A pesto alternative: with parsley, strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese

A pesto alternative - with parley, strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese (via inwhirlofinspiration.com)1

You know what's the funniest thing that I have heard? "Why to experiment with an already perfect recipe and possibly ruin it?" Maybe some people agree with this, but I don't. Who can define a dish as perfect? And why not try making it more perfect? defined it as perfect? And why not try to do it even more perfect?
An already-close-to-perfection recipe. It gives character to many dishes. But it could be modified to fit with the season's vegetable and fruits or with various local products. This alternative pesto recipe contains parsley and strawberries that are everywhere this season, walnuts instead of pine seeds and feta cheese (so cliche Greek) instead of parmesan. And let the summer vibe rush over your dishes.

A pesto alternative - with parley, strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese (via inwhirlofinspiration.com) 3

Ingredients (for 1 bowl pesto):

1 large bunch of parsley
100 gr. of feta cheese
15-20 medium strawberries
2 cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of walnuts
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
oregano, salt and pepper

Procedure:

The process is simple: cutting, cutting and more cutting. You can cut all the ingredients on a large board, starting with the toughest and largest pieces (eg. walnuts and garlic) and continue with the softest ones. Then in a big bowl add the chopped ingredients, the olive oil and spices, stir, taste and add anything that misses according to your taste.
The other method is to mash all ingredients in a blender, so much quicker and cleaner, but I don't like the mashed-all-together outcome.  All textures are mashed together and the color is ehmmm not my favorite. ;) But as you wish, serve over bread as a snack or with savory dishes.

A pesto alternative - with parley, strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese (via inwhirlofinspiration.com) 2

If this version is too experimental for you, you can always return to the old safe classic pesto recipe. And here are three of my favorite ways to serve the pesto: on corn on the cob with feta cheese (omg!), with gnocchi and in a quick santwich tomato, prosciutto and a fried egg. 

Credits | Words & photos: Debbie Kortes

Comment

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Quinoa & bulgur salad with spinach, chards, radishes, soft-boiled eggs and capper pesto

Quinoa & bulgur salad with spinach, chards, radishes, soft-boiled eggs and capper pesto (via inwhirlofinspiration.com)

This dish belongs proudly in the meal category of “an almost spaghetti dish that was saved by a sudden rush of inspiration”. So instead of pasta (like once more) the gastronomic center of your brain protests and you decide that it’s time for trying something new.  And his is how this salad was born; after a “that’s enough” moment.  So instead of pasta I made something as easy and quick, but more tasty and healthy (for my standards). And now that I think about this flavor combination, I bet it would fit perfectly for a pizza too, I will that soon.

Quinoa & bulgur salad with spinach, chards, radishes, soft-boiled eggs and capper pesto (via inwhirlofinspiration.com) 2


Ingredients (for 2 servings):

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 6-8 chards
  • Two quail eggs (or 2 regular eggs)
  • 6 red radishes
  • oregano and parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


For the pesto:

  • 2 large handfuls of basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of capers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • some raisins (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Procedure:

In boiling salted water add the quinoa and the bulgur, sweet paprika, salt and pepper and let them boil. Meanwhile sauté the garlic and add the chopped chards, spinach, parsley and oregano and stir until they become tender, but without losing their bright  green color. Once ready, remove the pan from the fire and let it aside.

Then boil the eggs for 1 minute (for the quail eggs) or for 2.5 minutes (for the normal eggs). Remember that the times are relative and depend on the power of your cook.

For the pesto, chop all ingredients together until they create a nice omiogenic mixture. Many people create pesto by putting everything in the blender, but I like to keep some textures intact.

To serve, in a dish put peripherally the quinoa and the bulgur with the saute vegetables (all together or separete, like in the pictures to define what goes in each bite) Add a big scoop of pesto in the middle and fresh olive oil, some chopped radishes and soft-boiled eggs.

Bon appetit.

