Roasted Poblano Cilantro Pesto

What a great flavor combination this pesto has!  You can make the best tasting sandwiches without using mayonnaise or just dip some chips in to it.  There are endless ways to use pestos and this one is no exception.  How would you use it?

Roasted-Poblano-and-Cilantro-Pesto

I just adore poblanos and cilantro, put the two together and it’s magic!  Cilantro is one of the healthiest herbs and a culinary delight as well.  There was a time when I didn’t like cilantro at all, I can’t even imagine my life without it now!

Roasted-Poblano-and-Cilantro-Pesto

This is the best with dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja, Albarino or a bubbly like a Cava or Txakoli.  Try it with a red Rioja or a Mexican beer.

Cilantro-and-Roasted-Poblano-Pesto

Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1 Cups Cilantro
  • 1 Poblano Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Manchego Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Cloves
  • 1  to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1/4 + 1/8 Teaspoons Sea Salt (or to taste)

Instructions:

Roast the poblano peppers, remove the stem and seeds, finely grate the cheese, juice the lime and measure everything and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture

Health Benefits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value. They are great for your immune system; poblanos help reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes), which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K) and dietary fiber.

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Strawberry Basil Hand Pies with a Hazelnut Crust

These are little delightful pieces of heaven with just the right amount of sweetness!  There is just a hint of basil giving the strawberries a nice boost of flavor and the crust is very flaky with the addition of ground hazelnuts!  They are especially yummy topped with my Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce for extra goodness.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-and-Hazelnut-Crust

Robby and I had such a great time with our friends Maggie and Lydell who were visiting from Maui for the 4th of July.  Maggie is a life long friend of both of ours, and was my partner in crime when we were teenagers, so needless to say I was over the moon to have them stay with us!  We had a nice falafel dinner when they arrived and took a walk on the beach and to our surprise we got to see a great firework show.  It was said there weren’t to be any this year due to the drought and they would fine anyone who did, oh well that didn’t happen : ) After our walk we chatted on our deck and finished watching the fireworks from there.

We took them to Henry Cowell state park to see the biggest redwoods ever! We had a great lunch at Casa Nostra a great Italian restaurant in Ben Lomond, and then off to downtown Santa Cruz to the museum of arts for a local vendor craft fair, wine tasting, and then a nice walk to the west cliffs to see Steamers Lane and the surf museum. After all that we went to dinner at another great restaurant called West End Tap $ Kitchen.  We had a fun filled packed couple of days!

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-a-Hazelnut-Crust

I love these with a nice jasmine tea or coffee but also with a Cava, Prosecco or Ang’s Strawberry Thyme Mimosa.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-Hazelnut-Crust

Recipe: 12 – 3 inch hand pies

Filling

  • 2 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Beet Sugar or Sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot powder

Crust

  • 2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or White)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Beet Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Hazelnut Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Ice Water or until it sticks together (don’t over do it)

Filling instructions:

Dice the strawberries into small pieces, mince the basil, measure everything and mix together well and set aside

Crust instructions:

 Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor in to small crumb size

In a mixer or food processor combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugar & salt

And 1/4 inch piece of butter and mix/pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse, until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter

 It should be slightly crumbly and hold together when squeezed with your fingers

 Do not over process you want the little pieces of butter, thats what makes it flaky

Form dough into 2 3/4-inch-thick disks and wrap in plastic then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or over night

On a piece of parchment paper roll out one of the disks of dough about 1/4 inch thick and add a bit of flour on top so it wont stick and pinch together any cracks then with a 3 inch circle cookie cutter cut out the circles and place 12 on to a parchment lined baking sheet

The other 12 flatten ever so slightly with the rolling pin so it will fit over the filling better (you don’t have to do this part but if it cracks just pinch the cracks together) If any cracks do happen pinch together the best you can.  Its ok for the filling to ooz a little.

With a pastry brush or your fingers spread a little water on the edge of one and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the filling then cover and press together with a fork to make the design

Cut decorative holes on top with a knife to let steam escape then sprinkle with sugar if you wish

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden

Serve with a Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce

 

Health Benefits:

Strawberries are packed with nutrience and antioxidants. Just one cup gives you 100 percent.” of the daily value of Vitamin C which is a great immune buster, helps improve the eyes and it produces collagen in the skin, that helps keep wrinkles at bay. The antioxidants and phytochemicals also help to reduce joints inflammation. They are high potassium and fiber making them great for your heart.

