[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
By most people’s standards, I was a tomboynerdgoody two shoes pretty good kid growning up. (Well, there was that one time my college room mate and I put laundry soap in the school fountain. . . but we were unduly influenced by every coming-of-age movie from the previous four decades, so it wasn’t really our fault). Still, despite the fact that my sisters and I never did drugs, drove responsibly, and never acquired a criminal record, my dad was fond of ranting and railing about how tough it was to live with four women, being the only male in the household (technically, our dog was male, but after the vet had a go at him, he no longer really counted).
The one thing that set my dad off more than anything else was his idea of wastefulness. Why did we require seventeen tissues to remove our makeup, invariably clogging the toilet? Why couldn’t we use one, like he did? Why couldn’t we manage with just two pairs of shoes (as he did), instead of dozens, most of which we never wore? (Really, Dad, c’mon. Duh.). Why did we leave every light on the main floor blaring like a New York office tower at midnight, even though we’d left the rooms? (Frequently, I’d find myself already curled on the couch downstairs, ensconced in the green-and-rust hand-crocheted quilt my mom had made, all ready to watch my favorite show–and would cringe at the sound of my dad’s muffled cursing as he stomped overhead, striding from room to room flicking off the lights).
Given my background, it seems I’ve acquired my parsimoniousfrugalthrifty economical nature quite honestly. If I can make it myself, do it myself, refurbish it myself, grow it myself or in some other way re-create it myself, I will. In my 30s, I sewed all my own clothes; even before the ACD, I cooked just about everything from scratch; when we first got The Girls, I made all their food and treats myself (a pox on my lack of time these days!), and the HH and I spent two entire weekends in our previous house painting all the walls, then adding texture with sponges, feathers, newspapers and crinkled garbage bags because I thought it was cheaper more fun than wallpaper. Basically, I stopped just short of cutting open the toothpaste tube and scraping out the dregs of toothpaste, as I’d read about in the original Tightwad Gazette (though I’m still kind of intrigued by the idea).
So when I bought my first sugar pumpkin (ever!) last week, then roasted it and cut it open to scoop out the softened flesh, my first thought was, “how can I waste these perfectly good seeds?” What I decided instead was to wash them, pick off the stringy bits (or most of them, anyway), toss them in a mixture of mild curry powder, cinnamon and stevia and roast them for a sweet take on the usual roasted pumpkin seeds. With a classic sweet-and-salty flavor profile and the added dimension of warming spices, the seeds were more reminiscent of salted caramel than spicy curry. I literally couldn’t stop eating them.
As it turns out, roasting the seeds after they’d already been baked inside the squash resulted in lighter, crispier kernels, too. (In her post yesterday, Angela suggested boiling the raw seeds before roasting them to achieve the same crispy result. To my mind, baking them in the moist cavity of the pumpkin itself accomplishes the same effect–either way, the perfect roasted seed!).
Another bonus from pumpkin seeds is their super-powered nutritional profile. Apart from delivering a great dose of zinc, good for anyone’s immunity (and particularly healthful for the male prostate gland), pumpkin seeds offer healthy oils, fiber, and anti-parasitic properties (key benefits for those of us on the anti-candida warpath).
My thrifty side loved using up all the consumable parts of the pumpkin. My healthy side loved having a snack that’s free from all the unsavory ingredients you get with most pre-packaged roasted seeds. And my gourmand side just loved eating them.
You could actually use seeds from just about any winter squash for this recipe, though pumpkinseeds tend to have just the right size and texture for roasting and snacking. I’ve also enjoyed roasted seeds from butternut and acorn squashes, though they’re a bit smaller.
Seeds from one baked sugar pumpkin, washed well, fibers removed and drained (see instructions below)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) your favorite nut oil (I used macadamia; almond or walnut would be divine, too)
1 tsp (5 ml) mild curry powder
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/8-1/2 tsp (..5-2.5 ml) fine sea salt, to your taste
1/16-1/8 tsp (.25-.5 ml) pure stevia powder, to your taste
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Line a large cookie sheet or pan (large enough to hold the pumpkin) with parchment.
Bake the pumpkin, whole and untouched, in the preheated oven until it is very soft when tested with a knife, 40-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting in half and scooping out the seeds (save the flesh for other uses).
