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A Nifty Trick For A Spicy Treat

October 31, 2016

Costumes. Candy. Bah, humbug. You can eat all the soy lecithin and PGPR you want tonight for all I care. Enjoy all that oiled down chocolatey candy without enough cocoa butter to actually qualify to call itself chocolate. And delight in the rainbow of artificial colors that are just a little bit more vibrant than their kinder and gentler natural cousins.

Did I say, “Humbug”?

No, I won’t be handing out black licorice, apples, or boxes of raisins. We’ll have supermarket candy just like everyone else. Mrs. Fussy would punch me in the face if I were to hand out fair trade chocolate with a little note about what fair trade chocolate is all about.

Speaking of the family, Mrs. Fussy will be bringing Little Miss Fussy around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating. Young Master Fussy and I will man the home fires.

My nifty trick came over the past weekend, when I finally made room for that little food prep project I had been wanting to do all week. I say food prep and not cooking, because there’s no actual cooking involved. But I’m calling it a trick because what I did was perhaps more than a little bit naughty.

Over the summer I went to the Farm On! Foundation’s annual Hoot benefit. And there I had the chance to taste a lot of delicious things. One of them came from Corona D’oro, a Kinderhook, NY pesto maker.

Actually, I almost did not try the full line of the producer’s pestos. In part because I’ve long been such a pesto purist. But one of my Yelp friends was impressed with the cilantro pesto and pushing me to take a bite.

Cilantro pesto? With great skepticism, I grabbed a sample.

Wow. That was surprising. It had a hit of heat. Some bright acid from lime juice. Richness from walnuts. And that unmistakable burst of aromatic cilantro.

Now, “stealing” is such a weighted word. And truth be told, I didn’t steal the recipe. But Cororna D’oro does list all the ingredients for its products online. So that meant I was able to reverse engineer a batch of the stuff. Okay. What I made surely is not identical to the original, but it’s mighty tasty stuff.

I put garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, parsley, salt, and walnuts, into the bowl of a food processor. Then kept processing and adding oil until the consistency looked right. That’s when I added lime juice and corrected for salt. I opted to skip the cheese, because the way I planned to use this verdant spread would benefit from more brightness and less richness.

What a treat. I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with the cilantro I’ve been getting from the CSA. It’s not that I can’t find a use for cilantro in seasoning foods, it’s just that I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t hate it. So mostly, it’s been going into large batches of slaw.

But man can’t live on slaw alone. The cilantro pesto is a great alternative to my morning parsley toast, and it’s an equally effective way to shock the body out of a night’s slumber. Perhaps “pesto” isn’t the best word for what I whipped up. I’ve certainly made that argument myself.

Should you have other ideas for what to call it, I’m all ears. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run out to Walmart and buy crap candy for the neighborhood kids.

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