Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Peach, Pesto, Proscuitto and Chicken Pizza by Linda Wiken, author

On a beautiful fall day in September, my gal pals aka The Ladies’ Killing Circle and I, did the two-hour drive from Ottawa to a scenic old hotel at Chaffey’s Locks, one of the innumerable locks on the Rideau River system in Ontario, Canada   

The hotel has just been totally renovated and since we’d each been there at some point in its previous life (in fact one of our group had worked there as a teen a couple of summers), we  were anxious to see how it had been transformed.

That’s the word for it! It still retained the outer gracefulness of its bygone days while inside, totally up-to-date shine. 


The Opinicon had always been renowned for its restaurant and this new version fully met the challenge of upholding that tradition.

I was so taken with my choice, a peach, pesto, pancetta and chicken personal-sized piazza, that I was determined to re-create it at home. I came close but it didn’t quite measure up to the Opinicon touch. Not that I won’t make it again. And again.

Here’s how I did it, with the addition of black olives, and substituting prosciutto because that’s what I found in my fridge. And, I used Asiago cheese, also because it’s my go-to taste. I admit to taking many shortcuts. Rather than make my usual basil-pine nut pesto, I bought some. The chicken I used were frozen baked chicken strips that I then cut smaller. And, since I try to avoid wheat in my diet whenever possible, I started with a gluten-free pizza crust that I found in the frozen food section at the health food store.

These ingredients were for one small pizza. Be sure to adjust if you’re going for a bigger size.

What you need:

2 heaping tablespoons pesto

1 large peach, sliced

3 strips prosciutto

6 strips chicken, sliced in one-inch length

4 large mushrooms, sliced 

 1/2 c. diced black olives

1/2 c. grated Asiago cheese

1 pizza crust


 What to do:

1. Preheat oven according to directions on the pizza crust package or the recipe you are using for a crust made from scratch.

2. Preheat grill to medium heat.

3. Lightly brush peach slices with olive oil and place on the grill for approx. 3 minutes each side.

4. Saute the frozen chicken strips briefly. If starting with raw chicken, the saute until done to your liking.
5. Start layering the pizza - pesto, prosciutto, chicken, mushrooms, and black olives. Sprinkle the grated Asiago cheese over top.

6. Bake according to instructions for the crust. 


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: This recipe appeared in CRIME RIB, the second Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, set in high summer in the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. It’s perfect for this time of year because everything is in season, it’s easy to prepare, and only one ingredient—the green beans—require any cooking. I’ve also made it in winter—the red and green color combination makes it a holiday fave—and taken it to numerous potlucks. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since then—as all honest cooks do.

I like wandering out to my garden and picking fresh green beans. In the off season, we use the thin French style, also called haricots vert.  Since then, I’ve migrated from steaming green beans to cooking them briefly in boiling water; steaming occasionally leaves tough skins.

Although I’ve included an easy pesto recipe, I will confess we often use jarred pesto from Costco—it’s thin and pourable, unlike Mr. Right’s heartier version.

On the onion: we prefer a small white onion; sweet, red, or even green onions also work well, but the one time I used a yellow onion, I found it too strong.

We served the salad with Mr. Right's Famous Stuffed Burgers---I'll save that recipe for another time. It's wonderful with pretty much any meat, fish, or chicken, especially grilled!

So, with no further ado —

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

one pound of fresh green beans, stemmed and cut in bite-sized pieces
1-14 oz can white beans
about a cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
a small white onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh pesto (recipe below) or more, to taste
kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper

Bring 2-3 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the beans and cook until tender-crunchy, 2-3 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking; drain and cool, and place in your serving bowl.

Rinse and drain the white beans and add to your bowl, along with the tomatoes and onions. Toss with the pesto. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled, by itself or on a bed of greens.


2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves garlic, to taste
½ cup olive oil, more or less, to taste
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Toast the nuts in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or toss in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to darken and become fragrant. (Don’t overcook; they will continue to cook as they cool.)

