Yes, we know, we post a lot of pesto recipes, but we just can't help ourselves. When one member of the family rejects most vegetables but embraces this green, iron rich sauce, you do what you have to do. This pesto gets a change up with the addition of the sunflower seeds which surprisingly give the pesto a nuttier flavor. And, the lemon zest adds a citrus punch that pairs well with the herbal flavor of the spinach. You will be thrilled when everyone asks for thirds!
Spinach Pesto with Sunflower Seeds
Makes about 2 cups
1 package or bag of baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic
5-6 ounces of Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1-cup olive oil
½ tsp. of salt
Place garlic and sunflower seeds in food processor and pulse until combined. Add cheese and pulse until almost smooth, there will be some chunks. Add spinach and pulse 5 times, or so, until spinach begins to break down. Drizzle in olive oil while running and process until smooth. Add lemon zest and salt and pulse twice.
Serve with pasta or pizza or on toast!
We are always looking for new dressings to jazz up the night's salad and this one gets a twist on our usual lemon and olive oil classic with the addition of the tarragon and basil. Tarragon is a herb we are just beginning to explore as it has a powerful and specific flavor that can easily over shadow what it is paired with. However, in this dressing it is nicely balanced with the mustard and basil and provides the salad, or any salad, with a floral and herbaceous flavor. The kids loved it for dipping carrots and we liked it especially with a grilled chicken and vegetable entree salad we made.
Fresh Herb and Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes about ¾ of a cup of dressing
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon of water
½ tsp. salt
1/3-cup fresh tarragon
1/3-cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2/3 cup Olive Oil
*Can sub in flat leaf parley for any of the herbs, or add to the mix
Place all ingredients except the Olive oil into a blender. Pulse until garlic and herbs begin to break down and then stream in oil, blending dressing until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may need a bit more oil, or salt.
Serve with any salad, or as a dip for crudité. It holds up well to hearty lettuces like romaine and grilled vegetables or chicken.
*If you are looking for hostess gifts for the upcoming holidays, be sure to check out our greeting and note cards on our Etsy site! Through the month of October we are donating a portion of our proceeds to help those in Puerto Rico.
This easy dip or condiment enhances most dishes with which its paired. It cuts through the richness of lamb and adds a creamy dimension to falafel. It also makes a great dip with veggies and pita. Serve it as a side for any grilled meat you are throwing on the fire this summer. The littlest chef can easily help mix and let the other kids get in on the grating. If you have any left, thin with a bit of water and instantly you have a tasty dressing for your next dinner.
Makes about 2 cups
½ large cucumber, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, minced finely
½ tsp. of salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced chives
Mix all the ingredients and enjoy!
Serve with falafel, lamb or lamb meatballs or just as a dip with pita.
We are very excited to share this spring recipe with you! We are doing an instagram collaboration with Annie Garcia of @whatannieseating, www.whatannieseating.com and a host of other wonderful chefs to celebrate the PEA! Spring has sprung and it is time to start coming out of hibernation. The colors are brightening, the food gets a little sweeter and a little lighter. This recipe is one of my mom's specialties. She is a brave cook who tosses caution to the wind and often embarks on bigger cooking projects than I do in the day to day. This homemade ravioli with sugar snap pea puree is a wonderful recipe that celebrates all we love about spring. The filling has just a hint of sweetness and the simple garlic sauce lets the peas shine. If you don't have time to make the ravioli, simply do the sauce with store bought, no harm no foul!
Sugar Snap Pea Puree Ravioli with Garlic Butter Sauce
5-dozen or so Ravioli
1 ½ cups of fresh sugar snap peas, shelled
¼ cup chives, minced
1/3 cup of vegetable broth
½ teaspoon of salt
3 oz. fresh mozzarella
For ravioli dough:
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons of milk
1 egg yolk, whisked
1 stick of butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shelled peas
1/2 tsp salt
For dough, place flour, eggs and milk into stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix until dough forms. Remove from mixer and knead on counter until smooth. You can also do this in a food processor.
Let rest for half an hour.
