Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago

I’m watching Ever After as I work on this post. See?

Photo editing is fun. But photo editing whilst watching the beautiful Drew Barrymore play a strong-minded, philosophical, introspective Cinderella in a period piece set in France? WAY fun.

The library scene. And the scene when she shows up in that sparkling, white gown with the translucent butterfly wings? I die. And then… oh gosh, just go & watch.

So… back to pasta. And pesto.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

I promised a pesto recipe! And here it is!

It’s a versatile recipe so make it your own.

You could substitute goat’s cheese & the veggies of your choice. Kale would be an excellent substitute.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

This pasta was yummmmy.
The lemon gives it a WHAM of brightness.
The peas add little POPs of sweetness.
And the cheese provides a savory KAPOW of saltiness.
So basically what I’m saying is this pesto pasta is the equivalent of a comic book superhero.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach, and Asiago

1 Pound Fusilli Pasta
1 Cup Garlic Scape Basil Pesto (or to taste)
1 Cup Peas, fresh or frozen
1 Cup Cooked Spinach
1/2 Cup Grated & Sliced Asiago Cheese
2 Tablespoons Toasted Pine Nuts
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1/2 to 1 Lemon, according to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, a dash of salt, & a drizzle of olive oil to the boiling water. Cook pasta according to directions. Add the peas 3 minutes before pasta is finished. If the spinach is frozen, add to the boiling water 1 minute before pasta is finished. Strain the pasta & peas and return to hot pot.

 Add pesto, grated cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly to coat all of the pasta. I like to do a stir/toss combo.

Stir spinach in now if freshly cooked. Top with pine nuts.

Eat by the heaping spoonful.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Pairs well with Lemonade or Iced Mint Tea.

So tell me, what do you like to do with your pesto??

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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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Sweet Potato, Pinto Bean, Tomatillo Tacos w/ Chipotle Slaw & Cilantro Chimichurri

It’s a mouthful because they’re a mouthful. These tacos were inspired.

Inspired by Paladar Latin Kitchen. And man. Are. They. Good.

I mentioned that my Aunt Julia gave me a wonderful gift on the day of my brother’s wedding… didn’t I? A tortilla press!!! We’ve already made tortillas with them several times, as tacos are one of my all-time favorite eats. And I can say that it was definitely easier to use than trying to smush the tortillas into flat discs with a pyrex pan. Tortillas are absolutely worth making homemade. Especially if you love tacos.

Sweet Potato, Pinto Bean, Tomatillo Tacos w/ Chipotle Slaw & Cilantro Chimichurri

Makes 12 Tacos

Tortillas:

We make our own using Masa (Maseca), water, & salt. We follow the recipe on the back of the Maseca bag & always end up adding a little additional water to feel. You dry fry them in a skillet on high heat for a few seconds on each side. I personally like to add a little oil for a touched of fried flavor.

Filling:

  • 2 Cans Pinto Beans
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 1/2 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp Cumin
  • Olive Oil
Cut sweet potato into small 1/2 – 1 inch squares. Toss with cinnamon, cumin & olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet at 450F for about 30 minutes, flipping once or twice.
In a medium saucepan, sautee garlic just slightly before adding the pinto beans & chili powder. Heat over medium-low. You may want to add a bit of water so they don’t dry while preparing the other ingredients.
Chunky Tomatillo Salsa:
  • 7 Medium Tomatillos, diced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, fine diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeño, minced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt & Pepper
Combine the diced tomatillo, onion, garlic & jalapeño. Toss in lime juice & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Chipotle Slaw:
  • 1 Head of Cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Veganaise
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 – 3 Chipotles from canned chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Adobo Sauce, from can
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl & toss to coat thoroughly. You can make the sauce separately first but it’s not a necessary step.
Cilantro Chimichurri:
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Jalapeños
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree.

I like to layer them with the sweet potatoes on the bottom, then the pinto beans. Top the filling with the chipotle slaw, spoon on some chunky tomatillo salsa then bathe the top with that cilantro chimichurri. Now, DIG IN. And Enjoy : )

These tacos are NOMLICIOUS. They are definitely ingredient intense but they are SO worth it. I don’t know if I could choose a favorite food or cuisine but I know I’d find it REALLY hard to live without Mexican/Latin food (it was pretty hard going 4 months in Germany with no decent Mexican, although the awesome Italian restaurant we frequented nearly made up for it).

What is your favorite cuisine? Do you love tacos as much as I do? Haha, of course you don’t. That was a silly question.

*I actually made these tacos at the beginning of the summer. Wow, did it take me a long time to post these. I promise it won’t take as long to make them as it took for me to post them!

Enjoy the last bits of summer as we move into Fall! Personally, I can’t wait! Although, I could definitely do without the darker days.

Stuffed Peppers & Adobo Sauce

Oh. My. Lord. I just discovered that Rick Bayless has a television show. Where he cooks incredible Latin food. For 30 minute segments.

If you don’t know who Rick Bayless is, well then you’re not eating enough (or obsessed with) Mexican food.

