Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
I had planned to share the cake recipe from my sister-in-law's baby shower last week. But I'm having some technical difficulties. In the meantime, I want to tell you something already apparent: I am going to be an auntie!
Because I love my sister-in-law, because I will be this child's only aunt, and because I hardly needed an excuse, I, with my mother, hosted the West Coast Baby shower.
The party went well. The mother-to-be was sufficiently showered with gifts and little cards of encouragement and advice. We cried a little, we laughed a lot, and we ate our fill of pregnant-friendly foods (no blue cheese in the cheese 'ball,' no nitrates or nitrites in the bacon wrapped dates, and no temptations of booze).
The treats were fall-inspired and nibbly: persimmon slices, a pumpkin-chocolate-pistachio bundt cake (update: it's over here now), bacon-wrapped dates, salted roasted nuts, grainy crackers, a cheese disc (my mother's invention, cheese balls are just too cumbersome), and my new favorite condiment of the year, pumpkin seed pesto.
This pesto is a revelation. It is entirely nutty, subtly fragrant, and mildly spicy. We spread it on crackers with cheese at the party, but I've been adding it by the spoonful to my scrambled eggs and slathering it on pizza and sandwiches at every turn. Kevin thinks I have gone too far, having kept myself in consistent supply for a month and a half now. But love is love, and four batches later and I'm still smitten.
I discovered this pesto by accident, trying out Heidi's Swanson's cilantro pesto from her newest book. I read the recipe wrong, or, rather, I didn't read it at all but just the ingredients list, and ended up adding three times the amount of of seeds to the pesto. A little tasting and tinkering later and we no longer have cilantro pesto. We have pumpkin seed pesto. It is the pesto I've been looking for. And now, you can have it too!
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Advent, and a Merry December to you all.
Pumpkin Seed Pesto (adapted from an imbedded recipe in Super Natural Every Day)
What I have loved about this recipe is that I do not concern myself with measuring the cilantro, as I have done in the past. I grab a bunch and let that be my measuring device. Simplicity, I think, should reign here.
That said, I am plotting experiments with other herbs. Do let me know if you find another fabulous combination!
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted*
1 bunch cilantro, stems and all (about a cup)
3 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 small serrano chile, seeded and deveined (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (I start with about a 1/4 teaspoon at the very beginning)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, drizling about a tablespoon of the olive oil at the outset. Process until a nice green paste develops, adding more olive oil as needed to moisten. Taste. Adjust seasoning, pulse to mix. Taste again. You may need up to a teaspoon of salt, depending on your salt and your tastebuds.
*To toast seeds, cook in a single layer with a large skillet on medium heat for a little over five minutes. The seeds are done when some have puffed, their color has deepened to toastiness, and they smell good.