I have been looking for a tried and true pesto recipe for a long time. Most people tell me they use a "little of this and a little of that", but that's not always easy to replicate and I end up using too much of this or that. My friend Kim L. from bookclub so graciously shared this recipe with us and it was just how I liked it! This is her special recipe and I give her all the credit. It's got a good balance between basil, parmesan, nuts and olive oil. (If you do not do dairy, this would still be delicious without the parmesan). This is one of those tried and trues you will go back to again and again.
2 C. basil
1 C. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 C. light tasting olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/3 C. grated parmesan or asiago cheese
Trim basil and loosely pack in measuring cup. In the bowl of a food processor, chop garlic, basil and pine nuts until ground and blended. Add 1 cup light tasting olive oil and blend. Add in parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste and blend one more time.
Serve with fish, steak, chicken, scrambled eggs, pasta, vegetables, on tomatoes or however you like to enjoy it! Such a versatile sauce.
The other night, I made a wonderful chimichurri sauce (credit to The Refined Chef) to go over flank steak. The sauce had an incredible flavor and did the meat just right. I ate it again the next night and when the meat was gone, I wondered what to do with the leftover chimhicurri sauce. I also happened to have some leftover roasted chicken so I decided to whip up Chimichurri Chicken Salad. It's a twist on traditional chicken salad and the unexpected flavor pairings make this a memorable recipe.
4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 apple (I used honey crisp, but fuji or granny smith would work too), peeled and chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup sliced, roasted almonds
3/4 cup paleo mayonnaise
1/4 cup chimichurri sauce (see recipe below) or to taste
fresh pea shoots or salad greens
Chimichurri Sauce (From the Refined Chef website)
1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (I love Vom Fass vinegars)
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 t. dried crushed red pepper
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and chimichurri sauce and mix well. In a large bowl, add the cooked chicken, chopped apple and roasted almonds. Toss with the mayo/chimichurri sauce until creamy and the consistency you prefer.
Serve atop fresh pea shoots or mixed greens. Garnish with lime wedges to squeeze over the top.
I don't wanna say nothin' but some people are so dumb. (Jersey accent) I mean, it is SO EASY to make your own salad dressing that it just seems silly to buy the crud that's out there in the stores which is usually is filled with sugar, bad oils, and all kinds of other junk that you really don't want. So here is all you need to make a wonderful vinaigrette at home. You can make it a batch at a time or mix a big shaker of it to have on hand when you need it. I bought this great OXO shaker at Bed Bath and Beyond and I love how practical it is for making and storing your delicious homemade dressing.
The basic recipe is 1 part acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc), 2 parts olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. I use the same basic recipe whether I'm making red wine vinaigrette, balsamic, white wine, or even lemon vinaigrette. Feel free to add your favorite herbs and spices too. Below is what I use to make a big batch.
1 t. dijon mustard
1 t. kosher salt or sea salt
1/4- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Place first three ingredients in the bottom of your shaker (or in a liquid measuring cup). If using a shaker, add the oil all at once. Shake until everything is emulsified and thick. Add more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
(If using the measuring cup, slowly add the oil while you whisk it into the vinegar until all is blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.) Use on your salad and store the rest in the shaker until next time! If I am using a really good quality balsamic like the kind I find at Vom Fass, the dressing tastes heavenly. I've been known to put some in a small container and bring it to a restaurant to dress my own salad. Go ahead, give it a try. And for crying outloud, stop buying the Kraft!
Tina Forzaglia is one of my many "friends" who comes to cook with me. I love her because she doesn't mince words, just onions. This recipe is great because it tastes so smooth with a nice hint of lemon. It is delicious with chicken, tuna, or egg salad, or simply spread on a piece of turkey. If you have a food processor, there is no work at all!
1 egg at room temp.
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. salt
juice of ½ to 1 lemon
1 cup light tasting olive oil (very faint light yellow) NOT VIRGIN! I use Bertolli.
In a food processor, combine first 4 ingredients and blend. With machine running, slowly stream in the cup of olive oil until all ingredients are combined and achieve the consistency of mayonnaise. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste. Keeps for about 10 days.
*add chipotle powder to taste to make a good dip for grilled chicken tenders. Also use in chicken, tuna or egg salad.
If you are looking for a delicious, all purpose marinade for meat, I've got it. This is a recipe I grew up with and we always knew there was going to be something good on the grill when we smelled the marinade heating up on the stove. This is what my dad would marinate his cut up venison in for shish kabobs. It has such a great flavor that we would sneak cubes of raw meat out of the marinade just to get a taste of it. Yeah, we weren't right growing up.
While this works great for venison shish kabobs, it also works on any cut of meat. I've been using it with flank steak lately. I just throw the whole thing into a bag and let it sit in the fridge for at least four hours and up to overnight if I'm on my game. This marinade can be salty so you won't have to add extra seasoning to your meat once it's done.
Olin's Meat MarinadeFor 2 lbs of sirloin, venison, flank steak, or meat of your choice
Heat all ingredients to boiling point. Let cool. Pour marinade over meat. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. Cook meat on grill to your preference.
This is the easiest, freshest salsa you will ever make. A food processor is a must and makes it a breeze to make. Of course, you could hand chop everything but who wants to do that?
PICO DE GALLO
1-2 jalapenos (depending on how hot you like it)
handful of fresh cilantro
salt to taste
In a food processor, mince jalapenos. Add onion and pulse a few times more. Add tomatoes (cut in quarters) and process until salsa is chunky, but not liquefied. Add cilantro and pulse a few more times. Stir in salt to taste. If too hot, add more tomatoes...if not hot enough, add more peppers!
We eat this on eggs for breakfast, as a dip with plantain chips, in tacos, and over meat. It keeps for about 4 days in the fridge, but it's usually gone by then! There is always a batch in my fridge.
Here is where you will find all my favorite, go to recipes. Whether you are looking for a weeknight staple or a "once in a while" treat, these are my tried and trues.