Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recipe: Basil-Parsley Pesto with Lemon and Walnuts (plus how to freeze it in ice cube trays what whaaaaat)

Because basil and garlic make me a happy happy camper, I've filled my freezer with a billion little frozen pesto cubes. Without a doubt, I'll use about half of them over the next few weeks, and will find the rest in a deep, dark crevice of my freezer 12 months from now. It's the thought that counts, though, right? Riiiiight. 

Besides. Last week I ate frozen lasagna from December 2013, and am still alive, as far as I can tell. (By the way is that gross?? I was on the fence but I was also hungry so that kind of overrides all reason.)

One morning after a double-batch of pesto was tucked away in the freezer, I shared with my mom the brilliance that is freezing portions of pesto in ice cube trays. She was all: 'LOLZ EVERYONE KNOWS THAT I was doing it before you were born.' And she's right. (She is also Martha Stewart if Martha Stewart went through a serious hippie stage in her late teens/early 20s. So I believe her when she says she's done and thought of everything.) 

I'm not saying I invented this whole ice cube tray thing. It didn't come to me in a dream, but rather in an issue of Real Simple (if I had to guess). I'm sharing it with you because sometimes all it takes is a reminder. A reminder that seeing a bunch of garlicky green pesto cubes in your freezer will make you so freaking happy I swear. 

Feel free to use any pesto recipe you'd like (duh I'm not your boss) but this one has quickly become my favorite. Do NOT be scared that there are only 2 tablespoons of cheese. I too, was weary since cheese = life, but it's so perfect as-is. Plus, I don't know about you but after I add pesto to pasta or quinoa or whatever, I usually pile on an extra heap of Parmesan cheese anyway. #cheeseoncheeseoncheese

Also! Since hopefully you're on your way to having a bounty of pesto on your hands, you should know that my #1 way to eat pesto is mixed into hot quinoa (that was cooked in chicken broth instead of water). I usually throw in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and call it a day (or call it lunch), but you can also add sliced, sauteed chicken sausage for some extra protein. It's the bomb. My #2 way to eat pesto is on a spoon. No shame in this game.

Recipe: Basil-Parsley Pesto with 
Lemon and Walnuts
[original recipe via Epicurious]

- 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (can sub almonds, or pine nuts if you're a baller)
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese 
- 1 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground if available) 
- 1/2 teaspoon salt 
- 3 cups gently packed basil leaves
- 1 cup gently packed Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves (ok if there are some pieces of stem)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Jovial Foods brand)
- Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)

- Food Processor (a 3-cup chef's chopper like this one will fit one batch of pesto, though you'll need to add the herbs in batches as instructed below)
- Ice Cube Tray (optional - only needed if you're freezing the finished pesto)

Instructions: Making Pesto
Add the peeled garlic cloves to the food processor. Pulse a few times until garlic is finely chopped. Add the nuts, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Pulse about 10 times until nuts are finely chopped. 

Add all of the oil, all of the lemon juice, and 1 cup of the basil. (If you're using a larger food processor you can add all of the herbs at this point.) Run the food processor for about 8 seconds, until the ingredients are uniformly blended.

Add the other 2 cups of basil and 1 cup of parsley one cup at a time, and blend for about 8 seconds after each addition. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Run the food processor one more time, for about 5 seconds. 

At this point the pesto is finished! If you'll be using it in the next few days, transfer to a container and cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil. Store in the fridge. If you want to freeze all or some of the pesto for a later use, go on to the next step. 

Instructions: Freezing Pesto
For one batch of pesto you'll need one standard ice cube tray. Each cube will hold about 2 tablespoons of pesto, and you'll fill an entire tray. 

Using 2 spoons or a spoon and a small rubber spatula, transfer about 2 tablespoons of pesto to each ice cube compartment. Smooth out the top of each cube. Freeze the pesto-filled tray for at least 6 hours, or overnight. 

Once the cubes are frozen, remove each pesto cube from the tray. (This can be a little tricky since they don't slide right out - I slide a sharp knife down each of the four sides, then wiggle the cube out with the same knife.) Transfer all of the frozen pesto cubes to a ziplock bag, and store in the freezer until ready to use. 

Instructions: Cooking With Frozen Pesto Cubes
The cubes will defrost pretty quickly at room temperature. Or, you can pop a few into a bowl and microwave for 10 seconds at a time. (Should only take 10 seconds per cube.) Alternatively, you can throw them right into a hot pan.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

WILD: Meet Me at The Greenhouse. (for gluten free pizza and sangria and pretty lights.)

I am SO amped to tell you about this place. 

