05 October 2006

A Bunch of Food and a REAL Recipe

I have been loving all these avocados! I think I may be down to only two now but I do have a ton of leftover guac in the fridge and have gone through countless avocados in the past week. I obtained four huge ones from the co-op the other day and they were super green inside and had the smallest pits. It was almost scary, I've never seen avocado pits so small, but then I was thankful how much avocado gut I got out of that. For this meal above, I got way out of hand. First of all, I am one who's eyes are always a lot larger than the stomach. My eyes are probably larger than my whole body! I decided to make over a gallon of chili the other night so Ray and I could have some and then I'd freeze the rest in double and individual servings. We had "burritos" but it was only filled with guac and chili. Don't get me wrong, the chili was loaded with veggies and beans and other good stuff, it was just strange having a burrito without rice or a grain. I still ate it all and the soft tortilla was a nice texture to it. There's also guac of course, and I find that the more garlic I add to it, the more I like it. We had some Garden of Eatin organic blue corn chips to accompany the meal. To the left is a small side of Muir Glen organic medium salsa which I just dumped all over everything after I snapped the photo. You also see what I'm talking about now with my eyes being way bigger than my stomach... That bowl of chili (three ladle scoops, may I add) was not touched and I quickly set it aside to put away for the next day. What was I thinking?!

Below is one pound of organic basil, which is equivalent to 12 cups, packed. I have been going crazy with pestos and basil lately and I found this huge basil plant at Trader Joes for $2.99. The plant was half-way as tall as me and there was so much beautiful smelly basil. I didn't buy it since it wasn't organic. I got my kicks just by looking at it for a few minutes. I found the organic basil and for 79 cents less each than that huge-ass plant, I bought three 4.5 ounce containers of organic. I was happy because stupid Whole Foods has 2.5oz of basil for $4. I just couldn't get myself to get that little for so much. My goal with all this basil was to whip up batches of pesto and freeze them for later. I mentioned that in my last post, but I was only able to keep the pestos frozen for one day before eating them all up. I had to make many for them to last, same with the black bean chili.
How could I make pesto and not make Dreena's pesto?! After all, I was just really meant to test this recipe, and I have ended up making it a billion times. I think it's wonderful and so flavorful. I had this pesto immediately for dinner and finished it off the next day for lunch. It's awesome cold.
I decided to make VwaV Classic Pesto again. I liked it as a dip with bread and veggies, so I am going to have it tonight for dinner over pasta for the first time (probably very late, after Ray is done at his orchestra concert which I am not at and instead sitting in my pj's at home, blogging... I had a "rough" day today). Then I made VwaV Classic Pesto but instead of walnuts, I added only pinenuts. It's hard to tell any difference in these pestos just by looking at them but you can sort of tell the pine nut one since it has so much white in it. I am most excited to try that one. Finally, I was sick of following recipes, especially for something that can be done pretty simply, so I made up my own pesto recipe. It has walnuts and pinenuts and some other good stuff too. The one in back is my pesto recipe. The VwaV ones I find are very "oily" so I limit the oil when following the recipe for Classic Pesto. On the other hand, Dreena's pesto recipe only has 1 tablespoon of oil for the whole batch (suitable to top a pound of pasta) and I really prefer that. Plus there's an array of interesting ingredients in her pesto but I'm not allowed to tell. Stay tuned one more year (sorry!). Leslie's Special Pesto Recipe
(it's special because you can use it with pasta, pizza, sandwiches, dip, filling and probably more)
1/4c. walnuts or almonds
1/2c. pinenuts
3 cups packed basil leaves, no stems
2-3 large cloves crushed garlic
1t. sea salt
dash of black pepper
1/3c. olive oil
1/4-1/3c. nutritional yeast flakes
2t. lemon juice

