Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spinach Basil Pesto

So this was one of the original recipe ideas behind actually wanting to begin a family food blog over a year ago and only now am I getting to putting it in writing.  Not sure what took so long, but....

The back story to this comes from the lengthy pursuit to figure out just what in the world was wrong with our daughter's immune system.  After about a year and a half (now 3) of nearly continuous respiratory illnesses, coughs, allergies, sleepless nights and general tuberculosisness, we were tired of being offered antibiotics and various other things for her not-infections and found our way to an incredible Pediatric Naturopath (Dr. Molly Gray at West Seattle Natural Medicine).  Dr. Gray offered many great thoughts and ideas, but as any parent of a toddler knows, hearing that your toddler should "eat something green every day" can border on ridiculous.  She suggested making a spinach pesto.... so I did.  And I have never gone back. 

In my kitchen, I basically use pesto as salt anyway.  Really, what can't benefit from some fresh basil, garlic, oil, salt and pepper really?  Eggs? Salads? Sandwiches? Potatoes? Rice? Quinoa? Pasta?  Please. 

Initially it began as a priority in Mia's food, then after a few months we realized that there was no reason not to punch up the nutrients in all of our foods.   We use it in everything.  I typically make up a huge batch, then pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it all.  I just put a cube or two in a jar in the fridge when I use the last one and they thaw in an hour or so.  You could even pop out however many cubes you want a few minutes before you need them and you are set to go if they are going in a hot dish. 

As for Mia's health....after a year and half our family eats even healthier and more balanced than before but nothing helped her immune system significantly until we found the enormous mold reservoir crawling its way through all of our walls.  The good news, is she loves pesto.

Basil Spinach Pesto (makes 3-4 cups-a lot!)
  • 4 cups basil leaves (top stems OK), rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 big bag fresh spinach leaves (organic preferably)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts are traditional but I like almonds, pecans or whatever)
  • 1/4c finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan (optional) 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Splash of something acidic- like vinaigrette dressing or lemon or whatever.  This gives a great zip to the pesto
Pulse/blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor until it is the consistency you are looking for. I prefer it to be fairly smooth, so I let it go for a several seconds after pulsing it several times.  This really will all fit in a standard food processor, but you can do it in batches and then mix them all together before using or freezing.

Optional next step to freeze in 1-2T amounts in ice cube tray for a few hours. You can either store them in the tray, or transfer them to a different container to keep frozen.

You can see I used cashews here.  I have never been accused of being traditional.