Vegetables from A to Z
By Hannah Marcotti
I was having a “Calgon take me away“Â moment in the kitchen while making pesto the other night. Lucas, my seven-month-old, was crying in his high chair, tired of the measuring cups that were supposed to get me through washing dishes and making the pesto. Chloe, my six-year-old, decided to sing his name in her opera voice as a distraction. As if none of this was happening, my three-year-old, Eli, was running back and forth across the living room chasing imaginary Transformers.
I knew three things for sure. First, I needed to get the pesto out of the food processor and into a jar before picking up the baby. Second, I really wanted to enjoy the cup of decaf green tea I had made before it got cold. Third, a restful,Â sudsy bath was not an option. I put the pesto in a jar, grabbed some rice crackers, and managed to find some Zen amidst the chaos. I drank half of my tea down fast and then dipped a rice cracker in the pesto, munched and repeated until the tea and the five rice crackers were gone.
What was for dinner that chaotic night? Green eggs and ham — the eggs made green thanks to an untraditional pesto made from bok choy. Baby bok choy is in abundant supplies during the spring and summer and will show upÂ in your CSA bags and at local farmers’ markets. With vitamin C, beta-carotene, and calcium, we should all take advantage of this petite vegetable during the spring and summer. Some like to slice it lengthwise, brush with olive oil and salt, and grill it. I love it as pesto. Dinner could be baked sweet potatoes and chicken with pesto drizzled on top. Pasta becomes monster pasta when you mix in the bright green goo! It can be added to a red sauce to boost the flavor and give that extra green goodness to your meal. Cook up some scrambled eggs and ham, stir in the pesto, and you know what book you’ll be reading at bed time. For lunch the next day, try half an avocado filled with hummus and pesto.
Baby Bok Choy and Pistachio Pesto
Yields: 2 cups
3 bunches baby bok choy, leaves only, rinsed well
Â½ cup pistachios, raw
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of Â½ a lemon
Â¼ to Â½ cup good quality olive oil
Roughly chop bok choy leaves (should yield about 3 cups) and place in food processor. You can save the bottoms of the bok choy for stir fries or soups or feed themÂ to your dog (really). Add in the pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper, and pulse a few times (kids love this job), then set to low. Slowly add in lemon juice and Â¼ cup of olive oil. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides. Check for seasonings and continue on low speed, adding as much of the remaining olive oil as needed. Remember: the longer the pesto sits, the better it tastes!
Hannah Marcotti is a holistic health counselor who loves creating exciting recipes and inspiring others to get into their kitchens and cook with whole foods. Through her counseling business (Hannah’s Harvest), she hopes to create a ripple effect of health and happiness in Providence and beyond. She shares her musings on life with three children and searching for that next perfect meal on her blog, (Hannah’s Harvest Thoughts).