Pesto Pita Pizzas!

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Thanks to Open City, the amazing restaurant near our old apartment in Woodley Park, whenever I think of pesto, pizza naturally comes to mind. (In case you haven’t been to Open City, drop everything you’re doing and order yourself a Chicken Pesto  Pizza. You won’t regret waiting 1.5 hours for table to get a bite.)  So when we had quite a large amount of Basil Kale Pesto left over, it was only fitting to make some sort of pizza with it.  Christina and I discussed toppings and settled on goat cheese pesto pizzas.

On my way home from work, I stopped by Trader Joe’s, giving myself the rule that I wasn’t allowed to use a cart or basket to avoid what usually happens when I go there.. Trader Joe’s may be my favorite store in the world, and I usually find myself buying $150 of groceries because, naturally, everyone needs at least 14 paneers in their freezer at all times. When I got to TJ’s, it wasn’t crowded at all, so I quickly scooped up the supplies for the pizza, as well as some blackberries (they were only $3.49, too good to pass up!) and some whipped cream for the berries.  A few other items made it into my hands, causing the goat cheese to fall on the ground several times as I proceeded to the register. Finally I made it through, and got home in time to prepare myself for my first Vinyassa Class at Down Dog.

The best part about pita pizzas, is that they’re really quick and easy to make.  You can prepare them with any toppings you want, and they’re virtually impossible to mess up.  Here is the recipe that Christina and I made up:

1.  Preheat your broiler.

2. Place pitas on a baking sheet, and spread a few dribbles of olive oil on top.

3. Scoop a few spoonfuls Basil Kale Pesto on top.  Add any other veggie toppings on top, I used cherry tomatoes and Christina used the left over asparagus from the previous night’s pasta.

4. Place the veggie topped pitas in the oven for about 3 minutes, so that the veggies get a bit warm before the goat cheese is added.  After 3 minutes, crumble the goat cheese on top, and return the pita to the oven for another 3 minutes.  The edges of the pitas will become a bit brown and crunchy.

5. Let cool for a few minutes (if you can wait they long, we couldn’t!) and enjoy!!

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Basil, Walnut and Kale Pesto

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Basil, Walnut and Kale Pesto (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free)

The Recipe: adapted from http://cleangreensimple.com/2011/04/basil-walnut-and-kale-pesto/

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne noodles
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 2 c. fresh basil
  • 2 c. fresh kale
  • 3/4 c. raw, unsalted walnuts (We used salted almonds, and cut the salt)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional – we didn’t use any)
  • 1 bunch (about 10-12 stalks) asparagus, woody stalks removed and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 20-30 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 medium tomatoes chopped into 1/2 inch chunks)

Directions:

Start a large pot of water boiling, and cook your noodles according to the package directions. When you drain the noodles, reserve a cup or two of the water to add to the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add your onion, kale, basil, about 2/3 of the minced garlic, and walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and the greens are just starting to wilt. (If you want your onion cooked very thoroughly you may want to add it a couple minutes ahead of everything else)

Once the greens and walnut mixture is ready, remove it from the pan and add it to a blender or food processor. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add asparagus and the rest of the garlic. Heat the asparagus for 3-6 minutes until it is softened but still somewhat crisp.

While the asparagus cooks, add water, salt, and nutritional yeast to the food processor with the cooked greens and blend until smooth.

Once your asparagus and pasta noodles are ready, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, adding the reserved pasta water to help the pesto coat the noodles. Serve warm or cold.

The verdict: Overall tasty.

I can definitely tell I’m eating fresh vegetables straight from the earth. I find that it could have used a little more salt (we left out the salt since we used salted walnuts and the recipe called for unsalted). I did add a little parmesan cheese at the end to bring out the taste a little more. I would definitely make this again, and right now Audrey and I are working on some other uses for the huge amount of pesto we have leftover.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’ night’s dinner: Pesto pita goat cheese pizzas.

The veggies have arrived!

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Week 1, Day 1

It’s finally time! This morning I received an email from Great Country Farms alerting me about what would be in this week’s shipment. I was excited when I saw the list, and recipe-master Audrey immediately began perusing her favorite recipe website www.tastespotting.com for some inspiration.

Here’s the list of what we could expect:

  • Lettuce (red leaf, sales variety)
  • Spring Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Garlic Chive- this is the curly Q shaped stem in your box.  It’s part of the garlic plant; use it as you would use garlic.
  • Basil
  • Strawberries

    The first delivery from Great Country Farms.

Audrey found a great recipe for pasta that includes a homemade kale basil pesto and asparagus. What a great way to try and incorporate as many of our new vegetables as possible. It looked fairly simple to recreate, and the only thing I think I’ll need to buy is a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, and some walnuts.

The produce arrived at the door around 3:30. A nice jolly man delivered our share, and it arrived in a 1’x2’ Tupperware box.

He said all we have to do is leave the box outside the door next week, and they’ll pick it up when they deliver the next shipment.

Tiny potted basil included in our first shipment.

Wow. I was overwhelmed by the amazing scent of fresh veggies. Asparagus, Kale, and a tiny little basil plant, that we can plant and use all year (and maybe longer!) were the ones that smelled the best. And man were these veggies fresh. Many were still covered in dirt. Note to self: wash veggies thoroughly before consuming.