Cilantro Pesto

Often, when I don’t know what to cook, I open up my Rebar cookbook.  I’ve tried a lot of the recipes, loved a lot of them, but only blogged a few.  This pesto is a nice change from the usual, with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lime juice and jalapeno peppers.  I served it tossed with some baked spaghetti squash, but it would also be great on regular pasta. This recipe is half the original, and makes about 2/3 cup of pesto, plenty for a few people.

What you need:

1 bunch clean cilantro, stems chopped off

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped with seeds

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons grated parmesan or asiago cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

1.  Toast the pumpkin seeds slightly in a dry frying pan.  They toast really fast, so just turn the heat to medium-low and shake them around every half a minute or so.

2.  Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor.  I just have a little handheld one, and that works fine. Puree until everything is chopped to little bits.

3.  Pour in the olive oil, a little at a time, until it is combined.

Ready to go!

Easy Pesto

Here’s your basic pesto recipe.  You just need a food processor or mortar and pestle, some lovely fresh ingredients, and you’re set!

What you need:

1/4 cup very lightly toasted pine nuts

3/4 – 1 cup basil

1/2 clove of garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre brand)

olive oil

salt

What you do:

1.  Toast your pine nuts very very lightly; you still want them to be creamy when you puree them.

2. Place the pine nuts, basil,  and garlic and a bit of salt in the food processor and add as much olive oil  as you need to make it smooth.  Then add the parmesan and give it one last whirl.

3.  That’s it – use it on some pasta, add it to hummous, make a lasagna, add it to eggs, whatever you want!

Nut Crusted Portobello Mushroom Appetizer

These mushrooms are full of flavour!

What you need:

2 portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt

pepper

1 egg

olive oil

What you do:

1.  Place ground almonds, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In another bowl, crack the egg and beat it up a little.

2.  Remove the stems and clean mushrooms with a damp cloth – if you clean them in water they will absorb too much water.  Cut the mushrooms into strips, a few centimetres wide.

3.  Coat each mushroom strip in egg, then the almond mixture.

4.  Heat a frying pan on medium heat, then add a little olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms.  They should not be overlapping.  Cook on each side for a few minutes, until they become golden on all sides.

5.  Serve them on their own, or with a bit of mayo on the side.

Quick Lemon Pasta

Looking for ways to use up my bumper crop of arugula, I made up this easy pasta dish.  You can easily substitute the arugula for fresh basil; just use a little less.  It’s a super fast meal to prepare!

What you need:

Pasta (I used brown rice spaghetti by Tinkyada)

fresh lemon juice

parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

arugula or fresh basil

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Cook the pasta in lots of water.

2.  Squeeze lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon per person.  Mix it with a tablespoon or two of parmesan per person, a big drizzle or olive oil, and salt and pepper.

3.  Chop arugula roughly and place in the bottom of a bowl.  Place hot pasta on top of the arugula so the arugula wilts a tiny bit from the heat of the pasta.  Pour the lemon mixture over top and mix it all up.

4.  Enjoy!

lemon block print

Tomato Basil Yogurt Breakfast Tart

This breakfast tart can be made with or without a crust, and is pretty simple to whip up.

What you need:

3/4 cup plain yogurt

6 eggs

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan or regular parmesan (I use L’Ancentre lactose free)

1/2 cup basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 /2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4-6 roma tomatoes

optional: small chunks of prosciutto

What you do:

1.  Beat eggs with a fork, then mix in yogurt, parmesan, chopped basil, salt and pepper.

2.  Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and liquid.  This is a step you don’t want to miss, because of you do your tart will be watery.   I used grape tomatoes, which taste great but take a long time to deseed.

3.  Pour the egg mixture into a greased pie plate, frittata pan or partially baked pie crust.  Place the tomatoes on top, then top with a little more parmesan.

4.  Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the middle has set.

5.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I have used this mushroom crust recipe when I didn’t want a typical pastry crust, and it’s delish!

Mushroom Crust:

1/2 lb mushrooms

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1.  Chop the mushrooms and saute in butter for 10 minutes.  Mix in breadcrumbs, then pat into a greased pie plate.

2.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 375F.

3.  Fill with egg mixture and continue baking.