Beetroot Pesto

We just finished three weeks of high entertaining.  There has been a succession of new staff for next year coming to visit us in Tunis, along with some side friends we wanted to spend time with.  We knew it was coming, saw it all booked out on the calendar, and then we geared up for day, after day, after day of eating events.  And it was wonderful.  It about killed us; I won’t deny it, but as a whole, I am happy for all of the faces that have been around our table and happy for the cooking experiences that were involved.

And I didn’t blog about any of it.  I didn’t even take pictures.  You just have to take my word that any of these events happened because there is almost no evidence.  This even surprised me.  There were a number of interesting dishes I prepared.  Several were new to me and would have been perfect to write about, but  I was just simply too busy cooking and entertaining to write about cooking and entertaining and I didn’t feel the need to.  It was what we call in education a performance-based assessment.

That made me think about the place of this blog in my life.  What purpose does it serve?  Why do I want to return to it so often and continue trying to express an experience I’ve had with food?  A friend of mine mentioned my blog last week and said, “Cooking grounds you, doesn’t it?”  That sounds like a really simple comment, but it resonated with me all week.  If cooking grounds me, then that explains why I sometimes can’t get on with other pressing responsibilities, like posting an assignment for my online course, until I’ve written a blog post about something I’ve cooked.  That comment actually made me feel less obsessed about blogging, which I didn’t feel was the source of my motivation anyway, and gave me permission to have a need to take time to place some creative thinking  in a certain place and then go on with other life activities.  That seems more normal to me.

All of this actual entertaining took the place of  writing about it so I was satisfied and didn’t miss the blog documentation.  But I miss it, now.  Passing through a particular season always opens the opportunity to enter a new one.  I am still so thrilled to squeeze the life out of this season’s produce.  This is a classic expat sort of recipe as I had to gather up the ingredients from more than one country.  We have beetroot and are starting to get some nice basil harvests, but I didn’t have fresh mozzarella until I went to Italy three weeks ago.  I also don’t know where I can buy macadamia nuts in Tunis, but my teaching partner went on a safari to Kenya over Spring Break and brought me back a package of them so I had the exact amount needed for this recipe.  I thought that this was an almost cosmic alignment of ingredients and so this recipe was meant to be.

It feels good to be back in this space with some fresh motivation to tell and show my cooking experiences.  Thanks for being my guest.

Beetroot Pesto

Adapted from Bennetts Café in Mangawhai, NZ

  • ½ lb. beetroot
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped basil, mint or both

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the beetroot in a roasting dish then cook for 1 hour until tender.  Set aside to cool completely.  Using your fingertips, rub off the skins.  Cut the beetroot into chunks.

Place the beetroot, garlic, oil, nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, and herbs in a food processor.  Process until smooth.

Serve the pesto with blanched green beans and pasta.  Serve alongside smoked fish, or serve on bruschetta with mozzarella, arugula, basil, and tomatoes.

3 thoughts on “Beetroot Pesto

  1. It’s funny you mention not having blogged for awhile– I’ve only been following your blog for a little while and this weekend opened my Feedly page and looked at the massive piles of posts currently unread and said to myself…”I’ll see if there’s anything from Bergamot Orange” first, and there was nothing…so I was off to read about online privacy and copyright issues instead. Your food blog is more delicious! And, that dish looks amazing. It seems like something I’d never try unless you sat it in front of me, and from the picture I’m sure I couldn’t resist!

  2. Carrie, I like your honestly that this isn’t something you would eat unless it was put before you. It was hard for me to get a sense of the beets and all until I tried it, too. The macadamia nuts are so buttery that they temper the beets. There is also basil, garlic, and Parmesan to pull it into a familiar blend. I thought the photos came out looking shiny and color enhanced. I’m not sure why. I might need to take another run at this one. Will you be on the Big Marker conversation on Tuesday? I might try to jump in.

    1. Can’t seem to make the Big Marker times! They all fall during school hours for me so it’s so tricky to find time to do that while at work. And, just now seeing your response b/c I must remember to check the box about follow-up comments via email! (Otherwise, how does anyone keep track?!?!?!?!?!)

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