Savory Mint Almond Pesto

I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for pesto. On second thought, I DO know about you and I haven’t met a single soul that doesn’t love pesto. It’s just that awesome potent sauce that works on pasta or crostini as a dip for crusty bread or a spread on a sandwich. This recipe came out of necessity. I was blessed with an abundance of mint and after one too many mojitos and as many sprigs I could put on ice cream, I still had a whole bag filled with mint. I happened to also have about a cup of basil…not quite enough for basil pesto. So I stuck the basil, equal parts mint, almonds, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, sea salt and olive oil blended it in the Cuisinart. The next think I knew toast was slathered, a bowl of fettuccine was sauced and there was a savory pot leftover for another one or two snacks and a meal. PESTO! Next time I’ll slap a bow on that jar and give as a hostess gift.

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Le Quinoa Coco

I gave this quinoa a fancy name  just for irony because it is actually not fancy at all, it is extremely simple. I’ve found that quinoa can go one of  two ways – either someone cooks it like rice and it ends up a bland, earthy side dish you never try again or you kinda overdo it, add a whole lot of fun stuff and then you end up missing the taste, texture and flavor of this magical gluten-free grain. I love this recipe because it’s in the middle. The quinoa gets to shine but you can use it as a simple side dish or an easy lunch that makes fantastic leftovers.

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Quick Coleslaw

Coleslaw. The thing that stumps many is the dressing. The one I’ll share is simple, with only four ingredients. If the dressing has eluded you in the past you will now be able to bask in the sheer beauty of coleslaw and it’s deliciousness, healthfulness, people pleasing staying power. How liberating to make a huge batch that will hold up well in the refrigerator for at least a few days. It’s a hearty dose of veggies to have for a snack, it’s perfect for working girl lunch, prepare the night before if you know you’ll be low on time the next day… and, this easy peasy dressing lends itself to incorporating “leftovers” in your slaw – that loose carrot, that half a cabbage, that apple going uneaten, that hunk of blue cheese, that ominous leek hanging around during the early spring season when they are so abundant!

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Hamachi Tartare

This happened by accident. I got the inspiration to make a tuna tartare from another blog I follow. I had never made it before. It was for a dinner party. The only problem, I had no idea where to get sushi grade fish. Luckily, my friend coming over said she did. Hurray! Except, when she gets to the store all they have is salmon and hamachi. I’m pretty picky about my raw fish. I’m not a huge fan of raw salmon, so I hoped that hamachi would work. Turns out, it was absolutely lovely. You know how tuna tartare turns into more of a dip, kinda sticky. Well, hamachi was drier more like a chunky salad or salsa. Paired with thick cut crinkly potato chips and it was a huge hit.

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Baby Shitakes Mama

I swear to Goddess that shitake mushrooms must be aphrodisiacs. I just crrraaaaveee the crispy, buttery, nutty, earthy goodness you can only get from some sauteed shrooms. This is definitely a recipe I riff on often with all different kinds of shrooms – crimini, trumpet, chanterelle…but my favorite is baby shitake, the large ones sliced work fine too, but there is something special about the hunt for perfect heirloom baby shitakes. They hold a more potent flavor and tenderness in addition to being slice free. These sexy little babies are sure to please a vegetarian husband or a carnivorous gluten-freer like me.

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Faked Fried Curry Chicken

I’m a fried chicken fiend. Colonel Sanders was like a grandfather figure and I could down a five piece of original recipe at the tender age of 8 years old. I’ve spent years in pursuit of delectable morsels of friend chicken, the crispy, the crunchy, the tangy, the gourmand – a pursuit that has sadly tapered to a halt for a variety of reasons. The first, fried chicken is hella bad for you, dudes. The second, not so gluten free friendly mon frere. So, in honor of Southern Heritage Cooking day on the 11th, I faked it a bit. The original plan was to make some fried okra (I learned this from my North Carolina born mom and its more sauteed then anything using it’s natural slime as the stick for cornmeal, comes out crunchy, a cacophony of unique taste), but the California availability is sorely limited which of course I accept because the year-long availability of so many other fantastic fruits and veggies more than makes up for it. I teased with the okra which I will make and post at a later date but now onto the crispy and juicy Southern inspired chicken with a west coast twist complete with curry and requisite gluten free bread crumbs.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Not just for pie, people! Rhubarb is an awesome and weird vegetable (?fruit?root?) It grows prolifically in direct sun as my husband and I found out when we were tending to his uncle’s urban garden. He would come home from watering an harvesting with some rainbow beans, basil, a few strawberries and a bushel of rhubarb. Over the course of a two weeks I had multiple bushels of rhubarb. I made this sauce multiple times and ended up with all sorts of jars and containers of this lovely versatile sauce. The thing is, when it is in sauce form, there is so much you can do with it. I put it over my Lucky #7 Almond Heaven Cake with a dollop of sour cream, you can put it over grilled pork tenderloin, put it on toast, drizzle on ice cream or riff with it and use as, yes, a pie filling.

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My refrigerator holds.

DISCLAIMER: This is my first attempt at a food blog – unfinished post from 2008, so it is outdated, but wanted to keep it here…like a time capsule. must be nice to be stylish and RICHDrew Barrymore’s kitchen at Flower Films—too trite to say it’s my dream kitchen, but not to shabby, eh?.

At any given time I like to have a little sumthin’ in the kitchen. Just in case one of the schmoos pops over for a life debrief and we need a nosh to go with our wine.

If you have some of these must-haves on hand, you’ll be able to pick some odd recipe off of here to whip up a brunch, din din or snack that is sure to please.

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