Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Orange Pesto and Homemade Bread

I have two things to share this evening, and the first is what's in this picture. Forget the fake meat and concentrate on what's below: Orange Pesto.

I was off from work yesterday and I spent the whole day baking. When it was time to start cooking dinner, I wanted something easy but flavorful, and my first thought was, 'Pesto!' It had been a while. Pesto and I used to be good friends, but within the last couple of years Phil and I will more often make a big, tast batch of red sauce and fill our pasta quota that way. But Phil wasn't home, so I decided to change it up.

Once I started making it and I got to the part that requires lemon juice, I reached for my lone lemon and stopped, hand hovering above the fruit bowl. Beneath the lemon lay about 8 oranges, and I couldn't help but wonder what that would taste like. Super weird? I wondered. Probably. But I had to find out.

What resulted was a really subtle sweetness, and you've got to try it, I tell you! I love pesto, and pesto loves me. It's really simple and can be made by taste and sight, but I'll give a simple recipe anyway.

Orange Pesto
(enough for 2-3 servings of pasta)

  • 1/3 c. raw pine nuts
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • juice of one orange
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • optional: 2 Tbsp. nurtitional yeast

1. Begin by dry roasting your pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. While you're doing this (just keep an eye on it and shake the pan every now and then. it only takes about 5 minutes) you can prepare, or begin to prepare, your other ingredients.
2. Throw everything, including 1 Tbsp. oil, in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you want it more creamy, add more oil. Feel free to add more salt and some pepper to taste!

I served this with some homemade bread (see below) and a salad made of baby greens, toasted walnuts and orange sections. The dressing was a homemade red wine vinaigrette (had anyone else ever noticed that Sandra Lee says "vineger-ette" or am the only loser that watches that show? and i hate it, that makes it worse) with a bit of the pesto whisked in for bite. Yum!

As for the homemade bread:

My first loaf! I used Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for 100% whole wheat bread. However, she recommends using potato flakes or potato water when proofing the yeast, and I could find no instant potato at silly Essene! Apparently that gives it a lighter texture, so maybe that's why mine didn't rise as much. Regardless, it has really good flavor, and I will do this recipe again with the potato water. I also sprinkled golden flax seeds on the bottom of the pan and on top of the loaf for added flavor, nutrition and crunch!

Bryanna has a lot of pretty awesome information on her website and her blog. Since I really want to stop buying processed stuff (even Tofutti cream cheese, which I worship) and start making as much from scratch as is practical/possible, I forsee her website as being an invaluable resource!

Phil's making dinner tonight-- he's experimenting with seitan for the first time, and I get his homemade guacamole.. yum.


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Binx! Your orange pesto looks delish! Gotta try that-- I love oranges! Think aabout adding the grated orange zest, too-- mmmmmmm!

Anyway, about the bread...you can just use the water from boiling potatoes, instead of using potato flakes. Also, what size pan did you use? It looks like you used maybe a 9x5" pan? It looks much more impressive in an 8x41/2" pan. This is the one we use:

It's the 8" pan.

These are great pans and the 8" one makes the beautifully-shaped loaves like on my post.

All the best!

Happy Herbivore! said...

i LOVE anything orange! mmm

p.s added you to my roll

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Yum. It all looks so delicious, and I love pretty much anything orange flavoured.

Vegan_Noodle said...

What a great way to change up pesto!!
And the bread looks amazing. I just recently did my first bread baking, and I already want to do more. Maybe I'll try that recipe. Good addition with the flax seeds.

Hope you post about Phil's seitan making experience!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, I just found your blog and it looks sooooo delicious!