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Gluten-Shmooten & Fabulous Summer ‘Pesto’

When I first decided to do a blog I began to read blogs that I really liked. One of my favorites is Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahearn. I love the way she writes and Apparently I am not alone since she has won awards and has a book out. We have many customers who cannot tolerate gluten and we always have dining options for them (They are our normal foods, but we direct those who ask to the gluten-free items that are available.) I have learned alot about the intolerance from Shauna’s site, and she has confirmed that our ‘gluten-free’ recipes truly truly are gluten-free. I like to be able to 100% guarantee my customers that I know what I am talking about.

Last week I made a menu for a cater that was not only gluten-free, but also entirely free of cow’s milk dairy. This is the second time that this customer has asked me to do so and I really love that we can! We use lots of goat and sheep cheeses in our recipes, and it is fun to really work my brain and come up with a totally safe, fantastic tasting menu, that the customer and her guests can fully enjoy without worry. Feeding people well makes me happy every day, and when I can do that for people who generally have to be so careful, it gives me even greater pleasure.

So of course the first thing I did was call Meg and Brad Gregory of Black Sheep Creamery in Adna. I LOVE their sheep cheese and they are the most wonderful family you could meet. The December floods momentarily devastated them, and it is such a pleasure to see how they have recovered and rebounded and continue to broaden their dreams. And let me tell you: the cheese is amazing! They shipped out some fresh sheep cheese (soft curds… almost like cream cheese.) and some aged pecorino (like parmesan only WAY better!) and I created a wonderful menu.

Next I went down to the Local Boys Produce Stand in Purdy and got what I could for the menu, and the rest came from Wildly Organic! produce delivery here in Silverdale. Dale and Aimee King own and work this great business together with their kids and it is a great idea! Fresh organic produce delivered to your door every week, or every other week. They get as much local stuff as they can, and every week you can see what is coming and even make up to 2 substitutions, or as many add-ons as you like.

I made a fresh basil pesto with the pecorino and I think it was better than ‘normal’ pesto! Lori made all the rest of the food and plattered it up beautifully and of course did a fantastic job! The customer said she loved it and I absolutely get a thrill every time we get glowing feedback like that.

I mentioned pesto and I think most of us have had the regular basil pesto, and probably quite a few other types as well. Here is a recipe for a pesto that will blow your mind with it’s fresh summery taste and how simple it is to make it. I will be making this at the restaurant on August 1st for Lori’s birthday, because she LOVES this pesto and the staff always gets whatever food items they want for their birthdays at the cafe.

This goes great on some pasta, whatever shape you like, I use Spaghetti or Penne, but there are no rules here. This recipe will make alot and you will want alot!

Grate a bunch of pecorino romano (I just use the cuisinart that I am making the pesto in) and set it aside.

Throw into the cuisinart a couple of big handfuls of toasted almonds and whir them around until they are ground down really well.

Add in the cheese (start with a handful, you can add more later), the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of one lemon, 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, a bit of fresh basil, some olive oil, italian parsley and some pepper.

Whir it all around, scraping down the sides, as you need to. When it is all incorporated taste it to see if you want to add salt. If so, turn on the machine and add some salt, maybe more cheese, maybe some more pepper, and definitely some more olive oil until it has the consistency that you want. (A bit saucy but still thick enough to really cling to the pasta.) If you want it thicker or thinner, make it as you please!

As soon as the pasta comes out of the pot, throw the pesto on it and mix it in. This is best served only slightly warm, or at room temperature. You do not want to cook this pesto, it is a ‘cruda’ and you will love it!

Don’t you love that word ‘saucy’? Tell me if you try this and what you think! I know my recipes aren’t real specific. If you need me to be more so, just ask.