Lower the oven to 325F (170C). Place a new piece of parchment on the cookie sheet, or spray with nonstick spray.
To clean the seeds, first allow the pumpkin to cool somewhat; next, scoop the moist seeds (along with the inner strings and goo) into a fine sieve. Place under running water, then swish around with your hand until the strings and goo are dislodged and flushed through the sieve. I find that the seeds clean up fairly easily this way; I don’t worry if a tiny thread or two still clings to one or two seeds as you’ll notice in the close-up photo, above).
Place the clean seeds in a deep medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Stir vigorously with a tablespoon until all the seeds are well coated with the oil-spice-stevia mixture.
Spread the seeds out on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are dry and just beginning to brown lightly. Remove from oven and cool completely before eating (consume with the skins on for full flavor and health benefits). Makes 2-4 servings. Will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to a week (though mine have never lasted that long).
A very heartfelt “THANK YOU” to everyone who left birthday wishes on Facebook, twitter, and via email! I loved hearing from all of you, and your comments and good wishes made this birthday one of the best ever. So thanks, everyone, for making my day that much brighter!
[Okay, so maybe mine look more like sausages than cigars. . . but they still tasted great!]
My, it has been a while since I posted a recipe on this site! And where the heck have I been for the past week or so, you ask? Imagine this scene:
Evening. Ricki is at home, sitting in front of the computer in her PJs, a cup of steaming herbal tea by her side. She is focused on her computer screen, when the phone rings. She grabs the receiver.
Ricki [slightly distracted by the blog she's reading]: Hello?
Babe: Okay, so here’s the story: my job is sending me to New York for 2 days, and I have a free hotel room to share. It happens to fall on your birthday. Are you interested in meeting me there? We could have dinner, see a couple of plays, you’d have the daytime to yourself. . . what do you think? [Pause]. Ric? Are you still there?
Ricki [hyperventilating]: ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Are you–KIDDING. ME–?? Whoo hoo! Whoopee! Yahoo! Yayyyy! New York! New York! NYC!! The Big Apple! The City of Light! The—
Babe: So do I take that as a “yes”?
And that, dear readers, is how I ended up spending my birthday last week in New York City, at this hotel. . . for free. (Well, okay, the airfare and meals weren’t free, but let’s not nitpick).
It had been quite a while since I last visited NYC, and I was just as enchanted this time round. Ah, New York, city of Broadway and global business, offering up a panoply of cultures and cuisines from at least fifty countries in a two-block span.
New York, where everyone–whether sporting runners or stilettoes–walks pretty much everywhere (apparently, the average New Yorker walks 5 miles a day). Where taxis will slow down, ask where you’re going, assess the income potential and then take off again if it’s not worth their economic while.
New York, where sleepy eyed denizens shuffle along the early morning streets with their dogs on plaid leather leashes, or sporting doggie booties, or doggie Burberrys for their morning walk, stooping and scooping as the canines do their business wherever they can, which usually means right on the concrete sidewalks (no green to be found for blocks at a time); where locals are so friendly that they’ll not only answer your touristy questions, but will also walk two blocks out of their way to lead you to your destination, advising you as you go that it’s pronounced “HOW-ston,” not “HEW-ston” so you won’t distinguish yourself as a redneck among the locals.
New York, where every attire you can think of graces the crowded streets in a welter of color and texture, highlighted by the current uniform du jour (riding boots, patterned tights, mini skirt or long sweater). Where celebrities can dine unaccosted at public restaurants with nary a glance from passing citizenry.
New York, where Times Square at midnight shines brighter than the blazing sun of noon; where a (mediocre) agave-sweetened, gluten-free cupcake can sell out at $4.50 a pop; where street buskers draw a crowd in the middle of lunch hour; where the energy is as palpable as a heavy fog as you stroll along Broadway, or Madison Avenue, or 47th Street–or just about anywhere, really.
Yep, that was New York for me this past week. New York, where I walked more in 1-1/2 days that I probably had in the previous week, where I indulged my inner glutton with abandon and still lost 2 pounds at the end of it.
All that–and being able to meet up with two of my favorite bloggers in less than two days!
Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, observe this:
Sorry for the blur (squint really hard and you can almost make it out). . . that’s T.R. Knight and me! (Okay, so I didn’t know who T.R. Knight was before I got him to sign my Playbill and take a photo after Babe and I watched him on Broadway in David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater. But apparently, he was quite the little heart-throb on Grey’s Anatomy.)
And the co-star of Mamet’s play, here:
["Make it so!"]
Yes, it’s Jean Luc Picard himself, Captain of the Enterprise–aka Patrick Stewart! As a die-hard Star Trek fan, I was beyond thrilled to snag an autograph and snap this pic as he exited the theater. I am such a groupie!
That same evening, my friend Babe and I dined at Agra in celebration of the day of my birth. During the day, I wandered on my own and managed to trek to the Upper West Side, Columbus Circle and a new Whole Foods; SOHO; the Fashion District (had to check out the Manhattan Mall); Central Park; along with expeditions along Madison Avenue, Lexington, Park Avenue, and Times Square. Not bad for 36 hours!
But two high points of the visit, as I mentioned above, were meeting in person with a couple of fellow bloggers.
Lindsay of Happy Herbivore fame and I met up for a vegan breakfast. Lindsay’s blog is full of approachable fat-free recipes (some of which will appear in her upcoming cookbook). She’s also one of the best tweeters in twitterdom! We had planned to eat at Teany’s, but due to a scheduling glitch found it closed when we arrived. No matter: Whole Foods was a fine replacement instead.
After reading Lindsay’s blog for almost 3 years now, I felt as if I were greeting an old friend as we hugged hello. Our lively chatter was punctuated by giggles and guffaws as we gabbed about blogging (of course!), healthy eating, social media, and moving to exotic locales (hope the packing is going well, Lindsay!). Before I knew it, we’d spent over 2 hours together and it was time for me to head out. Lindsay was also kind enough to lead me to BabyCakes (a place I’ve been dying to visit since I first read about them in 2004 or so) and then guided me through the New York subway (a trip I am quite certain I would not have taken without her). Thanks for your vitality, your openness and your humor, Lindsay! (And I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me to snap a photo of us together–I am so sorry!).
[Does this photo look familiar? Then you must also have read Gena's post. . . thanks for the photo, Gena! ]
The following day, I was equally delighted to meet up with Gena of Choosing Raw for lunch at Bonobos, one of several raw food establishments in the city. Although I had been dreaming about a meal at Pure Food and Wine for ages, after examining the menus of both places, I knew that Bonobos was the better choice for me. And it was: Gena and I began by taking full advantage of the free samples on the counter. I loved the nori “cigars” (tightly wrapped nori rolls filled with nut or seed pâté, twisted at the ends to resemble cigars) and practically drenched myself downing one too many of the warm coconut chai drinks and incredible raw soups.
For lunch, I enjoyed sushi rolls while Gena feasted on soup and salad. I’ve been a huge fan of Gena’s blog, Choosing Raw, since she began writing it a few years ago. And Gena is a true inspiration for many with her engaging, welcoming and articulate approach to gaining and maintaining good health. Her affability shines through whether she’s posting about raw versus cooked foods, explaining why we shouldn’t use labels to describe our eating habits, considering whether agave nectar is friend or foe, or sharing some of her incredible recipes (I mean, who hasn’t tried Gena’s chocomole or banana soft serve?) With a few years of blog reading, comments, and emails behind us, we dove right in and started chattering like two teenagers, on topics as diverse as blogging (of course!), conferences, veganism, twitter, relationships, and our two cities. Before we knew it, her lunch hour was over and she had to return to work. Thanks so much, Gena, for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet up!
And while it was over all too quickly, I couldn’t have had a better birthday gift than my visit to the Big Apple. The only downside was that the HH couldn’t be there with me (darned job!), but we’ll be celebrating together here at home.
So long, New York, and thanks for the memories. . . . I won’t wait so long to return next time.
These are my take on the filled nori cigars that Gena and I sampled at Bonobos. The pumpkinseed filling, as I remembered it, was tangy with lemon, with just a hint of fresh parsley. If you have a sushi mat, you can probably make them much thinner than mine (as they were meant to be), but even if they’re a bit thick, they’re still delightful. I’d also recommend allowing the cigars to sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, uncovered, to allow the nori sheet to firm up a bit for easier slicing.
