Sunday, September 23, 2012

pesto-stuffed tomato recipe, kitchen porn & half-marathon results

Pablo, ready to inspect the two containers of pesto I crafted from my windowsill basil plants.
End-of-summer basil abounds, whether you harvest the licorice-scented leaves from your supermarket,  your garden, or in the case of urban farmers like me, your windowsill. However you procure this versatile herb,  it begs – no, demands! – to be made into pesto. Even though I have no outdoor space,  my two puny basil plants provided me with enough material for about 4 whopping cups of pesto. For a recipe, check out my universal pesto directions here, along with 21 ideas on how to use pesto.

Pasta with pesto, and cherry tomatoes, stuffed with pesto-vegan-cream cheese. Be mindful of portions. 

I guess I love old standbys, because more than any other way, I adore pesto on pasta: spaghetti, gnocchi, and even shirataki noodles. But since late summer/early autumn harvests also overflow with tomatoes, I decided to stuff a few with a basil-cream cheese concoction. Voila! Easy, peasy, eye-pleasing appetizer! Try these no-sweat pesto-stuffed tomatoes for an appetizer.

Pesto-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
  • 12 large cherry tomatoes, halved, with the insides scooped out
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 2 T pesto, plus extra for topping
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Makes 24 appetizers (Serve about 4 per person)

In a small bowl, mix the pesto and cream cheese until smooth. Stuff each half with a healthy teaspoon of the mixture, then top with extra pesto. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy immediately.

Kitchen Update
My granite counter: Volga Blue from the Ukraine

Almost there! The folks from Addesso installed the granite counter on Friday and I must say it's gorgeous! Wherever you stand, you encounter a kaleidoscopic vista of blue, shimmery, silver-rainbow and hexagonal flecks, set against a dramatic black-green and grey backdrop. I am thrilled with my choice: Volga Blue from the Ukraine. I'm also glad I decided to pick out the slab and decide which parts to highlight in the installation. More photos will follow next time.

Wherever you stand, small iridescent pockets of blue pop up and glint against the overhead lights
There was a slight problem with the template they cut, so the fit on one small area is not perfect [And for the price of a granite counter, it needs to be]. But they are coming back this week to hopefully make things right; their customer service is great so far, so I'm not worried.

I went with the undermount sink and I'm glad I did. Cleaning up is so easy now.  

You can get an idea of what the granite counter looks like, but it does not translate into 2 dimensions.

New lights were also installed. Only problem is that the red tiles I'd bought [My favorite color, sigh!] look awful contrasted with the blues and greens in the granite. So I need to send back my tiles and choose new ones. Ideally, the tiles will last many, many years, so it's not a decision to be taken lightly. I'm a newbie at home improvement and had no idea there was so much back and forth, and reacting – something I don't like to do.

Fridge area cabinets are installed. I actually have empty shelves for the first time in my life.  
The IKEA fridge area cupboards are in, and I am pleased with the look. They remind me of Bulthaup kitchen's design [minimal, simple], but at a fraction of the cost. Once the kitchen is complete, I promise to do a "tour" post.

Run, vegan, run!

One mo' thing: I ran the Philly Rock and Roll Half Marathon last weekend. Although I didn't do as well as I had hoped [some days you have it, some days you don't], I still PRed by 6 minutes. Getting older really is only as bad as you make it out to be, so let's all stop whining and get moving :) Need to race more.

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echowoman said...

Your kitchen looks absolutely amazing...I hope you have many happy years cooking in it! And congrats on your half marathon; I am running the philadelphia half marathon in November and would be ecstatic to have a sub 2hour time...any suggestions for a good pre-race pasta would be appreciated!

Melissa said...

That pesto looks so good! I've been dying to try to make a vegan pesto.

<3 Melissa

urban vegan said...

EchoWoman: You'll do awesome! I may run that half, too, depending on how I'm feeling.

So much pasta, so little time. Besides these pestos, here are some more: (Make with real pasta, though, to carb load!)

Mattheworbit said...

I'm in love with the size of your sink. There, I said it. And pesto is one of those truly fabulous foods that deserves its place amongst food royalty.. Hope your tiles work out!

Millie said...

that pasta looks dangerous...what a treat! I love it.

mamapasta said...

you kitchen is absolutely gorgeous ...If I had the same I 'd just stay in even to sleep