Quinoa & bulgur salad with spinach, chards, radishes, soft-boiled eggs and capper pesto (via inwhirlofinspiration.com) 3
Quinoa & bulgur salad with spinach, chards, radishes, soft-boiled eggs and capper pesto (via inwhirlofinspiration.com) 4

If your appetite carves for more chards or spinach, how about a simple but delicious risotto with Cretan greens, or these vegetable rolls with mushrooms, feta and pesto or even cuttlefish with spinach?

Credits | Text & Photos: Debbie Kortes

Comment

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Saute Cabbage Wrapped Pleurotus Rolls with Feta & Pesto

Saute Cabbage Wrapped Pleurotus Rolls with Feta & Pesto.jpg

The biggest the title, the more mouthwatering the recipe seems right? Well in this case it sure is. This recipe was stuck in my mind, from the moment that I realized that I can't stand wilted vegetables in soups, except for the recipes that require sort of such (like this cuttlefish with spinach recipe). Anyway, I tried them in a delicious soup (coming soon) and then I thought, why not trying them as a meze (a.k.a. side dish or a snack dish)? And they were outstanding this way too.

cabbage spinach and pleurotus mushrooms.jpg
1. On the cabbage leafs place the spinach and the pleurotus spices.

1. On the cabbage leafs place the spinach and the pleurotus spices.

Ingredients (makes 6)

:: cabbage leafs

:: spinach leafs

:: 1 slice of pleurotus mushrooms

:: feta cheese

:: pesto

:: 2 garlic cloves

:: sweet paprica

:: salt & pepper


2. Roll tightly and add the skewers

2. Roll tightly and add the skewers

Preparation:

1) Cook the cabbage and spinach leafs in boiling water for 30''. Remove them and with a dry  paper remove the excess moisture.  Remove the stiff part of the cabbage's if necessary.

2) Place the spinach and the pleurotus mushroom fine strips on the cabbage leaf and roll tightly (pic 1). Stick skewers into the cabbage roll, every 1 1/2 inches (pic 2). Make cuts between the bamboo skewers.

3) In a skillet, on medium heat, add a little olive, the garlic cloves and the rolls. Season with salt and pepper. When the cloves turn golden brown and the rolls become softer than before, they're ready. Stick a piece of feta on the top and season with pesto & sweet paprica. Delicious!

Saute Cabbage Wrapped Pleurotus Rolls with Feta & Pesto.jpg

Credits: Author & Photos by: Debbie Kortes

2 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

3 Ways to Eat it: Pesto

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The other day, I made for you homemade pesto and I promised to share with you my favorite recipes with pesto: So, there we go:

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A warm slice of bread with a little butter on, some omato slices, prosciutto, a fried egg and a spoonful of pesto. And your day could not start in a better way.

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I am a pasta girl, but sometimes a dish of gnocchi with fresh onion, chopped parsley and pesto is exactly what you need.

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Corn on the cob with feta cheese, pesto and plenty of slat and pepper.

 

So, what would you do with your pesto?

❤ 

5 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

How to Make: Pesto

homemade+pesto1.jpg

We will start from the basics. Who doesn't love pesto? And I don't mean this in the supermarkets (whose texture reminds me more of an illness ), but the homemade one that will fill your home's air with a delicious smell. Alternatively, if you have time no at all, you can search for some fresh store-bought pestos (in the deli sections of the supermarkets). This one touches a little bit the perfection of homemade pesto. Just a little, by a little click.

homemade+pesto.jpg

Ingredients (makes 1/2 jar)

:: 2-3 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves

:: 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

:: 1/4 cup pine nuts

:: 1/3 cup olive oil

:: 1 clove garlic

:: 1/4 teaspoon of salt and plenty of grounded pepper

Procedure:

Mash all ingredients in the blender or you can do the same thing by hand with a mortar and pestle. I , personally, will go for a not-evenly porridge pesto, as in that case I can't taste the flavors. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

So, this pesto will be your homework for today and tomorrow I will show you 3 of my favorite pesto recipes. Deal?

2 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!