So this is about the seventh post in a row that has not involved baking due to the lovely (but not really lovely) summer heat. I hope everyone isn't too upset about the lack of baked goods, but I'm guessing that you also groan at the thought of turning on your oven when the mercury is already topping 100 degrees. I have been trying to test recipes for my shop and it's been a game of strategy to figure out what time of day is best to turn on the oven and how high I have to crank my fan and AC. Such is life when you live in Texas.
And now to change the subject and bring the focus back to this post instead of mentioning how hot it is outside for the umpteenth time. I've been trying to reduce my overall waste in the past year and in doing so, I've learned a lot about how to use things that we normally throw away. I think it first started with beet greens. Did you know you can eat beet greens, as long as they weren't sprayed with pesticides? They are very similar to chard and can be prepared in the same ways. Carrot greens, the lovely parsley-like greens on the tops of carrots, can be eaten, too! The same rule applies with pesticides, though. Make sure your carrots haven't been sprayed with pesticides (the best way to do this is to buy organic or at a farmer's market where you can ask the grower).
Having bought a bunch of carrots at the farmer's market several weeks in a row, I was left with a mound of carrot greens. I remembered seeing this post on happyolks a while ago, so it seemed like the perfect way to start using up the carrot greens was in a simple and tasty pesto. Voila. Carrot greens pesto was born. Since pesto is a really versatile addition to your fridge and pantry, there are about a million ways to use it. I ended up eating some of it with pasta (naturally), spreading it on sandwiches, using it as a marinade and sauce for simple grilled veggies, and eating a few bites straight out of the jar with a spoon. If you feel like you can't finish it all in a timely manner, simply put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it for safekeeping.
Carrot Greens Pesto
notes: I acquired a lot of lemon basil the same week I made this pesto, so I ended up using it along with the carrot greens to bulk up the pesto a bit. If you can't find lemon basil, regular basil will work just fine along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
carrot greens from 1 bunch of carrots
large handful or lemon basil (or regular basil)
zest of 1 small lemon (and a bit of fresh lemon juice if using regular basil)
heaping 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil
salt to taste
Combine the hazelnuts, garlic, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Next, add the carrot greens and lemon basil along with a good pinch of salt and pulse until the carrot greens and lemon basil are finely chopped. Stream in the olive oil with the processor on low until it just forms a thick pesto. I like mine a bit chunkier, but if you would like it smooth, you can process it a tad longer. Taste the pesto and adjust for seasoning. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top to keep the basil from discoloring. Makes 1 heaping cup.