For filling, steam peas until crisp tender, then puree in blender with vegetable broth and salt. Add mozzarella and briefly blend. Fold in Chives and set aside.
Divide dough into quarters and run through pasta machine. Start at 1, run through then fold into thirds. Rotate so seams face the machine then repeat 2 more times. Then, continue process until you reach 6 on the machine.
Lie out sheets of pasta and place 1 teaspoon of filling every inch, inch and a half. Dab egg yolk along edges and in between filling then cover with another sheet of pasta. Run over edges with your fingers and cut with a ravioli cutter or knife into a square. Place finished ravioli on a floured board. You can also use cookie cutters
In a sauté pan, place butter, and garlic. Slowly melt butter and when it is foamy, turn heat to low and add peas and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Bring water to a boil and drop in ravioli, don’t crowd the pot. When ravioli floats to the surface, they are done, about 2-3 minutes. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.
*for garnish, you can steam a few whole sugar snap peas and toss with pasta and sauce.
*Uncooked ravioli can be easily frozen. Place on a sheet tray and freeze individually, then once frozen combine into a Ziploc for future use.
*if making pasta is too time consuming, serve sauce with pre-made cheese ravioli
Be sure the check out these wonderful instagram accounts, blogs, and the hashtag, #easypeasyforspring to see what recipes they came up with to celebrate spring and the pea!
Here are their instragram names:
@Bondandtaylor, @Amandaskrip, @Thegirlfromthe3rdfloor, @Pricklyfresh , @Mindyscookingobsession, @Cocoaandsalt, @theGoodcooker, @Blackthornpublishing, @Days_of_food, @Marypardoux, @Smartinthekitchen, @Cooksandkid, @My.recipe.addiction, @Thewholeelchilada, @Gobblethecook,
@Weelicious , @Pamelasalzman, @Feedtheswimmers
@Gingeredwhisk, @Its_a_vegworld_afterall, @Blossomtostem,
@whatannieseating, @holajalapeno @somethingnewfordinner
And, here are their blogs:
My mother has never been a fan of cooked tomatoes, so marinara was never our go to sauce. While she always made meatballs to satisfy my Dad, she was and is always looking for new ways to get what she likes on the table, even if it means making two kinds of pasta for a family supper. This mushroom pasta is easy and decadent. The rich, earthy, and creamy notes eat well with a glass of chilled white wine. (Maybe just what she needs after having to satisfy such diverse and demanding palates.)
Wild Mushroom Pasta
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
½ Onion, diced
3 cups of assorted Mushrooms, cleaned with a paper towel and sliced (Chanterelles, Cremini, Oyster, White)
2 tsp Salt
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Oregano, minced
½ cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ladle of pasta water
1 tablespoon flat leaf Parsley, minced
In a large sauté pan place the olive oil and the butter. Add the diced onions and sauté on medium high heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the salt. Saute on high heat, shaking the pan. When the mushroom release their water and begin to soften, add the garlic and oregano.
Add cream and on low heat, let reduce until the cream thickens a bit
Cook one package of pasta (Penne, Garganelli, Gemelli or Fettucini) and reserve one ladle of pasta water.
Toss the pasta, the mushrooms, the pasta water, and 3/4 of the Parmesan. Mix until the pasta is well coated then place in serving bowl and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the parsley.
We may be sliding into fall, and 4th of July has become but a memory, but this condiment is great all year round. My mother, sister-in-law and I all make this a bit differently, but the outcome is same: a spicy, herby and garlicky side to jazz up any basic protein. I like adding oregano, my sister-in-law adds a bit more heat, and my mother makes the below. Once you have the basics, throw in whatever herbs you have on hand and have fun!
4th of July Parsley Chimichurri
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bunches of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
¾ cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together, let sit with thin layer of olive oil on top. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Serve with Roasted meats, fish or vegetables.
To make a salad dressing: Place 2 tablespoons Chimichurri, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar in a small bowl and whisk.
In our family, we are always looking for ways to tweak the basic pasta sauces we always make. Everyone loves meat sauce, and this version gets a nice herby kick from the Italian sausage and dried herbs. If you are cooking for adults only, or your kids like a little bang in their bite, substitute the sweet Italian sausage with a spicy one.
