Monday, February 21, 2011

Kale-Almond Pesto

Traditional pesto is made with basil and pine nuts but boy, is that expensive! The day that I learned that just about any leafy green and just about any nut can be combined to make a stellar pesto was a pretty life changing one indeed.

1 bunch kale (or other leafy green)
1/3 c almonds (or other nut)
3 cloves roasted garlic (directions below!)*
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 T olive oil
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Steam kale for a few minutes until bright green.
Toast almonds in a dry skillet until fragrant BUT NOT BURNT, about 10 minutes.
Pulse kale in a food processor until finely chopped.
Add in almonds and roasted garlic and do the same.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached.

*How to quickly roast garlic:
Roasted garlic is the best. You can roast whole heads in the oven (shown here) but if you are faced with a time crunch, a skillet works just as well!

Separate cloves from head and remove papery skin, leaving the immediate layer of skin as a protective barrier between the clove and the skillet.
Drop garlic into skillet over medium heat and allow to roast for about 10-15 minutes.
Move the cloves around every so often as to prevent burning.
Remove from heat when the innards feel mushy inside their skins.
Squish out the garlicky goodness and use to your heart's content!


This is in preparation for a cooking demonstration that the Michigan Sustainable Foods Initiative is having on Wednesday! I was asked to be the "demonstrator" and, needless to say, I am more than excited.

The menu I have concocted is as follows:
Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Garlic and Fresh Thyme
Spicy Roasted Tomato Pizza with Kale-Almond Pesto
Cinnamon Apple Dessert Pizza

I have never made any of these before so Wednesday will be quite the experimentation. Wish me luck!