Tag: Spinach

Kale Stem Pesto

Kale Stem Pesto // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerKale Stem Pesto // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I often find myself frustrated with how much stuff I put in my compost. I guess I should stop right there and say, at least I have a compost, right? The beautiful city of Portland has roadside pickup every week, making it so wonderfully easy to make more environmentally conscious choices. There aren’t a lot of cities that do that. Anyway, I know I could save some bones and carrot tops and onion tops and parsley stems for stock… But I just don’t do it. I mean, I do sometimes… But not as often as I should. And there’s one thing lately that I have always felt guilty after putting it in the compost: kale stems. Jonah and I eat a fair amount of kale – usually sautéed with butter and garlic or something like that, sometimes in a salad. But I always am frustrated at the toughness of the stems, and wish I could do more with them.

After a little research and looking around, I mostly found that people who do use their kale stems either sauté them with their kale, simply adding the stems first so they cook for longer, or put them in smoothies. I wasn’t really into either of these options, so I made myself a third one. With the all-in pesto in mind, and a container of pine nuts whining from my pantry, I got to work making some kale stem pesto. I wasn’t planning on sharing this pesto here, since the recipe is really improvised, but I got so many comments and questions about what it was when I posted pictures on my Instagram and Facebook, that I thought, why not? This pesto is certainly a product of whatever you’ve got around, which is generally my theory about pesto. Herbs are good, parmesan is good, and other than that, you can kind of go crazy. Nearly any kind of nut will work, any greens, and you can really play until you find some flavors that you like. I didn’t do any measuring here – mostly just throwing in handfuls of this or that – but below is an approximation of what I used.

The beautiful thing about pesto is that it can be a complete reflection of your kitchen: if you just went to the market and have some radish greens, use them. If you don’t have any pine nuts but plenty of pistachios or walnuts, use them. If it’s raining and you want something heartier, add more cheese.

We tossed our kale stem pesto with fresh spaghetti (you can find a recipe here) and topped it with sliced grape tomatoes, which added a really nice juicy brightness. I also like to make a thick piece of toast and slather it with fresh pesto.

Kale Stem Pesto


1 bunch of kale stems, plus probably the equivalent of 1 leaf of kale
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup parsley
~ 3/4 cup pine nuts
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil


Fill a small pot halfway with water, salt well, and bring to a boil. Roughly chop kale stems into about 1/2 – 1 inch pieces. Add to boiling water, and cook until stems are easily pierced with a knife. Drain and cool.

In the bowl of a food processor (or blender), combine kale stems, a few small chunks of parmesan, about half the pine nuts, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, and a few glugs of olive oil. Pulse to combine. Add spinach, some parsley, and a hefty sprinkling of salt. The key here is to taste and add. If you want a little more spice, add another clove or two of garlic. If you want it creamier, more nuts, and olive oil. If you want it greener, add more spinach and parsley, or some fresh basil or chard if you’ve got some around.

Friday Finds 7:26:13

Another whammy of a week. I’ll tell you more about it when the dust has settled. Who knows when that’ll be. All I know is, sometimes life gives you lemons, and you can’t even see that they’re lemons, you think they’re just these ugly sour things. And even though you know that you could potentially make lemonade out of them, you’re just not quite sure how to go about it, and what recipe to use, or if you should even use a recipe at all. Right now, I’m working on writing my own recipe, I guess. Here’s to hoping it’s delicious. Now, onto the Friday Finds.

1. Green Smoothies

Green Machine Smoothie from What's Gaby Cooking // Friday Finds on Serious Crust, by Annie Fassler
Green Machine Smoothie from What’s Gaby Cooking // Friday Finds

There’s a juice and smoothie cart in Portland called Sip, and it has this smoothie called Tropical Greens that I am so in love with. The thing about Sip is that because it’s all local seasonal organic etc. these smoothies don’t come cheap. So I need to start making my own. This one on What’s Gaby Cooking looks pretty similar to the one I’ve been buying on a regular basis for over a year now. Let’s see if it lives up to its inspiration…

2. Egg Yolk Ravioli

Egg Yolk Ravioli from Licking the Plate // Friday Finds on Serious Crust, by Annie Fassler
Egg Yolk Ravioli from Licking the Plate // Friday Finds

I mean, come on, does that not look like one of the most beautiful things you could eat? First, it’s fresh ravioli. Second, it has a runny egg yolk. Third, there is a MAGICAL RUNNY EGG YOLK INSIDE OF YOUR FRESH RAVIOLI. Find the recipe (and some beautiful photos) over here on Licking the Plate.

