Healthy and Delicious Pesto with Irish Cheese and Georgia Pecans
Schools are back in full swing and it’s time for inventive sandwiches and fillings to pack in to our kids lunch boxes, right? In our house, we love kale pesto, tossed in chopped grilled chicken as a filler for whole grain croissants It’s just another sneaky way to add nutrition in to the families diet with absolutely no complaints. Lacinato Kale (also known as Black, Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale) is slightly sweeter than curly kale and it has a more delicate flavor. We prefer it as a substitute to basil because its more nutritious and it adds a more earthiness and substance to the pesto. The Dubliner Irish cheese, with it’s distinctive nutty parmesan taste, adds a depth of flavor and the pesto is brightened up with lemon. Supporting local, I use pecans in my pesto, but switching to pine nuts or walnuts works great too.
Those of you living in Atlanta please ark you calendars for Saturday September 26th for a taste of Ireland at Salud cooking schools at the Whole Foods Market at Avalon. We will be featuring this delicious pesto as part of my fall tea party menu.
Anyway, just try it for your family and I promise you will love it. So, here is the recipe!
1 medium bunch of Organic Lacinato kale (stems removed)
2 Tbsp water
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
1 garlic clove (crushed)
Zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup finely grated Dubliner Irish cheese (finely grated)
¼ cup pecans (toasted and finely chopped)
½ cup olive oil (plus 1 Tbsp to sauté Kale)
How to make it
In a large skillet sauté kale in 1 Tbsp of olive oil for 30 seconds and sprinkle over 2 Tbsp of water to wilt for 1 minute. Remove Kale from heat and set aside to keep its vibrant green color. (you can also boil the Kale for 1 minute in a large pot of boiling water to blanch to achieve the same results).
In a food processor blend the kale, salt and pepper, garlic, Dubliner, lemon zest and juice. Add the toasted pecans and pulse for a couple of seconds (I like them to have a little texture). Finally, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream with the processor is still in motion.
Use right away or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Summer is almost over, and for some of us the kids are back to school. So, there be no better way to mark the occasion than with an end of Summer Blues Cocktail. This Shamrock and Peach Cocktail is light, refreshing, fruity and fun served in a tall Martini glass and garnished with a basil leaf (sorry no edible Shamrocks were available).
Shamrock and Peach Summer Cocktail
Any excuse for celebrating the Georgia peach? This cocktail is delicious all year around especially if you have some homemade peach preserves in the pantry.
1.5 oz tequila
1 ½ Tbsp peach preserves
1 oz ginger simple syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Prosecco (to top)
Basil (to garnish)
(for the ginger syrup)
4 oz fresh ginger root
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
How to make it
To make the ginger syrup remove the rough outer skin from the ginger root with a sharp knife and then slice thinly. In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the ginger and simmer for a few minutes to infuse. Remove from the heat and allow the ginger to continue to infuse for 45 minutes. Strain the syrup and refrigerate.
Using a shaker mix the tequila, peach preserves, ginger syrup and lime juice together.
Strain in to a glass with crushed ice and top with a little Prosecco.
Our real reason for an extra trip home to Ireland this summer was to attend the marriage of my beautiful niece Lucie to David at Castle Leslie Estate. The wedding was stylish, relaxed and elegant and I thought you would enjoy looking at some of the photographs form the big day. For those who have been on one of the Shamrock andPeach tours to Ireland and stayed in Castle Leslie you will not be surprised that the food was one of the best meals I have been served at a wedding and the service never disappoints.
My niece who just got married is studying nutrition at University in Edinburgh, Scotland and she has a great blog with some really healthy and tasty recipes. I am a big fan of her healthy oatmeal toppings and breakfast granola so go on give her a follow at juicy lucie foods
My next blog will be a recipe “I promise” but I could not resist sharing about the wedding. So Congratulations to Lucie and David! We are all so proud of you!
Plating at the Catalina restaurant at the Lough Erne
Judith and Chef Noel McMeel
Vanilla Panna cotta – Textures of Apple
Breast of Thornhill Duck – Beetroot, Carrot Cream, Wild Mushrooms, Water Cress Puree, Orange Jelly and Duck and Orange reduction
Pastry Chef Stephen and Judith
Pastry Chef Stephen’s morning bakes
The Dream Chef Team
Dinner with Shamrock and Peach tours
This summer I got to spend 8 weeks in Ireland and I am returning to Georgia more inspired than ever to cook modern Irish food. One of the highlights of my time in Ireland was spending time in the kitchens of the Lough Erne working with the Chefs.
Time after time my tour guests are literally blown away by the flavors, presentation and creativity of Irish cuisine. Our modern Irish food highlights the main ingredient of each dish with subtle flavors such as “Breast of Duck with Beetroot, Carrot Cream, Wild Mushroom, Water Cress Puree, Orange Jelly and Duck and Orange reduction” or the “Vanilla Pana Cotta with textures of Apple”.
On my return to Ireland I caught up on the past episodes of the Bachelorette and I was so excited to see filming at the Lough Erne Resort. For those of you who admit watching the show you may have enjoyed the entertaining golfing scene and the couples romantic spin in the golf cart? It’s really exciting to see Ireland being promoted as a world class cultural and culinary destination.
My thanks to the Noel McMeel and the outstanding chefs at the Lough Erne who continually exceed expectations to guests dining at the resort and are a tribute to the Emerald’s Isles new food revolution. It’s been a wonderful summer in Ireland but I am glad to be back home to Georgia with fresh legs for the Shamrock and Peach.