I am so behind planning my Father’s Day menu! I was just a lazy bones in Mexico last week and for some reason didn’t really have Father’s Day on the brain, but now here it is, coming up in 5 quick little days. I have my father coming into town this weekend which is an extra special treat. Most Father’s Day menus I’ve seen floating on the web all focus on the grill. If I didn’t know any dads, I would assume from Pinterest that they are all obsessed with huge slabs of grilled steak. And beer. And maybe most of them are! But that is not the way to my husband’s heart or my father’s. And it’s probably better that way since my husband inherited off-the-charts cholesterol levels and my dad has had his share of arterial plaque. Oy. I think I’ll make a fruit dessert!!
Truth be told, my husband loves fruit desserts, especially pies and crisps. And cobblers and crumbles. And tarts. Wink, wink. In my May classes this year, I taught this absolutely delicious (and pretty clean fruit buckle.) You have surely heard of the other desserts I mentioned, but most people have no idea what a buckle is. And neither did I a year ago. But my life was incomplete without it.
A buckle is more cake-like than crisps and crumbles and cobblers. In fact, I liken a buckle to a coffee cake but with double or triple the fruit. Whereas I have seen pictures of buckles with varying amounts of fruit, all buckles have some sort of a streusel or textured topping, which makes the cake looked “buckled.” I absolutely love fruit desserts because I absolutely love fresh fruit, but also because you can swap different fruit according to the season and make cool combinations of fruits, too. I never over-sweeten fruit desserts because I like the true fruit flavor to shine through and not be muddled by too much sugar. The most popular (and best) fruit to use in a buckle are blueberries. Because the cake contains so much fruit, it can get a bit wet with too many peaches, strawberries or plums. Blueberries aren’t overly juicy and they’re skins make them a little heartier. In the recipe I photographed here, I used half blueberries, one quarter raspberries and one quarter blackberries.Continue reading
Something I really hate to do is to waste food. One of the reasons I plan out a week of meals is that I can shop accordingly and only buy what I know I will use. But what about that leftover almond pulp? Despite my best efforts to use up the almond byproduct that results every time I make almond milk, it just doesn’t always happen. And raw almonds are so expensive that it actually pains me to throw the pulp in the trash. It’s perfectly good food, especially since the almonds were previously soaked, making them much more digestible and nutritious!
So what do I do with it? Of course, there’s the obvious — add it to anyone’s smoothie or stir it into a warm porridge or muesli. And almond pulp freezes well, so I can save it for another time. But I am just way too lazy to get out my dehydrator and dry out the pulp to use as almond meal. And then I thought to myself, what if I just tried the almond pulp in a quick bread in place of some of the wheat flour? Well, guess what? It worked! Although apparently, a million other people already knew this and I am extremely late to the almond pulp party!
I decided to take one of my banana bread recipes and tweak it a bit with almond pulp that was leftover from 1 cup of whole, soaked raw almonds. Remember, almonds have a lot more fat than grain flours, so we can cut back on some of the added fat. But almonds have no gluten, so I was reluctant to make an all-almond pulp bread this first time. I know this will be neither Paleo nor gluten-free (although I am confident you can swap the gluten flour for a good GF all purpose mix + a little xanthan gum), but I think we can fix that with a few more tweaks. Using half whole wheat flour and half almond pulp, this bread came out to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! Moist but hearty, not crumbly, and not too sweet. It’s perfect banana bread, in my book. My life changed instantly!! Let’s all imagine the possibilities of subbing some almond pulp for flour in different recipes! Is this exciting or what??
Most of the recipes on my site have been made in my cooking classes and at home about 20 times, but this one I just did once so I haven’t tested all the permutations, e.g. all almond pulp, no bananas, butter for coconut oil, and so on. But you can bet I will! I am planning on making my Millet Blondies today with almond pulp. Check my Instagram for updates! And please share your experiences with subbing in almond pulp in any recipes — I’ll try anything!
