Root Vegetable “Linguini” with Walnut Arugula Pesto

When Matt came home from the farmer’s market last weekend with two gorgeous bunches of carrots, I knew I had to include them in my meal plan for the week, but since I’m not a pot roast kinda gal, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Carrots at my house are usually consumed raw, with hummus, but that probably wouldn’t quite qualify as dinner… at least not when I’m blogging about it.

I found the inspiration for this recipe from the Easy Eats via A Thought for Food via Pinterest, (of course). The version I found was completely raw, vegan, and gluten free, and the pesto they described was a hemp seed oil/cilantro concoction. I’m sure that’s all good – and super for those of you so inclined – but a: I don’t have hemp seed oil, b: I’m not sure my kids would be down with all that cilantro in one place, and c: what kind of weirdo pesto doesn’t have parmesan cheese in it? So I got the information for the “linguini” prep there, then made an arugula walnut pesto that I was more confident would be a hit, put ‘em together, et voila

Carrot and Parsnips with Walnut Pesto

What you need for the “linguini”:

  • Good olive oil (a couple of tbsps)
  • Lemon juice (~ 1 lemon’s worth)
  • Carrots
  • Parsnip
  • Any other root vegetable you can peel into long strips (salsify comes to mind… mmmmmm…)
  • Salt

What you need for the pesto:

  • 1 – 1.25 cups of walnuts
  • 16 oz washed arugula
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • more good olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic

Using a vegetable peeler just as you would to peel a carrot, peel each of the root vegetables into ribbons and put these in a sealable container. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkle of kosher/sea salt, then seal the container shut and shake to coat the vegetables. Leave this to cure/marinate for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, combine the garlic, walnuts, arugula, and cheese in a food processor, and pulse until the arugula is finely chopped. With the blade still running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until that perfect pesto consistency is achieved, then taste and salt as needed. I always find that walnuts add a slightly bitter flavor to pesto, and will sometimes compensate with extra cheese or even with a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Once the pesto is combined with the sweetness of the carrots, though, that bitterness disappeared.

Once the vegetable ribbons have cured, add several tablespoons of the pesto to the container and shake again to coat. Serve with more parmesan and black pepper (we did sauteed asparagus on the side).

Carrot and Parsnips with Walnut Pesto

So honest opinion? This was amazing. It was the perfect summer meal, and I couldn’t believe how dead-on al dente the carrots and parsnips got in the lemon juice… like a vegetable ceviche, I suppose. Anyway, the flavors and the presentation quite lovely (though I wish I’d waited until this week’s PURPLE carrots arrived at the farmer’s market), and I was all psyched to pronounce this a complete success… until my kids sat down and summarily rejected it.

Now, Oliver and Judah certainly present their challenges, but not usually when it comes to vegetables… on that front, they’re pretty easy. And they both absolutely love carrots and would eat pesto by the cupful if we let them, so I was pretty surprised that they were so – shall we say – underwhelmed by this meal. My best guess is that in their world, when something looks like pasta and is presented like pasta, it should also taste like pasta, and fair enough: this doesn’t pass that particular test. The funny part was that when I got my camera out to record their reactions, they completely refused to give me a thumbs down. Oliver went so far as to say “actually I like it. No, I love it – it’s great! Two thumbs up… definitely. I’m just full.” Judah laughed his agreement, and gave me a thumbs up too… but look at these faces: a couple of liars if I’ve ever seen them:

Carrot and Parsnips with Walnut Pesto

Forget the kids, though. Pack this for a picnic or a light dinner on a hot night… It’s so good and so easy, and Matt and I scarfed every last bit – including the kids’ rejects – in one sitting:D

Have a great weekend!

xox,

annemie

beth - I’m very intrigued by this recipe and must try it! Hopefully I’ll get some purple varieties this week at the farmer’s market.

Aly - Loving the food posts, Annemie!!

Joda - How sweet that your sons refused to be photographed showing anything but support for your culinary endeavors. That deserves a double scoop of ice cream for each.

Everyone Wins | Durham Family Photographer

I never would’ve met Stephanie and John if it hadn’t been for the Duke Memorial Weekday School‘s auction this spring – I had donated a portrait session and they were the high bidders – and I think it was fate that made it happen that way. From our very first set of emails, I could tell we were going to get along, and the better I’ve gotten to know them, the more I think they’re friends for keeps :D

Good cause + new friends + a fantastic session = everyone wins!