Fresh Basil has anti-aginganti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce

I love this versatile sauce, it’s kind of like a fresh jam and the strawberries and basil just go together really well.  It’s really good on buttered toast, topped on some Greek yogurt or ice cream and there are so many other ways it can be used.

Chunky-Strawberry-Basil-Sauce

Strawberries are everywhere right now and Robby brought home a half of a flat he picked up from a local organic vendor on the side of a street on the way to our house, so convenient!  These happen to be extremely sweet so I didn’t have to add so much sugar.

Strawberry-Basil-Sauce

This sauce goes great with a nice bubbly Prosecco or Ang’s Strawberry Thyme Mimosa

Chunky-Strawberry-and-Basil-Sauce

 Recipe: Approx. 3 Cups

  • 3 Cups Diced strawberries
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons  Beet Sugar or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons  Arrowroot Powder

Instructions:

In a sauce pan add the add the maple syrup, water and sugar then stir on med low heat until sugar desolves

Next stir in the arrowroot powder and then the strawberries and basil for about a minute or until it has thickened

Health Benefits:

Strawberries are packed with nutrience and antioxidants. Just one cup gives you 100 percent.” of the daily value of Vitamin C which is a great immune buster, helps improve the eyes and it produces collagen in the skin, which helps keep wrinkles at bay. The antioxidants and phytochemicals also help to reduce joints inflammation. They are high potassium and fiber making them great for your heart.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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Blood Orange Lime Wine Spritzer

This is such a refreshing summer drink and it has a lot of character with its slight fizz, tasty, pretty blood orange and just enough sour from the lime. Mmm… mmm… good!

Blood-Orange-Lime-Wine-Spritzer

I love this drink for socializing because with a glass of just wine I tend to drink more, this way I can enjoy something to drink without getting too buzzed too fast : D

Here is what Wikipedia has to say “The word comes from the German spritzen “spatter, squirt, spray, sprinkle”, i.e. adding water and thus diluting the wine so that it can be consumed in larger, thirst-quenching amounts.”

Blood-Orange-Wine-Spritzer

Recipe: 1 Glass

  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine (I used white Rioja)
  • 1/2 Cup Sparkling Water (I used Pellegrino)
  • 1/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Blood Orange Slice For Garnish
  • Ice (Optional)

Instructions:

Juice the blood orange with an orange juicer into a small bowl and the lime in another small bowl

Put an ice cube into your glass and measure out all the ingredients into your glass and top with a slice of the blood orange

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Steamed Artichoke topped with Italian Style Tomato Salsa Verde

This is such an awesome way to start a meal or really an awesome meal all its own!  The sauce is a perfect match for an artichoke and a heated up sour dough baguette to soak up the oily tomato goodness.

Artichoke-Topped-With-Italian-Style-Tomato-Salsa-Verde

Artichokes are actually the buds of a purple flower and they can grow over 3 feet tall.  I happen to live very close to artichoke land where most of the artichokes are grown.  The Spanish settlers brought the artichoke to California and in the early 1920s California grew its first artichoke fields south of San Francisco near Half Moon Bay.

 I have always loved artichokes, my mom would make them for me when I was little but then I wasn’t very fond of the hearts like I am now.  My mom was stoked because she got to eat it!  Now there never seems to be enough!

Artichoke-Topped-With-Italian-Style-Salsa-Verde

This is excellent with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Sancerre (made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes in France).

It is also goes great with a Chardonnay, I prefer it unoaked!

Artichoke-With-Italian-Style-Tomato-Salsa-Verde

Recipe – 2 Artichokes

  • 2 Large Artichokes

Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Tomato (about 1)
  • 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Parsley
  • 1/2  Cup Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Mint (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chives
  • 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic
  • 1 Shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 1  Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Artichokes

Cut off the stem and about 1 1/2 inches of the top, then with scissors cut the tips of each leaf.

