Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fancy Carrot top Pesto

Every Friday evening we head to our local farmer's market for good eats, live music, playtime, and of course awesome local fresh fruits & veggies! Last week I came across these lovely, colorful carrots!

 They looked so pretty bunched together that I just couldnt pass them up! As I was making my purchase, the vendor asked me if I liked pesto..umm, yea! He then told me that carrot tops makes some of THE BEST pesto! who knew!? So I came home and went to work...after some research, turns out carrot pesto is pretty yummy, and VERY good for you! 

I started by trimming all the stems, trying to just use the leaves, and discarding the thicker stem parts(mostly because my blender sucks and I knew it wouldn't blend up the thicker pieces very well) 
I tossed everything into my blender and let it whirl away. The end result was this lovely green pesto!

Fancy Carrot Top Pesto

Bunch of carrot tops (from about 8 carrots)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup olive oil
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup toasted nuts ( i used walnuts) 
zest of 1 lemon and Juice of half lemon.
salt and pepper to taste

Remove stems from carrots, save carrots for another delicious recipe. Roughly chop tops and add to blender or food processor. Add garlic, half of oil, half of cheese and nuts to blender as well. To toast nuts, heat dry skillet over medium-low heat and add nuts, keep them moving so they dont burn. Remove from heat once nuts become fragrant. add zest and juice to blender, give it a pulse to allow ingredients to blend together some, add more oil as needed, remainder of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy over some veggies, pasta, crusty bread what we did:
we made a pizza using the yummy carrot top pesto as our sauce! And we topped it with lots of yummy veggies from the Farmers Market. 

my little helper...aka: Nerd :)

I had to have a bite before I took a picture of the finished product! It was amazing! kinda sweet, kinda wonderful..and really a great way to use up what would normally go into the compost bucket (or to the chickens) so use up those carrot tops and make this pesto! the recipe makes a few cups so you could freeze half of it if you dont know what to do with all of it right away. Happy Cooking! -Jess

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fancy Portobello Mushroom Burger

I had my first Portobello mushroom burger at a local bakery/cafe called Thomi's. It was wonderful but I couldn't help but think I could totally make one at home and avoid traveling 45 minutes into town! I decided that with summer time upon us, it might be nice to have some veggie burgers. I am not one to buy or eat pre-made, processed veggie burgers that have god knows what in the veggie burgers I usually make take a little more time to prepare, but not these bad boys! All you need is a few large Portobello mushrooms (one per person, they are really filling), some nice buns, and whatever else you would normal pile onto your burger. So even if you are a meat eater, I really do recommend you give these a try, just once, they are really good and good for you! happy cooking-Jess

3 Large Portobello mushrooms, washed and stem cut off (3 because there are 3 of us, you get as many as you need :D )
2-3 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 buns of your choice, lightly toasted (I used Oroweat Crustini rolls, but would prefer ciabatta rolls, unfortunately my local market does not sell them. booo!)
any other topping you like. I put the following: Mayo, dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, red onion, avocado, lettuce, and Trader Joe's Barbecue sauce..because I have a thing for bbq sauce :D

Preheat a medium skillet with 1 TBSP olive oil, wash and dry mushrooms, cut off stems and place in skillet flat side down. Drizzle with more olive oil, let cook for about 4 minutes, flip then cover and let cook another 4 minutes or until tender. season with salt and pepper. Mushrooms will be very juicy so I like to drain them on a paper towel a little before placing on my bun. Set up burger the way you like it and enjoy with a side salad, or even better, some fresh corn on the cob! Happy Summer! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ryan's Birthday Dinner