One last favor — I love Saveur Magazine and they’re conducting their annual food blog awards right now. If you like my blog, would you kindly take 15 seconds out of your busy day and nominate me for a Saveur Food Blog Award? I think the category of Best Special Interest Blog (healthy cooking) would be great. Thank you so much! Here’s the link (and I promise it takes 15 seconds!) http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate
Mr. Picky is my third child, my 10-year-old son. He is a perfect child in every way, however he is rather picky when it comes to food. I know some people think that Mr. Picky is not at all picky because he eats things like lentils and beans and salmon. True. But he won’t eat an unbelievable amount of other, basic things, like eggs, cheese, and most cooked vegetables. Mr. Picky thinks the name I gave him is funny and doesn’t want me to refer to him as anything else on my blog. And since I am not worried that he is picky, the name can stay for now.
“Would Mr. Picky eat this?” That’s what many of my cooking class students will ask me when we are making something outside of the kid cuisine box, so to speak. Most people have a picky child and therefore struggle will meal planning and mealtime. I can get frustrated too, but in general I don’t sweat it because I truly believe that if I continue to provide a wide variety of nutritious whole foods on a regular basis, something will click one day and he will turn into a better eater. This is not a post about raising a healthful eater, but more to address how I make something like this delicious Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches and get my son to eat it. It’s called “deconstruction.”
I know what Mr. Picky won’t eat, in the case of this salad that would be vinaigrette, arugula and cheese. No problem. First I ask him if this is the day he would like to try the salad with vinaigrette. 90% of the time he says, “I’m not ready yet.” No problem. So I deconstruct the salad and give him a scoop of plain farro (it’s like brown rice, I tell him), almonds and peaches. If I have some romaine lettuce in the fridge, I’ll give him some of that, too.
Arugula is a peppery, almost a little spicy, green. I love it, but I didn’t when I was 10. But I just can’t see only making recipes that are Mr. Picky-approved. That would be cooking to the lowest common denominator and that’s never a good idea.
I taught this salad last summer in my classes and just last week in Jenni Kayne’s Fourth of July class with The Chalkboard. This is the perfect salad for entertaining and I have even eaten a version of this for a lunch at home with my Everyday Salad Dressing #2. You don’t need the farro, but it does make the salad heartier which is helpful if you don’t want to eat the ribs or steak options at your BBQ. And if you are gluten-intolerant, unfortunately you can’t eat farro, but millet or quinoa would work well here. In any case, everything can be prepped in advance so all you have to do is assemble at mealtime. I have also done a version of this salad with pitted cherries and Pecorino. I think nectarines or blackberries would also be amazing. For that matter, any stone fruit or berry would be perfect. Yay summer!
a sprinkle of chopped or sliced nuts, such as almonds or walnuts (I used Marcona almonds here)
a sprinkle of cheese, such as feta, gorgonzola or shaved Manchego, Parmesan or Pecorino (I used shaved Manchego here)
Place farro in a medium saucepan with water to cover by at least three inches and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. If using right away, rinse with cold water to cool down.
In a medium bowl or a glass jar with a fitted lid, combine all dressing ingredients.
Place the arugula, farro, chives, and peaches in a serving bowl and drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat. Toss gently.
Add chopped nuts and/or crumbled cheese, if desired.
Larabars were one of the first snack bars that I remember buying. There are no scary ingredients, no added sugars or colors, just dates and nuts. I liked having them for the kids in my diaper bag, as a snack for the plane when we traveled, and more recently for all-day soccer tournaments in the middle of Taco Bell-land. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that I could actually make them in my own kitchen. Without a special Larabar machine! And when I finally realized how disappointingly easy these are to make, I really wanted to hit myself over the head. And I could have been making them organic to boot!
I had so much fun teaching these bars in my classes last month. Once I revealed the secret ratio of dates to nuts (1:1 !), we came up with lots of interesting combinations of ingredients and shapes. The most important ingredient is something sticky to hold it all together. Usually Larabars contain dried dates, which you might remember are one of my obsessions! But I had success making bars out of raisins and dried cherries, too. Are we having fun yet?! Then take your pick of a nut or seed — I use either almonds, cashews, pecans or sunflower seeds. You can make a Larabar with just dates and nuts if you want. Or you can add some yummy things like chocolate, cacao powder, cinnamon, candied ginger, coconut, peppermint extract, instant coffee powder and so on and so forth. Are your wheels spinning?
