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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

My kitchen looks like a bomb hit it this morning! For some reason I got up and started baking and cooking with abandon. Truth is, I don’t even mind the mess…it’s been lovely to work away in the kitchen. 😉

When I was rooting through the fridge, pulling out ingredients, I noticed I had a few packets of basil sitting in the crisper. Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided to make homemade basil pesto. Summer is, after all, only just around the corner and this basil recipe is so incredibly delicious over chicken or with pasta or even swirled into soup {especially my Tomato and Irish Whiskey soup}.

This pesto is herby, nutty, and has just the right amount of garlic flavour. It can be whipped up in the same amount of time it takes you to boil a pot of pasta {Can I get a “Mama Mia!?”} and you can double the recipe and put some away in the deep freeze. Enjoy!

~XoK

Fresh Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

44g/2 cups basil leaves

16oz/44g/2-handfuls pine nuts

4g/2-handfuls freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, peeled

9 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Put the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic in a food processor or Vitamix {if you like your pesto silky smooth}.

2. Pour over 5 tablespoons olive oil and pulse in the food processor or mix on low in the Vitamix.

3. Drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.

4. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and add more pine nuts, garlic, or Parmesan until you are happy with the flavour. Add more olive oil if you prefer a runnier consistency.

 

5. If not using immediately, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle some olive oil over top or pour into a freezer bag, lay flat in your freezer, and use as needed.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* From the folks over at thekitchn.com, another idea for freezing homemade pesto

** If you’re interested in the history of pesto sauce, you can learn oodles here at thesplendidrecipes.com or here at saveur.com.

*** You can find tips for growing basil in the kitchen at thekitchn.com.

 

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Oven Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

I don’t remember eating Brussels sprouts as a child. In fact, it wasn’t until I lived in Ireland, where my mother-in-law served them sautéed in soy sauce, that I first tried them. It was love at first bite!

Now I roast Brussels sprouts all the time. Good enough to be eaten straight from the oven like a snack…these are equally delicious at room temperature. What’s more, despite their diminutive size, Brussels sprouts are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, they can trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes, they have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, and they may protect against cancer. One thing to note, if you’re taking a blood thinner like Warfarin, research has shown Brussels sprouts may lessen the drug’s effectiveness due to the Vitamin K in them.

The secret to getting a good carmelisation on the sprouts is roasting them in a single flat layer, making sure they don’t overlap.

And, finally, you can turn these lovely little super foods into an awesome vegetarian meal by tossing  them with arugula and lentils or bulgur wheat.

Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

2lb/906g Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved length-wise

4 tablespoons olive oil

zest of a small lemon, plus 1 tablespoon of the juice

salt and pepper to taste

freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 220ºC/425ºF and set oven rack into the middle of the oven.

2. Place dry Brussels sprouts on a large baking tray.

3. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and grate the lemon zest over the tray {that way you get all the lovely oil from the lemon too} and mix with your hands until the Brussels sprouts are coated.

4. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes ~ the sprouts will begin to caramelize in places. Toss the sprouts and add freshly grated Parmesan to taste.

5. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes until the sprouts are tender.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* To read more about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, visit Dr. Andrew Weil’s website here.

** A Mayo Clinic online article about Warfarin and foods to avoid may be read here.

*** And, if by chance Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables give you wind {gas}, you may find this article, also from Dr. Andrew Weil’s website, helpful!

 

 

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Roasted Carrots

This recipe is my favourite way to cook carrots, though it works especially well for beets too. I think it’s the combination of the sweetness of the carrot and the acidity of the white wine vinegar that makes it so moreish. There is no ingredient measuring per say. Everything is done by eyeball and a lick of your fingers! But once the carrots are roasted, they are an absolute joy to eat!

~XoK

Gorgeous Roasted Carrots

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 lbs/900g organic carrots, cut the leafy greens off but leave a little bit for flair

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

olive oil, enough to coat the carrots and a little extra for the roasting tin

white wine vinegar, a healthy splash or two, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

dried Herbs de Provence, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 220ºC/425ºF.

2. Wash carrots but don’t peel {unless you absolutely feel you must}.*

3. Dry carrots and place on a large baking sheet.

4. Pour over just enough olive oil to coat the carrots without drowning them in oil.

5. Liberally salt and pepper the carrots.

6. Sprinkle with Herbs De Provence to taste.

7. Give the carrots a good splash of vinegar.

8. Add the smashed garlic and give all the ingredients a good toss so that everything is well mixed and coated.

9. {This is a bit naughty here…} Taste your fingers to check for flavouring. Add more salt, pepper, Herbs De Provence and vinegar as needed.

10. Pop the tray into the oven for 20-30 minutes. To test for doneness, push a fork into the side of one of the carrots, if it pushes through easily the carrots are done, if you get some resistance, the carrots are undercooked and continue roasting for another 5 minutes and check and repeat again as needed.

Spring carrots with their greens still onFreshly Washed Carrots Ready for Roasting

Tray of Roasted Carrots

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* In our Irish home we do not peel carrots because we buy organic. If you’re buying conventional carrots, I suggest peeling them…though if the peel contains pesticide then doesn’t it make sense that the whole carrot does too?

** According to Prevention.com: “Carrots are rich in compounds called polyacetylenes, and preliminary research is investigating their potential to kill human cancer cells in test tubes. They may have antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects, too. But these compounds are concentrated just beneath the skin—so either leave your carrot skins on, or go easy with the peeler and remove only a thin strip.”

** Irish food blogger Aoiffe of ICanHasCook.com has a wonderful sounding recipe I’m dying to try: Honey and cumin roasted carrots with toasted couscous and a drizzle of harissa yoghurt.

**** Irishtractor.ie has this interesting article on Irish carrot grower Leo Dunne based in Durrow, Co. Laois…right along the River Nore.

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