Recipe: Pea, Pistachio, and Mint “Pesto”

recipe - pea pesto with pistachio and mint

easy spring recipe - pea pesto with pistachio and mint

pea pesto with pistachio and mint

Random fun fact about Joe and me: we really like to watch cooking shows while we eat. I think this tradition was actually born in college, when all the roommates in this big house we lived in would gather around the common living room TV during lunch time, and Food Network was the only thing that was universally agreeable. After school, we went for years without watching much cooking-related TV, but recently have been on a kick again. We’ve been watching lots of old episodes of Everyday Italian, which totally take us back to that time, as many of the episodes have air dates in 2004 and 2005. Giada’s pea pesto is a classic, and I was thinking about it the other day for this season’s recipe swap.

You read that right! A bunch of other gals and I are swapping delicious spring-inspired recipe like we did with cookies last winter, so this recipe was a perfect inspirational starting point. It’s basically the easiest thing ever: throw ingredients into a food processor and blend. Serve with crackers, crostini, veggies. Toss with pasta or dab a dollop on top of roasted chicken. It’s delish. What I love about this “pesto” is how surprising it is, on so many levels. The peas lend a slight sweetness to it; the pistachios, a wonderful creaminess; the garlic, that spicy, savory edge. I promise, you will love this.

If you can find fresh peas, by all means, use them. Frozen peas are just going to be a lot easier — no shelling involved, and you can scoop what you need out of the bag, lightly defrost them in warm water, drain them, and they’re ready. Like many other dips and pestos, this one gets better as it sits, so if you can, make it about an hour before you serve. Here’s what you do:

Pea, Pistachio, and Mint “Pesto”

Makes about 1.5 cups of pesto
Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Pea Pesto recipe, though the below is my own reinterpretation

1/4 cup packed mint leaves (about 15-20 leaves)
1/4 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
Juice of half a lemon
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
— kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend and pulse until the pesto is smooth, but still has a bit of texture, like a hummus or regular basil pesto. Taste — you will need to add salt and pepper, but the amount of salt can really vary based on how salty the pistachios are. Season appropriately, transfer to a serving dish, and cover and chill until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top, and if you like, garnish with a sprig of mint.

Note: the measurement for the pistachios indicates nuts that were already shelled.

Springtime Recipe Swap!

Don’t forget to stop by these lovely ladies’ blogs and check out their recipes:

Clara Persis: Orechiette with Kale Walnut Pesto & Lemon Broiled Asparagus
Lemon Stripes: Paleo Strawberry Ice Cream
The Average Girls Guide: Strawberry Avocado Tacos
House of Earnest: Lemon Petit Fours

 

Images and recipe by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese

This month's quote: "Take your pleasure seriously."

Recipe: Game Day Turkey Cheddar Meatballs

turkey meatballs with cheddar - tailgate snack
He drinks a Whiskey drink, he drinks a Vodka drink // He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink // He sings the songs that remind him of the good times // He sings the songs that remind him of the best times

Oh yes, I went there. I just started this post with lyrics to “Tubthumping.”  But it’s honestly all I could think of as I bought a pack of Stella Artois’ new hard apple Cidre. You see, when I was growing up the 90s and heard “Tubthumping,” I never understood why cider was mixed in with those other drinks, not realizing that such a thing as hard cider even existed! It wasn’t until much, much later in life — like, I think right after college, when I wanted to expand my horizons beyond beer and cheap wine — that I ever tasted my first hard cider. And can I tell you something? I really didn’t love it.

So when Stella Artois asked me if I’d be willing to try their new Cidre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I can unequivocally say that they’ve changed my mind about hard ciders. Drinking Stella’s Cidre is like drinking apple juice. Wonderful, refreshing, adult apple juice. That you have to be careful with. Lest you drink three and not realize what you’ve done.

Stella’s hard Cidre is really crisp and zippy, and tastes very apple-y — the flavor reminded me of a cold apple cider, and enjoying a few last weekend made me strangely excited for fall and football and tailgating. So much so that I was inspired to put together a little snack that’d be perfect as a party appetizer, but could easily double as a dish at a game day party or tailgate. A classic pairing with apple is cheddar and mustard, so I thought I’d try making some meatballs with herbs from our garden and sharp cheddar cheese mixed in. A little mustard on the side, and hello delicious Cidre snack. To lighten things up, instead of using beef or pork, I used white ground turkey meat. I guarantee you can totally pull these off — here’s what you do:  Read the full post +

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Recipe: Slow Roasted Tomatoes

oven roasted tomatoes | via vmac+cheese

Some of you might’ve seen my Instagram snaps of the dinner I made for Joe and I last week on Valentine’s Day. This pic of the tomatoes I was slow roasting to go with our chicken got a lot of questions and comments, so I thought I’d share exactly how to do it, and why I love these tomatoes in particular.

Make no mistake — tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat, raw, in sauce, or otherwise, but these oven roasted ones are simply divine. First of all, they go with everything. Really, everything. Put them in salads, add them to soup, deck out a sandwich with them, line an antipasto platter, serve them as a side to meat or seafood, mix them up with pasta. The options are truly endless. Second of all, they’re so easy to make. You just need to have a few hours of time to let them do their thing in the oven. And third, you can use basically any variety of tomato you want — vine, the little Campari ones, romas or plums.

Once you slow roast these for a few hours, the flavor is out of control good. Super concentrated tomato-y, and unbelievably sweet. The tomatoes also get so soft you can smear them around; you could even puree these and add to your basic marinara to amp it up a bit, or blend them in with regular hummus to flavor it. Like I said, the options are really endless! Here’s how to make it (good news — there’s really no set recipe!):  Read the full post +