Kale Pistachio Pesto

kale_pistachio_pesto-1.jpg

I made this pesto a few weeks ago with hazelnuts, and wow it was so good. But I’ve been seeing folks make it with pistachios and since I had some leftover from the pistachio cake I made last week I thought I’d give this a try. Honestly I love it with either nut. What’s nice about this kind of pesto is that you can change the nuts or the greens, add basil or not, add parsley or cilantro, there’s a lot of room to get creative and it just tastes so good. It’s really perfect for a vegetarian dish, or you could add bits of roast chicken if you wanted more protein. I joined Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club a while back where Sara has made some variations on this pesto, and David Lebovitz posted a Kale Pistachio Pesto on Instagram that got me going on this. Most recipes say to pulse all the ingredients except the olive oil, then slowly add olive oil, but I just put everything in the food processor and it comes out fine, you might need to add a little olive oil after it’s finished if you want a different consistency. I just put it in a bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil and give a stir. Lacinato Kale (or Tuscan or Dino, so many names for the same thing!) is such a great vegetable. It will store fairly long in the fridge, you can add it to soups, you can make salads, here’s a whole bunch of Kale recipes, and now pesto! I think it’s delicious, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

kale_pistachio_pesto-2.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-3.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-4.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-5.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-6.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-7.jpg
kale_pistachio_pesto-8.jpg

Kale Pistachio Pesto

  • Tuscan kale, about 5 ounces chopped

  • A bit of basil or fresh herbs, but not needed

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachio nuts

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 grated parmesan cheese

  • Juice of half a lemon

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until it’s a granular textured consistency. Place in container and add a little more olive oil if needed. Toss with pasta and add a dollop on top with some grated parmesan.

CBD Infused Coconut Oil

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-11.jpg

CBD Infused Coconut Oil is surprisingly easy to make thanks to Jeff Danzer’s recipe. I’ve seen CBD Hemp infused oil for sale online and it’s very expensive. Not only is making your own more economical, you have more control over the type of oil you want to use and the strength. Why CBD Infused Coconut Oil? I’ve been meaning to cook with Cannabis for some time now. I’ve been reluctant because it’s hard to know the exact potency unless it’s been tested in a lab, or you try your recipe yourself and take the whole day off as a precautionary. That can be a bit much. But CBD is derived from Hemp and it’s a whole different experience.

I’m working with a farm in Southern Oregon, Cascadia Blooms, to develop some recipes with the Hemp they grow. If you’re not familiar with CBD, Cascadia Blooms has a great FAQ section here, basically CBD Hemp will relax your body without the psychoactive high you would experience with THC in Cannabis. Adding it to your food or drink is a great way to consume it. 

You can use the CBD Infused Coconut Oil the same way you would use any Coconut Oil. I wanted to try it without making a whole batch of cookies, so I first tried about a teaspoon in coffee (people are doing that? yes) but I didn’t like it, I drink my coffee black but if you use cream and sugar you might like it, in any case the 1 teaspoon did nothing for me, so then I smeared a heaping tablespoon on toast, and that was the right amount. (Keep in mind it takes at least an hour to feel the effects, so best to take your time and see how you feel after 1-2 hours.)

The effects? Within about an hour I felt relaxed, it definitely reduces anxiety. As a result I felt more focused on whatever I might be doing, it’s kind of incredible how many distractions there are, never mind social media and email, sometimes I have a hard time focusing because of my mile-long list of things to do. I can’t seem to walk through any room in the house or the yard without seeing something to do, fix, clean, update, really around every corner (and our house isn’t even messy!). I think that creates a kind of low level anxiety for me. But with CBD it felt different, I know those things to do are there, but I’m not anxious about it. That’s the most profound effect that I experienced. It lasts for about 4 hours and tapers off.

I’ve included the cleaning process below but it is optional as Cascadia Blooms takes care to keep their Hemp flower clean, organic and ready for food consumption. The cleaning process also produces a lighter tasting oil which helps to control flavor. The coconut oil I infused had very little smell or flavor of the Hemp, however you might want to skip that process if you want that flavor depth, it will be determined by the flower you use, but it generally has an herb-like flavor, a little peppery that would be suitable for savory dishes. The entire process is done in a French Press, which I think is rather brilliant, it worked out great for steeping and straining. This is first of a series of CBD Recipes as you will need the infused ingredients to work with (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc). I look forward to sharing more with you!