In a small (2 cup) food processor, loosely chop about fresh basil leaves. Toss in the garlic—the pesto will blend more easily if you slice or chop the cloves first. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse. Add oil and pulse until you get a good consistency for mixing with other ingredients. Add grated Parmesan and nuts, and pulse to mix well.

From the cover of KILLING THYME. coming October 4 and available for pre-order now: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Great (E)Scape

by Sheila Connolly

A few weeks ago I bought a batch of garlic scapes at the farmers’ market in Northampton, where the vendor said they were the last of this year’s crop.

This past week I was in Vermont, which is north of Northampton, and was driving back by way of New Hampshire and stopped at an organic farm stand, and behold! More scapes!

Okay, by now you’re probably scratching your heads and saying, what is a garlic scape? It’s the stem and flower bud that emerges from the garlic head. Leave it alone on the plant and you’ll get garlic flowers, although your garlic heads will be smaller. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them, much less seen them—I didn’t meet one until about ten years ago. Apparently they’ve been popular in Europe for a while, but took their time catching on here.

So, what to do with garlic scapes? They taste like garlic, no surprise, but a bit milder (your friends and loved ones will thank you!). You want young ones, because they tend to toughen up as they get older. I went hunting for recipes but found surprisingly few, and most are recent. But the one recipe most people suggest is Garlic-Scape Pesto.

Yes, they really do curl

Every recipe I found varied just a little, and this is a combination of them all. Don’t worry—pesto is very forgiving, so the precise proportions aren’t all that important. The result is a bit less garlicky than regular pesto, and will have a different texture. But it will taste good!

Garlic-Scape Pesto

1/4 lb coarsely chopped garlic scapes (trimmed of dried out or tough parts)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1-2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (one small lemon was enough)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Puree the scapes, olive oil, pine nuts and lemon juice in a food processor until nearly smooth (one vendor told me to make your scape pieces fairly small, say 1” long, because otherwise they can wrap themselves around the processor blade).

Stir in or pulse the cheese (don’t overblend).

Taste and add salt and pepper if you want. Note: it may taste salty on its own, but remember you’re spreading it over a lot of pasta.

Make your favorite pasta according to package instructions, then toss with the scape pesto and serve.

If you have extra, you can refrigerate or freeze it.

It’s a nice change from basil-based pesto (we eat plenty of that in this household!).

The next book in the Orchard Mysteries, A Gala Event, isn't coming out until October, but I figured you'd enjoy a cool snow scene in the middle of summer. And alpacas, which always make me laugh.

I'd be happy if you wanted to pre-order it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chicken Pesto Pinwheels

Join us in welcoming Jessie Crockett, author of the Sugar Grove mystery series, to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen as our guest today. While her series is about maple syrup, she has given us a savory recipe that is quick and tasty and looks great! You'll just have to buy her new book to get the sweet stuff!

Chicken Pesto Pinwheels

Looking for something easy to whip up that’s sure to fill up even a group of hungry teenage boys? This recipe might do the trick. You can make these entirely from scratch or you can save time and rely on some help from pre-made components.


1 lb. pizza dough
2 cups Alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons pesto
8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2 cups spinach washed and chopped
1 whole cooked chicken breast, shredded

Spray two spring form pans with non-stick spray.

Roll out the pizza dough to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Stir pesto into Alfredo sauce. Spread sauce over the dough almost to the edge. Top with the shredded chicken, spinach and the crumbled cheese.

Begin rolling from long end until completely rolled. Slice roll into twelve equal pieces. Place slices, cut side down, into the spring form pans, six rolls per pan.  Allow to rise until doubled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes or until internal temperature registers 180 degrees on an instant thermometer.

About the author: Descended from a long line of New Englanders, Jessica Estevao naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. She spends her summers on the coast of Maine where she writes historical, paranormal mysteries while keeping an eye out for sea monsters and mermaids.

As Jessie Crockett she writes the Sugar Grove Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne Du Maurier award for Mainstream Mystery.

