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Filtering by Tag: katie's place

Pepita Pesto

katie oster

Whenever we are not traveling over the weekend, which is quite rare, we like to make a trip to our local farmer’s market. I must brag, this isn’t just any old farmer's market. It is held at Fort Mason Center in the Marina district which sits on the water and is graced with the presence of the Golden Gate bridge in the background. It is one of our most favorite Sunday morning activities.

This past week the fruits and vegetables were looking real good and, of course, I ended up buying way too much but how can you resist some of the freshest, most luscious, organic food around. After a week of trying to use everything that I purchased I was left with a bunch of basil. So what do I do when I have basil that is on the verge of going bad...I make pesto!!

Pesto is one of the easiest things to make, I mean you use one piece of equipment and we all know that I like anything that has minimal clean up!

I decided to have a little fun and I came up with my own pesto recipe. What resulted after some playing around was a lemony, earthy, thick pesto. I like thicker pestos because I usually add some of the pasta cooking water to it to add some starch but you can definitely add more olive oil or water during the blending process if you like it on the thinner side.

Many pesto recipes call for cheese usually parmesan. I chose to exclude cheese from my recipe to make it a bit healthier and I tend to add A TON of cheese to my pasta once plated so I make up for it later.

Classically, pesto uses pine nuts and after I had set my mind on making pesto I only then realized that I didn’t have any on hand. If you haven’t learned this already, you’ll soon realize that I don’t worry too much if I don’t have a particular called for ingredient. More often than not I have a substitutes in my kitchen, I just have to get a little creative.

So after surveying all of the nuts I had, I landed on pepitas. Pepitas aka pumpkin seeds (I just like the way pepitas sounds) are a wonderful source of protein and add something special to the pesto. I think the pepitas add to the thick, velvety texture and give it a nice nutty, earthy flavor. You can sub the traditional pine nuts, walnuts, or even almonds. Do whatever is easiest for you!

Have fun with the recipe. Make it your own, try adding cheese, red pepper flakes, whatever suits your tastebuds. My motto is it doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be homemade :) 

Peptia Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pepitas/raw unsalted pumpkins needs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz/3 cups packed packed basil
  • 2.5 tablespoons olive oil

Blend all ingredients in your food processor until desired consistency is reached. 



Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts. 

recipe tested: whole 30 mocha

katie oster

I recently came across a recipe for a homemade mocha. It is compliant with the rules of Whole 30, think Paleo-esque. I do not follow a Whole 30 or Paleo diet but was looking for a way to amp up my morning coffee. I’m not a fan of Starbucks or other coffee shop drinks since you don’t know how much sugar is actually going into your cup of joe or latte or mocha.

The second reason I gravitated to this recipe was that I had all of the ingredients (3 in total) on hand – coffee, coconut milk (from a can), and cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are up there on my list of favorite superfoods. They add a nice chocolatey flavor without being too rich and add a bit of texture. Another superfood that would be a nice addition would be a dash of cinnamon. Cinnamon, in my opinion, is a very underestimated spice and has tons of health benefits so I like to use it wherever I can. 

The beauty of this recipe is that you get to play a little game of "a little bit of this, a little bit of that." The amount of each ingredient is totally up to you and your taste buds. Isn't liberating to be so free with your measurements!

So since today is Friday I thought “why not spice up my morning coffee, I mean TGIF”! So I made some of my favorite drip coffee, New Mexico PiñonCoffee from Trader Joe’s, pulled out my handy dandy Ninja blender and got to work. I have individual blender cups which I love because you can drink right from the blender cup – love a time saver in the clean up department. Well if you choose to use a blender cup, a quick word to the wise, DO NOT SHAKE. I am serious! I thought it was a good idea to shake the blender cup with the piping hot coffee, coconut milk, and cacao nibs to incorporate it a bit before blending but that was a big no no. The warmth of the coffee caused a bit of a pressure build up in the cup creating a nice spray of coffee all over my kitchen, white bath robe, and white walls. There goes the short clean up time.

Ok back to my mocha. After my blender cup misstep, I cautiously blended my concoction (with a towel over it just in case) and what resulted was a luscious, frothy, delicious homemade mocha. It was exactly what I needed to get my Friday started and I highly recommend it for the next time you are in the mood to spice up your morning routine and the best part, you can save that $4 that you would have spent at your local coffee shop. Enjoy!

kitchen tools: the spiralizer

katie oster

This whole spiralized vegetable trend has been around for sometime now but I only recently joined in. It was after a weekend away visiting girlfriends - consisting of lots of laughter, fun, and yummy food - that I decided I needed a way to indulge but in a cleaner, more responsible way. Enter my new spiralizer!

It took me a bit to decide on which brand of spiralizer to buy. There are a lot of opinions out there in the food blogging atmosphere which overwhelmed me so I narrowed it down to two brands that a few spiralizer aficionados recommended. Those two were the Paderno and the Veggetti. Both have their pros and cons, which you can find on both sites or really on any website so I won't bore you with the details. I ended up going with the Paderno because a) I’m a huge fan of Williams-Sonoma and trust their products b) I had a gift card to Williams-Sonoma and c) It came with a cookbook!

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of  Williams-Sonoma

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

After placing my order, I fully embraced this new world of spiralizing and did everything I could to prepare for this new kitchen tool to arrive. I researched and pinned multiple recipes to use with my Paderno, and then it became a matter of waiting for it to show up. As my husband, Sam, can attest, I was extremely excited when it showed up in the mail, maybe a little too excited.

I've tried numerous recipes so far but there are two in particular that I keep coming back to. My first stab at spiralizing was a recipe from Food Count, a safe beginner recipe of zoodles and turkey meatballs. I was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use my Paderno - love the sound of that my Paderno, man I’m a kitchen geek. Sam was not as pumped about the whole process as I was but we both agreed that the zoodles were absolutely delicious and we didn’t really miss the real stuff or at least the is what he told me!

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of  Food Count

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of Food Count

My next venture in spiralizing was even more of a hit with my tasting panel i.e. Sam. I decided after my first spiralizer experience that I was ready to amp it up and move to more “advanced” vegetables. I tried this wonderful recipe from Nosh and Nourish for their Paleo Pad Thai with Carrot and Sweet Potato Noodles. The sweet potato was a piece of cake but then the carrot proved to fit into that “advanced” category that I thought I was ready for. It was a bit more difficult but I overcame the challenge and I felt like I deserved a Paderno gold star by the end of it. Together the carrots and sweet potato provided a great crunchy texture and mildly sweet taste, perfectly complementing the peanut sauce. I will say I did not follow the recipe exactly, I just used what I had on hand. I subbed soy sauce for coconut aminos, almond butter for sunflower butter, and to amp up the protein I skipped the eggs and grilled up some chicken creating a little Chicken Pad Thai action.

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of  Nosh and Nourish

THE PLACE HOME | photo courtesy of Nosh and Nourish

I am very impressed with the versatility of my spiralizer and can’t wait to tackle more recipes and vegetables. Even though I am obsessed with my new tool, both of these recipes and other spiralizer specific recipes can be made just by julienning your veggies but I bet it won’t be as fun!