Kale Pistachio Pesto

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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!

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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.

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.

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Mushroom Lasagna

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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.

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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

 

10 Summer Favorites

It’s summer! I love summer even when it’s scorching hot. I’ve put together ten of my favorite-make-again summer recipes. Below is a mix of salads, desserts and keepin’ kewl iced drinks. Picking berries, shucking corn, drinking bourbon iced tea - oh yeah!

Berry + Cherry Galette

Berry Clafoutis

Margarita Ice Pops

A Summer Salad!

Watermelon with Feta + Basil

Cherry Tomato Galette

Quick Dill Pickles

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Bourbon Iced Tea with Mint

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

Green on green on green. We’ve been eating more vegetarian meals for dinner lately. Sometimes with fish, others just vegetables and quinoa or rice. It’s been a while since I’ve looked through Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and it wasn’t hard to find something new right away. The book is front to back vegetarian dishes with amazing flavors. This recipe caught my eye because of the tarragon, I have so much tarragon growing in the garden and I don’t use it as often as I like. It works great in this salad as lemon and tarragon are a perfect match. 

I skipped the nigella seeds because it sounded like one of those expensive exotic spices I might only use once. But who knows it might taste really good, people cannot even agree on what the flavor actually is. We had this last night over a bed of quinoa and a drizzle of sriracha, I skipped the red chile so this added some heat. I’ve tweaked a few things here but overall this is a great salad.

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Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

  • 1 1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 2 1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 3/4 cups green peas, (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly crushed with mortar and pestle (or 3/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (huh?)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 mild fresh red chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup baby chard leaves or pea shoots

In a small bowl place the finely chopped red onion and add the sherry vinegar (enough to cover onions) and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so. When ready drain the onions.

Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with water and ice. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes, then remove and place in ice bath. Drain and dry. Then blanch the snow peas for 1 minute, place in ice bath then drain and dry. Blanch the peas for 20 seconds, refresh, drain and dry. Place all the beans and peas in a large bowl.

Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small saucepan and heat up. When the seeds begin to pop (after a few minutes) pour the mixture over the vegetables. Toss together and add nigella seeds, red onion, chile, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and tarragon. Mix well and season with salt to taste. Before serving fold in the chard leaves, or top with pea shoots, or both! 

Adapted from Plenty

Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad

This is really an outstanding salad considering it only has a few ingredients, but those few have a lot of flavor that all work great together. We went to Toro Bravo for Jeff’s birthday a couple weeks ago and ordered a few dishes and this was one of them. Everything we ate was amazing, they really know flavor there. If you are ever visiting Portland I would put this place at the top of your list for dining.

The weather has really improved here with more sunshine than rain, finally! This past winter was rough with 6-7 months of near constant rain and/or snow. But that’s behind us now and we’re finally getting to all the yard clean up and it feels good. I’m just so happy to feel sun on my skin that I don’t even mind the boring task of sweeping dirt. Well that’s all for now, hope you have a chance to try out this salad. Enjoy!

Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad

  • 2 to 3 heads radicchio
  • 1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good-quality sherry vinegar
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 + 1/2 cups Manchego, grated and divided

In a large bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, and chopped red onion (I used 1/2 of a large red onion). Let it sit for 1 hour and then strain out the onions. (you can keep the pickled onions for another dish if you like)

Remove core from the radicchio and chop into 1-inch pieces. Place the chopped radicchio in a large bowl, fill with cold water and some ice cubes. Let it sit for 15 minutes to remove some of its bitterness, strain and then spin in a salad spinner until dry. 

Add the honey and olive oil to the strained vinegars and whisk well, I use this stick blender which works great. Depending on the size of your radicchio you may not need all the dressing.

Toss the radicchio with the dressing until evenly coated. Add 1 cup of finely grated Manchego, salt, and toss again.

To serve, top the salad in a serving bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup grated Manchego. Serves 4-8.

Adapted from Food52’s Toro Bravo recipe