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I made this pesto for my daughter and her vegan friend. My daughter often is not fond of pesto because of the strong basil taste. This recipe incorporates spinach, which makes the flavor much more mild and eliminates the need for a side salad or veggie. I had mine with macerated tomatoes on the side (diced tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, chopped basil and Italian parsley– combine and let sit for an hour or more).

Pesto
In a food processor, combine (amounts are approximate– adjust for your taste– I added a little extra basil when I made it again for myself):

1 (packed) cup basil leaves, rinsed
2 (packed) cups baby spinach, large stems removed if you’re ambitious, rinsed (don’t worry about residual water)
3 cloves of garlic
1 t sea salt
1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts, cooled
1/3 cup raw walnuts (adjust nuts to your taste– I like a lot. The walnuts add good protein)
Olive oil until the pesto is combined and soft– approx 1/3-1/2 cup. I like a lot of olive oil– it makes the pesto creamy and soft.
If you like, add a couple 1″ cubes of Reggiano cheese.
Blend until creamy. Combine with cooked pasta– something that hold the pesto well. Serve with macerated tomatoes and red wine (water for the kiddies).

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How to get my daughter to eat her greens… I’m getting desperate. I don’t like to eat much wheat, so I no longer make pasta very often. She loves it, however [really, who doesn’t], and if i throw the green stuff in there she’ll happily consume it. Well maybe not totally happily, but…

I found some gluten- free pasta. Usually this means corn, which I pretty much never eat since it’s hard on my blood sugar, but I found some in the refrigerator at New Seasons under the brand name “Cucina Fresca” and it’s main ingredient was garbanzo bean flour — a good source of protein. It cooks fast — like in under three minutes, so I started the spinach first.

Actually, I browned a chicken apple sausage for her in a pan first. When I removed it I added a little olive oil and sauteed the spinach. I added the spinach about the same time I added the pasta to the boiling, salted water. When the spinach was done I added grated Reggiano, sea salt, pepper, a grating of nutmeg, and about 2 T of cream. I had started with about 4 cups of spinach, just to give you an idea for the amount of cream that was added. It was just enough to meld with the cheese and give the dish a slightly creamy texture. I drained the pasta and added it to the spinach, then threw it on her plate where once sat the chicken sausage. I threw in a few red chile flakes to mine. Fast and really good.

The pasta was really pretty good. It had that slightly grainy texture that non-wheat pasta has, but not nearly as gross as the brown rice pasta, which I consider a complete waste of time, money, and calories.

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