Pesto and Pretzels and Peppers


When asked for a recommendation for use in pesto, a Meyer Lemon olive oil was one of three oils suggested by Olive Oil Etcetera in Doylestown, PA.  At the store, I purchased Mission and Meyer Lemon olive oils (after the requisite taste test) and was happy I asked for the suggestion. First up: the Meyer Lemon olive oil.  I could have consumed the entire stock of the oil if I had been allowed.  Using this oil in the pesto added a new dimension and I was eager to try it in an entrée dish, specifically, a fish or seafood dish.
I selected a pasta/shrimp/pesto dish which is quick, tasty, nutritious, and comes with easy clean up. With the pasta in boiling water, I sautéed the shrimp in olive oil (I usually use butter). Because I used a too small pan for too much shrimp, the pasta was finished before the shrimp. No problem, I placed the cooked pasta onto the plate added the pesto and tossed to coat.  Once the shrimp had finished cooking, they were added to the pasta and tossed again with a bit more pesto. I added a bit of salt and pepper and begun to eat. I loved it. For those who wish to maximize the lemon flavor, friends Carrie and Linda tell me to add Meyer lemon zest to the pesto.
For some people, frozen-pretzels-in-a-box and shelf-stable-for-months pretzels are no longer acceptable. Instead, pretzels must be created from scratch, ‘authentic,’ and part of a communal activity. A nephew, Mike, has always had an interest in cooking. As a three year old he and I would make cookies; at ten, he was cooking salmon on the grill, and while in college he and his buddies would road trip to the local bison farm to purchase bison meat for their dinner.  Now in his twenties, he and friends recently made ‘authentic’ pretzels and took this step of ‘authenticating’ them with a lye bath (eye protection and gloves were used) for the pretzels and pretzel buns.  Via facebook and text messages, I learned the pretzels tasted just as good as they looked. 
These pretzels, made in a home kitchen, represent multiple trends in the American food industry. First, an increasing interest in the origins of the food we consume, an interest in ‘authentic’ food ingredients, and lastly, the self-production of what we eat. We are becoming artisans in our home kitchens. Our food must taste good and we must have a hand in the creation of the food. Whether it is pretzels, or pesto, or pound cake Americans care more about food origin. This can lead us to caring about the production methods used for the ingredients in our food products and recipes. It was a concern for growing methods which motivated me to seek out an organic methods CSA farm. Such farming techniques would not hurt the soil or nearby water sources. Nor would they harm the growers and, most importantly, they would not harm me.
What I am currently researching: where to find jalapeno peppers which have been allowed to turn red on the vine. Why: I want to smoke them (actually, a friend will do this), once smoked they are chipotle peppers. With chipotle peppers, I can expand the culinary horizons of my kitchen. I’m thinking how to incorporate into veggie sandwiches.
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3 thoughts on “Pesto and Pretzels and Peppers

  1. Love how you added the pesto to seafood. Sounds refreshing. I laughed when I when about the pretzel buns because I was just thinking last week how none of the pretzel places make buns. I love pretzel sandwiches…but it has to be a good, fresh pretzel.

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