cilantro-pepita pesto

cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, & lemon for pesto

This weekend, I cooked up multiple meals for the week ahead, feeling all self-satisfied and prepared, forgetting I only have the one job this week, rather than two, which makes all the difference. So now I'm doubly ahead in food prep, leaving more time for blogging and other things—in other words, actually living and writing about (some of) it. More evening daylight helps, too.

One of my weekend kitchen accomplishments was whipping up a batch of pesto since I had the ingredients on hand (other than parmesan, which I omitted); needed to use up a stray bunch of cilantro; and was itching to try out my new, shiny-green metal lime juicer that Jeff had found secondhand at Goodwill for $2, knowing I'd been wanting one to keep citrus seeds from falling into my pots of soup and such.

This pesto combination I first tried way back in college, the recipe gleaned from some food or lifestyle magazine my step-father had brought home from the free pile at the library. My half-Bolivian boyfriend and I whazzed it all up in my food processor, only to realize after shared tummy aches that we'd bought and used unhulled pepitas. Oops. But the pasta still tasted delicious. The original cilantro-pesto recipe calls for lime instead of lemon juice, but I rarely have limes in the house, so I usually use lemon, but do use limes if you have them for a subtler flavor. Below is my version from memory.

Purée in a food processor:
  • the juice of 1/2 or 1/4 lime or lemon, depending on the size (use the peel, too)
  • a couple garlic cloves
  • a large bunch of cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 or 1/3-cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (if desired)
  • salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes or black pepper to taste
  • several glugs of extra-virgin olive oil

Freeze for weeks or months later or keep in the fridge and use within a week or two. The cilantro and citrus combine for a nice bright flavor. Next week, I'll probably stir part of this batch into a pot of evil-first-worlders-driving-the-price-up-past-where-Andean-peoples-can-afford-their-ultra-nutritious-native-food quinoa, along with some spring peas and roasted butternut squash, a sort of winter-into-spring hybrid meal. Enjoy!

cilantro-pumpkin-seed pesto, frozen

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