Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Super sandwiches: Pesto tuna salad

Fish is a good source of protein and can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, depending on what you choose. Tuna is one of the cold water fish, like salmon and sardines, that is a rich source. Worried about mercury? White tuna is higher, light tuna is lover. For more information about selecting fish, read this post.

Pesto Tuna Salad
Serves two
Recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot
  • 1 5-ounce can light tuna packed in water
  • 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Basil Pesto
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Drain tuna and place in small mixing bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir together. Serve on whole grain bread, whole grain crackers, as dip for raw veggies or on top of a salad...or, if you're feeling inspired, try stuffing tomatoes with the tuna salad! See below for instructions.
Drain light tuna and place in bowl
Add pesto, parmesan cheese, yogurt and dried tomatoes. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and serve!

Want to try stuffing tomatoes with the tuna salad? Here is how to do it:

Cut around top of tomatoes to make this cone shape
Cut tiny slice off bottom so tomatoes don't roll around
Use a little spoon (do you have a grapefruit spoon?) to scoop out the middle of the tomato
Fill 'er up with the tuna salad
Now, are you really going to tell me you don't like fish with something that looks so delicious?

Looks like it is time to oil my cutting boards - they're looking dry in the pictures! If your wooden or bamboo cutting boards are looking like they have dry skin, read this post for information about bringing them back. 
Note: Light tuna is lower in Mercury than White Tuna. For more information about selecting fish, read this post.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cooking class: ideas for spaghetti squash

I recently had the chance to raid a friend's garden that was overflowing with vegetables. What a treat! I came home with the mother load of monster beets, plump tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, zucchini squash, a beautiful boquet of zinnias and a special treat; spaghetti squash!

The vegetable ninja is back; once again we have vegetables standing in for a higher starch counterpart without sacrificing flavor. Wham bam shazam! Bring on the veggies!

Spaghetti squash is a really delicious and fun summer vegetable. I discussed how to cook it yesterday (so simple!) and wanted to share a few topping ideas today.

Once your squash is cooked, get ready to load it up with yummy toppings! Simple butter, salt and pepper are great, as is a dollop of fresh pesto. This would also be good topped with creamy peasto-pesto.
Chopped 1-2 fresh tomatoes and warm in a saute pan with some olive oil. Bring to a simmer and then toss in a big handful of fresh chopped basil. Toss this speedy sauce with the spaghetti squash and grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top. Divine!
I also tried the squash topped with scrambled eggs and pesto. Unusual, yes, but very delicious and good anytime of the day. Vegetables for breakfast, anyone?

For another splendid idea, I would recommend you check out my dear friend Kelly's blog, Off The Wall  for her take on a turkey meatball sub using spaghetti squash. Brilliant!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Decadent Dip: peasto-pesto dip

Decadent Dip: peasto-pesto dip

This lovely little dip whips up in a flash with a food processor or blender and is inspired by a recipe from Jamie Oliver's cookbook: The Essential Family Cookbook.

This is a delicious dip for fresh vegetables and whole grain crackers and is even tasty tossed with whole grain pasta!

Peasto-pesto dip
  • 6 ounces greek yogurt (3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • juice of 1/2 lemon  
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place all ingredients into food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy
2. Dig in with crackers, fresh raw veggies, blanched veggies or toss with pasta. This could even be a sandwich spread!

Place ingredients in food processor or blender...

...and puree until smooth! So easy!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

All about pesto - food of the gods

Pesto - food of the gods - what a great way to start the week!

Pesto is so delicious! Born in northern Italy, pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan. What was once done by hand using a mortar and pestal is now accomplished in moments using a food processor or blender. 

You may have noticed, though, that pine nuts can be pricy! Per pound, pine nuts can be up there with selling your kidney or your first born child. I think that pesto is just as delicious when made with toasted almonds, and a lot more affordable. So, grab a huge bunch of basil from your back yard garden, your herb pot or local farmers market and whip up some pesto to use now and freeze some for later.

Another money saving tip? Ok! If you don't have quite the volume of fresh basil you'd like, you can stretch this recipe using fresh spinach or arugula (aka rocket if you're on the other side of the pond).

