Do you know that feeling when you're starving, you need to feed your family, reserves are low, but you just don't feel like making a run to the grocery store? It is at that moment, I channel my obsession with the Food Network's Chopped. In case you haven't heard of it, the premise of the show is that four chef's compete in three rounds: an appetizer, entree, and dessert round to make the best dish using the most random "secret" ingredients you can possibly think of combining to win $$$. Strange ingredients are revealed such as bacon jelly, sea cucumber, goat brains, and rose water syrup! Yikes. Thankfully I don't have any of those ingredients lying around, but the show really does help instruct you on how to cook on the fly and choosing flavor combinations. You can dig around your pantry and fridge, pulling out the "secret" ingredients you just didn't realize you had, and make the most amazing, creative dishes to date.
I have also recently become obsessed with the food app Epicurious. It is very helpful with thousands of recipe ideas, programmable shopping lists, and the best part- you can plug in random ingredients you have in your kitchen and it will present you with a recipe! I highly recommend checking it out, as it is very useful and FREE. I have often suggested this app to our farm CSA members, especially our first timers. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, where members get a share of our veggie harvest throughout the growing season. Joining a CSA is an amazing experience, but you may open up your box, see kohlrabi, and think to yourself, "what in the world is that?!" Technology is at our very fingertips, so why not use it to your full advantage? Plug in 'kohlrabi' and Voila! Twenty recipes at your disposal... And you might just find out that something as foreign sounding as 'kohlrabi' is the most delicious thing you've ever tasted.
And besides seeking out new and unique ingredient combinations, I love adapting recipes. Some folks think that they must follow a recipe to the 't' and this is not so. Cooking is a lot of fun and playing with ingredients is the best part. It's also how you can come up with the most amazing, secret family recipes that your friends will beg you endlessly for. And it's a great way to express yourself-creatively!
So today, MicroGreens are my secret ingredient. I often get asked by customers, "well, what can I do with them besides throw them in a salad?" My first thought is sometimes to yell, "C'mon people! Let's get those creative cooking caps on!" But then I remember that there was a time when I was definitely culinary clueless and that everyone is at different points on the cooking scale. And if it wasn't for guidance from family, friends, or cookbooks, I would never be where I am today. I have blogged about ways you can add MicroGreens to many dishes, but I'd like to share a recipe that truly transforms these tiny greens: MicroGreen Pesto! Using half basil, half MicroGreens, I also substitute the pine nuts and parmesan for walnuts and romano cheese. Why? Because that's what I had lying around my house, of course.
- 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of walnut halves (pine nuts or slivered almonds)
- 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt (I like using Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
- 2 cups packed of chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups packed of MicroGreens (I suggest using our Arugula MicroGreens)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storage
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Put garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Toss in the nuts, cheese, and salt & pepper. Chop until the nuts are finely crushed, about 1 minute. Add the basil, MicroGreens, oil, lemon juice, and pulse for 1 minute more until smooth.
- To store, transfer pesto to a sterilized jar with a tight lid. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, seal, and refrigerate up to 10 days or freeze for 3 months.
Once you have made this delicious, fresh MicroGreen Pesto, there are tons of different things you can make with it! Pesto is incredibly versatile, nutritious, and can be incorporated into several dishes.
- Pesto tossed pasta with butter & sauteed veggies
- Pesto in place of pizza sauce
- Pesto mayo on a yummy BLT
- Pesto butter (delicious on corn or potatoes)
- Pesto cream sauce
- Pesto egg/tuna/chicken salad
- Pesto hummus
- Pesto garnished on soups
- Pesto grilled cheese
The pesto possibilities are endless :)