My kid-self might scoff at me for this one, because I used to be obsessed with ketchup. I’d put it on everything, wouldn’t try a piece of chicken without it, and thought it was the best thing ever. (I also don’t like mustard, so that helped with ketchup’s winning title.) Little Nikki would be shocked I ate a burger this weekend with no ketchup on it. Just a big Jersey tomato slice and a good spread of pesto. How grown up of me.
Pesto is totally my favorite condiment now. Is that pretentious? I don’t care. It’s so versatile and fresh. And in the summer, you have no excuse but to make it yourself.
I’m not going to give you an exact recipe for pesto, because I don’t know one and it’s a bit silly to figure it out and write it down. But I promise if you combine the following ingredients in a food processor you’ll get something yummy.
Basic Basil Pesto or Best Condiment Ever
What you’ll need:
Basil – since I can’t really grow my own, I like to get mine in bunches from the farmer’s market. Stop, stand still, smell it first. Ah.
Nuts – In this case I used pistachios, but you can also use walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, whatever
Garlic – I use the kind that’s pre-chopped and kept in jars with olive oil
Chop basil, nuts and garlic in food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until it’s at the spreadable consistency you desire. Mix in parmesan.
Put your basil pesto on pasta, sandwiches, eggs, burgers, steak, pizza. Seriously. It’s good on everything. Bon appetit!
Don’t both of these things just scream summer? A semifreddo is a wonderful party dessert that appears way more fancy schmancy than it is. I love the sweet, preppy colors of this one. Throw in a little metallic and I’m more than happy to match my footwear to my ice cream for a backyard cocktail party!
Cookies are an absolute necessity during the holiday and they also make an excellent gift. I took two of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes–a soft, flavorful pistachio cookie and a crumbly, sweet sugar cookie–and wrapped them up in gift boxes. A simple, fun and sweet present!
2 tablespoons multicolor nonpareil sprinkles, for decoration
Heat oven to 375° F.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs until blended. Add the flour mix to the sugar mix until just combined.
With floured hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and the bottoms are pale golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire wrack.
For the glaze– in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and vanilla until the mixture forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more water if necessary).
Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and sprinkle with non-pareils. Let set, rounded side up, on a rack for about 20 minutes.
These are my absolute favorite Christmas cookies. Every Christmas Eve my family hosts a large party for family and friends. We cook the Italian feast and everyone else brings dessert. One year, my Jewish high school boyfriend’s family came to the party and brought these amazing pistachio cookies. My aunt asked for the recipe that night and I’m so glad I have it now because it’s basically one of the only wonderful things I still hold on to connected to that relationship. Ha.
These cookies are soft, sweet, have the perfect pistachio flavor, oh and they are an awesome color!
1 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
1 package instant pistachio pudding (3.75 oz. box)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350°F.
Beat together sugar, butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients; whip into butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Shape teaspoon fulls of dough into round balls or finger-like shapes and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom. Let cool.
Drizzle/decorate with melted chocolate and/or sprinkles. (I make them both ways!)