Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cranberry beans and pistachio pesto


After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, I have come to learn that eating too much meat AND chicken is actually not good for you. Meat and chicken are not necessarily bad for us, but in our society we eat meat in tremendous quantities. We should probably eat it as a side dish and not as our main course for every meal.


There are many studies that have shown that the more meat you consume in your diet, the greater your chances are of having heart disease and cancer. I have wrestled with this and wondered if I should become a vegetarian. But after much thought and deliberation, I have decided against it since studies have also shown that the lack of meat and chicken in a diet can cause the brain to shrink over time. So…I have decided to follow a happy medium and to eat less meat and chicken. I will not remove it completely from my diet, but I am going to make a conscious effort to seek out more plant based foods that are rich in protein such as beans, tofu, nuts and seeds. I haven’t exactly shared this plan with my husband since he claims to be a full on “meatatrian”, nor do I plan to… but I’ll be sure to make meals that he will enjoy without him suspecting my plan. So far the results have been positive. Shhh! So far he hasn’t noticed that I have only been cooking chicken once a week!

This thought process is what inspired this recipe. It uses creamy and meaty cranberry beans fresh from the pod and paired beautifully with pistachio pest. I’ve read about cranberry beans but have never actually seen any in the store. But upon seeing them at the farmer’s market, I was thrilled. They were really very hard to miss as the pods are adorned with brightly colored pink stripes and specs.

Cranberry Beans with Pistachio Pesto

2 quarts water
4 cups shelled fresh cranberry beans
2 Pinches of salt
¾ cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of pecans or walnuts
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove

1. Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a saucepan; add cranberry beans. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain beans and place in a large bowl.
2. In a food processor, add basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, pecans or walnuts, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Add herb mixture to the beans and toss. Serve as a vegetarian entrée .

Source: Cooking Light, June 2010. Page 166.

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Press, 2008.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

3 Tomatoes and a Mozarella


I have really become quite enamored with photography. I bought a camera last summer so that I can take pictures of food and journal my recipes, then I started to experiment with pictures of people, I bought Photoshop, PS3 actions, and even took a photography class in California. The thought of starting my own photography business even crossed my mind. But after much deliberation, I have decided that I no longer want to take pictures of people nor do I ever want to make this a business. Instead, I want to continue photographing as a hobby—and only food.


Food has progressively become a real creative outlet for me and a form of expression. The more recipes I make the more creative I become. I am also beginning to find so much beauty and peace in the beautiful colors, aromas, and tastes. Its like as though I am hungry to taste everything that is different, exotic and unusual. I find so much pleasure when I discover a new flavor. Then of course I want to share this discover with my husband so I recreate the recipe and I make him taste it. He is very hard to please as he is a picky eater, so my goal is always to impress him somehow. I usually feel so much success when he responds, “its really good”, as opposed to “its fine” or “its okay”. He has never come out and said, “this is terrible”, because he was raised to be very tactful, so I can always tell what he really thinks just from these subtle nuances.


So I have decided to take this blog in a different direction. I would like to use it to share the day to day life of our family, as well as a recipe and photography journal.
These beautiful heirloom tomatoes I purchased at the farmer’s market here in town called Molto Marios Farmers Market along with freshly made mozzarella. I paired the two together like a sandwhich with basil leaves and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. It was divine! My husband HATES tomatoes but he really like this. It would make a great appetizer