These are very yummy, but let’s keep it under control and limit ourselves to one for a snack and not the whole delicious batch. After all, you wouldn’t sit down and eat 14 dates just because. I also wouldn’t use these as a meal replacement because they generally have under 200 calories which ain’t enough for anyone. Larabars get bonus points with me because you can make them in approximately 5 minutes and they last for a heck of a long time in the refrigerator or freezer.
I thought it would be great to post this “recipe” now because Easter and Passover are coming up. Larabars are a great Passover snack because there’s nothing not kosher for Passover in them, unless you use peanuts. I think making them in the shape of a traditional Larabar is great, but you can also make little mini squares, or shape them into small, flat discs like a cookie, or a little round ball like a truffle. And then I went to Michael’s and bought lollipop sticks and made…Laralollipops!! How cute would these be for Easter? Dip them in chocolate if you have to! I’ve given three different combinations here, but you can really make up your own according to what you like. Or go over to the official Larabar site and copy some of their flavors. Just don’t tell them I sent you!
1 ¼ cup dried, unsweetened dates (about 14), pitted
1 ¼ cup whole raw almonds, cashews or pecans
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
¼ cup semi-sweet MINI chocolate chips or shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsulphured raisins (or dried cherries for an oatmeal cherry bar)
¾ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking or instant)
¾ cup raw cashews or pecans
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
The easy way to do this is to place all of the ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a food processor and process until the mixture comes together in a tight ball (about 2 ½ minutes). Everything will be really finely processed. See the lollipop images for what that looks like. Or if you want a little more texture from the nuts, process the nuts and dates separately and mix them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. See the other images for examples of that.
The chocolate chips can be added at the end and mixed in with your hands.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and transfer the ball to the plastic wrap and press down to start to flatten into a rectangle. Fold the excess plastic over the top and use your hands to shape and flatten the mixture until it is about ½” thick, about 9” across and 3” down. Or make whatever shape you want!
Refrigerate for a couple hours until firm and slice as desired. Keep wrapped in the refrigerator. Or transfer unwrapped bars to a tightly sealed container.
You can also do a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar: 1 ¼ cups pitted dates + 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts. Sometimes I add 2 Tablespoons of Maca powder and a pinch of salt with or without a few mini chocolate chips.
I was racking my brains thinking of something to post today for July 4th that would be red, white, and blue. But really I’m not nearly as creative as all the people I pin on Pinterest or fave on Foodily and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t come up with something you haven’t already seen. Although for 5 minutes I thought was a genius — potato salad with red, white and blue potatoes! Until I googled it and saw that this was not an original idea.
But then I was thinking that I don’t ever make anything red, white and blue for the 4th, so why the pressure? Our friends Melissa and Adam usually invite us to their beach house for a party where they serve the most delicious Tex-Mex food. Not ribs or barbecue or anything cut into the shape of stars. But it’s all crazy delicious and everyone is so happy. I often bring a dessert or appetizer. Last year Melissa asked me for Peach and Blueberry Crisp. It was so yummy, but not red, white, and blue and I didn’t hear anyone complain that I didn’t have spirit.
A few weeks ago, I taught a 4th of July menu for Jenni Kayne and her friends. Jenni asked me for a fruit crisp and I knew she would love this one with apricots and cherries. When I was prepping for the class that morning, I asked her if I should throw in blueberries to add some blue to the red, and she responded, “Only if they would make it better.” She’s so right. Of course. Who cares if it’s red, white and blue? You want to know what I said? I said, “They won’t. This crisp is so insanely delicious already. Why mess with it?” That’s really what I said. This crisp is so darn good, I have dreams about it. I made this same crisp for some friends a few weeks ago and I could swear I heard moaning. In a good way, naturally.
I have a theory that fruits and vegetables that grow in the same season taste good together. I saw cherries and apricots sitting next to each other at the farmers market and voilà! A new crisp. I also read somewhere that the Prunus family of stone fruits also includes almonds. An almond looks like an apricot pit, don’t you think? I find all of that to be so interesting….and delicious! Now the addition of almonds did make this crisp better. Of course, leave them out if you have an allergy or substitute something crunchy like sunflower seeds. Crisps are so easy to adjust for allergies, in fact. You can make the topping completely vegan by using coconut oil (more natural) or Earth Balance. For a gluten-free crisp, I used half GF oat flour and half King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour (which is free from cornstarch unlike some other very popular GF flours, like Cup4Cup — sorry Thomas Keller. Love your food, though!) Rice flour works well, too.