1/2 cup (70 g) raw pumpkin seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 ml) light miso
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw cashews
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp (5 ml) finely ground flax seeds
salt and pepper to taste
2 nori sheets (for sushi)
In a medium-sized bowl, cover the pumpkin seeds with water. Allow to soak at room temperature for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Drain well.
Place the seeds and remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a thick paste. Add water only if necessary to create a spreadable pâté; you don’t want it too watery (a mistake I made with my filling), or the rolls will be too thick.
Place one nori sheet on a cutting board or clean countertop and spread with half the filling, leaving a 1/2 inch (1 cm) border on both longer sides and one shorter side. Starting with the short side with no border next to you, roll toward the other short side as tightly as you can. When you reach the edge, moisten it with water and seal across the “cigar,” then twist each end to seal those as well. Repeate with second nori sheet and filling. Cut into 8-10 pieces each. Makes 2-3 servings. Best served fresh.
Can it be that spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence? Tentative buds peek from beneath the scraggy clay, ennervated blades of grass sun themselves daily, waiting to transform from brittle, strawlike shoots to brilliant green fringes undulating in tranquil breezes. The sun is finally blazing overhead, causing pedestrians to peel off successive layers of clothing, first hat, then gloves, then scarf, then jacket as they stroll along, like human illustrations of the the classic Aesop fable.
Bah, spring, I say. I know; you’d think I’d be ecstatic, wouldn’t you? After all, I consider myself the unrivalled Queen of Wrath Against Winter. In contrast to the frozen, snowy season, spring is a harbinger of new life. Flowers. Gurgling streams. Picnics in the park and “Paris in the-the.” The season premiere of Rescue Me. And yet, and yet. . . despite all this, spring has made me grumpy. Why?
Well, this might give you an idea:
Spring, circa 1960s:
It’s late March, and Ricki is jumping with excitement. Spring means it’s time for the annual visit to Uncle L (not to be confused with Uncle S of the Planters Peanuts jar–no fun!) over at the coat factory. Uncle L worked in the fashion district of Montreal, and once a year, Ricki’s mum took her and her two sisters to the factory so they could choose a new spring jacket–at wholesale prices!
What could be better? A two-hour bus ride to the mysterious, exotic East End of Montreal (the all-Francophone area, into which they never ventured otherwise); where everything was interesting and new, from the dark plumes of smoke that snaked across the sky from factory chimneys to the stray newspapers and empty plastic bags that swished across the neglected streets to the staccato joual that echoed down the alleys as they drove by. All of it was fun and exhilarating–and best of all, it culminated in a new coat! Whee!
Spring, Circa 1980s:
Ricki and her two best friends from CEGEP are excited. March means they’re going to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break–their first vacation on their own and without parents!
What could be better? A shared hotel room in a beachside hotel. Six days sunning on the sand, lounge chairs and drinks by the cabana, three meals a day in restaurants. Evenings clearing the sand out of your swimsuit, getting gussied up and meeting scores of other twenty-somethings at bars and clubs. All of it was fun and exhilarating–and best of all, it culminated in a shopping spree (in American shopping malls, no less, with all those great brands we can’t get at home!) Wheeee!
Spring, Circa March 22, 2009, 4:15 PM:
Spring means taxes. What could be worse?
Grumbling while I gather my scattered paperwork from throughout the year, spend three hours organizing it into neat little piles across the kitchen table, then three more hours with a pad of paper and calculator, tallying up the numbers again and again and again, just to be sure. . . Whoah.
Spring means mud. Lots and lots of mud. What could be worse?
Wiping eight muddy paws, two muddy bellies and an occasional muddy chest two or three times a day over the course of the spring season (a locker room post-football game on a rainy day doesn’t even begin to compete with these muddy canine torsos). Walking dogs in springtime. . . .Whoah.
["Mum, to be fair, we really don't have a choice about the fur on the belly thing. . . unlike Dad, for instance."]
Spring means a yard that resembles, just a little too close for comfort, that mountainous pile of garbage and muck that Roy builds in his kitchen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Could it be any worse?
