Monday, September 22, 2008

For the Love of Leftovers

For most of my life I have turned my nose up at leftovers. Unless the leftovers consisted of baked goodies or cold thanksgiving turkey (preferably eaten while standing in front of the open refrigerator) I was just not interested. It has not been until fairly recently that I have started to develop a taste for leftovers. This sudden change of heart is due largely in part to a change in my cooking style. With the two and a half jobs occupying most of my free time I am left with very little meal cooking kitchen time Monday through Thursday. At the same time though I really like to eat yummy, nutritious home cooked, gluten free meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I quickly realized that unless I wanted to quit one of my jobs or eat nutrition bars at every meal (which I did for a while) I was going to have to change my ways and start eating leftovers. But these leftovers would be slightly different than the neglected leftovers of my past because instead of being scrapings from unfinished meals they would have been prepared with a specific purpose in mind. Cooked, packaged and saved for later with the sole intention of being a leftover.

For the most part Sunday evenings have become my unofficial meal prepping night. Typically I am only working the one job on Sundays so after work I come home and prepare a nice leisurely dinner. While I am cooking Sunday’s dinner I also prep a few things for the week. Some Persian rice, a batch of banana nut muffins, a pot of black beans, maybe a loaf of gluten free bread for sandwiches. I am so accustomed to juggling multiple tasks at once in my day to day life that doing the same in the kitchen comes quite naturally and is really a fun challenge, one that makes me feel like I am on Iron Chef (minus the fish flavored ice cream).

Aside from preparing meals that can be enjoyed throughout the week I also am quite found of preparing condiments in bulk that can be packaged up in jars to be dipped, spread, and sprinkled on things later when I am hungry and in a hurry. Spicy humus for dipping veggies in, cream cheese caramel dip for apples, berry syrup for pancakes, and one of my favorite’s fresh pesto. Homemade pesto has a knack for increasing the deliciousness of many meals. Melted into warm pasta, spread onto sandwiches and quesadillas, served with cheese and crackers or eaten straight out of the jar any way you decide to serve it is scrumptious!

Pine Nut Pistachio Pesto


Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts and by all means if are not a pistachio fan this recipe can be made with a full cup of pine nuts in lieu of the pistachios. Likewise this recipe is equally delish when made with all pistachios and no pine nuts. Personally, I find that the half pine nut half pistachio combination gives you the best of both nuts but feel free to play around with the nut combinations till you find one that you like best.

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios
½ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ or so cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation


Add your nuts and garlic to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until the nuts and garlic are roughly chopped. Add to this all of the ingredients except for the olive oil, then drizzle in about half of the ½ cup or so of olive oil. Pulse or blend until smooth adding more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt or pepper if need be. Pesto will keep in a jar with a tight fitting lid for a week in the refrigerator.


Tip: Before putting the lid on the jar pour a bit of olive oil atop the pesto after each use, this will keep the top layer from browning and prolong the freshness of your scrumptious spread.

Favorite pesto accompaniments:

- Melted into rice pasta (preferably Tinkinyada) and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.
- Spread onto crackers and topped with soft goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes.
- On a grilled turkey, roasted red bell pepper, mozzarella, and spinach sandwich.
- Smeared onto a brown rice tortilla and topped with tomato, spinach and soft cheese folded or
rolled up and warmed in a pan.
- Spread onto homemade GF French bread, topped with garlic slivers and broiled in the oven.

2 comments:

wasting away again in margaritaville said...

found you when browsing on insurgentmuse. I think we know a lot of the same people :)

anyway, everything sounds and looks super yummy, and pesto is one of my favorite things in the world!

rachel marie said...

Thanks sweetie! Pesto is one of my favorite condiments and such fun to make, particularly because it requires lots of taste testing while making to ensure you get the flavor just right! ;)