Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

How wonderful is seasonal produce? It’s fresh, vibrant, and you can find it locally. The basil in this pesto came from the farmer’s market this morning. And the garlic scapes came in an organic box from Washington Green Grocer. WGG is like an interesting spin on the CSA (community supported agriculture). While not all of their produce is organic or local (or even national), a large portion is and you can order a local or organic box. And they deliver it to your door. Plus they’re very flexible about swaps and they offer a lot of add-ons. It’s really an excellent service that provides excellent products. For most, I definitely advocate using a traditional CSA that comes from an organic farm nearby and buying from local, producers-only farmer’s markets. However, if this is not an option (i.e. if it’s the middle of the season, no farms nearby, no sustainably grown produce, etc.) a group like Washington Green Grocer is a great alternative. They also have an excellent web design that’s easy to use and have a blog with recipe suggestions! I also hear Hometown Harvest is a good organization in the MD area with a similar model.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

This pesto is everything you want in your pesto.

There’s the traditional basil, the fun of garlic scapes, and the flavor enhancers: red pepper flakes for a kick & red wine vinegar for a tiny little punch.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

 Key is high quality produce. You could smell this basil across the kitchen. And the scapes were nice and firm.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

YUM.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

1 Large Bunch Basil (About 2 Cups Loosely Packed)
5 Large Garlic Scapes
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup Walnuts
1/4 – 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tsp Salt (To Taste)

Chop the thick end and the seed head off of the garlic scapes and throw in the food processor. Puree until coarsely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and purée until smooth. Adjust to taste, adding more olive oil/salt/vinegar/cheese if you desire.

Spread on sandwiches or pizza, stir into pasta, or nosh with a spoon. However you eat it, you’ll love it.

And you’ll see what I do with it soon!

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Tabbouleh & Hummus

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Okay, snickerdoodles not what you wanted to start your 2013 resolutions off properly?

Well, don’t worry! I’ve got healthy stuff too!! Delicious, healthy stuff.

I grew up eating Lebanese food on special occasions. Mostly family gatherings, especially Easter. Grandma prepared most of it when I was younger. My cousins and I would sneak into the fridge at night during family reunions to steal the fatayers! We’d sneak a few, thinking we’d be satisfied, and then go back for secret seconds. I loved almost everything grandma made, but tabbouleh was never my favorite. Probably because it’s chock full of parsley and I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s been growing on me in the last few years and now I love it. Well curly leaf more than flat. Especially drenched in lemon juice. Probably thanks to Stephen… who adores Middle Eastern & Mediterranean cuisines. He loves when we make tabbouleh, hummus, pita, grape leaves, or fatayer. And any chance we get to eat it somewhere else. He once “confessed” he loved me because I could make such good Lebanese food. I was flattered!

Tabbouleh & Hummus are an especially great combination. They’re both quick & simple and require no cooking (if using canned beans). They’re also an extremely healthy combo. Chickpeas are full of protein, fiber, Manganese and Iron. While parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Folate, Potassium and even Iron. Most importantly, they’re delicious together – the flavors and textures are perfectly complementary.

So go ahead, indulge. In fresh, wonderful food that you can feel good about.

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Tabbouleh

2 bunches curly leaf parsley
1/2 cup bulgur
1 large cucumber
1/2 small red onion
juice of 2 lemons
several tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, to taste
chopped mint, optional

Chop parsley finely. Chop mint finely if using (between a couple tablespoons & 1/4 cup).
You can use the food processor if you want, but that’s one more thing to clean!
Peel cucumber, seed & dice. Finely dice red onion.
Add the bulgur wheat to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stir & remove from heat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Combine the parsley, bulgur, cucumber, and onion.
Pour olive oil & lemon juice on top & stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate & nom!

Hummus

1 can chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more)
1/4 tsp salt

This one is easy. Add all ingredients to food processor & blend until completely smooth!
Top with paprika, sumac, or zaatar, and olive oil. Or nothing. However you like it.
Many of my family members prefer it drenched in olive oil.
Refrigerate & nom!

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Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas

Stephen has been trying very very hard to avoid purchasing plastic in general but especially while grocery shopping. (We saw a guy put ONE apple in a plastic produce bag and tie it off!) This means a lot of things to be made from scratch… including tortillas & bread & powdered sugar. But especially tortillas. I don’t do well without, at the very least, one Mexican meal a week. If I had my way, I’d probably eat Latin American cuisine just about every single day. What is a world without salsa??? Not a world I want to live in. And black beans? Nope, I don’t want to live there either.

So we picked up a 5 pound bag of Maseca and Stephen put me to work. Okay, we worked together… 😉 I made the tortillas & he cooked them. Hint: the recipe is on the back of the bag. We don’t have a tortillas press so we used to pieces of parchment paper & one of the 8×8 pyrex pans to smush the living daylights out of a ball of a masa harina, water & salt. And it worked like a damn charm. And then I discovered the best news EVER. I could make more than just tortillas. I could make tamales, pupusas, sopes.

One of my pet names for Stephen is Pupusa… I don’t know how it came to be but it was one of the first things I called him. I thought it was only fitting I make him Pupusas for his birthday (okay, the day before).  The recipe is really simple & they are incredibly delicious. I must warn you though – you must have the patience of a freaking saint to form them. Okay, they’re not that bad… unless you’re a perfectionist.

Stephen was gracious enough to let me take these pictures of his food before I let him eat it.

Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas

Dough:

  • 2 Cups Masa Harina
  • 1 3/4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. The dough should be very moist but not sticky – much moister than for tortillas. You want the dough to be moist enough that it doesn’t crack when you’re forming the pupusas. If the dough dries out a bit as it sits, just add a couple more teaspoons of water. I actually made mine as the filling was cooking. Form into about 8 balls, somewhere between the size of a golf ball & tennis ball.

Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Med/Large Poblano Pepper, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tsp Chipotle Powder (this makes the filling smoky AND spicy, you can sub smoked paprika for smokiness without the heat)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium/large saute pan. Add poblano, jalapeno & onion. Saute until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add black beans & salt & seasonings. Stir to combine. Add water and simmer gently over medium/low heat until much of the water has cooked down. Smash the black beans to a “refried bean” consistency. Squeeze lime juice into mix & stir to combine. You want the mixture to be thick for stuffing the pupusas.

To form: the pupusas, start with one of the masa balls. Form a small bowl by sinking your thumb in the middle & pinching the sides of the dough… much like when you were little and would make little clay bowls. The dough should be less than a centimeter thick. Fill the “bowl” with a couple of spoonfuls of filling. Fold together edges to close. Then flatten into a disk. The edges may crack a little, just muster all your patience to pinch the masa back together. If the filling comes out a bit, don’t worry! It happens. We had leftover filling that I served next to the pupusas. I wish I had some right now.

To cook: the pupusas, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Cook pupusas for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side.

To serve: the pupusas, top with pico de gallo (as pictured), sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, hot sauce or any of your favorite accompaniments.

These babys were sooo good. They were a bit of a challenge to form but I think with practice I could one day become a professional pupusa maker. They’re certainly worth it. Hot out of the pan with some fresh pico de gallo, they’re a bit crunchy on the outside from the pan fry and gooey with a huge punch of flavor on the inside.

Two sites that I consulted with pictures on how to form the Pupusas:

Dandy Sugar

Better With Butter