After all the snow and ice have melted, the ground underneath has heaved and repositioned itself, and the previously unmowed grass has wilted and yellowed, falling in heaps and whorls like matted hair shaved from an unkempt Goldendoodle (or was that an unkempt Joaquin Phoenix?)–what’s left is a sodden, muddy, tawny and gray yard that serves little purpose other than as bathroom for your dogs (see “Spring means mud,” above)–and awaits hours of your physical labor to clean it up and make it presentable. Whoah.
Am I being a tad too negative? Perhaps. After all, taxes mean I actually have a job (something for which I’m extremely grateful in these hard times). And muddy paws means I have two furry, exuberant Girls to brighten my every day. A yard means I can finally, finally learn how to garden (remember last year’s monstrous mint fiasco?).
And so, as an attempt to bridge the gap between winter and spring, I decided to make this salad.
This is a recipe I created several years ago for a cooking class entitled, “Anti Candida Feast” (a rather ambitious title, I think now). At the time, I wasn’t following the ACD myself, but had been asked by a few previous participants for an ACD-friendly menu. And while I adore juiced beets (my favorite combo is beet, carrot, and ginger juice), I’ve never been a fan of raw beets in any other context. I’ve always thought of beets as more of a winter veggie, to be roasted or boiled into soup. This salad seemed the perfect means to combine the spirit of spring (in a raw dish) with these lovely crimson roots.
With its emphasis on beets, carrots and cilantro, I thought it would be the perfect submission to Weekend Herb Blogging, the weekly event started by Kalyn and now run by Haalo. This week’s host is Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds.
When I told the HH I was making a raw beet and carrot salad for dinner, his response was, “Blecccchhhh. Beets taste like dirt.”
“But they’re good for your blood,” I countered.
“Don’t care,” he said. “Dirt.”
“But they cleanse the liver!”
“My liver is clean enough.”
“But” (and here, I admit I was reaching a bit)–”they can help test your transit time!”
“Transit time?? You mean, like, how long it takes the beets to go in one end and come out the oth—”
“Okay, now I really don’t want to eat those beets.”
I mixed up the salad anyway, planning to consume it on my own. But something about the vibrant colors, the springlike fuscia and orange, the heady aroma of lime and cilantro in combination, persuaded him to take a bite. And in the end, he loved it!
“This doesn’t taste like beets at all,” he said, chewing on a mouthful of beets.
Seeing him devour that plate of salad, I felt happy to welcome the spring. Exhilarated, even.
[PS You've still got nine days to enter the Maple Syrup and Chocolate Cake Giveaway! Click here for details.]
This vibrant, refreshing salad combines the brisk tang of lime with the natural sweetness of beets and carrots. Crunchy pecans and pumpkinseeds offer textural contrast and a protein boost. A great spring salad!
1 large beet, peeled (it should be fresh and firm)
2 large carrots, peeled
1/2 cup (50 g) chopped pecans, lightly toasted
1/4 cup (35 g) pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped cilantro or parsley
pinch fine sea salt
Using the medium grater on a food processor, mandolin, or hand grater, grate the beets and carrots and place in a medium bowl with the nuts and the seeds. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cilantro and salt. Pour over the beet-carrot mixture and toss to coat everything well. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Will keep, refrigerated, for 2 days.
Anti-candida variation: use an ACD friendly nut instead of the pecans (I used chopped Brazil nuts in the pictured salad, above).
This past weekend, I took the train to Montreal to visit with the CFO (unfortunately, the HH stayed at home on dog duty, as our regular doggie daycare was closed and it was too late to find an alternative). Just before I left, though, I was delighted to learn that I’d been awarded the “E for Excellence” award by Misty over at Mischief blog! Misty is also the owner of 2 adorable dogs (check out their Halloween duds!) who often appear on her blog (plus lots of yummy food, of course). Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge this, Misty, as I ran off on Friday and just returned yesterday evening. It’s much appreciated and I’m so glad you think my blog is excellent! Thanks so much.
While lovely nonetheless, the visit was over in a flash, filled with a cocktail party, brunch with the family, a birthday lunch with friends, and a stroll through the area known as the Plateau (fascinating, isn’t it, how 90% of social activities revolve around food? Sorry, what’s that you say? What do you mean, it’s just me–??). Since my birthday (sort of) coincided with the CFO’s annual cocktail party, we combined celebrations. As the HH remarked before I left, this year I seem to be enjoying The Birthday That Wouldn’t End. But who am I to argue?