To toast your nuts, simply place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and stir around a bit until they smell good. You're not going to see too much change in color until it is too late and they're scorched. Let your nose tell you when they're done and don't walk away from the stove. 

This recipe is really accomplished by "touch and feel", so exact measurements aren't given. Some folks like pesto more cheesy than others, some like it to be thinned with more olive oil, others skip the garlic. Up to you!

Basil Pesto - a big batch

Toasted nuts (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch)
Fresh basil, augmented with spinach, if needed (Fill up the food processor container)
Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil (about a cup)

Toasted almonds
Food processor stuffed with fresh basil
Handful of Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzling in olive oil
Fresh basil from the garden: future pesto!

Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top of fresh pesto to prevent browning
Pesto served on toast with goat cheese, an egg and tomato

Where to use my pesto? The possibilities are truly endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Tossed with hot or cold pasta, rice, barley, quinoa or gnocchi
  • tossed with hot or cold zucchini pasta
  • Stirred into scrambled eggs or tofu
  • Drizzled onto a fried egg
  • Thinned with balsamic vinegar to dress salads and roasted vegetables
  • Mashed into potatoes
  • Tossed with freshly popped popcorn
  • Schmeared onto a bagel with cream-cheese
  • As a substitute for mayo/mustard on your favorite sandwiches or subs
  • Drizzled onto hot soup or cold gazpacho
  • Take your grilled cheese up a notch
  • Mixed into tuna, egg or chicken salad
  • Spread on toast with goat cheese
  • Spread onto cream cheese for a quick party dip for crackers, pretzels or crisp breads
  • Marinate your chicken before grilling or baking
  • As a sauce base for your homemade pizza or drizzled on top after baking...or both
  • Tossed with blanched green beans, broccoli or cauliflower
  • On a spoon...

All about storage
In the fridge: pour a thin layer to cover your fresh pesto to prevent excessive browning
In the freezer: scoop pesto into small jars (leaving room for expansion) or spread into an ice-cube tray to freeze smaller portions

Nut allergies?
Try this with toasted soy "nuts" 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vegetable Ninja: homemade zucchini "pasta"

Vegetable Ninja: homemade zucchini "pasta"
Zucchini "pasta" topped with turkey meatballs and sauce

Prepare yourself for some real kitchen ninja action; we are about to turn zucchini into PASTA! This is a great way to satisfy your Italian taste buds without boiling water or going overboard with your carbohydrate intake. And if you're lucky enough to live near a zucchini plant? Here is a great new recipe beyond the usual zucchini bread.

There are a couple of ways to be a zucchini ninja; you can use your chefs knife to cut your zucchini into long planks and then cut those planks into thin strips; you get a rustic homemade zucchini pasta. You can take it up a notch using a julienne peeler; they're available at bit box stores and online for about ten bucks. If you really want to take it up a notch, you can also use a mandoline slicer if it has the julienne blade.

Once you have your zucchini in pasta-like shapes, all you have to do is sprinkle a bit of salt on top and let it sit for a few minutes. The salt will help draw out excess water creating an al dente pasta. This can be served hot or cold!

1. Trim ends from zucchini
2. Julienne zucchini using knife, peeler or mandoline
3. Place "pasta" in bowl and lightly salt; wait 10-20 minutes or until zucchini is softened
4. Quickly rinse "pasta" under running water and then squeeze to remove extra moisture

Your pasta is ready! You can quickly saute in a pan with sauce, serve cold or nuke in the microwave. I made turkey meatballs in marinara sauce on the stove and warmed the "pasta" in the microwave.

*Note: my taste testers were my two roommates; they both thought that this zucchini was mixed with real pasta; the zucchini is that close to the real deal! Try it!

*If you're trying to trick reluctant kids or a picky spouse, you could first peel the zucchini to remove the green color

Two small zucchini was enough for my dinner
Using the julienne peeler

Freshly julienned and salted

Salt drawing out water

Zucchini "pasta" topped with turkey meatballs and sauce

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