You may have seen a little sneak peek on my Instagram, but a few weeks ago Gail PR invited a really fun bunch of bloggers and journalists to check out WILD, which recently opened their second location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (The first is in the West Village, just blocks from my apartment, and I am slapping myself for not trying it sooner.)

First off, the two owners - Miki Agrawal and Walid Hammami - are likely two of the most interesting humans you will ever meet. So it's of zero surprise that this place kicks. ass. Miki is a serial-entrepreneur and former pro-soccer player who launches companies in her sleep, writes about it, and eats gluten free. Walid has OWNED restaurants since he was 19 years old, and DJs in his spare time. Because I'm sure restaurant owners have tons of that. 

I'm not sure who's responsible for the decor at WILD, but I would 100% eat a shoe if it meant hanging out in The Greenhouse - which is a magical place behind the main restaurant that I was sure didn't exist in New York City. First impression: we were walking right into a Pinterest wedding (complete with vintage frames, wildflowers, and strings upon strings of twinkling lights). If a tiny little hipster fairy floated out and perched on the lip of my mason jar of sangria, I wouldn't have been all that surprised. 

So, ambiance? Check. Banging gluten free food? BIG HUGE DELICIOUS CHECK. We tasted pear gorgonzola pizza with fresh rosemary, salmon skewers with sage and caper sauce, and wild mushroom herb pasta with arugula (to name a few). For dessert? KALE. CUPCAKES. This is real life. And in this thing called real life those kale cupcakes are gooooood. The cake part is reminiscent of a zucchini cake, and the vegan frosting adds a smooth, sweet, sumpin' sumpin'. I could totally go for one right now.

Every single thing we tasted was outstanding. The menu is all gluten free aside from a few pasta dishes, and Miki happily shared that they're phasing out the gluten-containing pasta - so in due time, the kitchen will be ALL gluten free. But don't be afraid to bring you gluten-loving friends. Pretty much everyone at the event (and everyone at my table of 12!) had no gluten restrictions, and it was all rave reviews. The gluten free (and vegan!) pizza crust was especially well-received. So light and crispy that you can easily polish off a whole pie without needing a nap, and the chickpea flour added a nice socca-like taste.

Thanks Miki, Walid and Gail PR for a beautiful night and the fullest of bellies. You guys, go try WILD. Sit back in the greenhouse. Eat a gluten free dessert pizza, if you're feeling crazy. You will love it! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Gluten Free, All-Natural SugarPuss Lip Balm (aka Cat-Chap).

Phone: check. Keys: check. Wallet: check. Cat-chap: check. 

Eric and I do NOT leave home without cat-chap. We have come back to the apartment to get the forgotten cat-chap. I have stolen his cat-chap after losing mine. We have legitimately bickered over the location of the missing cat-chap.

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. We're addicted. 

Cat-chap is not its real name, of course. Just a nickname. Because I nickname things I love, like dogs and chapstick and my siblings. 

SugarPuss Lip Balm is the brilliant creation of my cousin Jackie. Before SugarPuss (coined for her cute kitty Lola who snapchats me all. da. time.), I accepted the fact that chapstick feels delightful for 20 minutes (tops), wears off, then leaves your lips drier than they were to begin with. Seems kinda silly, doesn't it? 

What I've learned via Jackie, is that this does not have to be the case. No sir-ee. Apparently there are lots of preservatives and not-nice things in mass-produced chapstick that cause it to dry out your lips. SugarPuss has none of those things, plus lots of GOOD things like shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, and vitamin e. I'm telling you, this stuff keeps your lips soft all day. It's pretty incredible.  

So incredible, that I would love very much for ten of you to try it out. Fo' free. Just enter the contest by telling me which one of the four types you want to try, and liking SugarPuss Lip Balm on Facebook. As a heads up, the three tinted ones (nude, lavender and sunset pink) are VERY sheer - as you can see in the photo of my claw hand below. So don't be afraid of how pigmented they look in the tube! (If you're a dude though, I'd stick with the natural/untinted. Though a certain male who I spend a lot of time with has been known to swipe on one of the tinted ones when we don't have an untinted version handy. Oops.)

I swear to my mother that your other drugstore chapsticks will end up in a sad pile in the back of a drawer somewhere. Which is exactly where mine are now. I don't think Goodwill wants them and I'm too indecisive to throw things away, so that shall be their home. 

My beloved cat-chap, however, has taken up permanent residence on my nightstand, in my purse, in Eric's pocket, and on my face.   

 SugarPuss Lip Balm Giveaway:
 10 Winners Receive One Lip Balm Each

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