Place them in a large pot of boiling water and place a wet towel on top to keep them wet and immersed during cooking.

 Boil for about 35 – 50 minutes, depending on the size. Don’t cover or they can become bitter.  Test a leaf to see if it’s ready, it should pull out easily. You don’t want to over cook.

While artichokes are cooking make the sauce

Sauce

Mince the tomato in to tiny pieces, finely shred the Asiago, coarsely chop herbs and capers, mince the shallots, chop garlic very fine , with a lemon juicer juice the lemon and measure all ingredients and add to a bowl then mix well.  Let sit a bit to incorporate flavors

I often make a double batch of sauce to enjoy later with a nice loaf of bread!

Assembly

Serve them on a plate and slightly spread the leaves apart and drizzle some sauce on top.  The sauce will go inside the leaves so when you eat it there will be sauce already for you.  You can also just serve the sauce on the side, it it less messy that way.

Health Benefits: 

Artichokes are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is great for the colon and heart. The bitter compounds contribute to cholesterol reduction in the blood. They contain good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin-C and other anti-oxidants that protect the body from harmful free radical. It is also rich in B-complex group. They are one of the vegetable sources of vitamin K that is good for bone and brain health. Artichokes have a powerful liver protectant called flavonoid silymarin making it a powerful detoxifier.

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Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Toasted Walnut Pesto

This pesto is flavor packed and full of nutrition from the walnuts, red bell peppers, raw garlic, and lemon juice.  It is really nice with toasted pita bread, crackers, pasta, crostinis etc.  I recommend trying it on toast for breakfast.

Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-and-Toasted-Walnut-Pesto

I really love roasted bell peppers if you can’t tell by now : ) there is just some much goodness about them and so many ways to use them.  I especially love the way the house smells after roasting them. It’s funny because my friend Beto said when he was a kid he was embarrassed of the smell when his friends came over and his mom would be roasting them but of course that’s not the case any more.  I totally remember smelling at different friends houses and I loved it.. Now it’s everywhere, thank god because I don’t know what the world would be like without roasted peppers.

Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-with-Toasted-Walnut-Pesto

Pair this pesto with a Prosecco, Beaujolais, Chianti, Pino Noir and Red Rioja

Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-Pesto-with-Toasted-Walnut

Recipe - Approx – 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 Medium Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Cups Raw Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Walnut Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 1/2 Lemon)
  • 2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sweet or Hot Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven  to 350 degrees, while waiting for the oven get the walnuts ready on a baking sheet then start roasting the Red Bell Pepper  Put the walnuts in the oven and toast the Walnuts.

Make sure you keep an eye on the peppers and when they are steaming start finely shredding the cheese and measure all ingredients

When the walnuts are done set them aside to cool

Put everythingin a food processor or blender and puree

serve or refrigerate

Health Benefits:

Red Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

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Italian Style Salsa Verde

This is such a great sauce and it is so versatile!  It is packed with flavor from all the herbs, capers shallots etc….  This is a sauce to get creative with, you can add to it or even subtract from it.  Try creating your own version.

Italian-Salsa-Verde

 I have wanted to make this for so long and I finally did it!  Robby and I use to go to Barolo an Italian restaurant and they served their bread with this kind of sauce, which I could never get enough.  Sadly they changed the restaurant; I guess we will have to see if the new one is any good. I will let you know.

Italian-Style-Salsa-Verde

 You can serve this with fresh-baked bread, toss it on to pasta, drizzle it on roasted or baked potatoes, add a little more vinegar and use it as a salad dressing. You can also serve it along side a cheese and fruit plate like this one.  What else would you use it on?  I love it with Sauvignon Blanc or an Albarino.  It would also go with a Chardonnay, Pino Gris, Pino Noir, or Beaujolais.

Salsa-Verde-Italian-Style

Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 3/4 Cup Parsley
  • 3/4  Cup Basil
  • 1/4 Cup Mint (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Chives
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic
  • 1 Shallots
  • 2 Tablespoon Capers
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar or to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Other additions:

  • Diced Tomato
  • Finley Shredded Asiago
  • Other herbs you can use
    chervil
    tarragon
    cilantro
    sorrel
    marjoram
    savory
    thyme
    rosemary

Instructions: 

Coarsely chop herbs and capers, mince the shallots, chop garlic very fine, with a lemon juicer juice the lemon and measure all ingredients and add to a bowl then mix well.

