Thursday, November 18, 2010

"pouring myself over this page"

the food: Cilantro Pecan Pesto
the song: "Honey in the Sun" Camera Obscura

I just updated my recipe index and realized "Hey, I've been rambling a lot lately! I really owe you guys a recipe." So before I get all wrapped up in Thanksgiving, here's a nice simple pesto to brighten your day. 

Have you heard that honey is good for your allergies? Since FunFunFun Fest a few weekend ago I have been coughing and sniffling. This cold marks the true beginning of fall, just like changing leaves and cooler nights. My garden still isn't convinced that summer is over, though. Checking my basil the other day, I encountered these drunk, happy bees that reminded me of the healing powers of nature. They were so enamored with those big basil blossoms. Something so alive is bound to be good for you. We're eating lots of just-picked peppers, bright green collard greens, and spicy basil pesto. 

Do you love pesto like we do? We eat pesto on just about everything. Obviously pasta, but also rice, quesadillas, grilled cheese. The list goes on. One of my favorites is a less traditional cilantro pecan pesto. Unfortunately, I've never had any luck growing cilantro. It is just too hot here...the cilantro grows happily for a few weeks, then shoots out long, airy stems and goes to seed. Fortunately, cilantro is cheap. Like, $.38 cents a bundle right now. When I make this recipe, I usually double it because it goes so fast in our house. We are pesto machines.

There are a few things that make this pesto so fabulous. One is the pecans. Pecans have become my favorite nut to include in pesto. I like the dryness and richness of pecans as opposed to more oily, sometimes bitter walnuts. Second is the unexpected flavor of the cilantro. Neither taste is overpowering. They meld together and become quite creamy, just like a good pesto should. 

There is a lot of room for variation here. If you aren't a cilanto fan, you can definitely substitute basil. I love cilantro and am not shy about my affection for this hotly debated herb. Also, if you don't care for spice you can leave out the peppers or at least take the seeds out. I like the little kick that the jalapenos add, so I throw them in seeds and all. Right before it is served, it is nice to drizzle a little extra olive oil on top. 

Come to think of it, this would actually make a pretty nice appetizer a week from today. Hmmmm...

Cilantro Pecan Pesto
adapted from Culinate 

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 hot peppers (jalapenos or serranos work well)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
squeeze lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cumin
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water (if needed)
salt & pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine pecans, hot peppers, garlic, cilantro, cumin, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. As you blend, add more olive oil and water until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature with bread.


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