Tag Archives: pistachio

Best Condiment Ever

basil pistachio pesto in a mason jar

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.

blue cheese burger with pesto, corn on the cob, caprese salad

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.

farmer's market basil pistachio basil in a mason jar

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
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

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!

Christmas Cookie Gifts

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!

christmas cookies as a gift

pistachio cookies for Christmas

christmas cookies in a box

You can find my pistachio cookie recipe here. And now for the sugar cookies from Real Simple


Cookies (makes 36):

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons multicolor nonpareil sprinkles, for decoration
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

christmas cookies in a box

Have a sweet holiday!

Favorite Pistachio Cookies

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pistachio Cookies

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!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pistachio Cookies

Pistachio Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding (3.75 oz. box)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. 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.
  3. Shape teaspoon fulls of dough into round balls or finger-like shapes and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom. Let cool.
  5. Drizzle/decorate with melted chocolate and/or sprinkles. (I make them both ways!)

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pistachio Cookies

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pistachio Cookies

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pistachio Cookies