Italian Sausage and Turkey Bolognese
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage meat (uncooked)
1 pound ground Turkey meat (light or dark, your preference)
3 carrots, peeled
½ yellow onion
1 red pepper
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 cup red wine
1 small can tomato paste
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 packages of your favorite pasta
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add your meats. Season the meats with 1 teaspoon of salt and the dried spices. Brown meats then remove into a bowl and set aside.
Place carrots, onion, red pepper, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until pureed. In the same pan you browned the meat, add the pureed vegetables, and if pan looks a bit dry add another tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee vegetables with remaining salt until their liquid begins to evaporate, then add the meat back into the pan. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then deglaze with wine. After 2 more minutes add your tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Stir on high heat until the mixture begins to bubble, add balsamic vinegar and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for at least and hour or up to two hours. Serve with your favorite pasta and a hearty helping of Parmesan cheese.
*This recipe makes two dinners for a family of 4 using one package of pasta per meal, if serving more people this will make one dinner.
This zippy sauce is traditionally used with Bouillabaisse but it can also double as a dipping sauce for a fresh vegetable platter, or roasted potatoes. It is rich and garlicky and the saffron gives it a subtle kick.
Saffron Garlic Mayonnaise (Rouille)
Makes about 1 cup
¾ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon very hot broth from the bouillabaisse or any veggie stock
1 fresh French roll with crust trimmed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup olive oil
Stir in a small bowl the saffron and 2 tablespoons of hot stock. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. In a food processor process roll into crumbs. Add ¾ of a cup of bread crumbs to saffron mixture and mash with fork until a loose paste forms. Add more stock if too stiff. In food processor or blender add red pepper, garlic and salt. Puree and add in the egg yolk. Pulse bread mixture in, little by little until smooth. Slowly stream in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Check seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Use same day with bouillabaisse or serve with crudite.
tip: be sure that the broth added is very hot as sauce can separate.
The Littlest member of our family helped put this one together as a welcome home for a Dad coming home from a business trip. Kids love getting their hands dirty. Once you have everything organized its super easy for them to help layer. Whatever veggies you have in the fridge like zucchini or mushrooms can be sautéed simply then added as a layer.
3-4 cups of tomato sauce or Bolognese
1 package of no cook lasagna noodles
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt plus 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup julienned fresh basil
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup finely grated parmasean cheese
1 bunch of Russian kale or swiss chard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Boil a small pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt. Rip kale or chard from stems and blanch in boiling water for one minute. Strain and pat dry, then roughly chop and set aside. In a small bowl add ricotta, egg, nutmeg, garlic powder, the rest of the salt, pepper and basil. Mix well and set aside.
In baking dish, ladle enough sauce to coat the bottom and cover with uncooked noodles. Spread about one third of the ricotta mixture on top of noodles, then sauce to cover lightly. Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella then cover with another layer of noodles. Repeat with another third of the ricotta, then add the chopped kale or chard. Top with sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat with noodles, ricotta, sauce and cheese until you run out of noodles, you should get about 3-4 layers. On top layer of noodle, pour on whatever sauce is left, make sure the lasagna is on the saucier side as you need the extra sauce to keep the noodles from drying out. Top with parmesean cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 40 minutes until noodles are soft and sauce is bubbling. Remove foil and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
To use for pizza, pasta, or lasagna
1 large brown onion
4 cloves garlic
6-8 medium carrots, peeled
3-4 stalks celery
1 large bulb of fennel
8-10 leaves of fresh basil, torn
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, diced fine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 boxes diced tomatoes
2 box pureed tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
Warm olive oil in saute pan. In food processor, blend onions and garlic. Add to saute pan with oil and cook on medium heat. While onions are cooking, add carrots, celery and fennel to food processor and blend. Once onions are translucent, add other vegetable and continue sautéing. Sprinkle with salt. Add basil, oregano, fennel seeds, and thyme to vegetables. Once everything is tender, add capers, anchovy paste and pepper. Stir. Add in tomatoes and vinegar and simmer on medium low heat for about one hour. Adjust seasoning.
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.