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Cynthia Finnemore Simonds' fresh pestos

4:34 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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CYNTHIA FINNEMORE SIMONDS

Cynthia Finnemore Simonds is the author of several cookbooks, including Fresh Maine Salads, Superb Maine Soups and Delicious Maine Desserts.

To check out Cynthia's food blog, click here: CYNTHIA FINNEMORE SIMONDS

Gremolata
This is one of the most brilliantly simple, delicious last-minute additions to sauté dishes, soups and sauces.
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
Chop all together. Stir into or sprinkle onto your favorite dishes.

Basil Garlic Scape Pesto
Make this pesto using the freshest ingredients for a spectacular burst of flavor. If you are watching calories you can substitute chicken broth for the olive oil. Toss with pasta warm or cold for a fantastic dish, mix with olive oil to marinate mozzarella or add just a little extra oil and use the mixture for dipping crusty bread at the table.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
12 garlic scapes, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flax seeds, chia seeds, pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine basil, scapes, garlic, cheese and seeds or nuts in a food processor. Process to blend. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and process to the desired consistency. Makes about 11/2 cups.

Rosemary Pesto
Great on lamb and buffalo this pesto is robust and flavorful. Mix it into cream cheese, spread on halves of crusty bread and broil until bubbly to serve alongside your burgers this summer.
1/2 cup (packed) parsley leaves and stems
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary plus rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves
4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Combine parsley, rosemary, garlic, and cheese in a food processor. Process to mix. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and process to the desired consistency. Makes about 1 cup.

Sage Pesto
Excellent tucked under the skin of chicken breasts or mixed with pine nuts and fresh bread crumbs as stuffing for pork chops.
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine sage, parsley, garlic, nuts and cheese in a food processor. Process to mix. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and process to the desired consistency. Makes about 1 cup.

Fresh Pea and Chive Hummus
2 cloves garlic- peeled
2 T fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
2 c fresh peas, blanched
½ c chopped fresh chives
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t Cholula chili sauce
In the bowl of a food processor, place the crushed cloves of garlic and lemon or lime juice. Pulse until the garlic is minced.
Add the peas, cumin, salt, cayenne and cholula.
Process until smooth, scraping down the sides often to incorporate all of the peas. Add a Tablespoon or two of the cooking liquid if necessary to make a smooth paste. Adjust the cayenne pepper and salt to your taste. Serve with pita triangles, crudite (celery stalk pieces and baby carrots are great), and/or chunks of crusty whole grain bread.

Herb Butter
Simple and flavorful, use this herb butter in place of regular butter at the table or in your favorite savory recipe.
1 cup unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons pesto or fresh chopped herbs
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon hot pepper sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
With a spoon, blend herbs into softened butter. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to mingle. Taste the next day. Add more herbs for additional flavor. Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 1/4 cups

Corn on the Cob with Herbed Mayo, Chive Blossoms and Crumbled Feta
Brush warm corn on the cob with herbed mayo and roll in finely crumbled feta for a side dish at your next picnic.
You'll need:
Cooked corn on the cob
About 2 Tablespoons Crumbled feta cheese per ear of corn
2 chive blossoms or nasturtium flowers per ear, gently pulled apart and stirred into the feta
Herbed Mayo
Makes enough for a dozen ears of corn
1 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons pesto or 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped herbs
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoons hot pepper sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
In a small mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, pesto or herbs, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper- season to your liking. Use immediately or refrigerate overnight for up to three days. Stir well before serving. Makes 1 1/4 cups

Kitchen Garden Herbed Cheese Spread
This creamy spread is wonderful on bagels, crusty bread, or on top of a warm piece of grilled steak. Herbed cheese is especially good when you pick the herbs fresh from your garden or from your local farm stand. One of the freshest cheeses we have here in Maine comes from the delectable chevre producers. Using this in combination with Neufchatel cheese produces a delicious lower fat spread- you'll never miss those calories!
8 oz Neufchatel cheese or regular cream cheese
8 oz plain chevre- I love Appleton Creamery
1T chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 c fresh minced parsley
1/4 c fresh minced chives
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t salt
Blend all together until smooth. Chill. This is better the day after it's made so the flavors can dance around a bit. If you have an herb garden and want to add oregano, thyme, marjoram, or sage, supplement the herbs to your taste.

Orange Mint Pesto
This bright fresh pesto is lovely on pasta, mixed with sour cream as a dip for cooked tortellini, swirled into mascarpone cheese for a cracker spread or even mixed with ½ c powdered sugar and whipped cream to top a fruit tarte.
1 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup flax seeds, pine nuts or walnuts
zest and juice of one orange
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch sea salt and white pepper
Combine mint, parsley, flax or nuts, and orange zest in a food processor. Process to mix. With the motor running, slowly add the orange juice and olive oil, season to taste with salt and white pepper and process to the desired consistency. Makes about 1 cup.

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