3. Avocado and Cajun Seasoning

Yum: avocado with cajun seasoning // Friday Finds on Serious Crust, by Annie Fassler
Yum: avocado with cajun seasoning // Friday Finds

My roommate Carmelle has turned me on to my new favorite snack: half an avocado, sliced, and sprinkled with some King Cajun Cream Seasoning. It’s filling, full of healthy fats, and tastes dang good.

4. Passionfruit Butter

Passion Butter from Cook Republic // Friday Finds on Serious Crust, by Annie Fassler
Passion Butter from Cook Republic // Friday Finds

If I knew where to find fresh passionfruit, I would immediately be so all over this recipe on Cook Republic (which, if you haven’t discovered yet, get your butt over there). I love citrus curd, and passionfruit is no exception. My sisters and I have always been big fans of the little wrinkly fruit. When my little sister and I spent a month in Vietnam one summer, our host mom found out that Molly really liked passionfruit, and so bought bags of it fresh from the market and would make us fresh squeezed passionfruit juice every morning. Nothing can really compare to that, but this curd looks almost as delicious.

5. Flavor Combination: Saffron and Raspberry

Saffron Raspberries from 101 Cookbooks // Friday Finds on Serious Crust, by Annie Fassler
Saffron Raspberries from 101 Cookbooks // Friday Finds

This recipe on 101 Cookbooks for Saffron Raspberries looks really interesting, and got me thinking about the flavor combination. It’s really intriguing to me, and I’m thinking it might make a good ice cream or something like that… Any ideas on how to combine the two? Savory? Sweet? In a pie? A sauce for chicken? I’d love to try a few possibilities!

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter
Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

In trying to spend less money cooking, Jonah and I have been doing more vegetarian meals. This is why it’s wonderful that Jonah got this cookbook “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi for his birthday. All vegetarian food, very unique ingredients and recipes. These green pancakes are the second thing we’ve made from it (the first was eggplant with buttermilk sauce, which hopefully Jonah will put up on the blog someday…), and they were delicious. Different from anything I’ve tasted and filled with green goodness. We didn’t have everything required for the recipe, so I’ll let you know what we included and what we skipped.

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

Note: Ottolenghi’s recipe for self rising flour is: 1 cup flour, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt. it’s a little aggravating because you make over a cup of it and then only use 3/4 a cup in the recipe… but I was too lazy to do the math.


Lime Butter

1 stick of butter at room temperature
zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 Tbl lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbl cilantro (we left this out)
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chile flakes

Green Pancakes

1/2 lb spinach, washed
3/4 cup self-rising flour (see note above)
1 Tbl baking powder
1 egg
4 Tbl butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 egg white
olive oil for frying


Lime Butter

Beat the butter in a bowl until it’s creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients. Wasn’t that hard? The recipe says to put it in plastic wrap, roll it into a sausage shape, and chill until firm. But we just covered it and threw it in the fridge until the pancakes were ready.

Green Pancakes

While your sous-chef (Jonah) makes the butter, you can get started on the veggie prep. Wilt the spinach in a pan, then drain it in a sieve or colander, and when it’s cool, squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Chop roughly, and set aside. At this point, you can also chop your green onions and peppers so they’re ready to go when you need them.

Now, in a mixing bowl (if you have an electric mixer, you can use it, but you’ll want it later to whip your egg white, so be aware that you’ll be swapping bowls and washing it to use it for something else), combine flour, baking powder, the whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin, and milk. Mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Now add all those green things you chopped up earlier. In your electric mixer, whisk the egg white “to soft peaks,” meaning you want it to hold a peak, but not be too stiff. Make sense? Now you can gently fold the whipped egg white into the pancake batter.

Heat some oil (think 1/2 Tbl) in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Ladle the batter into the pan, using about 2 Tbl of batter per pancake. You want them to be fairly thin, so press the batter down gently. Cook them for 2 minutes a side, or until they’re nicely golden-brown (or golden-green, as the case may be).

Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel and keep warm. When you’re done with all the batter, enjoy with a slab of lime butter on top! We ate these for dinner, but I can see them being a wonderful breakfast, and also a great way to get kids to eat some spinach! Enjoy!