Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cook once, eat twice: Kale Pesto

Having a newborn is rough.  The kid is now 21 months old and I already find myself forgetting how difficult it can be to have a brand new baby.  Having your first kid especially rocks your world.  I felt like my life turned upside down after the kid was born.  It took me over a year to really get my feet back under me. 

It's certainly a wild ride.  But one that is well worth it. 

We visited some friends today and their tiny 1 week old.  They look so tired and a little stunned.  I wanted to tell them that it gets better fast.  That life goes on a little bit at a time.  You have to learn to walk and talk again, but you keep moving forward.  And it gets so fun.  

But I don't think they could have understood.  They are too busy becoming the great parents they are going to be.  I think we all are.  

Those first few months feel like you are drowning.  And then it is wonderful (with periodic moments where you begin to drown again).

Parenthood is amazing!  I wouldn't go back if I could.  

This kale pesto is certainly something I'll keep in my freezer for those drowning periods.  It is incredibly healthy.  With super food kale, omega 3 rich walnuts, and heart healthy olive oil it is a powerhouse of nutrition.  It also tastes incredibly rich.  The perfect fall/winter counterpart to summery basil pesto.  The pizza was good (I thought it tasted best cold the next day) but the sandwiches...incredible.  But maybe I'm just in a mood.  

If you feel inclined you could also toss some of this pesto with a big batch of pasta.  Mix a little of the pasta cooking water with the pesto to thin it out and help it stick to the pasta before mixing.  

And, if you're a parent, enjoy it.  If you're currently drowning, eat pesto...


Kale and Walnut Pesto
makes 2 cups
adapted from One Hungry Mama

1 bunch of kale, washed and ribs removed
1 tsp olive oil, plus 1/2 c (more or less)
1 c walnuts
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
1 tbs. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Lightly steam the kale.*(I do this in my microwave for about 2 minutes)
2. Heat teaspoon of olive oil in a pan.  Add walnuts and toast, stirring frequently until brown and fragrant.
3. In the bowl of a food processor place kale, walnuts, Parmesan and garlic.  Slowly add the remaining olive oil while the machine runs (you may need more or less).  Pesto is done when it’s pureed and creamy. Stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

Ham, Swiss and Pesto Sandwiches
makes 4 sandwiches
a Balancing the Table Original

8 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup kale and walnut pesto
8 slices, thick deli cut ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
butter, softened

1. Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on 4 of the bread slices, top each with 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese.  Place the remaining bread slices on top.  
2. Spread butter on each side of the sandwich.  Grill sandwiches in a preheated pan over medium low heat until golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted.

What the husband thinks: that these are better than just plain ham and Swiss sandwiches.   

What the kid ate:  Shhhhh....he ate kale and didn't even know it.  We'll just keep it under our hats.

Pesto, Goat Cheese and Tomato Pizza
makes 1 large pizza

1 lb. ball of whole wheat pizza dough
olive oil
garlic salt
3/4 cup kale and walnut pesto
4 oz. goat cheese
2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin

1. Preheat oven (and pizza stone if desired) to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Roll pizza dough out into a large circle, prick the dough generously with a fork to prevent bubbles.  Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.  Transfer to preheated oven and bake for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove pizza from oven and spread with pesto.  Sprinkle goat cheese over pesto.  Lay the tomato slices on top.  Return to oven and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is softened and the crust is golden brown. 

What the husband thinks: That this pizza is good.  It's not amazing.  But good especially considering how healthy it is. 

What the kid ate: the crust.  He was in a bad and picky (anti-green) mood that day.  I may try again. 

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