Posts tagged ‘brown sugar’

September 14, 2010

Best Pesto – Sweet Basil Pesto “Tapenade”

by cillefish

pesto on whole-wheat penneThis is a recipe for a “sweet basil pesto tapenade,” but I use it as a normal pesto paired with whole-wheat pasta (the fresh kind, if you can find it). The flavor is FANTASTIC, one notch above everyday normal pesto, but like normal pesto it’s absurdly easy (and, if you’ve got sweet Italian basil growing in your garden, pretty darned cheap). The maple syrup gives it some nice mellow notes, but the flavor’s also bold enough that, paired with good pasta and a little Parmesan cheese (ok, maybe a simple salad on the side), this is more than sufficient for a good dinner.

Use a little more olive oil and a little less walnut to make it more pasta-pesto; use the given amounts to make it a tapenade for putting on pesto pizza, sandwiches, or those fancy little toasts (whose name escapes me at the moment). I hear it’s also great on roasted squash.

I’ve tried this with Thai basil as well instead of the standard Italian sweet kind, and it’s a little less perfect but still pretty tasty. You can toast the walnuts before you mince them for a mellower taste, but I think the bit of tang from fresh walnuts works better with the lemon and the maple.

I’ve had a nice dinner with this and artichokes roasted on a barbecue, with salad dressing for dipping the artichokes.

Sweet Basil Pesto (Tapenade)

source: The Veganomicon
prep time: under 10 min

  • 3 c fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 c walnut pieces or halves
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (for a much mellower taste, brush cloves with olive oil and roast in 200° F oven for a few min)
  • 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c walnut oil (or just more olive oil – I never have walnut oil around. Peanut oil is a little weird here)
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup (or water and brown sugar mixed to what you’d guess to be a similar sweetness level)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
  • optional: grated Parmesan cheese (you may use less walnut if you want more Parmesan. Trader Joe’s has some really great stuff, both pre-grated and not)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • black pepper

Chop the basil, garlic, and most of the walnuts in food processor until chunky, stopping often to scrape the sides. Add oil(s), syrup, and lemon zest or juice. Add Parmesan as you like, and process until thick and creamy, adding more or all of the walnuts to get the texture you want. Season to taste. Can be stored in a glass jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top (to prevent oxygenation) until ready to serve. MUCH BETTER FRESH.

August 8, 2010

Camille’s Oatmeal-Brown-Sugar-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

by cillefish

These are based on the Land O’ Lakes brown-sugar / oatmeal cookies, but I made them better by using semisweet chocolate chips instead of M&M’s and adding in the cashews for better chewiness and a more interesting taste.

Time: 30-min prep, 10-min bake
Yield: 2-5 dozen


  • 1 1/2c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4c butter, softened (or substitute with 1c canola oil RIGHT from the fridge)
  • 1 egg
  • 2c uncooked quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1c semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are the best)
  • 1/2c uncooked, unsalted cashews, minced very finely (Trader Joe’s and Costco have the least expensive ones I’ve found)

1. Heat oven to 375°F Combine brown sugar, butter, and egg in one large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients except final 2. Beat until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and minced cashews (batter WILL seem very dry and clumpy; this is fine!).

2. Drop dough by tablespoonsfull, 2″ apart, onto UNGREASED cookie sheets. Keep the cookies small since they’re the spreading, chewy kind and the edges and undersides will want to burn.

3. Bake for 10-14min or until they have a blush of light golden brown on edges. Let stand 1 min; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.