Saturday, November 20, 2010

CSA week 2: Arugula, pesto alla genovese (vegan)

Arugula pesto

Every time I go grocery shopping or receive my CSA veggies, immediately I wash leafy veggies, take bites of them and imagine how I will be cooking with them.  Having 3 young kids makes my schedule very tight so I enjoy thinking and preparing ahead.  Knowing what we will be eating not just for today but tomorrow and the day after (yes!) makes my life easier.  Does it sound too stressful to some of you?  It works for me!!!
So the arugula.
This arugula was very beautiful, full of flavour but almost too 'spicy' for my family to eat as salad.  But I didn't want to steam or stir fry this time.  So I took the approach when I have leftover greens with strong character such as parsley, cilantro and basil.  Make pesto alla genovese.
Your choice of green
olive oil
roasted pine nuts
Parmesan cheese (optional)
(I had no pine nuts or Parmesan cheese so I used walnut instead and no cheese.  Still works.)

I can't give you exact measurement, but you just have to mix all the ingredients in a food processor.  You may surprise the amount of oil required.  In that case, try to make very thick paste at first to store (it will be good for a week in air tight container) and as you cook either use it as dip or paste for pasta... you can add more oil, water, soy+rice milk or veggie stock to thin it out.

I made this paste this morning and I could tell the overall flavour got a little milder by afternoon.  My kids had this as snack.  They seemed to enjoy it, told me it was still 'spicy'  but went well with the sweetness of carrot sticks.
That gave me an idea for this sandwich. 
Arugula pesto sandwich

Next morning, I baked 50% whole wheat bread, add lettuce and Emmentaler cheese slice and made this sandwich.  This was a hearty lunch for everyone.  What I did was simply add shredded carrots, finely chopped raisins and salt in the pesto the night before.  By the next morning, those additional ingredients softened and helped take more edge off from the pungent arugula but still you can enjoy distinctive flavor of this wonderful green.