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Homemade Easy Basil Walnut Pesto

Stashing containers of easy basil walnut pesto is the most squirrel-like getting-ready-for-winter thing I do. If our CSA farm share box comes with basil–I pull out the food processor and whip up a batch of pesto. It doesn’t take long–the work is in stripping the basil leaves off the stems. Once the pesto is made, I scrape it into small jars or plastic tubs and pop them into the freezer. Then, all winter long, if we want basil pesto for pasta or pizza or soup, we head to the freezer.

Easy Basil Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

We use basil walnut pesto as sauce on pasta for sure, but that’s not all. Winter soups love the extra flavor bump from a dollop of pesto. When a recipe calls for fresh herbs, in goes a tablespoon of basil pesto instead. Basil pesto spread over the dough is a great beginning for fabulous pizza. In the middle of winter, a dollop of garlicky basil walnut pesto brings a summer punch to most anything.
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All Red Potatoes and Breakfast for Dinner

Robbie's All Red Potatoes with Tofurky Sausage

Robbie’s All Red Potatoes with Tofurky Sausage

Last week, when I got home from work late one evening, my honey had breakfast for dinner waiting in the oven. All Red Potatoes with Tofurky Sausage, dribbled with creamy goat cheese, warm and waiting. All Reds aren’t ordinary red-skinned potatoes; they are all red, that is red both inside and out.
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Robbie’s Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

This is a recipe for cabbage coleslaw, but a story about tacos. Robbie’s fish tacos with cabbage slaw.

Last Saturday my niece Tricia married her sweetheart JP, at their friends’ gorgeous estate in the Malibu hills of Southern California. Everyone in my very extended family was there as witnesses to their union, plus 150 more guests.
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My Mom’s Potato Salad

There are a whole lot of potato salad recipes out there. Cookbooks and blogs and magazines and grandma’s 3 x 5-inch recipe cards–everyone’s got their favorite. Here’s how I make my mom’s tangy creamy totally satisfying potato salad–the way she taught me.

Mom knew that potatoes love salt and acidity. So she boiled the potatoes in amply salted water.  Then, while they were still warm, as soon as she could handle them without jumping from the hot steam, she cut them into cubes and tossed with vinaigrette dressing. Continue Reading…

Pan Bagnat and Cilantro Pesto

Here in Park City we have outdoor summer concerts several nights of the week.  Locals pack their picnics, from elaborate assemblies to ones just-picked-up at the Market. Wine and beer required. Me, I make a very special sandwich.

The last time I enjoyed one of those outdoor concerts, I made Pan Bagnat (pan ban-YAH) with cilantro pesto. Pan bagnat refers to a sturdy, packable sandwich popular in Southern France. I spread my hollowed out baguette with this cilantro pepita pesto before piling in the other ingredients. (Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seeds.)

Pesto in hollowed baguette

Pesto in hollowed baguette

If you don’t have time to make your own picnic, you can pre-order a Deer Valley basket with scrumptious variety. I happen to know that the chocolate raspberry tart and lemon pound cake in that basket are WOW! Snow Park bakers also make fresh baguettes to go with the Double Cream French Brie.

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Pan Bagnat and Cilantro Pesto
Cilantro Pepita Pesto makes this packable picnic sandwich the absolute best you will ever enjoy! Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seeds.
Ingredients
  • For the sandwich:
  • 1 length fresh baguette (allow 3 or 4 inches per person)
  • Cilantro Pepita Pesto or fresh basil pesto
  • Sliced baked tofu , Roma flavor
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce or sprout
  • Sliced cheese , fresh or aged, one or several types, your choice
  • Pitted olives , sliced
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Thinly sliced cucumber or small zucchini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 cup stemmed fresh cilantro (see note)
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
Instructions
  1. To make the pesto:
  2. With the motor of the food processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Process until it is very fine and has flown onto the processor bowl. Add the, cilantro, pepitas and salt. Process for about 10 seconds, stopping to move things around if they get hung up. With the machine running, pour oil through the feed tube in a thin stream, processing until everything is well blended. Pour in the lime juice. Spread on Pan Bagnat.
  3. To make the pan bagnat:
  4. Slice the baguette crosswise a third of the way down from the top. With your fingers, make it hollow by tearing out the softer bready insides.
  5. Spread both top and bottom hollows very generously with pesto.
  6. In the bottom, layer in the options, aiming for lots of flavor and variety. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and a bit of red wine vinegar. Place the Slice the baguette crosswise a third of the way down from the top. With your fingers, make it hollow by tearing out the softer bready insides. Spread both top and bottom hollows very generously with pesto. In the bottom, layer in the options, aiming for lots of flavor and variety. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and a bit of red wine vinegar.
  7. Place the other half of the baguette on top—it should fit over your layers without too much of a gap. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then fasten with rubber bands, at intervals, to press the sandwich together. Pack in your picnic basket, along with a small cutting surface and a good serrated knife.
  8. To serve, slice the Pan Bagnat right through the plastic. Peel away the plastic as you eat the sandwich.
Recipe Notes
If you don’t have enough cilantro, supplement with parsley.