Monday, June 29, 2015

Roasted Beet Pesto Pizza

Beets and I have a long and sordid history.  I will not go into details, but let's just say that though I don't mind the taste of beets, that is about all on which we agree.  In fact, I have declared myself "beet sensitive" without going to the point of saying that I am allergic.  And yet, I keep trying.  I want to like beets, and I want them to like me.  I guess I am stubborn like that.

I have actually requested substitutions for beets with my CSA, but recently there was a mistake and I received beets in my produce bag.  I decided that it was an opportunity to forge ahead with my relationship and give it another go.  I came across this beet pesto recipe and the accompanying pizza recipe that used it and I decided that pizza may just be our common ground.  I was so right.

The pesto appealed to me because the beets are roasted first and then combined with many other yummy ingredients.  When you then put it on naan flatbread and top it with mozarella, spinach (or kale), and goat cheese?  Mmmmm...a match made in heaven.  And for the record, my kids couldn't get enough of this and my mom, an avid beet hater, loved it, too!


  • 1 cup red beets, chopped and roasted (about 1 medium beet) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
  • ½ cup walnuts, roasted 
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 
  • ½ cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Naan bread
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • spinach or kale
  • Goat cheese
  • Pesto from above

For the pesto:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Wash and scrub the beet and pat it dry. Chop it into ½” cubes and place it on a sheet of foil. Wrap the chopped beet in foil, making a foil packet. Place the packet on a baking sheet. 
  3. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes, or until beets are soft and juices are seeping out. Allow beets to cool completely. (I did this the day before I made the pesto, while I was making another meal.)
  4. Add all ingredients except for the oil to a food processor or blender and pulse several times. 
  5. Leaving the food processor (or blender) running, slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are well combined. If the pesto is too thick for your blender to process, add a small amount of water until desired consistency is reached 
For the pizza:
  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Spread the pesto on the Naan bread or pizza crust.  Top with Mozzarella, spinach, and goat cheese.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted appropriately.

Difficulty: easy, though a touch time-consuming if you don't plan ahead
Time: Pesto - Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 50 minutes (there is also cooling time involved); Pizza - Prep Time: 2 minutes, Cook Time: 10-15

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marinated Kale Salad

My husband and I devoured this salad at a recent banquet. We even had a conversation about the salad with our table mates. I emailed the host on the drive home requesting this recipe.

The first time I made it I skimped on the infused vinegar and just used what I had at home; it was good, but when made as directed, it is amazing.  Kale is usually a product in my CSA.  I have used it for smoothies, baked chips, salads, and sauteed. This is by far my favorite use of kale.


I forgot the Craisins.

  • 1/3 cup fig infused vinegar
  • 1/6 cup blood orange olive oil

  • 1 bunch chopped kale
  • 2/3 of a can of Mandarin oranges, reserve 3 T juice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Craisins, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Marinate kale in dressing overnight. If possible, shake container a few times.
  2. Top with oranges, juice, Craisins, Feta cheese, and pine nuts.
  3. Add salt and pepper if necessary. 

TIME: 15 minutes, but needs to marinate overnight.
SOURCE: a friend from church

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beef Barley Soup (Slow Cooker)

So as June hits, we aren't generally thinking about soups, but considering that many people I know turned their furnaces on last night due to the unseasonably cold temperatures, maybe soup isn't such a bad idea.  And honestly, if you are a person who tends to put the slow cooker away for the summer, you may want to reconsider.  Load it up in the morning then play outside, go to the park, head to the pool, take a bike ride, go shopping...and when you return, dinner will be waiting for you without having to heat up the kitchen!

This recipe is a delicious, hearty one.  It will be the first thing I make when I get leeks in my CSA this summer.  If you have never cooked with leeks, now is the time...they have a wonderful mild flavor that you will love and are a perfect complement to the other flavors in this recipe.

  • 1 1/2 lb lean beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 leek (white and pale green parts), halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups beef broth (since a carton generally has 4 cups, I use a carton plus 1 cup water and 1 bullion cube)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 3/4 cup medium barley, rinsed
  1. Season beef with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker.  Add carrots, onion, mushrooms, leek, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, bay leaf and beef broth.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  2. Stir in thawed mixed vegetables and barley.  Cover and continue cooking on LOW 1-2 hours or until beef is fork-tender and barley is cooked.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

Difficulty: easy
Time: 15 minutes prep, 7-8 hours cook time.
Source: Adapted from The Slow Cooker Bible, a Crock Pot (R) book