I usually don’t make pesto, because I find if far too addicting. If there’s pesto in the house, I will go at it with a spoon — or a piece of crusty bread and olive oil. But my week has been insane and I wanted something that would come together fast. And pesto is fast. You don’t even have to boil it, like tomato sauce, or stir it or anything. You just put in in your blender and it makes itself.
That, and the fact that I wasn’t going to be home enough to eat it all, so I was safe. Sort of.
I have been going through a caraway phase — sprinkling it on roasted veggies and other things. But sometimes the little seeds get stabby going down your throat and that’s not a pleasant feeling. So I decided to make them into a pesto. Stab me? I’ll grind to a pulp.
Um, I’m not actually a violent person.
I need to save just a little of this cause my mom’s coming into town and she loves pesto. Are y’all ready for your folks to come trooping into town?
This will be the first full-sized Thanksgiving in about 5 years. Lately it’s been just me and my mom, or just me, my mom, and Jason. And for the past two years, this has been the main course for me and my mom, with ground turkey tacos for Jas. Now that we live in Ohio, we’re going to have a big family Thanksgiving — my first with his family. I’m kinda glad that I have to work Thanksgiving morning so that I don’t have time to freak out. I like Jason’s family a lot, but sometimes being around a lot of people makes me nervous, no matter who they are. If I go to a party, I’ll spend most of my time talking to the little kids or the dogs. You know the type. Lucky for me, there are going to be a lot of little kids there. Last time there was a big party, I got to play with plastic farm animals and a pop gun. Talk about fun 😀
Cheesy Caraway Pesto Pasta
- 3 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp pecan pieces
- 2 cups packed parsley
- 1 huge garlic clove, or 2 medium garlic cloves
- salt to taste
- 4 servings of pasta (I used GF)
- 8 oz sharp cheddar
for the pesto:
- Combine the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the caraway seeds and let them soak in the liquids for about 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the pesto ingredients and blend till combined. Add salt to taste.
for the pasta
- Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Grate the cheese
- Toss the cheese, pesto, and pasta together, until cheese is melted. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.
I am so very excited to share this with you, because it contains two of my favorite foods: cheese and roasted veggies. Even those who have known me even for a short while know I am obsessed with cheese in most of its forms; and the bulk of my dinners usually consist of roasted veggies. So this dinner is very, very me.
I picked up these parsnips late one night after work. The grocery store was nice and quiet, and I could carefully browse the produce without being in anyone’s way. These were just calling to me, under the soft hiss of the auto-misting. And since I am a cheddar lover (understatement), I knew just to pick up next.
The roasted parsnips turn into a full-bodied nutty cream, wonderful enough to spoon all on its own, and I kind of wished I’d purchased more of them so I could eat them plain. Next time.
I also wish I’d gotten more pears! I didn’t get too many because they can be hit or miss. You can get a great pear, and then you have the dry, hard ones . Those are so disappointing, don’t you think? But every single one was perfect. You broil them to get the juices going, and they get nice and soft and sweet. If you let them sit for a bit before serving, they get even softer and sweeter. They are a perfect complement to the ample creaminess of the parsnips and cheese. A few toasty onions get tossed on top simply for spirit’s sake. I’m used to eating mac-n-cheese with hot sauce on top, which I did not think would go well here at all. So onions.
Incidentally, if you have any leftovers (and I did, because there are only two of us and this has a generous yield), blend up the cheese sauce with some kale and spread it on toast. Crunch crunch.
Parsnip n’ Pears Mac n’ Cheese
- 2 large parsnips
- 8 oz sharp white cheddar
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 scant tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- a dash of pepper
- salt to taste
- 2 -3 Bartlett pears
- a little bit of brown sugar
- 1/2 large red onion
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 4-6 servings of pasta (I used gf, it works just fine)
- a small handful of nuts or seeds, for crunch
- Preheat the oven to 450
- Peel the parsnips and slice them into coins. Lay them on a parchment-covered baking sheet and brush lightly with 1 tbsp olive oil
- Roast for 20-22 minutes, until nice and golden.