Let me tell you, that CFO sure knows how to throw a party! The menu featured several vegan options, as well as a few gluten-free choices (though, if I remember correctly, the two never overlapped in a single hors d’oeuvre). Still, there was plenty for me to eat and drink, such as tapenade-topped mini-toasts; an apple-pecan butter-cracker combo; crudités and spinach dip; thai rice salad with peppers, cilantro and mango; spanakopita; plus a few others I’ve forgotten (and don’t even get me started on the desserts). Saturday afternoon was reserved for a leisurely lunch with my old buddies Phil, Linda and Babe, and on Sunday morning, my family brunched at a restaurant I’d not heard of before, called Orange, where they offer the most astonishingly boundless bowls of steaming, perfectly creamy yet nubby oatmeal, capped with your choice of imaginative toppings, from fresh berries to cinnamon-apple pie filling to walnuts and coconut doused in maple syrup.
Still, it was good to be home. That final stretch of the journey always seems to elicit in me a certain psychic restlessness, the desire to stretch, stand up and stroll the length of car as the train approaches Toronto. No matter how many times I leave and return, I still experience that familiar ripple of excitement and anticipation, the tingle in the chest, when I first catch a glimpse of city life twinkling in the distance beyond the blanket of black outside the window. Slowly, the number of flickering lamps or silhouettes in apartment windows multiplies, then the glaring neon billboards make their appearance above highway overpasses, and cars’ flashing headlights join the symphony of movement and glitter. Before I know it we’re within reach of the CN tower and the station beneath the Royal York Hotel, the buzz of the downtown humming up through the rails. Toronto, with its denizens crowding the streets at 11:00 PM, knots of taxis and buses jammed in front of the station, the clang of the train and roar of the subway and yips emanating from staggering groups of twenty-somethings as they exit the bars after midnight. . . yep, it’s good to be home.
As it turned out, we didn’t ”do” Halloween this year. Due to both my absence and The Girls’ xenophobic reaction to strangers at the door (read: frenzied barking and growling, at a volume of around 120 decibels), the HH chose to forgo the treats. Still, like many of you, we do have a surfeit of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds left in the house. I remembered this recipe and thought it would be a perfect way to use the pepitas.
I call this mixture “pesto,” but it can also be used on its own as a spread for crackers or bread. In fact, the inspiration came shortly after I sampled roasted garlic for the first time and was immediately transported. As I recall, the HH and I were served an entire head of garlic once at a restaurant, the top sliced clean across and the pudgy exposed cloves baked to a rich, earthy mahogany, glistening with a sheen of olive oil. We squeezed the garlic from the papery casing like toothpaste from the tube, spreading the softened, caramelized pulp on fresh slices of bagette. It was heavenly, and we polished off the entire thing in minutes.
Garlic smell? Yes, heavenly. When baked, its scent is subdued, sweet, and alluring. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I use it as often as I can. In this pesto, the garlic adds richness and a smooth base for the grainy pumpkinseeds, contrasted perfectly with the cilantro and citrus tang of the lemon zest and juice. You can use this spread directly on crackers, as I like to do, or toss it with pasta (save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin it out a bit and create a slight creaminess to the mix). Or, hey–I bet it would even be great as a snack while you mull over some election results!
This dish is great for your heart, and also terrific for flu season: both garlic and pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants,and the pumpkinseeds contain zinc, essential for fighting viruses and bacteria.
1 whole bulb garlic (about 8-10 cloves)
4 T. (60 ml.) extra virgin olive oil, separated
1/2 cup (120 ml.) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), lightly roasted
3/4 cup (180 ml.) loosely packed cilantro or parsley, or a combination
2 T. (30 ml.) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 ml.) lemon zest
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves inside.Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil or in a garlic baker and drizzle with one tablespoon (15 ml.) of the olive oil.Wrap in foil or cover the baker and bake for about 40 minutes, until soft and dark golden. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor or blender, whir the pumpkin seeds, cilantro or parsley, lemon juice, zest, and remaining oil until almost smooth. Squeeze the garlic from the bottom toward the top so the cooked cloves are pushed out of the skin; add the garlic to the processor and blend again until combined.Season with salt and pepper to taste. Best served at room temperature. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about 1/2 cup.