Tag Archive for condiments

Kale Pesto

It’s spring! The magnoilas and cherry blossoms are bustin’ out here in Vancouver, and the tulips and daffodils are also showing their blooms.

But I am running out of pesto. Every year, in the late spring/early summer, I head out to the Farmer’s Market for garlic scapes, and make a big batch of pesto. I then freeze it, and portion it out during the winter. But I am running out, and garlic scape season is still a couple months away.

Kale Pesto

Kale, however, is in abundance right now, and makes a good substitute. A head of kale yielded a 500ml mason jar of the stuff. This should keep me going for the next couple of months.

I love pesto because you can use it so spice up everything. Traditionally, you’d throw a couple tablespoons in with some cooked pasta, and toss that up, adding in freshly ground pepper, a nice grated hard cheese like parmesan, padano or even asiago, and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (maybe even the flavoured kind?). I like it beat into my scrambled eggs, and I added a heaping tablespoon to a quiche I made for dinner the other night.

kale pesto pasta

It also makes a great sauce for fish, like a lightly seared salmon, or even heartier meats, like a steak.

I also often add it to any pasta sauce I’m making–tomato- or cream-based. And soups!

It’s basically a multi-purpose, kick-it-up-to-awesome, go-with-anything kinda condiment.

Kale Pesto

kale pesto ingredients

Ingredients: 

  • One bunch kale, stems removed, washed and spun dry
  • 1/4 cup nuts, dry-toasted in a frying pan (I used almonds, but you could use pine nuts (traditionally) or walnuts)
  • 1-3 cloves garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsps lemon juice
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil

Method:

  1. In your blender, place the nuts and pulse until they are evenly ground. Next, add the garlic and do the same.
  2. Pack the kale into the blender and blend it well, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary to get an even grind.
  3. Add the lemon juice and grind some more. With the motor running, pour the olive oil slowly in through the top. You want the final consistency to be grainy, and not too oily. You can add more oil if need be, I like to add my at the time of cooking, though.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and grind one last time.
  5. Some pesto recipes call for the addition of cheese. I love cheese, but I prefer not to add it until I use the pesto, grating the cheese freshly into the dish. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze in ice cube trays until ready to use.

UPDATE: the blogger at Gusto TV made this, and here is her (amusing) post.

Bacon Jam

‘Scuse me?? What??

That’s right. Bacon. Jam.

bacon jam

I don’t remember how Bacon Jam came onto my radar, but I am eternally grateful it did. Now, I should probably start by saying that bacon hasn’t entered my house in nigh on two years. My son, like all men, is crazy for the stuff, but I switched, under the radar, to turkey bacon a couple years back, and he never cottoned on. But this… this is pure indulgence. This is not calorie-counting, this is full-on, full-fat deliciousness. But it’s a condiment, it’s not like you’ll be eating it by the spoonful out of the jar or anything. (Cut to image of Rebecca guiltily eating spoonfuls of Bacon Jam out of the fridge at 3 am.)

It’s super easy to make, too. I used my beloved crock pot. If you have tried my pulled pork recipe and loved it, you will also love this. It belongs in the same category: smoky, sweet, bacony, and with a touch of acid. It’s really more of a chutney or a relish than a jam, but no matter what you call it, it’s delicious.

And what exactly do you do with the finished product??photo

  • Spread on toast for breakfast, or crostini for an appetizer/Hors d’oeuvre.
  • Use it as a condiment on burgers.
  • Use it inside a grilled cheese.
  • Three words: Bacon (Jam), Lettuce, Tomato.

Bacon Jam (original recipe: Martha Stewart)

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, diced up into 1″ pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee

Saute the bacon in a large frying pan. It doesn’t need to be crispy-eating cooked, just a bit browned on the edges.

 

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the pan.

Add the onions and garlic, and allow them to saute at a low heat. Again, you don’t really need tons of caramelization, you’re just taking the raw off of them.

 

De-glaze the pan with the vinegar, sugar, coffee and maple syrup. When everything is all incorporated, add back in the bacon and give it a stir, then transfer the whole works to your crock pot.

 

Cook on low for 3 hours.

 

Finally, pulse the final product in your blender, or go at it with your immersion blender. You don’t want the texture to be smooth, but consistent with a few chunks. Store in the fridge.

 

Things that could make this recipe better: molasses? booze? something spicy like chili? It’s pretty amazing as is, though…