When I think of pesto, a variety of pasta dishes immediately come to mind, but this week, I wanted to push outside the box. This recipe offers a refreshing take on cooking with pesto that embraces all of its delicious qualities while inspiring a new approach, and it includes white beans, which I’m just crazy about. And it provides the perfect opportunity to dig into the delicious pesto in your shares this week, compliments of a Main Street Farms and Crooked Carrot collaboration! Pesto and White Bean Soup Inspired by the Food Network Kitchen Makes 6 servings Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp. Olive Oil 1 small Onion, diced 4-6 cloves of Garlic, sliced 1 bunch Kale, stems removed and leaves torn into chunks – or – 1 bag Baby Spinach pinch of Red Pepper Flakes 2 (15 oz.) cans Cannellini Beans, drained – or 3 cups cooked Cannellini Beans 1 cup Water 3 tbsp. Pesto 2 tbsp. Grated Parmesan 3 cups Chicken Broth 1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers, diced 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped (Optional) Salt and Pepper to taste Instructions: Heat oil in stock pot over medium low heat. Sauté Onions until soft and translucent. Add Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes. Sauté until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Add Cannellini Beans and Water and simmer until thick, about 8 minutes. Stir in Pesto and Grated Parmesan Add Chicken Broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add Kale or Spinach and mix until just begins to wilt the leaves. Stir in Roasted Red Peppers and Olives. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve hot with fresh, crusty bread. Image courtesy of: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pesto-bean-soup-recipe.html.
‘Tis the season when zucchini grows giant overnight. This recipe is quick and easy, perfect for a family or easily increased for a large group gathering. Grilled Zuke & Herby Quinoa by Abigail Henson, Founder of LoFo* Makes 6 servings. Ingredients: 1 large Zucchini 6 Rainbow Chard Stems 1 cup Quinoa, uncooked 1/4 cup White Vinegar 2 tbsp. Sugar 1 tbsp. Kosher Salt 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta (Omit this step for a 100% vegan recipe!) 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped 1 handful of your choice of Fresh Herbs (I like mine chock-full of Basil, Mint, Parsley, Dill, & Sage.) Salt and Pepper to taste 1 Lemon, juiced Instructions: STEP ONE: Quick-pickle your Chard stems. It is absolutely tragic when I see someone toss the stems of a rainbow chard- they are so crisp and delicious, and the splash of color they add to any dish is worth keeping them around. This is an easy way to jazz them up. They will start to take the brine in within 30 minutes, for a quick-pickle fix. Chop at the nape of the leaf of 6 Rainbow Chard leaves, trimming the ragged edges where they were connected to the main plant. Slice each stem 2-3 times length-wise, and then cut across the width by the ¼ inch to make tiny cubes. In a small bowl, mix Vinegar, Salt, and Sugar and stir. Place Chard cubes in the brine and let rest. STEP TWO: Cook your Quinoa. I like to cook a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week so that I can speckle it into my meals throughout the weekdays without much hassle. Place Quinoa in a large bowl and submerge it in water, gently swirling it around. Strain in a fine mesh strainer and add to a medium pot. Add 2 cups of Water and a teaspoon of Salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat, and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let let rest for 5 minutes before removing the cover to fluff. STEP THREE: Grill your Zuke. While your Quinoa is cooking, slice your Zucchini into 4 sections, then cut each section in half. Each section will act as one serving. Rub Zucchini with Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put seed side down on grill. Cover grill and let cook for 10-15 minutes, until char lines have appear and pieces are fork-tender. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly. STEP FOUR: Fill your Zuke. Taking the spoon down the center of the Zucchini gently remove the seeds and transfer them into a sauté pan. Combine cooked Quinoa and chopped Herbs. Add a drizzle of Olive Oil and Lemon Juice to the quinoa mixture. On medium heat, lightly toss all ingredients in pan. Transfer filling from pan into Zucchini boats. Top with chopped Kalamata Olives and crumbled Feta Cheese. Strain Rainbow Chard stems from the pickling liquid and sprinkle over Zucchini boats like it’s party time! Give thanks to the beautiful bounty you are about to receive, go forth, and eat local! *ABIGAIL HENSON is the Founder of LoFo, a company that specializes in conscious cuisine and provides catering, events, and education.