- Place the parsnips in a pot and use an immersion blender to purree them. They will be super lumpy.
- Place the pot over low heat and add the liquids (the milk and the water), one cup at a time, continuing to blend as you go. The mixture will become smoother.
- Add the cheese in. Just break it up into chucks and toss in. No shredding involved, the blender will do that for you 🙂
- Keep on blending until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated
- Add the thyme, celery seed, and pepper
- Bring the heat to medium, stirring continually, until mixture is hot.
- Allow to cool a bit and then add the salt to taste.
- Turn on the broiler. Slice up the pears and sprinkle brown sugar on both sides. Broil them for 2-3 minutes on one side, and 1 minute on the other side. Remove from heat.
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions
- Slice up the onion. Put the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and allow to warm till shimmering.
- Add the onions and let them sit for a little bit, and then start stirring gently. Keep cooking for about 5-8 minutes, until nice and toasty looking but still crisp. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- Spoon the sauce over the pasta, and add the onions and pears over top of that. Add a sprinkle of nuts or seeds over the top, for a bit of crunch. Enjoy.
Lately Jason has been asking me to “blog him up some chili.” When you ask like that, babe, how can I say no? eye roll. Making people happy with food is one of my weak spots and he knows it.
What he doesn’t know (what he didn’t know as he gobbled it up and asked for seconds) is how many good things are in this chili. Little grape tomatoes, and big earthy carrots, acorn squash, corn, tomatillos and avocado and jalapeno; purple potatoes. You practically have the entire spectrum here. Sorry blue.
My mom used to say that the more color you have on your plate, the healthier it is. I’m sure this rule is too simple to be totally true, but it’s also too simple to be false. It just plain common sense. Which means that this chili is full of stuff you want to put in your body.
The base is tomatillos, so you get that amazing green chili/salsa verde flavor. Talk about craveable. I like chili that I can chew, so I cut my carrots in big chunks. It probably makes the cooking time just a little longer, but when it comes to chili, you kind of want a longer cooking time (still under an hour). It gives all the flavors time to melt into one another and get snug. Deep. Rich. Spicy.
I might of had a few corn chips on the side. It’s a chili rule, right? You have chili, you must have chips. And I don’t feel bad about it, one little bit. I’m not one to justify I-had-something-healthy-so-I-can-have-something-naughty. I had the corn chips because I plain old felt like it. Because, like I said, I like to make people happy with food. And one of those people is me.
Hidden Rainbow Vegan Chili
- 10 small purple potatoes (about 11 oz worth of potatoes), cubed
- 2 cups of cubed acorn squash
- 3-4 large carrots, chopped (big chunks, not neat little die)
- 1 1/4 lbs tomatillos
- 2 large jalapenos, thinly sliced
- 1 medium large onion, diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth (I like Kitchen Basics)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- 2 ears of corn, shucked
- olive oil
- salt and chili powder
- 2 avocados
- small bunch of cilantro
- 1 pt grape tomatoes
- scoop corn chips
- Blend up the tomatillos and half of the onion.
- Pour the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Once the oil is shimmering, stir in the garlic.
- Once the garlic becomes fragrant (less than a minute), stir in the rest of the onion, the squash, the carrots, and the tomatillo puree. Cover the pot.
- After ten minutes, stir in the potatoes. Cover once again.
- After ten more minutes, stir in the black beans, red beans, jalapenos, and vegetable broth. Cover once again and allow to cook for 35-38 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and add salt to taste.
- Turn on the broiler
- Slather the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and chili powder.
- Put the corn under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 minutes, and then turn again and cook for 4 more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Once the corn is cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels.
- Chop up the avocados and grape tomatoes.
- Divide the chili among the serving bowls and sprinkle with the corn, grape tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
- Serve with love and a big pile of corn chips.