You can order online everywhere in the U.S. (except Idaho and South Dakota, sorry!) and the Hemp is shipped in double-lined sealed bags so that there is no odor at all in your mailbox. You can read more about their packaging and shipping info here.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cascadia Blooms, all thoughts and opinions are my own, the recipe below provided by Jeff Danzer.

So let’s get started!

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-1.jpg
CBD_infused_coconut_oil-2.jpg

Break the large hemp flower into popcorn size pieces

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-3.jpg
CBD_infused_coconut_oil-4.jpg

Soak the hemp flower in French Press with distilled water, submerged, for 2-3 days until water is clean, changing water twice a day

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-5.jpg
CBD_infused_coconut_oil-6.jpg

Run through salad spinner to remove excess water. Dry and decarb on baking sheet, bake 60-90 minutes until dry (foil should be loosely covering the pan, not too tight or it will steam!)

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-7.jpg

Add the oil and dried Hemp flower to French Press

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-8.jpg

Steep in boiling water for 2 hours

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-9.jpg
CBD_infused_coconut_oil-10.jpg

Strain oil through French Press into sterile jar or container

CBD_infused_coconut_oil-12.jpg
CBD_infused_coconut_oil-13.jpg

As I mentioned above, I recommend a tablespoon per serving for optimal effect, but use your own discretion as to what works for you best

Hemp CBD Infused Cooking Oil

  • 4g Hemp Flower

  • 8 ounces Olive or Coconut Oil

  • Distilled water

  • French Press

  • Pot of boiling 

Hemp CBD Infused Cooking Oil - Cleaning and Drying

Soak

Pick the buds off the stem. In a French Press Completely immerse the buds and stems in distilled water and soak for 2 to 3 days, changing the water twice a day until the water in the French press is clear.

Rinse

Remove the herb from the French Press and place in a salad spinner. Spin for about 30 seconds to remove excess water.

Dry and Decarb

Preheat oven to 240º F.

Spread the hemp evenly over a large baking sheet and place a large piece of light aluminum foil loosely over the top of it. Crimp the edges to keep in any odor (but don’t seal it too tight or it will steam.) Bake for 60 to 90 minutes until completely dry. Your Hemp is now clean and ready for infusion into your butter, oil, alcohol or vegetable glycerin.

Hemp CBD Infused Cooking Oil - Simple Steeping Method

Place Hemp flower buds in French Press along with the oil. Fill a pot halfway or so with water and bring to a boil. Your water line should not be much higher than the oil level in the French Press. 

Stand the French Press in the pot of boiling water and let steep for 2 hours. Adding more water as needed if it boils down.

Strain the oil through the French Press into a sterile jar or container. It is now ready to use. 

Endive Salad with Blue Cheese + Dijon Vinaigrette

Endive Salad with Blue Cheese + Dijon Vinaigrette

This recipe is so easy it seems hardly worth a blog post, but deserves it still. It goes way back for me. When I was in college in New York City (a million years ago!) I waited tables at a french restaurant called Les Tournebroches.

Read More

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Wouldn’t you know. On Jeff’s Birthday I’m ready to make this cake and… the oven is broken. It won’t heat and it’s only three years old! Luckily I had only prepared the cake pans while attempting to preheat the oven, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Read More

Mushroom Lasagna

mushroom_lasagna-1.jpg

This Mushroom Lasagna is absolutely delicious. It’s the second time I’ve made it and even changing the types of mushrooms and cheese did not disappoint. I saw the recipe about two years ago on Adventures in Cooking and finally gave it a try. Mushroom, cheese and pasta generally are a good combination, still sometimes things sound good but are just meh. Not this time. It was wow! it’s so good! And it makes quite a bit too, even with four people we had leftover. It’s even better the second day.

I shopped at Trader Joe’s knowing they would have better prices on the cheese, but I would sacrifice mushroom selection. The last time I made this Mushroom Lasagna I had shopped at Whole Foods, and the selection for Ricotta cheese was slim, I had the choice to fork over $7 for one container (and you need two for this recipe), or get the low fat version at around $4+. They were all out of the 365 brand, and this seems to be an ongoing problem with Whole Foods lately, the shelves are bare! They started a new inventory system called order-to-shelf (OTS), which was designed and implemented a year ago (long before Amazon purchased them, so don’t blame Amazon as tempting as it is), the new system is good in that it’s cost-cutting, and will help prevent food spoilage from excess inventory going bad in the storage room, but damn, if you look at some of those photos, I haven’t seen it that bad here in Portland but I have experienced times where some fairly basic items normally in stock are just not there. Mostly in produce, like where’s the parsley? Hopefully now that it’s had some press Amazon will do something about this. 

