Monday, September 21, 2009

Better Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are based on the recipe provided by Quaker Oats on their cartons of oatmeal, but are less fatty and taste better due to the addition of apple and nutmeg.

1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (I like whole wheat or buckwheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups oats
1 tart apple, peeled and diced into extremely small pieces
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, gently and slowly whisk together (you don't want to end up with clouds of flour everywhere, so I mean it when I say go SLOW!) the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

With a wooden spoon, stir in oats in three portions to make it easier to incorporate. Make sure you use a shorter, sturdy spoon - I have broken a few by stirring this thick mixture with skinny ones. Add apple and raisins.

On an ungreased cookie sheet (or several), scoop rounded tablespoonsful of the mixture. Bake about 12 minutes and let cool.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Red Pepper Gazpacho

1 med. onion, chopped
1 - 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or one jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, roasted & peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup dry white wine

Saute onion, garlic and crushed red pepper (or jalapeno) in oil until onion is very soft.  While they are cooking, roast the bell peppers in the toaster oven by slicing in 1/2, removing tops and seeds, and broiling until skin is very black and blistered.  Using a tongs, place the peppers in a paper bag and let sit for about 5 minutes to loosen skin.  When cool enough to handle, remove skins and chop peppers.  Put onion mix and peppers in to the blender and process until smooth - the smoother the better.  Add a little broth to aid the pureeing, but not too much or you will overflow the blender!

Pour into a saucepan, add the broth, tomato paste, and wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Add plenty of salt and just a little fresh black pepper.  Serve hot or chilled with a dollop of sour cream.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cauliflower Chicken Casserole with Spinach Bechamel

This is a hoity-toity take on the classic noodle casserole, which I love to eat, but hate to have to work off at the gym. And since I really loathe the gym, I decided to try a healthier version. Now, this isn't exactly diet food, and you will still need to watch your portions, but it's not made from canned fatty soup, and it doesn't contain 2 cups of cheese. So it's a lot lower in fat and sodium, and has plenty of vegetables. The best part is that it's truly a complete meal in one dish.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 pkg chopped spinach, thawed
2 chicken cutlets, off bone, no skin, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, peeled
5 - 8 whole cloves
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1/4 cup flour
2 cups lowfat or skim milk
1/3 bag egg noodles, cooked to very al dente
1 cup cheddar cheese (can use lowfat cheese)
salt and black pepper to taste

First, make the bechamel this way: Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in an oven-proof saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and make a nice, toasty roux. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Stick the cloves into the onion and then place the whole onion into the milk sauce. Place the saucepan into the oven and let thicken about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the chicken in a drizzle of olive oil until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. In same pan, saute the spinach and season with salt. Set aside. Cook the egg noodles and drain. You can use the same water to boil the cauliflower, about 5-7 minutes, until tender-crisp.

To assemble: When the bechamel is done, remove the onion and discard. Stir in the sauteed spinach until evenly distributed throughout the sauce. Then, in a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for HALF the cheddar cheese. Add freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste. Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased casserole pan and push down into corners and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake 35 minutes at 350.

I'm planning to make this again tomorrow night, and will put up photos then. In the meantime, enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Obsession: Mushroom Slicer

I adore it. The humble mushroom slicer. God, this makes cooking so much faster. Whoever invented this was a genius. I use it for eggs, small tomatoes, and soft cheese too.

Friday, April 3, 2009

To Shame or Not to Shame?

A wise woman once said to me that guilt is the world's most useless emotion.  So, I will not feel guilty about not having posted in over 2 weeks.  Instead, I will feel proud that I nursed my family through two colds, two birthdays, and one sinus infection with delicious food that I simply didn't have time to share on the web.

Now that everyone is older and healthier, I will do my best to recreate those recipes that got my little family through the difficult last clutches of winter.  And we will celebrate spring!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Semi-Asian Chicken & Veggies

Sesame oil gives this dish a subtly Asian flavor which is enhanced by the use of celery. If you are assiduous about draining the oil from the sauteed items, this can be a delicious, low-fat meal. Flavoring the rice with chicken stock and hot sauce makes it a bit more interesting.

4 chicken tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
1.5 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper
1 cup baby carrots
3 ribs celery
1 cup white rice
1 cup water
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
4 tbsp veggie oil
4 tbsp sesame oil
hot sauce to taste
salt & pepper

Start the rice first, since it takes the longest to cook. In your saucepan, add the rice to one cup each of water and chicken stock. Add a dash of hot sauce, and some salt and pepper. Cook according to package directions.

