Presto Vegan Pesto!

We are but one week from when i enjoyed teaching a  “plein-air” (which just means outdoors) cooking class on a beautiful day, under deep blue skies (no filter needed kind of a day!) and vitamin-D rich sunshine 
offering the gardeners from the local Methodist Church’s Community Garden a cooking class on how to make the very most of their abundant organic veggie harvest.  And here we are, just a few short days later,  all practicing “Social Distancing” and “Self-Isolation” doing our patriotic bits to help flatten the curve.
Their lush late season harvest included many varieties of onions, purple, yellow, green, bunching varieties, and scallions, so I chose to invent a variation on Pesto, utilizing the tall stalks of onion greens, which folks tend to toss and waste. I pride myself on being a #zerowaste chef, or at least strive to get as close to zero waste as possible, so i found this a brilliant possibility.  Now, just hoping ti would taste divine, too, otherwise it would be so brilliant, after all, lol!   With a further challenge, I also opted to keep it budget-friendly, so instead of walnuts or heaven forbid, pignoli nuts most commonly featured in traditional pesto recipes, I picked sunflower seeds. Both choices actually worked brilliantly! Finally, because I’ve seen the call to keep clients healthy, I aim for no-oil recipes as often as possible.  So, this pesto is more of a paste, than a sauce. And, it works!
1 bunch basil
1 bunch scallions (or the equivalent e.g. in fresh onion tops.)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 and 1/2 cups shelled sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
2 garlic cloves (raw is suggested but these could also be roasted if you prefer the flavor)
1/2/ cup Nutritional yeast
1/4 cup olive oil oil (or enough for a paste to form in the blender, you may need a little more than 1/4 cup). You might use infused oil i(e.g. with basil stems). If you don’t want to use additional oil and a paste has not yet formed, use hot water for the additional liquid. If you don’t want to use oil at all, you may substitute hot vegetable broth for the entire 1/4 cup of oil
2 big cloves garlic (raw is recommended but you could use roasted)
Lemon zest from one lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice (this is approximately the juice that you can squeeze from one half lemon)
Blend all ingredients together to form a paste.

Leave a comment below on how you plan to use your pesto!

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*I know that sentiment has deep political ramifications RIGHT NOW as the term “marshall law” is being bandied about, but this post just isn’t about that.  I’m personally NOT a fan of speculating, or stressing about the things that I cannot control so here I am back at my home temple, the kitchen, creating healing recipes so that we can live our best life, despite being temporarily in isolation.

Contemporary Food Design with Chef Nina Kauder

14494636_10210268747176090_7185241528212363839_nNot just a cooking class…

Local Chef & Food Artist Nina Kauder, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, brings an October cooking class series to The Box Gallery (811 Belvedere Rd, West Palm Beach). Contemporary Food Design Workshop, featuring easy-to-learn techniques to improve your art or demystify some of your cooking concerns. Register here.

Wednesday, October 19: Make Thyme for a New Squash- $25

Out with the old, in with the new. Skip the traditional squashes this year. Learn what locally-grown Florida squash has to offer and what you can do with it.

Wednesday, October 26: Dessert: Healthy Halloween- $25
Discover an alternative to commercially packaged tricks or treats.

November Lineup: From “Bad Moms” to “Thriving Moms”

Wednesday, November 9: Easy, Make-Ahead Specialty Food Gifts

This holiday season, treat the foodie in your life with an array of specialty food gifts they’ll reach for, time and time again. Get a head start and trim your holiday “to-do” list.  These ingredients turn luscious the longer they marinate, so start early!

Wednesday, November 16: Shop & Dine with the Chef- Offsite Location- $20

Explore the most international supermarket in Palm Beach County: FoodTown. With Chef Nina as your guide, experience the store’s bounty from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Then, join the chef for an optional dinner at one of her favorite restaurants: Taste of India. Only 6.5 miles away!

Cost of dinner is not included, but FUN is! Please bring cash so we can easily settle the check.

Wednesday, November 23: ThanksLiving

There’s great pleasure in feasting on autumn vegetables, especially when served raw with minimal preparation. Harness and transform robust flavors so they can easily take center stage on your table. These almost instant side dishes won’t even fight for oven time!

Walk-in students pay $5 more at the door, space permitting. Reserve your seat in advance to save!