Durham Child Photographer
Durham Child Photographer
Durham Child Photographer
Durham Child Photographer
Durham Family Photographer
Durham Child Photographer

The two photos below are further proof of this family’s awesomeness: among all the images they ordered, they bought this one (which makes me laugh every single time I look at it) to put in their bedroom…

Durham Child Photographer
…and this one (which I know I’ve already shared, but seriously: worth a second look, no?) as a 40×60 canvas in their living room. Mark my words: this is going to look A. Mazing.
Durham Child Photographer

Stephanie, John, Katie & Jack – thank you SO MUCH for choosing me to help you create some portraits of your sweet family… I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Durham Child Photographer

xox,

annemie

Bert - The photos of the boy by the trees and the girl with the grass (the color of her hair and the grass are so similar!) are wonderful. Great photos.

Erin T - Love them! My favorites (besides the last two beauties of course) are the first one of the little boy peeking out from the tree and the very romantic black and white of the parents. They must have been so pleased with how these turned out!

kate - This collection of photos captures so much. The fun and whimsy of playful children as well as their contemplative moods, the comfort and love of the family and parents is all there in these portraits. Oh, and the golden glow of early spring in the color shots is beautiful. Well done!

Molly - BRAVO!!! Is this the session you had after being up most of the night at a delivery? You are something else…

annemie - Thanks, guys :) And yes, @Molly – this was the (in)famous up-all-night session… if they hadn’t been so easy to work with, it’s anyone’s guess how they would’ve turned out!

Stephanie - Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Annemie! Keep looking back at these and can’t wait to have them in my house so I can see them every day!

Super-easy Baked Tofu

Week two of my re-initiation in the kitchen went quite well today, thanks to sweet Molly who responded to my call for recipes last week.

Baked Tofu

Mind you: she was the only one.*

Anyway, this one will DEFinitely be going into the regular rotation, ’cause shy of making ramen for dinner, it really doesn’t get much easier, and unlike ramen, this actually had some nutrition.

What you need:

  • 1 container extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium recommended)
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

What you have to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Rinse the block of tofu, wrap it in a paper towel, and press it to remove the extra water (I put my cast-iron skillet on top and let it sit for 15-20 minutes). In the meantime, whisk the soy sauce, orange juice, miso paste, sesame oil, ginger, and scallions together. Once the tofu is dry-ish, slice it into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick pieces – like you’d slice a loaf of bread. Line the bottom of a baking dish with the tofu pieces (no overlap) and pour the sauce over them, making sure they all get equal sauce-love.** Bake uncovered at 350 for around 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the tofu has begun to brown, then serve over rice with veggies (we did sauteed broccoli).

Baked Tofu

Additional notes: I’m told prepping everything ahead of time and marinating the tofu makes it extra yum, and I totally believe it. Keep an eye on the sauce, though… it can easily get pretty salty. The only thing I’m going to be changing next time I make this is doubling the recipe and tripling or quadrupling the sauce… one can never have too much sauce, eh?

Baked Tofu
Double thumbs-up from the boys… this was a big hit and a total clean-plate club night. Matt gives it double thumbs-up too :D  (but I didn’t take his picture  :(). Cheers!

xox,

annemie

*Send me recipes! Please… I beg of you!! I fill your computer screens with pretty pictures… now it’s your turn to help me fill my brain with ideas and my children’s tiny bellies with food.

**Don’t we all deserve equal rights to love? Hmmmm? North Carolina, I’m looking at YOU. That is all.

Molly - Oh shoot! One of us forgot the rice vinegar – that’s essential.

Here’s the original recipe from Oprah magazine: http://www.oprah.com/food/Double-Soy-Ginger-Tofu

The original is really skimpy on the sauce so I always make more and add lots more ginger. Check out the Miso-butter variation too. XO

Amanda - These days my schedule is also crazy. If I ever get back in the kitchen again, I’ll send along some ideas…

Annemie - @Molly – so weird, I totally didn’t feel like it was missing anything, but I’m excited to try it again! :) @Amanda – please do… and also give me a ring when you have the chance – we need to catch up! XO