The recipe is very forgiving in that you can add whatever mushrooms or cheese you have. The original recipe used a sharp cheddar, which I did the first time, but then I opted for Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio on the second time. Both were delicious so you can mix up whatever kind of shredded cheese you want.

When this came out of the oven yesterday it smelled so amazing, but then I thought, no way was this going on the blog, it just looked like a big heap of stuff in my old ugly-ass pyrex dish, but a day later and a few food styling tweaks, it looked presentable. There are certain foods, dishes, that really don’t lend themselves to sexy food. For example, raw mushroom, sexy! Cooked mushroom, er, um, cover me up please. I took some photos of the sliced mushrooms cooking on the stove and it looked so unappetizing I didn’t include it here. Smelled great though.

By the way, January marks my five year anniversary with Pixels + Crumbs blog. And guess what, my very first post was a mushroom post! Mushroom Soup. I remember how I labored over it, the whole thing seemed to take forever and I wondered if I’d gotten myself into something a bit crazy. It’s like hours of cooking, hours of food styling, photos and editing and writing. Well the writing gets a bit short because I’m completely burnt out at that point, ha ha. But I’ve kept this blog alive after five years. I don’t post as much as I used to, now it’s more of a monthly post, but I can’t seem to let it go. 

See you next month and thanks for stopping by.

mushroom_lasagna-2.jpg
mushroom_lasagna-3.jpg
mushroom_lasagna-4.jpg

Mushroom Lasagna

Mushroom Layer

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ounces chantarelles, chopped (all mushrooms will work, I used only white button mushrooms and Crimini and it tasted great)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Cheese Layers

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 30 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves chopped (or dried, but tastes better with fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound (12 oz bag)  white cheddar, grated (or mixed cheeses)

Lasagna Layers

  • 9 sheets dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil on bottom of pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch black pepper

For the mushroom layer, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sautee onion and garlic in the butter until softened and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and olive oil and sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the white wine. Cook until most of the liquid is gone for an additional 5 minutes or so. Remove the mushrooms and onion, place in a small bowl and set aside to cool.

For the cheese layer, add 1/4 cup butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Add the flour, a little bit at a time, whisking constantly until a roux forms. Place the roux in a large bowl and add the ricotta cheese, milk, thyme, sage, oregano, black pepper, and salt. Set aside.

Toss the quartered crimini mushrooms with the olive oil and salt in a medium bowl and set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place some of the lasagna noodles in the water and allow to cook until slightly bendable, about 3-4 minutes, working in batches as necessary. Remove with tongs and place three of the noodles on the bottom of a roughly 9 x 13-inch rectangular casserole dish, keeping them in a flat even layer.

Spread 1/4 of the sautéed mushroom mixture over the noodles, then sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheddar cheese. Spread 1/4 of the ricotta mixture over the cheddar, then place 3 to 4 noodles in an even layer on top of the ricotta. Repeat until you have used all of the sautéed mushrooms, cheddar, and ricotta, but do not place noodles over the top and final layer of ricotta. Instead, evenly distribute the quartered mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper. Place the pan on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven. Cook until the cheese is bubbly around the edges and the mushrooms on top have turned a deep brown and wrinkled, about 45-50 minutes. 

Adapted from Adventures in Cooking

 

Montana Hiking Bar

montana_hiking_bar_gnp2.jpg

A couple of weeks ago we went to visit Glacier National Park in Montana and it was really spectacular. The day we were heading out to Many Glaciers on the east side of the park, we stopped by this bakery in East Glacier for a bite to eat. if you’re in that area it’s worth a visit. They had a hiking bar that was so good it inspired me to make my own. They also had some braided pastry with spinach and sun dried tomatoes that was absolutely delicious. 

We drove along the Going-to-the-Sun Road where you will find many trail heads to stop and explore. It’s an absolutely beautiful ride. I thought it might be a little scary driving the road since it’s narrow with huge drop offs on the side of the mountain, but most of the way they have barriers, and where there isn’t (gasp) just look at the road or the scenery. I have some fear of heights but luckily it didn’t freak me out.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road

glacier_national_park_2.jpg

Many Glacier Swiftcurrent Lake. This is definitely a destination and it's worth planning to spend some time here since it’s far away from other areas in the park, and you’re almost in Canada!