In a small saute pan, pour 2 tbsp each veggie and sesame oil, and a dash or two hot sauce. Saute chicken until cooked. There will be a LOT of extra oil in the pan, so you need to seriously drain the chicken. I used a colander to let the grease drip out, and then transferred the chicken to paper towels to get excess oil off.

At the same time as the chicken in cooking, wash and chop all veggies into bite size pieces. In a saute pan, pour 2 tbps each veggie and sesame oil. When hot but not smoking, add vegetables. Cook about 5 minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain on paper towels.

When oil has been drained/patted off, toss chicken with the vegetables and serve with the rice. Be sure to have the hot sauce and salt and pepper on the side.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Roast Chicken with Garlic Green Beans

Recently I was watching another episode of Top Chef, and one of the contestants made a roasted chicken for none other than Lidia Bastianich.  I was inspired by seeing this simple yet rich and comforting dish, and decided to make my own.  We happened to have about 5 heads of garlic on hand, so I decided to roast lots of garlic as well, and to incorporate it into my side: green beans.

1 small roaster chicken, giblets removed
3/4 lemon (cut a whole lemon into quarters)
1/4 large white onion, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
18 cloves garlic, whole
2 cups baby carrots
salt and pepper to taste

Green beans:
1 lb trimmed green beans
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 white onion, diced

Chicken drippings (all)
2 to 3 tbsp white flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425.  In a roasting dish with sides, stuff the chicken with 1/2 lemon, cut into 2 pieces, sliced onion, and 3 or 4 whole garlic cloves.  Tie the legs together tightly with twine (I didn't have any, so had to use a strip of twisted cheesecloth!) so that nothing falls out of the cavity while cooking.  Under the chicken's skin, drizzle about 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on each breast, and rub around so it covers the breasts evenly (and get your mind out of the gutter!).  Then in your cupped palm, mix together a scant half teaspoon each of thyme and rosemary.  Rub this also under the skin, and try to spread it around evenly over the breasts.  Finally, insert the slices of garlic under the skin, and try to cover the breasts completely.  If you tear the skin, don't worry too much; you can pin it back with a toothpick if the meat is too exposed.

Toss the carrots and remaining whole garlic cloves (I recommend 3 to 4 cloves per person, so maybe 15 total) in a bit of olive oil, just barely enough to lightly coat.  Arrange in roasting pan around the chicken, squeeze 1/4 of a lemon over the whole thing, and put in the oven.  Cook with a tent of aluminum foil over the chicken for the first 40 minutes.  Then remove the foil and cook uncovered for another 10 - 15 minutes.  Baste occasionally with pan juices.  To test for doneness, remove the tie from the legs and cut into the crease between the leg and the breast.  There should be no pinkness or blood.  Juices should run clear.

While the chicken cooks, parboil the green beans.  When they are slightly tender but still quite crisp, remove from heat, drain, and rinse with ice cold water to stop the cooking process.  In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil about 10 minutes, until soft and caramelized.  Your house should smell delicious by this point!  Just before serving, add the green beans and saute for about 5 minutes.  Salt lightly to taste.

When chicken is ready, remove from oven and rest for about 10 minutes in a dish with sides (to catch additional drippings that may emerge).  Tilt the roasting pan to the side and scoop out as much fat as you can without sacrificing the little scribbly brown bits of chickeny flavor.

Add about 1-1/2 tablespoons of flour to the remaining drippings and whisk to incorporate.  When smooth, transfer to a saucepan, and add the stock and wine.  Stir or whisk continuously while over medium heat to reduce.  If you stop stirring while the heat is on, the gravy will separate.  When reduced to your desired thickness, taste and add salt and pepper.  

Going back to your chicken, you can now remove it from its resting place and place on a 
carving board.  If there are any additional drippings, whisk in another tablespoon of flour to create a roux, and then add to the gravy, stirring over medium heat.

Carve the chicken, make sure the beans are hot, and serve with the roasted carrots and garlic cloves, and some white rice.  Gravy can be served on top AND on the side!  You might even want to smear some of that roasted garlic on baguette slices.

