Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Somewhere between pesto and chimichurri

Cooking is an art and baking is a science. And since I was an art major it only goes to say that I like to cook. But when I cook I seldom follow recipes. I get ideas from them, but exact measuring, to me, takes all the instincts out of the experience of creating a meal from scratch. But if you don't cook much, then recipes are a good way to get comfortable in the kitchen. Cooking at home is cheaper than going out, and puts you in charge of what goes in your meal, your mouth and ultimately your body.

If you're a newbie in the kitchen you may want to follow recipes for flat leaf parsley pesto and/or chimichurri. Get an idea of what something is supposed to taste like, then experiment. I needed a use for a bunch of flat leaf parsley that I bought for some soup, but only used a bit of it. I googled recipes and concocted something between pesto--we all know what that is-- and chimichurri, a Argentinian condiment.

I mentioned it to clients in class and they told me I really need to start posting recipes. But remember, I seldom measure. I make it up as I go along. With that in mind, here's a rough estimate of what I came up with. Play with it to your liking.

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
handfull of walnuts
handfull of almonds (raw)
4-5 garlic cloves (this is seriously garlicky. Let's just say, I wouldn't make it for your new Match.com date.)
1/3 cup oil (I used safflower, but olive would work)
big pinch of jalapeno pepper flakes
1 tsp or chili powder
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste

  1. Wash parsley and shake off excess water.
  2. Trim off the stems so you have just the leafy top (I just hack it with a knife, but if you feel you need to pull the individual leaves off, knock yourself out.)
  3. Put the parley + nuts + garlic in a food processor with blade and chop away.
  4. Pour in the oil as it spins.
  5. Stop and add the spices and then blend again.
  6. Taste it. See if it needs something else.

Add parmesan cheese if you want. The nutrtional yeast makes it vegan and it's damn tasty!
Its good on pasta, as a sandwich spread, as a marinade for grilled chicken or fish, on burritos. It's just so good! Who knew I liked flat leaf parsley!?

P.S. I promise I'll start making notes+taking measurements of my concoctions. ;-)

1 comment:

micki said...

Black Bean, Mushroom and Cheese Enchiladas

This is easy and you can cut back on the amount of cheese and use low-fat or non-fat sour cream and use whole wheat flour tortillas for more fiber.

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (4.5 ounces) diced green chilies
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, more for optional garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 large flour tortillas
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and mushrooms and sauté just until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in cumin, chili powder. Let cool slightly and stir in the black beans, diced green chilies, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sour cream and cilantro. Stir until well blended.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide mixture between the 8 tortillas, placing filling just off center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas into loose cylinders. Place the seam side down in the prepared dish. Pour enchilada sauce over top and sprinkle with additional cheese.

Bake until bubbling and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish with additional sour cream and chopped cilantro, if desired.

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