Posts Tagged gluten free pesto

It’s Easy Being Green!

There are many ways we can each make a difference in taking care of Mother Earth.  One of which is buying naturally gluten-free fruits and veggies as close to your home as possible.  Shopping for gluten-free produce is easy!

gluten free

Join a CSA.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In a CSA, people in the community pay a local farmer a set fee for a “share” of their crops during the growing season.  Typically from June until October, members pick up their weekly allotment of freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

Visit your local farm stand or farmer’s market.  I love stopping by the farm stand and picking up ingredients for that evening’s dinner.  During one “veggie run”, I asked the farm stand owner for lettuce.  Much to my amazement, he promptly dug up two heads of lettuce from his crops.  You can’t get any fresher than that!

Grow your own garden.  Whether you try your hand at container gardening or have a patch of land you can cultivate, growing your own can be a fun and satisfying activity!  Crops such as zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, and peppers are a great starting point for beginner gardeners.

What to do with all of this fabulous local gluten-free produce?  Here are a few seasonal recipes to enjoy!

Tomato, Watermelon and Mint Salad

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use a combination of red and yellow tomatoes)
4 cups of watermelon balls
½ cup chopped fresh mint
4 teaspoons lime juice
Dash of salt

Combine all ingredients and toss gently.

Homemade Basil Pesto

3 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of peeled garlic
1/3 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts (toast in a small pan over low heat till golden brown in color)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of water

In a food processor, puree all the ingredients listed above until combined. Taste and make adjustments as needed (I sometimes add a bit more basil or cheese).

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup sugar (I used demerara raw cane sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, canola oil, agave nectar, sugar, and vanilla extract. Shred zucchini and place in a clean dishtowel. Use the dishtowel to wring out excess water (this will help prevent your bread from becoming too mushy). Stir in shredded zucchini into mixing bowl. Using a sifter, sift brown rice, millet, sorghum, and potato starch flours as well as baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Add into mixing bowl. Stir until combined and then fold in mini-chocolate chips.

Divide batter into four mini-loaf pans. Bake 25 – 30 minutes (until tester inserted in the center comes out clean).

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Can An Irish Girl Make Good Pesto?

By heritage, I’m an “Irish Girl” who reluctantly grew up on meat, potatoes, irish stew, and (gag) turnips. Not my personal idea of a good time. I used to like Lucky Charms (that counts, right?!) but, alas, they’re not gluten free. I so happen to have a great fondness for Italian food!!!

Recently I decided to make good use of the basil from my herb garden.  I’m impressed — this plucky basil is holding its own amongst the mint for my mojitos.  I reside here in the great “Garden State”.  For those of you who don’t know, that’s New Jersey. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you — I actually typed New Jersey :) I live in Southern New Jersey, which is probably the most underdeveloped in all the state (read – there is a little bit of land left that is not taken by housing, strip malls, etc).  In fact, New Jersey is one of the top producers of blueberries, cranberries, and peaches.  Oh, and Sopranos fans.

But “Fuhgetabout” the agricultural lesson for today, on to more important things… FOOD!  In preparation for dinner, I picked up some of the first “Jersey Tomatoes” at our local farm stand.  I then stopped by the Italian Market for some smoked buffalo mozzarella and roasted red peppers.  Back home, I dusted off my Cuisinart Chopper Thingy (yes, that’s what I call it), and started on the pesto.  This pesto is lighter in taste than your traditional pesto as I used lemon juice.  Not to toot my own horn (toot toot!), but the pesto tasted delicious with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and red peppers.  What an easy summertime meal!

Homemade Pesto

3 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of peeled garlic
1/3 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts (toast in a small pan over low heat till golden brown in color)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of water

In a food processor, puree all the ingredients listed above until combined. Taste and make adjustments as needed (I sometimes need to add a bit more basil or cheese).

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Roasted Red Pepper “Salad”

Two to three medium tomatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 8 ounce ball of smoked buffalo mozzarella
1 12 ounce jar of marinated roasted red peppers (these were in olive oil & had garlic cloves — I drained mine)
A few basil leaves for garnish

On a platter, alternate sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.  Where there is space, place your roasted red peppers.  Drizzle a small portion of extra virgin olive oil on top of the tomatoes, mozzarella, and red peppers.  Next, spoon the homemade pesto over all of the ingredients.  Garnish with a few basil leaves and enjoy!

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