Roasted Carrots with Pesto and Hazelnuts

For the first time we have a good carrot crop growing in the garden, thanks to the netting keeping the rabbits out, plus good seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. We have harvested a few carrots each week and there are still many roots underground and many fronts blowing in the wind, plus I just sowed more for fall harvest.  I love going out to the garden and uprooting vegetables from the earth, snipping greens and herbs, and plucking squashes, tomatoes and beans. It is a primordial connection to life, to the earth, and to our true nature. 

With the summer heat the carrots get spicier and not as sweet as I’d like them, so I roast them at 400°F for 20-25 minutes in a foil pouch to make them sweet and tender. I’m not always excited to turn the oven on when is 95 degrees out, but when I do, I take the opportunity to do a large batch of roasted vegetables, like beets, carrots, cauliflower, and somehow potatoes always make it in the mix. Thankfully, it has been cool and rainy here in Colorado for the past week and today a little sun is coming through the window, the grass waking up plush and green, and the bees getting busy in the garden with the many flowers sprouting from the rain. 

Continue reading Roasted Carrots with Pesto and Hazelnuts

Vegan Quinoa Salad, For A Family Gathering in the Berkshires

When a four-year-old girl tells you “Your mushrooms are stinky,” you worry about the welcome your dish will have at the family gathering.

Earlier this summer we visited with relatives in Massachusetts for the yearly family reunion in the green and lush Berkshires. The area is crowded with lakes, ponds, creeks, twisty roads walled by towering trees, and a lot of history I’m just discovering. A different kind of summer, a contrast to the dry, bug-free Colorado.Big Pond MA Continue reading Vegan Quinoa Salad, For A Family Gathering in the Berkshires

The Economics of Pesto

“What is that green sauce you put on the pasta?” my mother asked.
I was the first in my family to try the international, obscure sauce named Pesto.
“I saw it in a food magazine, it said it was Italian and that people who know about food really like it,” I told my mother.

My first pesto was a lesson on the important of ingredients.

The basil variety sold in Colombia is strong, hard to find and randomly used. The recipe, if I recall well, asked to substitute part of the basil with parsley, I decided to skip the basil, because really what was the need?

I used lime juice instead of lemon because in Colombia, and most Spanish speaking countries,  a “limon” is the green, citrus readily available to use in guacamole, and “lima” is either the capital of Peru or a citrus fruit no one uses.

Pine nuts? no idea what those were so I used almonds. And the parmesan cheese came in an envelope sold near the pasta, close to the corn oil. Done! I thought, this will be the best, most international sauce my mother has ever tasted.

The green pasta sat in the refrigerator until it was trash day.

I parted ways with the sauce after a taste of its bitter, rancid offerings, until my first year in culinary school Continue reading The Economics of Pesto