This goes extremely well with a cold sauvignon blanc.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spinach-Sausage Quiche

I love love love quiche, and I had forgotten how lovely the combo of spinach and swiss cheese is until I made this one. I also used Aidells chicken/turkey sausage flavored with portobello mushrooms because it is lighter than a traditional pork sausage, but also packed with scrumptious mushroomy flavor (Aidells is one of my favorite food companies, and they make a couple of dozen different flavors of sausage, including a fantastic Andouille, by the way).

1 frozen pie shell (you don't think I make dough from scratch every time, do you?)
5 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
2/3 pkg chopped spinach, thawed
6 ounces Swiss cheese, chopped or shredded
2 links mushroom sausage
salt and pepper

First, pre-cook the pie shell so that the bottom crust doesn't get soggy. About 20 minutes in a 350 oven should be sufficient. And don't worry if you don't have parchment and weights - the crust might puff up a bit, but it will fall again as if it never happened. Leave the oven on at 350.

Slice sausage into thin coins and saute about 5 minutes, turning frequently. Remove coins from pan and set aside. In same pan, add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and saute the spinach. Salt and pepper it to taste. Cook about 5-6 minutes, so that some of the liquid evaporates. Drain off any left in the pan. Grate the Swiss, or, if you only have sliced cheese, as I did, just chop it into tiny squares.

In a bowl, toss sausage, spinach and cheese. Pour into pre-cooked pie crust. Beat the eggs with the milk, and pour over the spinach mixture. Prod with a fork to distribute beaten eggs as evenly as you can throughout the spinach mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 and bake 30-35 minutes more. Eggs should be set and slightly moist in the center, but not runny or wet. Depending on your oven you might need to bake it 5 minutes more. Also, if you like more cream in the eggs, you will definitely need to bake it longer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spicy Chicken Soup

This recipe is an update on my previous chicken soup recipe, and I think it's better. It involves most of the same ingredients, but has a lot more flavor. It gets a rich herbal flavor from oregano, some sweet earthiness from shiitake mushrooms, and a little kick of heat from some cayenne pepper.

2 stalks celery
2 cups chopped baby carrots
1/2 large turnip
1 bulb fennel
1 pkg sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 8 oz)
6-7 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 split chicken breast, on bone, with skin

Chop celery, carrots, turnip, and fennel into a 1/4 inch dice. Mince the garlic or push through a press. Put all of this into a large stockpot, and add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and oregano. Place the chicken on top, and add enough water to cover everything.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chick breasts from pot and set aside to cool. Turn heat off the soup and let that cool as well.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard it. Cut chicken off the bone and into small pieces. Return to pot, and add the shiitake mushrooms as well.

Bring back to a boil and reduce immediately. Simmer about 5-10 minutes, and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with a large spoonful of white rice cooked according to package directions.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bacon-Wrapped Trout

This is a very old Celtic method of cooking fish that my mother -- who was Welsh -- used, and apparently it is a method used in Celtic Brittany as well. It is incredibly easy and fast, and provides you with a very tasty dish that seems far more impressive than it is.

8 strips bacon
1 trout, filleted and deboned
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 10 inch oval casserole with 4 bacon strips. Lay the fish, skin side down, on top of the bacon. I didn't notice how much my fish weighed, but it was about 9 inches in length without head or tail.

Sprinkle with parsley, and then the salt and pepper. Lay more bacon strips on top.

Cook for 35 minutes, then turn oven setting to broil and get the top layer of bacon nice and crispy. It should only take about 5 minutes under a medium broiler.

Makes enough for 4.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pumpkin-Carrot Soup

I began chopping an onion this afternoon with the intention of making a completely different dish, but then I started musing on my daughter's recent, ahem, tummy troubles. Not to put too fine a point on it, she's in need of more fiber in her diet. It's hard to get her to eat fruits and vegetables lately because her palate is so temperamental, and all she really wants is cheese and crackers. The blueberries she gobbled down yesterday are spurned today. But I know she likes carrots, and I know she likes pumpkin pie (for now). Also, these two items contain loads of fiber, so instead of trying to force kale down her throat (haha!), I decided to create a soup just for her. I tend to think of onion as merely a flavor component, but maybe it's got some fiber too. But the nice thing about this soup is it's so easy to make, you can even do laundry and walk the dogs while it's cooking.

vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup applesauce
1 quart veggie or chicken stock (low-sodium)
1 large can (29 oz) pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
1/3 cup sherry or dry white wine
salt and black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 c pepitas, toasted

In a large stockpot, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent. Salt a bit to sweat the onion. Add the carrots and applesauce; saute another 5 minutes. I had half an apple that wasn't going to be eaten, so I chopped it up and threw that in as well (you can see the red peel in the photo below). Add stock, pumpkin, and spices.