Riley giving the po'boy a try 
For the most part our family follows a vegetarian diet. Ryan is the only one who eats meat with no reservations. And on occasion we will indulge in some tasty shrimp, usually adding it to pasta or stir-fry. Since shrimp happens to be one of Ryan's favorite foods, I often make some fancy shrimp dish for his birthday. In last months issue of Everyday Food, Martha and her team provided an awesome recipe for Shrimp Po' Boys! In case you dont know, a Po'Boy is a traditional submarine sandwich from New Orleans, and just so happens to be one of my favorites! So as soon as I saw the recipe I knew I just had to make them! They are really simple and super tasty! Unfortunately my four year old dislikes fried food...I first noticed this when we took a trip to San Francisco last summer and she peeled all the "fried parts" off her shrimp at Bubba Gump ...I thought it was kinda crazy because really, what kid hates fried food?! but apparently if you limit junk food from a kids diet they ultimately dislike it..who knew! Anyway..she did try it, but in the end she informed me she did not like the "fried" and thought next time I should just make it "regular". She ended up eating a "pickled asparagus sandwich" instead. I guess I wont be making these again anytime soon, but YOU should!
Happy Cooking! -Jess

Shrimp Po'Boys 
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (homemade or store bought)
6 Tbsp. chopped cornichons or dill pickles 

3/4 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, divided
1 cup organic cornmeal
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 hoagie rolls, split
1 medium tomato, sliced
8 leaves butter lettuce
lemon juice from half a lemon

*just so ya' know: I didnt have pickles so I used some pickled Asparagus I put up last month, also this is the recipe as it is in the magazine (minus the lemon) and although it says it makes 4 servings we were able to make six sandwiches. oh and we did NOT add tomatoes, Ryan is deathly allergic :D  
birthday boy satisfied with his meal :)
stir together mayo, pickles and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper in small bowl and set aside. On a plate, combine 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, cornmeal and salt. In a medium skillet heat oil over medium-high until it reaches 350 on a deep-fat thermometer. Coat shrimp in cornmeal mixture, shake off excess, and carefully add to hot oil in batches. Cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.Sprinkle with lemon juice. Spread sauce in rolls and fill with tomato lettuce and shrimp. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ridiculously Fancy-Over-the-top cake

the layers

A while back I came across this cake on pinterest...naturally, I pinned it..I mean, who wouldnt! The thing is insane! And as the picture haunted me over and over again on my food board I finally decided it should be made for our 5 year anniversary. As luck would have it both Riley and I became ill that week and no cake got made :/  so it became "the cake I will make for Ryan's 29th birthday". The day before his birthday, I spent most of the day baking off the cakes layers. I started with cheesecake, and ended with cookie cakes...and somewhere between it all I: lost my mind, became overheated, doubted that ANY of it would turn out, forgot to eat lunch and nearly dropped TWO of the cake layers on the was a long day. Sunday I was up early cleaning up the mess from the night before, I know, I know "never go to sleep with a dirty kitchen" but I was pooped man! and sometimes the mess just has to wait damn it! Anyway, I cleaned my mess, so I could ultimately make another mess and got started on the frosting making...I changed a few things from the original recipe...for one, I used Ricemellow creme instead of Marshmallow fluff for my Marshmallow frosting (RiceMellow pretty much taste the same as marshmallow fluff just its well, made from rice...and its GMO-Free, Gluten-free, and Vegan!) Second, I used my Ganache recipe found here, as the frosting inside the cake. Third, I only made one layer of cheesecake (and I topped it with caramel sauce) And last I used this brownie recipe

hard at work :P 
At the end of the day, all the pieces fell together perfectly, the cake weighed 100lbs and I realized I might have over done it with this cake. I wont say it was the BEST cake I ever had/made, but it was interesting...all the things I love crammed into one piece of was a sweetness over load to say the least. But it was a if you have a big sweet tooth (you might be surprised to find out that my tooth, is actually not that sweet) then by all means MAKE THIS CAKE! But if you are like me and would rather have Lemon Loaf over Chocolate cake...then you might want to stick to the Loaf! Happy Baking!!!-Jess
happy birthday babe! 

this slice of cake was as big as my head!
P.S. for the recipes and how-to of this cake head on over to is the creator of this crazy cake!