Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Your Mama's Pesto

I have an affinity for mason jars...I know I'm not alone because there is a blog out there called "Food in Jars". It think it's better for your health to store food in glass containers, plus it just makes the food look more appealing. Maybe this affection can be traced to my love of reading "Little House on the Prairie books. Last week I made two batches of granola and stored it in jars. I'd like to tell you I shared it with friends, but we ate it so fast, I didn't even have the chance to display it decoratively on my baker's rack. My daughter Lauren got me excited about making it...she had just made a couple yummy combinations with orange zest, dried cranberries and lots of nuts. Once you know a basic formula, you can be creative and use what you have in your pantry. The aroma of the baking granola is heavenly. It's easy and gratifying...because you can say, hey, I made that! You could use this recipe from "Art and Lemons" as a guide. Nikki writes a beautiful blog, great writing and recipes, plus she put her granola in a jar! Wait a minute, I titled this post "Not Your Mama's Pesto", so let's talk about pesto.

The "out of the box pesto" I just made (and put in a cute jar) was from "Shefzilla, Haute cuisine at Home". It's a Cilantro pesto recipe and is definitely not run of the mill. It's bright green color and unique flavor can add interest to many dishes. I made the suggested recipe of Shrimp and Cilantro Pizza and it was a winner!

I didn't have an yeast in the house, so I improvised and didn't make the crust from scratch. Instead I used some Indian Tandoori Naan bread from Traders Joe's. I worked very well, but I'm sure homemade pizza dough would be best. The pesto's flavor has an Asian flair, substituting Toasted Sesame Oil for the traditional olive oil, adding fish sauce and my favorite Sriacha for a kick. Keep this on hand in your refrigerator...think of the possibilities, even on eggs!

Cilantro Pesto
(Shefzilla, Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home)

1 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1/4 c. cold water

1. Bring 2 qts. water to a hard boik and add 1 tsp. salt. Blanch cilantro until tender about 30 seconds. Remove from boiling water and rinse under cold tap water until coll, 10 seconds. Squeeze out excess water and roughly chop.

2. Place blanced and chopped cilantro in container of blender and add remaining ingredients (sesame oil through water) Cover and blend on high until smooth about 1 minute. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Shrimp and Cilantro Pizza
(adapted from Shefzilla, Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home)
3 Tap. Cilantro pesto
1 8 oz. pizza dough portion (grilled) (I substitued pre-made naan bread)
8 poached shrimp (sliced in half length-wise)
3 Tbsp. finely grated Grana Padano (I used Parmesan I had on hand)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Spread Cilantro Pesto evenly on the grilled pizza dough. Top with Poached Shrimp, Cheese and red pepper flakes. (At this point, I did put mine into the oven to toast it up a bit) The recipe doesn't call for reheating....your choice.

I learned a few things I didn't know about cilantro. It is very healthy for you. Cilantro is detoxifying and can actually remove heavy metals from your system! Check out this article...very interesting!

If you want to try a more traditional cilantro pesto, here is another version. Enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto

3/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all ingredients in the food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Crystal said...

Looks delicious! And so simple!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog, and am obsessed with cilantro, so I'm very excited about this pesto recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Kelli Abrahamian said...

Thanks Crystal and Steph! Glad you liked the post. The pesto is simple and packs an interesting "punch"

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those pizzas look terrific! I love that cilantro pesto.



Kelli Abrahamian said...

Thanks Rosa:)

Amanda said...

You are genius... pesto with an Asian flair?? Love it!!



Kelli ~ I put a link on my facebook page today, to the cutest jars from Walmart. You might enjoy them.

Everything you make looks so delicious. YUM


Phoo-D said...

Yum! the shrimp are gorgeous and I love the thought of putting them on top of a cilantro pesto.

Amanda said...

Wow! I had never heard of that... what a fun combination of flavors!

ellethenovice said...

This looks SO GOOD!!! Can't wait to give it a try. Oh, and I wanted you to know - I tried to add you to my feeds & it said it couldn't find any on your site? Did I miss a link?

Linda said...

wow this pesto sounds GREAT!!!

my food blog - a boardinghouse reach

Amanda said...

Lovely combination - And I have everything in the fridge to make the pesto!

Amanda | Delighted said...

Yum, this looks delicious!

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