The third book in the series, A Sticky Situation, will be released on April 7th, and is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 If you're looking for more information, visit Jessie's website.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Whip Up Winter Walnut and Spinach Pesto @lucyburdette

 LUCY BURDETTE: The week after a book is launched is so special--and so busy! It's a nice time because nothing definite has happened yet in terms of sales and reviews--so anything is possible. But there are blog posts to be written and commented upon and people to thank and parties to clean up from--not to mention another book to be written. And yet, a writer and her family and friends have to eat! And yet it's wintertime, even in Key West, so vegetables are not at their best. If you have the ingredients on hand, this is a super fast meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes and look as if you've been cooking all day. I served it with a mixed green salad with winter radishes and some cherry tomatoes. Three of us ate every bite and marveled at how good it was:). Possibly even the best pesto I've made--my husband surmised that the addition of the spinach toned the sharpness of the basil down just enough.


2 large sprigs basil, about 10 leaves
1 large garlic clove
3 oz spinach
3 oz walnuts
3-4 oz good quality Parmesan
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In a food processor, whir the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the walnuts and Parmesan in succession. Add the basil and spinach and process until almost smooth. Pour in olive oil, continuing to pulse until it's the right consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. 
Cook 3/4 of a pound of good quality Italian pasta until al dente (just soft.) (I have gotten addicted to the pasta sold at Eataly in New York City. You can buy their products online. Yes, the pasta is three times as expensive as supermarket spaghetti, but it is honestly light years better.) 

Add the pesto to the pasta in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. That's it!


And thank you to all the readers from Mystery Lovers kitchen--and to my fellow cook/writers who've been so supportive! Could not do this without you...

Follow Lucy:




And you can buy the book wherever books are sold.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lucy Burdette's Pesto Pizza

LUCY BURDETTE: Okay, it's that time of year when we're recovering from Thanksgiving, but not yet geared up for Christmas. So what's for dinner? You need sustenance for your holiday chores, but you crave a breath of summer...The solution: pesto pizza! 

The good news about this dinner is you can make it all from scratch, or make the dough from scratch but use purchased pesto, or make the pesto and buy the dough. You don't even need summer-quality tomatoes--a box of Romas will work fine. (My recipe for pesto can be found right here--I usually make several batches in the summer and freeze about a dozen little containers which last me through the winter.)

If you possibly can, go ahead and make your own pizza dough. The recipe from THE JOY OF COOKING is very good and
really not that hard. In fact, I find the kneading part therapeutic:). You’ll just need to plan ahead a couple of hours to let it rise. (And it makes dough for two pizzas, one of which you can freeze
for another day.) Lately I've been substituting 1/3 white whole wheat flour for the white--this gives the crust a little bit of a nutty flavor. Or you can buy premade dough from a pizza joint–definitely a step up from Boboli!


1 pizza crust, unbaked 
1 batch pesto
6 to 8 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, sliced

Oil your pizza pan (or cookie sheet if you don't have one)

On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough with a floured rolling pin until it's roughly the right size. Drape the dough over the pin and transfer to the oiled pan. Shape the edges so the filling doesn't run out and make little impressions in the dough with your fingers. Let this rest about ten minutes, then...

Spread the pesto onto the dough (works better if it's at room temperature.)

Place the cheese and tomatoes on the dough in an artful way:).

 Bake in a 475 degree oven for about 12 minutes until the crust is browning and the cheese melted. 

Serve with a green salad and enjoy your taste of summer!

  Now back to Christmas shopping...don't forget that culinary mysteries are the perfect size for stocking stuffers:)...

 You can learn more about Lucy Burdette and her Key West food critic mysteries at her website or on Facebook or Twitter. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cremini Mushroom White Pizza

Do you have a garden? Is it overflowing? Ours is producing like crazy right now. I've pinched back the basil and made pesto. I've roasted, sauteed, and steamed zucchini and yellow squash.

All these lovely Roma tomatoes went into a simple sauce that went into the freezer for the winter.