I attribute this obscure find to the History Channel special “3 Night Event!” of the Hatfield & McCoys. And Stephen’s dad. I don’t watch a lot of TV. And by that, I mean on the actual TV. I’m a netflix junkie. I like my television shows portable (by way of laptop) & with back-to-back episodes. SO. Stephen’s father loves shows about cars.  And antiques. Thus, I was introduced to American Pickers over Memorial Day weekend. In between every 10 minutes of American Picker footage was a 3 minute homage to the Hatfield & McCoys spectaculAR. So I just HAD TO watch it when it premiered Monday night to find out whether it was gold or shit. And I was sucked in to watching episode 2. And 3. Upon searching the television guide trying to find the History channel in order to DVR the second episode… to fast forward through the HEINOUS overload of commercials, of course… I stumbled upon the mighty random Live Well Network featuring a show called “Mexico: One Plate at a Time“. My reaction went something like “Mexican Food?…. Why yes, I think I will.” Then I read the “info” and found that a man named Rick was going to prepare some common Mexican street food (or something). RICK? Could it be Rick Bayless?!?! So I tuned in. And fell in love. And set out to record every episode for the next week.

He made this kickass looking Adobo Sauce and when I decided to make stuffed peppers this morning I knew I should change it up a bit. Cumin & Chili Powder are great but I needed something different. Something special. Something RICK BAYLESS makes. I tried to replicate the recipe but I couldn’t remember the proportions so I did as best I could.

Okay, I’m obsessed. But if you love (and I mean deep in your bones – want to eat it every single meal – LOVE) Mexican food, then you should be too.

Stuffed Peppers with Adobo Sauce

Adobo Sauce:

  • 3 Ancho Chiles, dried
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Dash of Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt
Cut open the ancho chiles and remove the stem & seeds. Over medium heat, toast/fry chiles in olive oil by pressing flat on both sides. In a large bowl submerge chiles in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover with a bowl or plate to help them stay submerged. Let soak for about 20 minutes. In blender, combine chiles and their soaking water with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. Strain through medium strainer to remove any extra seeds or large bits of chile skin.

Stuffed Peppers:

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Large Poblano
  • Olive Oil from heating anchos
  • 1/2 Large Spanish Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño, minced
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium Tomato, diced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2/3 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Chipotle, minced (from can) OR 1/2 Tsp Chipotle Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Adobo Sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 Lime
Preheat oven to 450F. Roast the poblano, rotating until skin is mostly blackened all the way around. Let cool a bit before removed seeds, ribs & stem. Dice for the mixture.
Lower oven temp to 425F. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise & clean out stems, ribs & seeds. Bake in oven while you’re preparing the filling. This is a bit of a time-saving tip. When the peppers start to brown, remove from oven. They should just be golden on the edges.
Over medium heat in a medium-large pot, sauté onions, jalapeño & zucchini in oil leftover from light frying the chiles for the adobo. When the onions just begin to brown add the poblano, garlic & tomato. Combine & let cook for a couple of minutes.
Add black beans & quinoa and stir to combine. Add enough water to just cover. Cover pot & bring to a boil to cook quinoa. About 10 – 15 minutes.
Lower heat & add canned, minced chipotle and adobo sauce. Stir to combine. Salt to taste.
You want your mixture to be nice & moist for the oven. Add more adobo sauce to taste/moisten.
Fill peppers to the brim with prepared mixture and return to oven for about 15 minutes.
Remove  from oven & squeeze fresh lime juice over each pepper.
Serve with homemade guacamole & extra adobo sauce & Mexican hot sauce (preferably Tapatío).
And perhaps a glass of nicely chilled dry white wine ; )
Absolutely delicious ❤ And filling : )

Homemade Egg-Free Pasta

Left to his own devices, Stephen feeds himself about once a day. Okay, okay, maybe twice. And he’s taking 18 credits, won’t buy plastic, eats a vegan diet, and isn’t a microwave-meal kind of guy. I still harp on him all the time to eat more so he ends up spending extra money on delivery items like THE BEST PIZZA EVER – Corrinado’s Vegan Salad Pizza. Or falafel pita sandwiches from Pita Cabana.

So… even though we make many things from scratch, I encourage him to buy snacks like applesauce & essentials to make quick meals like Muir Glen pasta sauce. Yeah, well that worked up until the time he decided to eliminate as much single-use plastic from his life as possible. Bye-bye pre-made pasta. Curse you for either coming in a plastic bag or cardboard box with a plastic “window.” Just had to go & turn one of the easiest meals ever into one of the most difficult. Okay, it’s not that hard to make homemade noodles. Unless you’re a perfectionist who wants them to be less like dumplings or more like store-bought pasta. Me.

I know the color of the pasta sauce would have popped & looked much better in a white bowl but we’re also the kind of people who re-use the bowl in which we made the dough.

For the sauce, I used Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, roasted some red bell peppers & added them. Then sliced up some black olives to mix in. Plus a bit of Zinfandel for that extra punch of flavor & a splash of olive oil. The noodles turned out pretty perfect. This whole meal was delicious. And I believe (after internet research) you can make the noodles ahead of time and either dry them out or freeze them. So it could, once again, be one of the easiest (and tastiest!) meals ever.

Homemade Pasta

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your apetite.

  • 2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 – 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup + 1 to 2 Tbsp Warm Water

In a large bowl, combine flour & salt. Add warm water & begin to mix with hands. The dough will be very heavy & a bit dry. Knead the daylights out of it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Let sit for about 20 minutes covered with a wet paper towel so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Flour a flat surface for rolling out the dough. Flour the top of the dough & roll with rolling pin until very thin. Or if you’re in your boyfriends apartment & he happens to own no rolling pins, but does happen to have 20+ empty wine bottles, use one of those.

I rolled half at a time. This dough is kind of a pain in the bum. I used all my strength to roll it out as thin as I could. About 2 – 3 millimeters.

With a very sharp knife cut the dough lengthwise into long noodles. The flour should keep them from sticking.

To cook, bring salted water to a boil, add a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking, and boil for 3 to 6 minutes.

They turned out quite perfect!

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