Monday, August 9, 2010

Perfect Pesto and Juanita's Spring Salad

I am posting this pesto recipe especially for my friend Jessica.  She visited me a few months ago and I made dinner for her and she loved my pesto so much that I promised I would post it on my blog  :)

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
3-4 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 9-11 cloves)  
*This really depends on how much garlic you like, and how big the cloves are.
5 cups fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In the bowl of a food processor (with a fitted steel blade) add the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic.  Process for about 20 seconds.  
Add the basil two cups at a time, processing between each addition.  Add the salt and pepper.
While the processor is running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process until it's a nice puree. 
Add the Parmesan cheese and process for another minute or so.  Pesto is done!

If you do not use the pesto right away it is best to store it in an air tight container (like Tupperware), but make sure to place plastic wrap directly on top of the pesto to press out the air.  Store in freezer.
You can serve this pesto on pasta (which is what I did for Jessica), use it as a spread for sandwiches, put it in eggs--you can use it for anything really!  

Spring Salad

1 bag dark leaf lettuce mix salad, pre-washed (unless you buy fresh dark leaf lettuce)
1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 pink lady apple
goat cheese
3 scallions
1 cup cran-raisins (optional)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Place the lettuce in a salad bowl.  In a small pan, heat canola oil and add the walnuts.  Allow the walnuts to fry but not burn, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix around the walnuts a few times so that they do not burn.
Take the pan off the flame and add the salt and sugar, mixing it around to make sure it evenly distributes among the walnuts.  Set aside.
Chop the scallions using both the green and white parts.  Thinly slice the apple only using about half of the apple, unless you love apple a lot and want to use more!
Add the chopped scallions to the salad, then add the sliced apple.  Take the goat cheese and add as much as you want.  Typically I add LOTS of goat cheese because Ben and I love it!  
*At this point you can add the cranraisins if you want.

Quick Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Pour about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar into a bowl. 
Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
While whisking the liquid mix, slowly add 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.  *You can add more balsamic vinegar if you want, or more salt and pepper.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have made this pesto several times now and it is mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmm good. I use it on pasta, sandwiches, chicken, bread, and much more. I have even dipped crackers into it as a snack just to get a little taste from time to time. Thanks Juanita!