I think you should make a fruit crisp for the holiday. Absolutely everyone loves them. There are no blue food dyes involved. It’s mostly seasonal fruit. They are sooooooo easy. You can make your topping right now. Yep. In fact, you could have made it a month ago and frozen it. You can make 10 times the recipe for crisp topping, freeze it and make a crisp every week for the rest of the summer and into Labor Day. Or if you’re making a crisp for Thursday, make your topping today and keep it refrigerated. Just sprinkle it on top of your prepared fruit and bake away. No coming to room temp or any of that nonsense. But if you just can’t make a dessert for the 4th that is missing one of the colors of our fair flag, then by all means add some blueberries or blackberries. Or, dig deep and find your spirit of independence and make what you think you’ll love the most. Hope you all have the best weekend!
1⅓ pounds of ripe, fresh apricots, pitted, quartered if large
⅔ pound of dark, sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (I love my cherry pitter which I haven't seen anymore at Williams-Sonoma, but this one looks similar.)
½ Tablespoon pure Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
½ Tablespoon flour (whole wheat pastry or gluten-free flour)
less than ⅛ teaspoon of almond extract
¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 cup flour (whole wheat pastry or for GF a combo of GF oat flour and King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour)
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (for GF, look for labeled GF oats)
½ cup chopped raw almonds
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch pieces or unrefined coconut oil
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the fruit with syrup or sugar, flour and almond extract. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or pie plate.
Add all topping ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until the mixture resembles small peas. This can also be done by hand with a pastry blender. Squeeze with your hands to create small clumps.
Arrange topping over fruit to cover.
Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if you like.
For the crisp in the photographs, I doubled all the ingredients and used a 13 x 9-inch pan.
I know I’ve already posted a How-to-Make-Almond-Milk-from-Scratch recipe. In fact, I gave you three different versions! But my how-to involves slipping the skins off the soaked almonds before blitzing them in your blender which is really no big deal. The reason I do that is because I went to an ayurvedic cooking lecture many, many years ago and the teacher went into great detail about almonds. Almonds are wonderful and alkalizing and high in protein and good fats, BUT (I was hanging on the edge of my seat when I heard that “BUT”) they can be very hard to digest unless they are soaked. AND the skins can be a little bitter. AND the skins cause wrinkles. Whaaaaaat???? I will tell you no one was listening until she said that and then every manicured brow in the room went up. “Did she say almond skins cause WRINKLES?”
So obviously do you really think I was going to start eating almond skins after that? Silly question. Duh, noooooo. Of course I never did any research as to the validity of that statement and I still haven’t. But I did research how to make almond milk from other sources and everyone says to slip those skins off, perhaps due more to a bitter aftertaste than the wrinkles theory. But your friend Pamela here has gotten much busier since my last almond milk post and I have become practically dairy-free, so I have been making almond milk about twice a week. And there came a point when I decided that slipping those almond skins off was GIVING me wrinkles! Or maybe because I was doing it while watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Oy. Anyhoo, I decided to see what would happen if I soaked the almonds, drained them and blended them in fresh water WITH their supposedly bitter, age-advancing skins. Gasp. No difference. Same delicious taste and my skin still looks like it did before I drank the almond milk. Life-changing moment!
I also now exclusively use a nut milk bag (I know, sounds nasty, but totally fabulous!) instead of my fine mesh sieve to squeeze out every last drop from the blended almonds. If you don’t have a nut milk bag (gives me the willies every time I type that, but a great product, really!), a fine mesh sieve works great. You just really want to press down on the pureed almonds or squeeze them with your hands as I am convinced that the creamiest part of the almond milk comes from that last squeeze.
I use almond milk all the time, especially to finish off hot breakfast porridges like oats and millet. I use it in acai bowls and smoothies, as well as chia seed pudding and desserts. The girls have been using it over granola and my friend Matt pours it over cereal and in coffee. Just remember, homemade almond milk is pure goodness with no preservatives so it doesn’t last as long as the stuff in a box. What else do you use almond milk for?
Serves: makes just about 3 cups (to make closer to 4 cups of almond milk, use 1⅓ cups almonds and 4 cups water)
Soak 1 cup raw almonds in bowl with plenty of room temperature water for 6-8 hours. (Soaking will make the almonds softer and more digestible.)
