Going Green!

“Going green” is a hot slogan these days in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. One way my husband and I have contributed to this effort is by participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables that support small, independent, labor-intensive, family farms. In doing this, we receive a weekly box of organic and local produce.

My box this week included dandelion greens and beets. I don’t usually eat nor cook with these so having this CSA has definitely introduced me to produce I wouldn’t have purchased on my own. So can I make with dandelion greens and beets?

Well today I focused only on the dandelion greens and beet leaves. The dandelion greens are on the bitter side with a peppery taste, similar to arugula. I didn’t feel like making a salad so… I decided to make a pesto! Because the greens were similar to arugula, I figured it would make for a nice pesto. And because I’m not one to waste anything, I threw the beet leaves in for good measure.

Here’s my recipe for dandelion pesto:

1 bunch dandelion greens – leaves only
1 handful of beet leaves
1 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated fontina cheese

In a blender, add oil and greens a handful at a time.
Process and continue adding greens until all have been processed.
Add pinenuts and process.
Stir in grated cheese and store.

This will last in the fridge for a week or can be frozen in ice cube trays for portioned amounts to use later.

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Oranges, Lemons, Basil & Parmesan

After catching an episode of Everyday Italian on the Food Network, I was inspired to make Giada’s Garlic & Citrus Chicken. For dinner tonight, rather than roasting a whole bird, I had some large chicken breasts on the bone that I used instead. After baking for about 45 minutes in my dutch oven at 350 degrees, I served it with roasted asparagus tips and pesto orzo, which I’ve submitted for the Presto Pasta Night blog event hosted by Ruth on her blog, Once Upon a Feast. Dinner was wonderful… the chicken came out moist, with a nice hint of citrus and the flavors carried well with the pesto & asparagus.
Here’s my recipe for pesto orzo:

1 tablespoon pesto*
1-2 cups cooked orzo pasta

While the orzo is still hot, fold in the pesto.
Serve with dishes that can compliment the basil & parmesan flavors.

*For pesto, combine the following in your food processor & pulse until you have a spreadable consistency:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon pinenuts
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan
1-2 garlic cloves
splash of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
*Adjust proportions to fit your tastes*