Tag Archive for pesto

Beet-root Pesto and Beet-leaf Pesto

beets colorful IMG_1605

As one who loves beets, I have yet to find something made with beets that I don’t like. Raw beet salad, roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich, borscht, pickled beets (a favorite), beet ice-cream, savory beet tart, sweet beet tart (see Bar Tartine, by Courtney Burns and Nicolaus Balla), and, of course (thank you Nigel Slater) beet and chocolate cake – yep, over here, please!

It’s possible that this love for beetroots goes back a long time…. As kids, when we had a cold/sore throat, my mother would thinly slice beet root, layer them with sugar, let them sit until the sugar dissolved and the beets released their juice and give us spoonfuls of the most delicious medicine one can imagine. Cold, unctuous, sweet, and beet-y. In fact, something good enough to feign a cough! Totally unlike cod liver oil!

And although homemade kvass has not been a success (it got to be pretty sticky and literally oozed out of the jar), I have not yet given up on that.

Yet, beet seems to be one of those polarizing flavors – one loves them or hates them. Over several trials and error (and the desire to serve beetroot as hors d’oeuvre without a mess), I came up with a recipe that many people who told me they don’t like beets have enjoyed: Beet root pesto (no cheese). Read more

Spicy Peanut and Lemon Basil Pesto

Photo by Molly J Peterson, FoodShed Magazine


What to do with the last of the basil, baby ginger and chile peppers that were pick up before the storm: inspired by a peanut and chile salsa-like dish from Réunion Island (“Rougail pistaches”), this pesto-like concoctioj adds a nice kick to sandwiches, omelets and cold or hot meats.

If basil is unavailable, use a mixture of cilantro and parsley.

Yields About 1 Cup

1 cup tightly packed lemon basil (or lime basil or Thai-basil leaves, or cilantro and parsley)
½ cup roasted Virginia peanuts (preferably unsalted)
¼ cup fresh green moderately hot chili peppers (like Serrano or Jalapeno), stem end removed, and roughly chopped
1 clove fresh plump garlic (green germ removed if any)
1 piece of fresh plump ginger root, the size of your thumbnail, peeled and sliced (if using baby ginger, no need to peel)
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (or peanut oil)

Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Process until smooth, adding olive oil through the feeder tube until it reaches a consistency you like. Scrape bowl down as needed. Don’t over process: You want to see bits of pieces all the different ingredients.

As with all dishes made with basil, the part exposed to air will darken as basil oxidizes. Keep refrigerated for up to a week, under a thin layer of oil.

Locavore log: basil, peanuts, chiles, garlic, ginger

Recipe originally published in Food-shed magazine, Fall 2012.