Katie: Although I haven’t been too ambitious with cooking lately, this was a simple creation that turned out delicious! Using what I happened to have at home, I blended about 1 tablespoon of homemade pesto with 1 jar of roasted red peppers for a tasty sauce. I spread it on a whole wheat tortilla, topped half with zucchini slices and shredded cheese, and cooked it. So simple, yet so good!
Katie: Although it was a hot day, I had fun picking basil and making pesto at Pesto Fest! I’ve used some of the pesto to make quesadillas (with tomatoes & Parmesan cheese), as a spread mixed with plain yogurt for wraps, and froze the rest.
For this meal, Ken poached the tilapia in some white wine. The pesto topping was made by sauteing tomatoes and green onions and adding pesto. It was a delicious meal completed with a side of steamed green beans!
Matthew: After have such success with the mint-lime pesto, I was excited to find a recipe for asparagus pesto on the NYTimes website. It uses all the typical pesto ingredients, substituting basil with asparagus. You first cook the asparagus al dente in water on the stove and then throw all the ingredients in the blender or food processor. It’s pretty simple. I ended up using toasted almonds instead of pine nuts. The pesto was really quite delicious and made a nice meal on soba noodles accompanied by heirloom mini tomatoes. Next, I tried it with some spaetzle and that didn’t really work. It wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t feel right. I ended up using the rest of it on salads as a dressing, which was delicious. This pesto would really go well in most pasta dishes or vegetable salads.
Matthew: Some days, I just like to try something new and experiment in the kitchen without recipes. I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with the idea to make pesto out of mint and lime juice. There was a lot of mint for sale at the farmer’s market last week and I wanted to try using it in a savory dish. For the pesto, I combined one bunch of mint, a healthy glug of olive oil, lime juice from one lime, 3/4 cup or so of almonds, one large clove of garlic, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. The resulting puree was refreshing and delicious. Sort of like mojito meets normal pesto. The pesto would have gone well with almost any grain or pasta, but I decided to choose brown rice. I also added some roasted purple asparagus and really nice and sweet cherry tomatoes. It turned out really flavorful and fresh-tasting. It’s very rewarding when experiments lead to tasty dinners!
Bill: I was inspired by Katie’s recent post to make a quick but tasty meal. Last fall I froze a couple of batches of pesto that I made with almonds. The pesto was frozen in ice cube trays which makes it easy to use later. I pulled out 4 cubes of pesto to use along with 2 servings of pasta. I added some raw shrimp into the boiling water the last two minutes that the pasta was cooking. Jill taught me this trick which is the perfect length of time to cook the shrimp. I also reserved a couple of ladles of pasta water which I added slowly to the pesto cubes to get a nice consistency before adding to the cooked pasta.
To go along with the meal I roasted some asparagus in the oven. Katie, there are some Asparagus Festivals in the Midwest, but I’m not aware of any Asparagus Princesses. You’ll have to take us to a German Asparagus celebration sometime.
Katie: Asparagus is in season here in Germany, and Germans are crazy about asparagus. Just check out pictures of the “Asparagus Princess” and “Asparagus Parade” if you don’t believe me! While white asparagus remains the most popular choice, green asparagus seems to be becoming more readily available.
Rather than preparing asparagus as a side dish, I’ve tried a few recipes this spring that include asparagus in a main dish. So far, I’ve tried Roasted Strawberry and Asparagus Quinoa Salad, which was a great combination and Roasted Asparagus and Red Pepper Farro Salad, in which I substituted buckwheat groats for farro.
This time, I decided to try a Cooking Light recipe, Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto. Since I wanted something a bit lighter than gnocchi, I decided to substitute whole wheat spiral noodles. This was a dish that was pretty simple to make. It turned out well and was a good choice for a simple, but interesting and flavorful meal. The only change I would make if I made this again would be to use less garlic powder, since it was a little strong. This would probably be good with other pesto recipes as well, maybe even Strawberry Basil Pesto, which I’m curious to try!
Katie: I’ve used butternut squash in soup before, but was interested in trying something different. After finding a butternut squash and fresh tomatoes at the farmers market, I decided to make pizza. I based it on this recipe for Pesto Pizza with Butternut Squash. I used this recipe for the pizza dough, which has worked well before. In addition to homemade pesto and roasted butternut squash, I decided to make oven-dried tomatoes, which seem to be popular at the moment! I topped the pizza with goat cheese and a little parmesan cheese. It turned out really good! The flavors of roasted squash, oven-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese went together well. It was an interesting meal for a fall day.