Blend everything except the oil and the nutritional yeast in a blender or food processor. When that all starts to get pureed (or too stiff your blender can't handle it), start to pour the olive oil while blending. Add the nutritional yeast and blend a bit more. Makes about 2 cups.
(note: I love pesto with walnuts, pinenuts and almonds. Use all of them, just one, or in their own combos, these raw nuts really tie the pesto together. Feel free to experiment with variety.)
This is what I had the other night when I was super lazy. Yes, there is spinach in here and I don't care! How crazy all this b.s. about the spinach, I've been eating it up as much as I can get ahold of it). Anway, how easy is this... take out the frozen container that you never even pre-made, take out the jar of marinara sauce that is already pre-made. Take out the bag of pine nuts from the freezer that were just pulled down with the handle from bulk. So easy!!! Boil for a few and combine. I made both of these kinds at once so we would have leftovers, although we barely did. I don't really buy this type of stuff too often and if I do, like in this case, it sits in the freezer for a really long time. I bought these because I had a coupon (well, 2) for the Rising Moon brand and I also noticed they were on a pretty good sale at WFM. They ended up being way less than $2 each (to easily serve two each), and they are normally up to $4 for one. The ravioli's came out just fine and I am happy to report that Ray's taste buds are changing more and more each day. He tried these ravioli's the last time I had them (about a year, year and a half ago) and he didn't care for them. The other day he ate the whole thing up. Same with guac, but not together with the pasta.
I made Dori's No-Bake Cookies the other night and they came out super-chocolately and wonderful. I am thankful for this no-oven recipe, even though it really isn't the same these days. I must have my firefighter friend come over and stand guard while we check out this oven business. These look like cookies I made before but these are much denser and richer. Below is what they looked like when cooled (but not blurry).
Finally I made something from RAW. I don't think I ever bragged about how I got this at Changing Hands for about $8. This is normally a $30-something book, and it looks like no one even read it before me. I have read through almost the whole book now and I had been eyeing the raw whipped cream, hence me not having a dehydrator for other recipes (yet). This recipe shouldn't be called whipped cream. It should be called some sort of sweet nut dip. I tried it with some Newman's O's and a few slices of apple. I prefer the apple since the cookies make the dip not sweet tasting at all. Of course, who would really go through the time to soak nuts, follow a raw cookbook, and then eat something with pre-packaged Newman's O's?! At least they weren't hydrogenated and they were organic. Anyway, if you make this stuff, eat it with raw food and don't be as weird as me! The book shows a photo of the whipped cream and there's no way in hell mine would have looked like that no matter how hard I tried. And I blended for a loooong time!
The only ingredients are: walnuts, cashews, 3 dates and oj. Doesn't this "raw whipped cream" look freakishly like something else that I've made before?! Weird.


Candi said...

So much food! I love it!

Your avocados look awesome! I love the wrap you made!

You pasta and all those pestos look awesome! I love pesto too, but try to cut back on the oil too. You're lucky to have so much to freeze for another time!

Mmm, the RAW book looks great! I laughed at how the whipped cream looks like your bean dip! Lol! I bet it was yummy though. I'd probably eat it with Newman O's if you hadn't warned me! Lol!

Vicki said...

oooh, i love me some good pesto! it's great on crackers, pizza, pasta, & most especially my fingers!
dori to the sweet tooth rescue -- no-bake cookies for a vegan super hero to enjoy!!!

Julie said...

HAHA! It does look like that Black Bean Dip! hehe.

I know what you mean about the small avocado pits! I got an avocado from the Co-Op on Tuesday, I think it was. Was it just me...or did your avocados taste extrordinarily good too. Hmm...something is up w/ those things! :)

Those cookies look really good. I might try the recipe out soon.

So when are you coming over for a cook-a-thon? :D

oh, and I hope it rains tomorrow too!!

Freedom said...

hey leslie, great post! you sure love your pesto. Yay for finally making something from RAW (still jealous you got it so cheap! :-), I've made that whipped cream and I used it in the strawberry romanoff recipe, it was REALLY good. Mine didn't look the pic in the book either though :-)

aTxVegn said...

I've been guacamole crazy lately too. Your burrito looks so good!

I can't decide if I want to get into dehydrating. I don't think it's a lot of work, just a lot of pre-planning.

I'm doing pesto this weekend. Mine will be made with pumpkin seeds. You should give it a try!

JAM*tacular said...

Mmmm, avacado guts... :)

Happy Friday!
:) Mikaela

bazu said...

Ok, I haven't even had breakfast yet, but I'm drooling about your food (and getting lunch and dinner ideas!) How great is pesto? Thanks for the beautiful post!

Catherine said...

Pesto? Avocados? How on earth did you manage to cram two of my most favorite foods in the whole, wide world into one post? I should try that pesto recipe. Is the nutritional yeast flavor really present in the final product? (I don't care much for nutritional yeast.) I have yet to make vegan pesto . . . I will have to get some nuts and some basil and go to town . . . once I get a job, that is!

theONLYtania said...

Hey those no-bake cookies really look great! I wonder if my saxes would like them..

And also.. I always have leftovers and I'm actually gathering a small collection in my freezer. If you ever want me to send you like a box of mixed cookies just shoot me an email with your address!

Michelle said...

i've heard so many good things about this book, but have yet to see a copy of it in person. does it call for alot of weird ingredients/equipment? i don't know if i'll ever own a food dehydrator. maybe one day.

that dip looks great and healthy, something my kids might like :)

dreena said...

Leslie, when you do a post, you certainly pack a lot of food magnificence into one entry!

Your burritos look wonderful. I always bake ours - mostly because hubby likes them warmed up - and most times I do too, but yours looks great just like that.

Dori's no-bake cookies look soooo good - even if a little blurry :) - not taking away the effect for me.

Oh, and yes, that raw 'cream', *does* look way too much like your bean dip!! Freakishly so!!

Urban Vegan said...

Where to begin. Everything looks so amazing. Dori's cookies remind me of childhood. My sister and I used to make a similar cookie. Come to think of it, I believe they were vegan.

I love avocados--I could swim in them.