Swiftcurrent Lake at Many Glacier

Swiftcurrent Lake at Many Glacier

Saint Mary Lake. I didn’t know until after we were back, but this is where the opening scene of The Shining is filmed, and that scene ends with the Timberline lodge at Mount Hood here in Oregon.

Saint Mary Lake

Saint Mary Lake

Trail to Virginia Falls and Saint Mary Falls, the forest burned due to a fire in 2015, and it wasn’t what I was expecting, the trail description was “Soon the trail enters the canopy of a dense conifer forest…” I hadn’t realized how much of the park burns every year, almost always due to lightning. But it was quite striking and beautiful with the black trees and colorful new growth.

glacier_national_park_5_1.jpg
glacier_national_park_5.jpg
Virginia Falls

Virginia Falls

glacier_national_park_7.jpg
glacier_national_park_8.jpg

Avalanche Lake. This is a beautiful hike with creeks along the way through the forest, it starts at Trail of the Cedars and brings you to Avalanche Lake where you can take a rest and enjoy the views. The trail is considered moderate, it’s about 2 miles climbing up but it’s not too steep and fun on the way back down. There were bears spotted not too far from where we were, and while it was tempting to go further and see them, we took the advice of going in the opposite direction of where the bears are.

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake

glacier_national_park_trail_9_1-1.jpg
glacier_national_park_9_2.jpg
glacier_national_park_10.jpg

Hidden Lake Nature Trail from Logan Pass. It was our last day in the park and we had to be back in Whitefish early evening to get something to eat before catching the train back to Portland. When we arrived at Logan Pass parking lot it was packed, apparently you have to get there around 8am for easy parking, otherwise, like us, you will be circling that lot forever. But Jeff chatted with a ranger and he said we could park 3 miles east down the road and catch the shuttle back. So that’s what we did. We were lucky to find a parking spot on the side of the road near the shuttle stop. And so we waited, and waited, and waited (The shuttle coming from the east side can take up to a 1 hour wait, but on the west side it’s more like 20-30 minutes.) Time was ticking and we were wondering if we would have any kind of time for this hike, because you have to factor in getting back again. A couple days prior a ranger had told us if you’re ever in need of a ride in the park just hitchhike. So we joked about doing it and a woman there said she would do it if she didn’t have her kids with her. So we stuck our thumbs out on Going-to-the-Sun Road, many cars passed, but one stopped. It was this sweet older couple from Missouri that have been traveling all over the west including Alaska. We offered them money but they wouldn’t take it, at one point she mentioned Rice Krispies treats that were in the back seat! They were very cute and very nice people. We get to the trail head and discovered it’s a boardwalk almost the entire length until you reach Hidden Lake Overlook. I would say this was our least favorite trail. It was like climbing up stairs for 2 miles. You would think it would make it easier but I much prefer a natural path. I had read that this is THE place to see mountain goats, but we didn’t see any at all, I think you have to go early in the morning or early evening to see wildlife.

Hidden Lake Nature Trail

Hidden Lake Nature Trail

Hidden Lake Overlook

Hidden Lake Overlook

In addition to the trails there is much to see just along side of the road, we were there for 5 days and I feel like I would have wanted at least 10 days to explore. When you go to the park I definitely recommend bringing some food and leaving it in the car, or if you carry it with you it should be sealed up so that hungry bears don’t start following you. Lake McDonald Lodge has a restaurant but it’s not always open, and when it is open it's packed. I got most info on hikes at Hiking in Glacier, and it’s always good to check in on Glacier National Park’s website for any closures or delays. You can view the parks webcams here which is pretty cool. 

Below is a recipe for the hiking bars, you can make all different kinds but the basics are always the same with dried fruit, nuts, a syrup, a nut butter and oats. I didn’t want to have to buy 10 bags of different nuts and dried fruit, so I went to Trader Joe’s and bought a back of mixed nuts and a bag of dried fruit (dried cherry, strawberry and blueberry is good!) They have a great selection there. 

montana_hiking_bar-1.jpg

Montana Hiking Bar

  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted salted nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats or quick cooking steel cut oats
  • 7 oz dark chocolate
  • optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.

Spread the oats on a cookie sheet and toast the oats for 15 minutes in 350°F oven, then allow to cool.

Place oats, dried fruit and nuts in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and stir until combined.

Line a 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper, then spread the mixture in the pan, pressing down firmly until flattened. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, then pour it evenly over the mixture, shake the pan to even out the chocolate.

Cover the pan and refrigerate 20-30 minutes until firm. Remove bars from pan and cut into 9 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Store in freezer for longer duration.