Batter Licker

June 29, 2011

whole wheat pearl couscous salad with pistachio-broccoli pesto

When I first discovered Bob Red Mill’s new line of whole wheat pearl couscous at the BlogHer Food Conference in Atlanta, I was instantly hooked by the nutty flavor. I even smuggled a few sample bags back to San Francisco, and couldn’t wait to play around with the wholesome, round bites of pasta. Except that I actually did wait quite a bit – two entire months – before finding the perfect opportunity to use these precious samples.

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The opportunity came in the form of an orzo salad recipe I came across while flipping through Heidi Swanson’s superb cookbook, Super Natural Every Day). I decided to substitute the whole wheat pearl couscous for the orzo to add some wholesomeness while keeping the bite of a small, salad-friendly pasta.

But the combination of a broccoli pesto with broccoli florets, avocado and crunchy nuts were what initially drew me to the recipe. I’ve been known to easily polish off several cups of broccoli – raw, steamed, sauteed, or roasted. Yet I had never tried a broccoli pesto. Clearly, the time was nigh.
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May 25, 2011

green garlic walnut pesto

After stalking green garlic at the market for a couple weeks, I finally approached it with the understanding that, this time, I was taking it home. It didn’t matter that we weren’t familiar with each other, or that I had forgotten to research what others before me had done with this green onion look-alike. I simply knew that I had to experience the younger, milder version of garlic while springtime was still offering it.

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Lest I sound like a garlic pervert, I’ll take this opportunity to explain: (more…)

May 4, 2011

quick, one-pot tomato-chile sauce

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With just tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, a couple pantry-staple spices, one pot, and 25 minutes of hands-off simmering, this spicy, satisfying and unapologetically healthy tomato-chile sauce comes together and is ready to satisfy any number of your weeknight Mexican food desires.

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Toss it with some pasta, corn, and black beans, topped with a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) to enjoy a break from and simple variation of the standard weeknight spaghetti with marinara. Or enjoy it as you would any other tomato and chile-based sauce (enchiladas? wet burrito? mixed into scrambled eggs or potatoes? hot salsa and/or bean dip? chilaquiles?). But my personal favorite is using it as the sauce for a Mexican Tortilla Lasagna. (more…)

April 13, 2011

parsley, almond and sunflower seed pesto

Whether you count yourself among those who work hard or hardly work in the kitchen, a fresh pesto sauce that comes together after one minute of chopping and one minute of blending is something you have no excuse not to make.

Pesto is not only among the easiest things to make, but the homemade variety made with a fragrant bunch of fresh herbs results in unbeatable flavor at a fraction of the store-bought price. With basil and other spring herbs showing up at the market, now is the time to pull out that food processor and blend away.

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What I love most about pesto, beyond its fresh flavor and minimalist prep time, is its unlimited versatility. Whether slathered on a sandwich or a pizza, tossed with roasted potatoes or fresh veggies, or mixed into a simple pasta dish, pesto adds a little something that elevates these simple dishes. But pesto’s versatility extends beyond its uses to the ingredients themselves. (more…)

April 8, 2011

asparagus, radish and smoked trout salad with lemon, dijon and balsamic vinaigrette

I remember picking radishes out of my mother’s garden as a child. And I’m almost certain that I did not clean them with as much diligence (and an entire bottle of hand soap) as the first baby carrots I ever pulled out of the ground. Rather, I brushed off the dirt with my shirt, twisted off the ugly root, and dove right in. Crunchy and spicy, I enjoyed the radish in its freshest and rawest state without any adornments. But unfortunately, I never thought to approach asparagus in the same way.

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Fresh asparagus, as I appreciate it now, signals the decline of thick greens and hearty root vegetables, and ushers in the lighter, more uplifting assortment that spring has to offer. However, in my childhood memories, I recall asparagus as a rather sad, drooping and stringy set of spears that were often overcooked, as that is the easiest and most frequent method of preparing a veggie that barely needs any time to cook. Except for eating it raw. (more…)

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