Monday, February 20, 2012

Presto! Er, I mean PESTO!

It will come as no surprise to you, I'm sure, that Yummy Monday came entirely from Pinterest.  I am trying desperately to make sure that my time spent pinning is not wasted - and therefore I've become almost fervid in my effort to create my pinspirations.  That's not to say I'll only be attributing recipes to pinterest from now on, but you'll probably see more in the future.

I pinned this months ago and it has been calling my name.  

                                                                       Source: via Kimberly on Pinterest

I love a good pesto.  I love pasta as a general rule, but pesto??  When I first tried it back in my teens it made me gag a little.  I suppose pesto is one of those more mature, acquired tastes that you have to be sophisticated and experienced to enjoy fully.  Ha ha!  Kidding.  Anyway, I saw this delicious looking pin and had to try it.  It's originally from Chef Chloe and you can find the recipe here.

Avocado Pesto Pasta

  • 1 pound linguine
    1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish
    ½ cup pine nuts
    2 avocados, pitted and peeled
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    3 cloves garlic
    ½ cup olive oil
    Sea salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
    Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.
    Now.  I don't own a decent food processor.  So I used a blender instead.  The oil is probably best added WHILE you are blending everything together, but I couldn't very well do that in my blender without covering my kitchen in pine nut and basil charnel.  So I think that had a bit of an affect, but really not much.  Also, I am very wary of sea salt ever since the hot dog fiasco.  So I usually use regular salt instead.  Just be warned that if you DO use regular salt as I did, you will need to increase the amount quite a bit.  We each had to salt ours additionally after taking a few bites.  After being salted, I thought it was an amazing recipe.  But I really like pesto.  My dad HATES pesto.  He can't handle all that basil.  He did recognize it as palatable after salting it more to his taste, but he still wasn't overly impressed.  If you like pesto, make this.  If you don't, well, this won't be the dish to win over to the other side.

    It seemed so summery and healthful, so I wanted to maintain that across the dessert as well.  I opted to make this yummy looking Strawberry Yogurt Cake from A Spicy Perspective with had been tantalizing me... 
                                                                     Source: via Kimberly on Pinterest

    I was going to make it when strawberries are actually in season, maybe even pick my own, but I couldn't wait.

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325*. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.  With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.  Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.  Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Well, confession.  I don't own a bundt pan.  You'd think with all the cooking and baking I do I'd really have a lousy bundt pan, but no.  I've decided that my kitchen is woefully lacking in some basic necessities, but I digress.

I wanted to make this cake anyway, so I thought, 'Really, what's the difference?' and I got started.  I believe that as far as this cake goes, you could probably make it on a trash can lid and it would still be delicious.  Just sayin'.  It wasn't heavy, (but it wasn't airy either...) it was exceptionally moist, the lemon and strawberry combined were amazing... it was sweet and summery without being over the top.  I do want to get a bundt pan, though, so I can see if I can make my strawberries sink to the top like that photo up there.  How pretty is that?

In short.  Make the pesto if you like pesto.  It's creamy and yummy.  Make the cake no matter what.  Because it's delicious.  You're welcome.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

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