Posts Tagged ‘pesto’

Roasted Tomato and Basil Pesto

Roasted Tomato and Basil Pesto Roasted Tomato and Basil Pesto

This weekend’s weather has been a gentle reminder that summer isn’t going to last forever; We’ve had so many gorgeous sunny days that I’d almost forgotten what a dull grey day looked like.

I’m not ready for summer to be over, not quite yet – there are a few more wonderful sun-soaked days to enjoy and even more bountiful fruits, vegetables and herbs of the season to be had.

I think I may have eaten more tomatoes this summer than any other; we must have had a bumper crop year.

A few weekends ago while I was contemplating what to do with the case of tomatoes I’d gotten at the market, a kind friend gave me a large ‘bouquet’ of basil – hand-tied and wrapped in pretty paper like the most delicate of flowers.

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I knew I’d make pesto, and maybe marinara sauce, but mostly lots and lots of pesto.

Then I thought of this roasted tomato and basil pesto I’d seen recently, I’d thought then that it was too similar to this tomato, basil and cashew sauce I made a few months back, but now that we’re in high summer and I can’t get enough of tomatoes, it’s just perfect! – this recipe is a celebration of the abundant vegetables and herbs of the season.

It’s not the prettiest looking pesto, I wish it looked more tomatoey, but the taste is phenomenal and that’s what matters the most.
I haven’t done a lot of cooking and baking lately, mostly due to other leisurely endeavours and a generous sister who loves to cook, but this pesto has been great to have around all summer long.

It’s quick tossed with pasta, roasted potatoes, or as a sandwich spread or with grilled vegetables… and dinner’s quick and a breeze with this pesto around!

IMG_8867 Basil & Tomatoes
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Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

 
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I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated lately; or perhaps lazy would be appropriate, but that’s such a four letter word…
Something must have happened to me in New York because I don’t think I’ve been myself since I got home.

I’m still struggling to finish unpacking from that little trip, and all I seem to be doing lately besides going to work, is staying in bed and reading – because, you know…“literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life”

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce
Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Admittedly, the few times I forced myself to go out were actually nice, like the afternoon I went grocery shopping for this tomato, basil and cashew sauce – it was a bright sunny day.

This sauce is bright too; I love it for its simple fresh ingredients; it’s a little creamy from rich-tasting cashews and has a smooth tangy flavour from the tomatoes and basil.

I make a big batch, usually doubling the recipe and freeze some for later use; of course, it’s good tossed with pasta, but I use it in a few other dishes as well – on toast, sandwiches and flatbread, or tossed with roasted vegetables.

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

It’s technically a ‘summer sauce’, but occasionally I’ll come across some good looking hothouse tomatoes and the perfect bunch of basil and cave, also because it’s one of those easy no-brainer sauces that one makes when one is feeling unmotivated.

Like I said, I made a big batch… just in case it takes me a while to get out of this funk I find myself – it makes dinner interesting without too much work.

A little note on when making this sauce; depending on how you prefer your sauces, feel free to add another 1/4 – 1/2 cup of wine or water to the sauce while it simmers, if you feel it’s too thick.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce ITomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Mint and Basil Pesto

Mint and Basil Pesto

The arrival of spring is somewhat bittersweet for me; my excitement for the blooming season is always tempered by the return of pollen, which means allergies for me.

I’ve been thinking about lighter meals that is in tune with the season, and this mint and basil pesto is it; zesty and tasty – in a word, perfect. It’s simple and soothing for wretched days ahead.

I make this pesto usually from mint and basil leftover from other recipes, they make an exceptional pair; aromatic, stimulating, and not too overpowering. It has a little bit of heat from red pepper flakes because I like heat in my pesto; it’s probably an African thing

It’s not for just tossing with pasta, it’s delectable mixed with rice or tossed with roasted vegetables and salads. It enhances the flavour of soups, I slather it in sandwiches and flatbreads.

Mint and Basil Pesto Mint and Basil Pesto
Mint and Basil Pesto Mint and Basil Pesto

Mint and Basil Pesto Mint and Basil Pesto

Red Cabbage Pesto

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The idea to make pesto from red cabbage came about while in line at the grocery store. The guy in front of me had red cabbage too; for tacos, he said.
Mine was for roasting with other vegetables, but I only needed half a head of cabbage.

Don’t you just hate it when a recipe calls for half of something but it’s sold as a whole or bunch?

So we stood waiting in line, brainstorming ideas for the leftover half – tacos, salsa, braised with apples…
I was going to go with salsa but my penchant for turning everything into pesto won over.

When I first thought of this red cabbage pesto, I imagined it a little bit coarser than it turned out – I may have over processed it, and the addition of almond butter made the paste smoother.

You can omit the almond butter, and a few pulses less in a food processor will leave in some of the crunch for a coarse, grainy pesto.

I still love the way this pesto turned out, it’s amazing – toss it with your favourite pasta, or use as a dip, sandwich spread, or as a ‘sauce’ for your flatbreads like I did with this onions and peppers flatbread.

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IMG_4619 Peppers & Onion Flatbread

Arugula Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds and Lemon

 
Arugula & Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

I so love this time of the year; it’s full of welcome expectations – the year is winding down, and we’re looking forward to the holidays as we settle into the cold weather.
With all the posts I’ve read this week on gratitude and thanksgiving, I can’t help but be optimistic about Christmas, plus it’s my favourite holiday.
Sure, the days are dark and the nights are long, and the rain is relentless, still there’s that hint of merriness in the air.
I got caught in a miserable angry downpour a few nights ago, and just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I look up and suddenly noticed the trees twinkling with a thousand colourful lights, and in that moment, it felt like they were there for this particular reason; to bring cheer.

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The nights are long – it’s dark by the time I get home and I’m usually cold, tired and hungry and the last thing I want to do is cook. Yet, all I want at that moment is food, something cheerful and comforting.

I think I’ve perfected my routine; I’m usually seated to dinner in about thirty minutes after I get home. It’s especially helpful when I have part of my dinner already prepared.
These pesto sauces are convenient and make my life so easy when I have them on hand; they’re easy to prepare, tasty and keep well.

They go with a myriad of dishes, pasta, mashed/stuffed potatoes, pizza, roasted vegetables, sandwiches, etc.

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This arugula basil pesto with sunflower seeds and lemon was a no brainer; I had arugula leaves leftover from a salad, and basil that needed to be used up. I whirled them together with some sunflower seeds and a splash lemon and got this bright zesty and peppery paste.
The lemon juice and zest gives the leaves a refreshing herby zing

Stored in an airtight jar and covered in a thin layer of olive oil, it’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week.
For a quick no-fuss dinner, it’s tossed with pasta and a side of roasted vegetables.
On other evenings it’s slathered on a sandwich or mixed into stuffed baked potatoes, or couscous or quinoa.

This pesto will liven up every meal it touches, giving it a vibrant kick.
It’s just how I like my dinner; simple, hearty and cheerful perfect for those dark, cold rainy evenings, and another reason to love this time of the year.

IMG_3775 Arugula & Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

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