Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Orzo with Kale Pesto and Broccoli

This is a wonderful and healthy dish to use up Farmer's Market Kale and Broccoli!

1 package of orzo or any other small-ish pasta
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted
1 bunch kale, chopped and woody stems removed
1/2 cup fresh basil (I used frozen basil from Trader Joe's)
1-2 cloves of garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
~½ cup olive oil
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1/3 parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of water to boiling, add a generous pinch of salt and add the orzo. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, drain when tender and let it cool.

2. Add the kale and basil to a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Run under cold water or submerge in ice water for a few seconds, then drain. Dry in some paper towel. This will preserve the bright green color so your salad does not turn a muddy green color after a few hours.

3. Bring the water back to a boil and add the broccoli. Put the lid on and cook for 1-2 minutes, just long enough to take the edge off. Quickly drain the broccoli, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

4. To make the pesto, combine the kale, basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and the lemon juice and pulse in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until smooth (you may need more or less than the indicated amount of olive oil to get to the desired texture).

5. Toss the orzo, broccoli florets, and about 2/3 of the pesto. Taste it and add what you like – more lemon, salt, the rest of the pesto. Top with a bit of extra parmesan if you prefer. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

pumpkin cheesecake

We traded pumpkin pie for pumpkin cheesecake this year, and it was a big hit! I think this will be our new tradition. This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which adapted the recipe from Gourmet Magazine (2003).

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, or other cookie crumbs (we used vanilla goldfish!)
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3-4 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature (we used low-fat cream cheese and the results were excellent)

Make crust:

Butter sides & bottom of 9-inch springform pan

In food processor, mix cookie crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan (if you can) then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling:

In food processor, mix pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla. Add cream cheese and mix until creamy and smooth.

Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top.
Bake in 350 oven until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

If desired, chill until cold. Remove sides when you want.