I just discovered the same vegan ravioli at Whole Paycheck and I jumped for joy in the aisles. I nought the Artichoke. I'm saving them for a busy nite when I don't have time to cook.

Great deal on the Raw book. I'm dying to get a raw cookbook.

Okra Mary said...

MM...everything looks great! I think I'm going to try your pesto recipe, because it has less oil.

Even without all the oil, it's still creamy and blends into pasta well?

I've got plenty of pine nuts, walnuts and almonds to use - it was like fate to find this post! haha...

Thanks for the recipe!

raising_kahne said...

ohh. So yummy looking! Im going to have to try your version of the no-bake cookies soon! Probably around the holidays! I LOVE avacados! I used to be really paranoid because 'nutrition' people would say no more than 1/2 an avacodo a day because o the fat. But I think that if it's all good,natural fat, and you're not eating a butt-load of animal flesh everyday, that it's perfectly fine.

haha! I saw the whipped cream, and I was like "Oh yum. Looks like Leslie made her bean dip again!".

Ive never had pesto. I havent seen any organic basil in our stores, but maybe im not looking well enough. I will def be on the lookout!

maybepigscanfly said...

I would have done the same as you in thinking that I would freeze the pesto to use sometime later in the future and then proceeded to eat it all in the next day or 2. Pesto is just so good that you can't wait to eat it some other time. I'm really looking forward to the sundried tomato pesto that you've been raving about.

I'm so glad that you were able to make cookies without actually having to open up the oven and bake. It's unfortunate that you had your terrible oven incident.

Haha- I had to laugh at the freakish similarity of the raw whip cream and your black bean dip. Just make sure never to make them both at the same time or else you could run into some problems. I just don't think that black bean dip would taste any good topped on ice cream!

(I'm sorry to hear that you had a rough day- I hope you're feeling better.)

Veg*Triathlete said...

I love the idea of putting nutritional yeast in pesto! I'm going to try that ASAP.

laura jesser said...

Your pesto recipe sounds good--I was put off by the amount of oil in the VWaV pesto too. I love all your chili and all your avocados. I almost always fill burritos with chili/beans and no grain.

I'm going to try Dori's cookies too--I used to love those cookies when I was a kid. I just have too many things on my list to cook right now...

amygeekgrl said...

beautiful, beautiful pictures! there are soooo many delicious foods/recipes in this entry, i can't decide which to try! (though i have to admit, those cookies are looking really good right now) ;)

kris said...

Yummy stuff! I love the organic basil at Trader Joe's, such a good deal! I, too, cut out a lot of the oil in the VwaV pesto recipe. It's so greasy otherwise!

Those no-bake cookies look incredible!

I've looked at that RAW book, what a great deal! I have the Real Food raw book. I haven't really done much with it, either, without a dehydrator.

Oh, I've never heard, what is wrong with your oven, anyway?

I have 3 days off, so I'm going to email you back. For real.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe, i love the idea that i can use it in so many ways! Those no-bake cookies look so good! your avocados are different that the ones we eat here, maybe they taste different too!

funwithyourfood said...

the amount of basil here is just enormous.
ANYTHING with more garlic is good. It's fact.


Harmonia said...

Okay. Where do I start. This post is amazing! You know how I LOVE your mexican food posts but I also love the pasta and Italian foods just as much! Everything looks and sounds wonderful. Note to self...buy avocadoes! I have been looking for that Raw book you mentioned. It supposed to be great! And yes, more garlic is always a good thing in my opinion. I hope your weekend was a special one. Hope to "see" you soon!

KleoPatra said...

Leslie, lovin' it all there! Sorry to hear you had a rough day; hope by the time you read this, you are doing and feeling better and you are in good spirits all the way through.

One of my good buds owns that Juliano book and other than it being intimidating to me, i love it. He's soooooooo cool... like a sprite or pixie spreading his good words of healthful, bountiful eatin's.... you done'm proud, Leslie...

Dori's cookies appear to be simply wonderful! Look at all that chocolaty goodness.

I am a weirdo that i don't like avocados, especially since the nearby city of Fallbrook in SD County s the Avo capital of the USA... but what you made looks groovy. Almost makes me wish i could give avos a chance (all we are saying is... give avocados a chance... i can hear the song now)!

The VWaV pesto must have been so good. The pesto on the noodles makes my mouth water!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

aw Leslie, I think *you* are special! I've been craving pesto lately and yet, no more basil. I have 2 cubes in the freezer for a reaaaally rainy day in the kitchen.

Isil S. said...

I have just eaten about 10 minutes ago and I'm drooling! Everything looks so good here! Would like to try these cookies one day

Candi said...

Hi!! Thanks so much for the soup idea you left on my blog. :P I did make a soup after reading your comment and used tons of ginger, garlic, veggies and even a chili pepper. I actually feel better today! :) :) That's strong stuff! lol!

Hope you are having a great weekend!!

bazu said...

Hi Leslie,
I was just browsing your archives and found out that we have (almost) the same birthday! I'm 2 years and 1 day older than you. How cool is that?...