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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moroccan Pesto

Geez, it's really tough to have a truly original concept.

I can't tell you how many times I have thought I had that million dollar idea only to find that someone else had already thought of it.

Apparently there IS already a hands-free breast pump for nursing moms.

The family-friendly coffee shop aimed at parents with young children that I fantasized about opening for years was actually put to the test by someone in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto...and it lasted about a year before going out of business.

Years ago when I came up with my Asian pesto recipe, I seriously thought I deserved a James Beard award. "What creativity, what brilliance, what deliciousness", I thought. Then I saw "Asian pesto" on a restaurant menu. I was crushed.

So when I came up with this one, I immediately Googled and...found a lot of Moroccan pesto recipes. All were similar, made up of varying amounts of fresh mint, cilantro, lemon, olive oil and garlic. A few also had almonds. Oh well, I am sure these are all good, but I smugly promise that my recipe is still unique...and better. I chose to balance the sour of the lemon with some sundried tomatoes and pomegranate molasses.

The result is nothing short of brilliant. I mixed half of the recipe into some quinoa, along with a can of chickpeas and some roasted zucchini and red bell peppers but this would be stellar on lamb, fish or chicken. Or you could mix it into yogurt for a dip for veggies or pita chips. It would even work as a sandwich spread, maybe with some hummus, or feta cheese along with fresh cucumber and tomato.

Use it any way your heart desires. Be creative, be daring, be original!

Bunch fresh cilantro
Bunch fresh mint
Bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
Large chunk fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 4 pieces
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, in oil or rehydrated
Juice and zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons
2 tbls pomegranate molasses (or honey or agave syrup)
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil (or more)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp or more kosher salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne, to taste (optional)

Carefully wash fresh herbs and remove any tough stems. Add nuts, ginger, garlic, and sundried tomatoes into food processor and process until finely chopped. Add in herbs a few handfuls at a time, scrapping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add remaining ingredients, adding addition oil if necessary, depending on desired consistency. Will keep in refrigerator for few days. Freeze remaining pesto.*

*Try freezing in ice cube trays and then storing pesto cubes in a sealed bag. This allows you to access desired amount and defrost as needed.

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