After a lazy Sunday morning of sleeping in until almost 10 a.m, I thought I should be a little productive and go to the farmers market in Encino, since I had missed Saturday's market in Burbank. While I typically prefer to go first thing in the morning, when the temperatures are still cool and the sun hasn't reached its peak, I wanted to get some produce and thought maybe I could score some bargains since I was going to get there near the end of the day's run and figured the vendors didn't want to haul back what didn't sell earlier.
I did get a few bargains that day. I made a lightning quick round through the market, 25 minutes from parking to shopping to back on the road and came away with a huge bouquet of flowers for five bucks, because sometimes you just have to buy yourself flowers, golden beets, daikon radish, lettuce, carrots, leeks, a huge bundle of purple basil, and a bunch of yellow carrots. Productive. On the drive home, all I could smell was basil and eucalyptus. It was blissful.
Pesto was definitely being made. I've discussed and waxed about pesto on here before (at least four times!), and my feelings have not changed. I love pesto today just as much as I did when I wrote about it previously. Though I will tell you that this pesto was some of the best I've made in awhile. No kidding. Maybe because I was a little more precise on measurements. Maybe because the basil was so amazingly fresh. Maybe because pesto is really just an amazing food.
And what could be more amazing than taking that pesto and pairing it with those yellow carrots? On that day, not much. The carrots were perfect for roasting. I let them roast long enough to leave them with a little, just a little, bite. Al dente, as it were. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was eating them out of the baking dish before dinner was even ready. They were that good. And bits of the pesto had actually browned and crisped in the oven. AMAZING!
I used walnuts instead of pine nuts. I noticed the last time I made pesto, I had an aftertaste in my mouth. I honestly didn't think too much about it until I was over a friend's house and she mentioned how she wasn't going to use pine nuts grown in China. So, thanks to the power of Google, I found a slew of articles and blog posts about pine nuts leaving a metallic taste in people's mouths. Realizing that's what happened to me, I decided to look for pine nuts grown anywhere but China. Let me tell you how expensive Italian pine nuts are. Very. As much as I want to get some, I'm holding off on spending the money. By all means, if you don't get the horrendous aftertaste, don't like walnuts, or feel that using anything BUT pine nuts is blasphemous, use them.
Roasted Yellow Carrots with Pesto
Pesto makes about a cup
3 cups basil leaves, purple or otherwise
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cups Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bunch of carrots, yellow or otherwise, tops trimmed, washed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the walnut pieces just until you can smell. Remove from heat and let cool. In a food processor, toss in the basil leaves and walnut pieces. Pulse until the basil and nuts begin to pulverize and combine. Add the cheese and garlic (you can chop the cloves). Slowly drizzle in the oil and run the processor on high until everything mixes together. Give it a taste, adding salt and pepper as you wish.
For the carrots, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow baking dish, lay the carrots in and pour olive oil over them. Make sure all the carrots are evenly covered with oil. Roast carrots for about 25 minutes, then spread 2-3 tablespoons of pesto on vegetables. Return to oven for another 5-10 minutes or until fork tines easily pierce carrots.