Stir well, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat immediately and add bay leaf and cream. Simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes, until carrots are quite soft. While this simmers, toast pepitas lightly, stirring to turn. Salt them lightly when still hot.

Remove bay leaf from stockpot. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper. Add some water if you want a thinner soup.

Serve sprinkled with toasted pepitas and a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's Gripe: Not-So Miraculous Gadgets

Ok, I'm sure you're already nodding your head and have your own tales of appliance-related woe, but I'm in the dumps. I tried to chop an onion with my beloved immersion blender, using the miniature food processing attachment. It looks just like a mini food processor. It should work just like a mini food processor.

It does not.

I ended up with some slushy onion mush and several slices of unchopped onion that were the same size as when I put them into the machine.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

This is a very slightly healthier take on the cheesy classic.

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 pkg frozen spinach, thawed
1/4 block silken tofu
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 jars marinated artichokes, drained (6 oz each)
black pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
1/3 c. grated parmesan
2/3 c. thick Greek yogurt
1/2 c. mayonnaise

In a food processor, puree spinach, tofu, garlic, pepper, and artichokes. Separately, whisk together the yogurt and parmesan. Then combine spinach mixture with yogurt mixture, and stir in the pine nuts.

Using a spatula, transfer mixture to a casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Let cool. When cool, stir in the mayonnaise. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Dark, hearty portobello mushrooms enrich this soup and give it a slightly mysterious, smoky flavor. It's perfect on a cold day like today (only 14 degrees!), especially with some toasted baguette and a glass of cider.

1 small onion
3 whole cloves
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups vegetable stock
4 strands thyme
1/2 tsp celery seed

First make a bechamel: melt the butter in an oven-safe saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour, whisking until incorporated and golden brown (this is a basic roux). Add the milk. Insert the cloves into the whole onion, and place into the milk mixture. Place saucepan into a 350 oven for 20 minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile, chop the mushroom and saute in a little olive oil. Add the thyme leaves, the celery seed and cook down until mushrooms are quite soft and have reduced in size. Add the sherry to deglaze the pan, and then add veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook about 10 minutes.

Using a stick blender, puree the mushrooms into the stock until smooth. Retrieve the bechamel from the oven, discard the onion, and fold the sauce into your soup. Whisk to incorporate. Serve hot with several pieces of crusty bread.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bone Marrow on Toast

I must admit, I was averse to this dish from the beginning, as the idea of bone marrow is slightly horrifying to me, but my husband swears that when done correctly, it can be delicious. As I am used to indulging him, I bought a few pieces and let him do the prep.

4 pieces beef marrow bones
slices of baguette
1/4 cup capers
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup chopped parsley

Place bones in a roasting pan lined with tin foil. Roast uncovered at 400 for about 20 - 25 minutes. While marrow is cooking, mix in a bowl the dressing. Combine capers, lemon juice, parsley, and a bit of water to taste. Dressing will be quite strong and pungent but very pleasing.

Toast the baguette slices, scrape out the marrow and spread it on the bread. Top with a small spoonful of the dressing and voila! Meaty appetizers.

To be honest, I thought the marrow was mostly flavorless with a soft, slightly oily texture, and I am not inclined to eat this again. But my husband swears that if you get the shank bone it tastes better. I think we bought the thigh bone... So if you like marrow, this is one way to make it. The dressing does kick ass, however, and I liked it with a bit of goat cheese instead!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Roast Veggie Napoleon

This hearty dish is very satisfying despite containing almost no fat (except for the cheese, which you can adjust by using less), no starch, and no meat. You could serve it with a side of chicken cutlet or perhaps some mild polenta, but I think anything else would seem like an afterthought, a needless addition. Perhaps, for a meal, you could start with an aromatic chicken and rice soup because it's light, and won't fill you up before this course.

3 medium zucchini
1 eggplant, peeled
tomato sauce (jarred pasta sauce is fine)
Manchego, grated finely
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

I think it's not necessary to peel the zucchini because the skin gets so soft, but the eggplant skin can be a bit tough, so I get rid of it. Thinly slice the eggplant and zucchini into long strips. To make the napoleon look fancier, you can get a super-thin slice by using a mandoline. I don't have a mandoline (yet), so my napoleon looks pretty rustic:

Brush a bit of olive oil on each side of the strips, arrange on a roasting pan so that nothing overlaps, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on the top rack about 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender, turning once to cook evenly.