Now a reasonable person might have used some of this fresh tomato sauce to make a pizza.

But if there's one thing I look forward to every summer, it's white pizza. I've blogged about it before, but this mushroom and onion pizza was so good that I had to share. I'll be making it again and again! It's very simple, but the mushroom flavor is so wonderful with the garlicky pesto. Oh, yum!

I use pesto as the base on my white pizza. I'll include my recipe here, but feel free to use a store brand. While I should have made my own pizza crust, I have to admit that I love the convenience of a ready made crust. (Shh, don't tell Natasha!)

Now, in the recipe, I'm going to say to follow the instructions on your crust, but I've discovered a little trick. My preferred brand says to prepare the pizza and bake it for 8 - 12 minutes. I've finally wised up. I put the pizza base in the oven plain (nothing on it at all) for about eight minutes. Then I put our toppings on it and bake it for another 10 minutes. What a difference! Such a nice crisp crust.

I used my favorite white goat Gouda, Cablanca, but our resident cheese expert, Avery Aames, tells me that Havarti or San Simon are great alternatives.


3 tablespoons walnuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the walnuts in a small food processor.  Add the basil leaves and garlic and pulse.  Slowly add the olive oil in a stream while pulsing or add in small amounts and pulse in between.  Add the parmesan cheese and pulse.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse one last time.

Cremini Mushroom White Pizza 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion
1 8-ounce package Cremini mushrooms
1 pizza crust
walnut pesto 
1 - 1 1/2 cups low-fat mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Cablanca or Havarti or San Simon, shredded

Preheat the oven to 425 (or follow the instructions for your pizza crust -- read above regarding pre-baking the crust).

Slice the onions into rings. Heat the oil and saute the onions. Meanwhile slice the mushrooms. Add them to the onions.

Spread pesto over the pizza crust. Top with mushroom and onions. Sprinkle mozzarella over the pizza, then add the Cablanca.

Bake 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the pizza bubbles ever so slightly.

What's your favorite? White pizza or tomato sauce pizza? Deep dish or thin crust?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat Pesto -- Scare Dracula

The kids are back in school, or they'll be going back soon. Next weekend will be your last trip to the beach or the lake or mountains.

Halloween decorations are beginning to show up in stores, which means I won't seem so weird for having them up in my house already! For those who don't know, I'm working on a Halloween book, which means I've got witches and vampires on the mind.

Your garden is uttering the last gasps of summer. The zucchini is spent. The red pepper plants have withered. The cucumbers dried up, and there are only a couple of pathetic lone tomatoes left on the vine.

But in the middle of the garden, planted last spring when you were full of hope and energy, there sits a gigantic plant, the leaves still bright in the sun. It's basil's turn to shine -- which can only mean one thing -- it's time for pesto.

I have to admit that I was not a fan of pesto until I made my own. I suspect pesto is one of those recipes that is better if you tinker with it a little bit to emphasize the flavors you prefer.

The ingredients are fairly basic. Lots of basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I would recommend using a mild olive oil.

A few years ago, I searched high and low for pine nuts. I found them, too. $12.99 for less than a fistful. Consequently, I am officially a believer in substituting walnuts in pesto. They're every bit as good -- maybe better.

I'm a big fan of garlic, so I'm likely to toss in an extra clove or two. Beware! This is fresh, uncooked garlic, so it has a bite. If you think you might like to use extra garlic, add it gradually. Excellent for warding off the vampires in your life, though. One little poof of air in their direction, and I promise they'll flee!


1/4 cup walnuts
2 medium size garlic cloves
2 cups packed basil leaves (washed and dried)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

Combine the walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor with a few leaves of basil. Pulse until the walnuts and garlic are fine. Mash in the rest of the basil leaves and spin. With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a slow drizzle. Add salt and pepper to taste and whirl one more time.

Toss with pasta, use on pizza or bruschetta, add a dollop to grilled fish, or just spread on a slice of toast for lunch! Enjoy!