Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for carrot tops, flounder, shrimp, ground pork, green beans, delicata squash and mushrooms

Menu ideas and recipes for carrot tops, flounder, shrimp, ground pork, green beans, delicata squash and mushrooms

Flounder with carrot top pesto

I hate wasting food so I sauté all kinds of greens, use broccoli stems (and leaves), and occasionally make pesto from carrot tops. Recently, I topped baked flounder with carrot top pesto mixed with melted butter, parmesan cheese, additional lemon juice and panko bread crumbs. Here’s my recipe.

Carrot top pesto

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin (pepitas) or sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups lightly packed carrot leaves, stems removed, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated 350-degree oven or toaster oven. Toast until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.

In a food processor, combine the nuts, carrot leaves, parsley, oil, garlic and salt, and process until finely minced. Add more oil to get to the consistency you want.

If you’re not freezing the pesto, stir in the Parmesan. If you’re freezing it, wait until you defrost the pesto to add Parmesan. Taste the pesto and add salt and/or lemon juice if you think it needs it. Freeze in ice cube trays, then plop out the cubes and store in freezer bags.

Here’s how you can use carrot top pesto:

  • Stirred into a vegetable sauté.
  • Tossed with pasta—I used it with cheese-filled tortellini once.
  • Stirred into egg or tuna salad.
  • Tossed with roasted potatoes or other root vegetables.
  • Spooned on top of bruschetta with goat cheese.

Menu ideas and recipes for carrot tops, flounder, shrimp, ground pork, green beans, delicata squash and mushrooms

Shrimp scampi

Shrimp is always the highlight of the week when it’s in the house. Last weekend, I made my delicious shrimp scampi recipe. It’s super-duper on pasta, as you can imagine, but couscous works well too.

Green chile pork stew

I love a green chile pork stew—or green chili, which is what the Washington Post calls it. I pretty much stuck to their recipe except I used a pound of ground pork and added seven chopped tomatillos to the mix.

green beans tomatoes etc

Fall vegetables

More green beans this week, this time sautéed with bacon, halved grape tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. If the mix gets too dry before the beans are cooked, add a little chicken broth.

Delicata and other winter squash are all over the farmers market now. I roasted slices of delicata (no need to peel!) with a chile-honey sauce. I skipped the tofu and forgot about the sesame seeds, scallions and lime juice. Still, it’s a keeper.

Sometimes I crave mushrooms, especially when I see a photo of them in a pasta or rice dish. This mushroom rice hit the spot last week.


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