When veggies have cooled enough to handle, you can start the napoleon. You can do these individually, or as one casserole; it's up to you. I recommend another roasting pan with sides, so no juices drip. Begin with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle a bit of Manchego. Lay down eggplant and zucchini strips. Cover with a thin layer of sauce. Repeat until you have no more left, and finish with a generous sprinkling of Manchego. To make this lower-fat, just alternate layers of sauce with layes of the roasted veggie strips, and put the cheese on only at the end.

Bake at 350 about 20 minutes, until cheese has melted throughout and is browned and bubbly on top.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I wanted to make a potato soup that would not be heavy or overwhelming, and I had a couple of leeks calling to me from the crisper, so I decided that a cold-weather version of vichyssoise would be yummy. And what better way to achieve the darker, more robust version than to add some bacon?! And of course, serve it hot.

5 strips unsmoked bacon
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup fino sherry
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp thyme
splash heavy cream (about 1/4 cup)

First, render the bacon in a large saute pan. When it is very crispy, remove from pan with tongs and drain on paper towels. Set aside. In same pan, saute the shallots and leeks until very soft, about 7 minutes. Add sherry to deglaze the pan, and saute another 2 minutes.

Move leek mixture to a large soup pot. Add potatoes, stock, water, salt, pepper, thyme and celery seed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are quite soft. While it's cooking, break up the crispy bacon into small crumbles, called lardons.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is very smooth. Add the cream and whisk in. Taste, and adjust seasonings (typically plenty of salt).

To plate, ladle hot soup into a bowl and garnish with lardons. You can also add snipped chive, but it's not really necessary.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Obsession: Immersion Blender

I just got this nifty little tool and am enraptured. I wanted one so that I could puree soups right in the pot because I think it's a pain in the ass to have to transfer everything into the food processor in batches. But when I was in the store, I saw that this one has a couple of other attachments that renders it my new favorite gadget. There is a whisk, which when attached to the motor can whip heavy cream into a thick dessert topping in about a minute. And there is a little chopping attachment that is like a mini food processor in which I can dice an onion or similar sized item quickly. The best part is that most of it can go in the dishwasher, so clean up is a piece of cake. Beats the big, heavy food processor any day!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pesto and Mozzarella Appetizer

This recipe is an original from my friend Mike. He's an expert in the recording studio and with a pen, but he is also a whiz in the kitchen. He is someone who regularly goes to the various food shows, he routinely cooks intricate dinners (although I haven't had one in a while; hint, hint), and he is an avid restaurant-goer and new flavor seeker. He is someone whose palate I trust. When he presented this pesto to me as a housewarming gift, along with a container of fresh mozzarella balls, I was delighted. When I opened the pesto after the party, I was deeply glad that I hadn't shared it with my guests. It was so good I wanted it all to myself!

3 cups fresh basil (basically everything from a 1.5 foot plant)
3/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
3 large cloves garlic (large being the width of 2 fingers; try elephant garlic)
1 cup fresh spinach
2/3 grated parmesan

Put garlic into processor. Let fly. Stop. Add basil, nuts, oil, salt and pepper, cheese.
Blend. Stop. Mix. Blend again. Taste.

Needs more green but you're out of basil? Add 1 cup spinach leaves.
Too chunky? Add oil.
Too bitter? Too much basil? Not green enough? Add spinach.
Too much garlic? Add everything else.

Blend again, mix and repeat if needed. This was also made to go with baguette slices and cherry tomatoes for a variation on bruchetta. Skewer a tomato and mozz ball, and dip or drizzle pesto over that. Place the coated cheese/tomato on a bread slice and place in mouth, removing the skewer. Chew and enjoy. Serving and presenting is easy, and anyone with allergies or issues can avoid their contaigen/peeve. Doesn't work with vegans.

Today's Gripe: New Year's Resolution

After two weeks of indulging in lots of creamy, cheesy, heavy, rich foods, I'm feeling logy. I'm not getting on the scale because I'm sure I won't like the result. My resolution for 2009 is to eat less cheese -- in fact, to eat less dairy altogether, and to eat more vegetables. So in the coming posts, you'll be seeing more vegetable dishes and far fewer recipes calling for cream, parmesan, or other cheese. Boo hoo.