Let sit a bit to incorporate flavors

Health Benefits:

 Italian Parsley has an excellent source of vitamins C and A. The Vitamin A in parsley supports the tissues that line your lungs andpromotes eye health.  And the C protects your retinas from the sun that causes free-radical damage. It is rich in lutein, which is an antioxidant that protects against macular degeneration. It is a good source of folic acid that is great for cardiovascular health. It is one of the richest herb sources for vitamin K making parsley great for your bones. The iron in parsley helps get rid of carbon dioxide and brings oxygen to your tissues.  It is an excellent blood purifier with its high chlorophyll content and a good remedy for lung infection or asthma. It is also rich in anti-oxidants and a good source of potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Mint activates the salivary glands just by the aroma alone, which helps promote digestion. It relaxing the muscular lining of the digestive tract and improves the flow of bile through the stomach and soothes the stomach, indigestion, inflammation, abdominal pain, nausea and discomfort associated with IBS.People who suffer from allergies and asthma can benefit from regular use because it is a relaxant and relieves congestion. Mint contains potent antioxidants that decrease levels of free radicals that can cause damage to cells.  It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium.

Chives likegarlic, scallions, leeks and onions contain allicin that help lower blood pressure and manage cholesterol by reducing LDL levels and increasing your HDL levels.  They contain many antioxidants that help destroy free radicals and inhibit the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.  Chives help your body produce glutathione, which helps your body to identify toxins and other cancer-causing substances and eliminate them. They help your digestive track by eliminating bacteria, yeast and fungi.  It is a rich source of vitamin K that maintains bone mineral density. They are high in vitamin C that is great for the skin and are also a natural antibacterial and antiviral that destroy harmful microbes.

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Garlic Flower Pesto with Sheep Gouda

This is such a wonderful and addictive pesto.  It is slightly spicy from the garlic flower stems and has some serious depth of flavor from the sheep Gouda. I got these garlic flowers from the farmers market and they aren’t always available but when they are do your self a favor and experiment with them.

Garlic-Flower-and-Sheep-Gouda-Cheese-Pesto-

I used this great sheep Gouda from the Friesland region of Holland called Ewephoria, kind of a funny name, huh? What I love is that it is from a small farm where they treat the sheep like family; another reason is that they use vegetable rennet. It is a slightly hard cheese with tons of flavor with notes of toasted caramel and hazelnuts.

Garlic-Flowers-

I am so excited; one of my best friends is coming to visit from Maui for the 4th of July weekend.  I have a ton of food I am making this week for our weekend and I am starting now.  This pesto will last a long time due to the garlic so it’s perfect to make ahead of time.

Homemade-Garlic-Flower-Pesto-with-Sheep-Gouda-Cheese

This pesto would pair nicely with a lot of different wines.  I particularly love it with a Prosecco because the sparkliness is great with the spicy garlic.  It goes well with a Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir, Petite Sarah even a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Garlic-Flower-Pesto-with-Sheep-Gouda-Cheese Recipe: Approx. 2 3/4 Cups

  • 1 Cup Garlic Flowers and Stems
  • 3/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Ewephoria Sheep Gouda
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive OIl
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions:

Cut 1/2 inch off the bottoms of the stems and with a knife cut in to the end at the skin and peel by pulling the out side of the skin of the garlic stems all the way up then continue around until all the skin is removed. Then cut in to about 1-inch pieces to be able to measure along with the flowers

Finely shred the cheese, measure along with everything else and add to a food processor or blender then puree making sure to scrap the sides a couple times

Health Benefits:

Garlic Flowers are high in fiber, vitamin B6, C and A.  They help maintain healthy tissues and organs by bringing oxygen to the blood.  The many allium compounds help prevent bone loss and fractures.  They are also rich in sulfur and selenium, which, maintains healthy skin and helps prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Garlic has phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, which is immune boosting and helps suppress tumor and detoxify the body.

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