Drain the almonds in a colander and rinse with fresh water.
Place the almonds in a blender or Vitamix. Add 3 cups fresh water and blend until the nuts are pulverized.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a glass bowl. If using a sieve, use a spoon to scrape the almond meal around and allow as much liquid to drain through.
Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate, covered for up to 4 days. Add the remaining pulp, sweetened with honey or maple syrup, to hot cereal, granola or fruit.
Almond milk with coconut water: Soak almonds in regular water, but use coconut water to blend with the soaked almonds.
Almond milk sweetened with dates: Follow directions for basic almond milk, but blend soaked almonds with water and 8 pitted dates. You can add a drop of vanilla and sea salt, if you like, but it is delicious just like this. Of course you can sweeten almond milk with stevia or honey or whatever you like, but I think dates are the best! You don’t need to sweeten the remaining pulp if you choose to eat it since it is already sweet from the dates.
Good gracious, I do believe Christmas is a mere seven days away. I should probably get started on that box of holiday cards sitting next to my desk, what do you think? I also have a couple of gifts to buy, but that hasn’t been occupying my thoughts as much as food. Shocking, I know. There is a lot of food planning that I have going on right now. First off, United Airlines decided to cancel my 8:30 am flight (reasonable time) to NY and rebook us on a 6:14 am flight (unreasonable, horrible, why-bother-going-to-bed-at-all time.) So I need to figure out breakfast and lunch for everyone and get that packed the night before. Let me know if you have any suggestions otherwise I’m making kale salad with quinoa and a bunch of pumpkin muffins and that’s that.
I also need to plan 3 meals a day for the time we’re at my parents’ house. My sisters come with their little ones and I turn into the culinary director for the week. I adore my mother, but I don’t think I can handle hearing her ask me every day, “Now what do you want to do for lunch?” (or dinner) And the last thing I want to do is head out to the market every day in chilly weather without a plan when I could be working on a puzzle and sipping hot tea while a huge pot of veggie chili simmers on the stove. Ahhhhh……So my plan is to come up with the menu for the week and email my mother the grocery list and we’ll all be sitting pretty.
But the big decision before I leave is what should I bring for Christmas Eve dinner, the biggest potluck of the year? It’s tricky since I arrive fairly close to the 24th and I don’t have too much prep time. The other challenge is that I need to make enough to feed oh, about 80 people. For years and years I brought dessert like cucidati, a Sicilian fig cookie, or gingerbread cake. Easy enough. But last year, I felt motivated to get some more veggies on the tables since 80% of the meal seems to revolve around fish of some sort. So of course I decided to make Brussels Sprout Leaf Salad, one of my favorite salads ever. Incredibly delicious, super healthful, so seasonal and really pretty. BUT, probably the most ridiculous salad to make for EIGHTY PEOPLE. Why? Because you have to separate all the leaves, blanche them and spin them dry. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea. Oh, wait. Now I remember. I thought my darling sisters and my lovely daughters would help me. Ha. Ha. Are you picturing me sitting at the kitchen table for hours on December 23rd all by myself? Cranky face.
So this year is going to be different. I’m going to make an equally tasty brussels sprout salad, one that my husband and my daughters are crazy about, but not have to be a slave to the sprouts. This salad debuted just this year on my Thanksgiving class menu and it has made several appearances at our dinner table. It’s crunchy and kind of tart-sweet and you have no idea you’re eating brussels sprouts (not that there’s anything wrong with them.) In fact, they are beyond nutritious and super delicious raw. This salad even tastes great the next day for lunch boxes. If you are dairy-free or vegan, feel free to leave out the manchego cheese. By the same token, do have fun with this salad and substitute feta instead or add pomegranate seeds or your favorite nut in place of the sliced almonds.
Here’s my plan for bringing this to dinner on Monday night:
Sunday: make dressing and refrigerate
Sunday: wash, dry, trim and thinly slice Brussels sprouts and refrigerate
Sunday: shred manchego cheese (I do this on a box grater) and refrigerate
Monday afternoon: cut apples and store in cold water
Just before serving: drain apples and add to sprouts, cheese and almonds. Dress with vinaigrette and serve.
