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 26, 2011

green garlic pestoed asparagus “noodles” with poached egg

After whipping up a spontaneous batch of Green Garlic Walnut Pesto in less than five minutes, I found myself adding it to everything I could think of. Smearing a knifeful onto bruschetta; mixing a forkful into scrambled eggs; tossing a heaping spoonful into pasta. As I’ve admitted before, I’m a garlic fiend.

Peering into my fridge to find another pestoed possibility, a friendly bouquet of asparagus waved back at me, and I contemplated a twist on the traditional asparagus with poached egg.


Vegetable peeler in hand, I scraped away at the elegant asparagus stalks and reduced them to noodle-like strands. Halfway through, I wondered whether I had gone completely mad and destroyed a perfectly beautiful spring vegetable. But it was a bit too late to turn back. (more…)

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…)

April 15, 2011

collard greens, black beans, and potato pizza with parsley pesto

On Sunday each week, I compile a grocery list, taking careful inventory of the contents in my refrigerator and pantry and cross-referencing them with the ever-growing list of recipes I want to try. But before I add ingredients to my list and recipes to my meal plan for that week, I force each recipe through the reality filter. On a week night, after a full day at work, a workout and possibly laundry or working a shift at Bar Method, I can’t always muster the energy or the patience it takes to cook a preparation-intensive meal and have it not be ready to eat until 9 p.m. Earlier in the week on a Monday or Tuesday, I can usually make it work. But come Wednesday and Thursday, fast and easy take priority. So on those nights, I shove my desire to innovate and experiment aside, and embrace familiar, fast recipes that allow me to eat dinner well before 9 p.m. Enter pizza.

While pizza is often associated with the unhealthy varieties featuring at least a half-inch thick layer of cheese and loads of fatty meats, they don’t have to be that way at home. And they don’t have to be boring either. You would be surprised how far a little dusting of cheese can go when you get a little creative with wholesome yet richly flavored ingredients. (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…)

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