might or might not eat. So instead, I set up a buffet.
We dined on Brussels Sprout Salad, Challa, Fruit Skewers, Smashed and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Leg of Lam with Zinfandel Sauce, a glazed spiral ham from Costco, and Plum and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake.
The fruit skewers are self explanatory – and just click on the names of any of the other dishes to get to the recipe. Below you will find the recipes for the lamb and the potatoes.
Even though Connor and his roommate, Patrick, are both nearly 21, they still enjoyed searching for, (above) and then playing with (below) the stuff in, their Easter baskets.
Oh, and turns out, I could have saved on the washing of a bunch of bowls and platters and just plated the meal after all. Patrick ate it up!
April 10, 2012 6 Comments
Boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of, if not the, most popular protein choices of Americans. Why? Because quick and easy meals begin with chicken, specifically breasts.
We love chicken for its taste, healthfulness and low fat content, along with how easy and versatile it is to cook. And there is no question that Americans overwhelmingly prefer white chicken meat to dark. According to data from 2007, on average, we eat chicken almost 10 times a month, but less than two of those occasions do we choose chicken thighs or legs.
The average American was eating 36 pounds of chicken a year in 1970; by 1985 this had risen to 51 pounds; in 2010 it climbed to 60 pounds. Today, over 80% of that chicken consists of the breast meat. Americans prefer the white meat because it as long been touted as “healthier” than the dark meat.
But when it comes to fat and calories, there is very little difference between boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless, skinless chicken thighs. According to the Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of white meat contains 0.56 grams of saturated fat and 114 calories, and dark meat – 1 gram of saturated fat and 119 calories. Dark chicken meat is also nutrient rich, containing higher levels of iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than white meat.
You see, back in the late 60′s and early 70′s poultry producers realized that they could market and advertise the slight disparity in calories and fat content between dark and white chicken meat to perpetuate the “chicken over beef” craze. And more importantly – they could retail a “premium” poultry product that could be sold at a higher price. Chicken was a healthy option, but chicken breast was the “healthiest”, and it turned out that we consumers were willing to shell out for it.
Since you probably have chicken breasts in your freezer, I’m going to give you an easy-breezy recipe using boneless, skinless breast; but boneless, skinless thighs could be easily substituted if you would like to save a little coin.
March 7, 2012 3 Comments
On Valentine’s Day evening, Dave walked into the house with two huge bouquets of flowers for me and I made seafood pasta for him. Although dinner was delicious, I think I got the better end of that exchange. The meal is long over and there have been four more dinners since then, but my beautiful flowers are still bringing me the reminder of being loved. <3
Note: To make the rose napkins above; Open a large cloth napkin. Fold in half diagonally. Beginning at the long end, roll into a rope. Then start at one end of the rope and roll into a spiral. Secure with a paper clip if needed and “garnish” with real rose leaves. I swiped the ones I used from my neighbor’s yard! She loves me, so it’s OK.
February 19, 2012 No Comments
Next up is the recipe that my sweet sister, Sloane, made. It’s one of my favorites!
A few of the other guests brought recipes that have already been featured here on the blog… for instance, Peggy made THIS great salad that I wrote about back in September 2009. And Peggy’s fabulous sister, Terrie, made a beautiful platter of roasted asparagus that was generously topped with crumbled goat cheese, crispy bacon, and lemon. Regretfully, I didn’t get a picture of either Terrie’s asparagus or Peggy’s salad, (you can go to the link above to see the salad). But thankfully I did snap a lovely picture of gorgeous Peggy!
January 6, 2012 No Comments
This is my last chance to get up an Easter recipe. These potatoes will accompany our Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Chops. I’m naming them double smoked because of the delicious smoked Gouda and the ever popular smoked paprika. During cooking classes last week at Les Gourmettes, our guest chef, Joanne Weir, needed to borrow a bottle of my smoked paprika and was shocked by how much I use… the bottle was nearly empty. I do love the stuff!
April 23, 2011 1 Comment