Ooops. Forgot one more thing. Sunday: Make tea and start 1000 piece puzzle. Stay in pajamas as desired.
Slice the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. If necessary, you can use the slicing disc on a food processor, but it won’t be super thin. Place in a serving bowl.
Add the apple, Manchego and almonds to the shredded Brussels sprouts.
In a small bowl or in a jar with a screw-top lid, combine all dressing ingredients until emulsified. Add drizzle enough dressing onto the sprouts mixture to coat lightly. Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning.
When I was a child, my family ate pesto all the time in the summer and early fall. In fact, to me the smell of basil, garlic and cheese in the food processor is synonymous with warm, lazy days at the beach or on my parents’ hammock under a big, breezy tree. It was one of the few things my mom made without a recipe because she made it so often and could likely do it in her sleep. Also, my father always planted way too much basil so Mom was forced to use it up more quickly than it grew. Traditional basil pesto is the only pesto that I ever knew until I started over-planting my favorite herb, parsley, and mixing it with basil for an ever better (in my opinion) pesto.
But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I heard about the huge spectrum of pestos out there not made from basil but from all sorts of herbs like cilantro and mint to leafy greens such as spinach and arugula and even peas or sun dried tomatoes. The result is a brave new world of pesto-adorned dishes beyond pasta in the summertime. The good news is that all pestos are super simple to make and help me make my boring meals more exciting. “Another turkey sandwich?” No, a turkey sandwich with pesto! Oooh, ahhh. “Grilled fish” doesn’t have the same appeal as “grilled salmon with cilantro pesto!” Although when I introduced kale pesto to my family, they were skeptical.
Kale, which is my absolute favorite superfood, is more nutrient-dense than most any food on the planet, so I try to incorporate it into our meals however I can. I love how hearty and flavorful kale is, but it can be a little bitter for the kids if I don’t try to work around that. My standard pesto is made with pine nuts or pine nuts and walnuts. Both are soft nuts that get ground very easily, but can be also be a tad bitter. So I subbed blanched almonds to keep the pesto from getting too harsh and loved it, even though almonds don’t grind up quite as finely. The only other change I made was to add a touch of lemon juice which brightens the whole thing up and again, cuts any bitterness.
I made kale pesto in two different ways. The first with all kale and the second with mostly kale plus basil. All kale pesto tastes reminiscent of broccoli which makes sense since they’re both in the cruciferous family. It’s so totally yummy with a hearty whole wheat or spelt pasta, stirred into soups like lentil, mushroom-barley or minestrone or slathered on a quesadilla with leftover roasted veggies and cheese. I imagine it would be great on a baked potato with veggies or in an omelet with goat cheese and mushrooms. Then I made another version with mostly kale and some basil and it tastes much more like the version you’re used to, but more substantial and maybe with a little more bite. So many people in my classes this month thought it was even better than an all-basil pesto. In class we ate it poured on a grilled chicken paillard. Sunday, I took some pasta with kale-basil pesto and chickpeas in Chinese takeout containers for a beach picnic and then used the leftovers yesterday on a grilled whole wheat pizza with ricotta, sauteed garlic spinach and fresh mozzarella. Insane.
Feel free to use whatever kale you can find, but the curly green variety tends to get processed more finely in the food processor if that matters. Although in these photos I did use the Dinosaur (Tuscan) variety because I typically have that on hand for salad and juicing. However you try it, and I hope you do, pesto is a busy cook’s good friend anytime of year. Tell me your favorite ways to enjoy it!
½ cup blanched almonds, walnuts, pine nuts or a combination (use sunflower seeds for a nut-free pesto)
1 large garlic clove, smashed
3 cups kale (dinosaur or curly green), stemmed and torn into large pieces (so it’s easier to measure)
2 cups basil leaves (or use all kale)
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup unrefined, cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup grated Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
Toast nuts, stirring frequently, in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. If you are a “nut-burner,” just skip this step and put them in the food processor raw. Remove from heat and allow to cool. If you're using sunflower seeds, just use those raw.
Place nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until very finely chopped.
Add kale, basil, salt, pepper and lemon juice and pulse until chopped.
With the food processor running, add olive oil in a steady stream until you achieve a smooth texture. Add cheese and process until well combined.
Taste for seasoning and add additional olive oil to make a looser pesto.