Favorite Basil Pesto With Almonds Pasta

With thanks to Brooklyn Farm Girl: brooklynfarmgirl.com

3 cups of fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted almonds or pistachios
pinch of salt
pasta of your choice (cooked)
red pepper flakes to garnish
Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan Cheese, olive oil, almonds and salt in a food processor. Blend to a smooth pesto.
Pour on hot cooked pasta and stir so pesto is evenly combined.
Garnish with red pepper flakes for a added kick.


All our herbs are growing inside our loft thanks to hydroponic gardening, or more specially our AeroGarden.


This makes 1 cup of pesto.
If you want to make this dairy free, substitute the Parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast.



Butternut Squash Soup


4 cups vegetable broth 

2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces

1½ tsp chopped fresh sage leaves 

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Sour cream and chopped fresh chives for garnish

Preparation:  Serves 4

Bring broth to boil in large saucepan. Add squash and sage; cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer squash to processor. Purée until smooth. Add 1 cup broth; process until well blended. Return mixture to saucepan with broth. Add heavy cream; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with chives.

Cajun Chicken Stuffed Red Peppers


2 large red bell peppers, cut lengthwise and seeded

½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces

1¼ tsp Cajun seasoning

2 tsp olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

½ cup chopped onion 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1¼ cups chicken broth 

½ cup white or brown rice

¼ tsp salt

2 cups baby spinach leaves

5 tsp chopped fresh chives

½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preparation:  Serves 2

Arrange bell pepper halves in a 9-inch glass pie plate.
Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
Return peppers to pie plate and set aside.

Combine chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan. Add carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic to pan; sauté about 3 minutes.
Add broth, rice and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.Return chicken to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes or until rice is done. Stir in spinach and chives.

Divide the rice mixture evenly among pepper halves. Top with cheese and broil in conventional or toaster oven until cheese is melted.

Grilled Fish Tacos



2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 garlic cloves, minced

6 mahi-mahi fillets 

4 tsp olive oil 

Salt and pepper 

12 warm corn tortillas 

For Toppings

1 cup salsa 

1 cup shredded red cabbage 

½ cup chopped tomatoes 

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Lime wedges

Preparation:  Serves 6

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Combine dill, thyme and garlic in a small bowl; set aside.

Rinse fish and pat dry. Rub olive oil on each side of fish and press herb-garlic mixture into each side.

Place fish on grill and cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily. Transfer to a serving platter and chop fillets to break the meat apart into large chunks.

To assemble tacos, stack 2 tortillas and top with fish, cabbage, salsa, tomatoes and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Citrus & Basil Quinoa Salad


3 cups quinoa*, cooked

2 Tbsp shallots, minced

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp orange zest

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

⅛ tsp pepper

2 cups orange sections 

¼ cup almonds, chopped and toasted

Preparation:   Serves 4

Combine quinoa and shallots in a large bowl; set aside. 

Combine lemon zest and next 7 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl; stir well. Pour over quinoa mixture; toss well.

Spoon 1 cup of quinoa salad onto 4 plates. Arrange ½ cup orange sections around the quinoa salad and top with almonds.

*Quinoa is hailed as a “super grain of the future” because it contains more protein, is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains.

Grilled Tenderloin Marsala



4  garlic cloves, crushed

½ tsp salt, divided

¾ tsp pepper, divided

1 (2-lb) beef tenderloin, cut into 6 steaks

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1½ lb crimini mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup butter, melted

2½ tsp minced fresh marjoram leaves

¼ cup dry Marsala wine 

Preparation:  Serves 6

Rub garlic and half of the salt and pepper evenly over both sides of steaks; brush both sides with oil. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. 

Cook mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in remaining half of salt and pepper, marjoram and Marsala; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm. 

Place steaks on grill, and cook 4 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Serve mushrooms over steaks.

Thyme-Infused Summer Salad


7 firm-ripe peaches, rinsed 

3 Tbsp honey 

2 (5-inch) fresh thyme sprigs, rinsed

2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

2 cups water

4 Tbsp lemon juice 

1/3 cup olive oil 

Salt and pepper 

6 heads Belgian endive leaves (1½ lb total), separated 

¼ cup chopped fresh chives 

2 Tbsp minced shallot 

6 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced 

1½ cups mixed greens 

½ cup almonds, chopped and toasted

Preparation Serves 6 as a main dish

Pit peaches, reserving pits; coarsely chop one peach. In a 3-quart pan over high heat, combine pits and chopped peach with honey, thyme sprigs and 2 cups water. Boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes; pour through a fine strainer into a glass measure. Let syrup cool about 10 minutes.

Whisk lemon juice into syrup; slowly pour in oil, whisking until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice remaining peaches and combine in a large bowl with endive, chives and shallot. Gently mix in dressing.

Divide salad among 6 plates. Drape prosciutto equally over servings and sprinkle with thyme leaves, mixed greens and almonds.

Buttered Noodles with Chives


10 oz egg noodles

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup vegetable broth, heated

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

2 tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Preparation Serves 8

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately toss with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Mint Lemonade


8 large lemons, divided 

20 fresh mint leaves, divided 

1 cup granulated sugar 

3 cups boiling water 

4 cups cold water 

Ice cubes

Preparation Serves 8

Slice 7 lemons thinly. Seed sliced lemons and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 12 mint leaves and the sugar. Pour in boiling water. Let mixture sit for 45 minutes at room temperature, occasionally pressing lemons and mint with a spoon.

Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher with at least a 2½-quart capacity. Juice the remaining lemon; add to the strained liquid. Add cold water; stir well. Pour lemonade over ice cubes into a glass; garnish with a mint leaf.