Herb pesto, naan bread.

I picked up some organic mozzarella from whole foods the other day so I could try my hand at making flat bread pizza. Then I came across this pesto recipe used on a pizza in an old issue of Sunset Magazine ($.29 at savers). I remember the first time that I made pesto I used basil and it turned out perfect but, the next couple times something missed the target. I think it was that I couldn’t find that original recipe and the others couldn’t quite live up. I didn’t have basil around this time but I did happen to have a couple bushels of cilantro, parsley and mint so I figured I’d go ahead with Sunset’s “Perfect pesto” recipe using all three herbs (equal parts cilantro and parsley with about 6 mint leaves). I already planned on using kalamata olives and going a little Mediterranean with it so I figured why not use a little mint and cilantro. It tasted awesome and I’ll be using this basic pesto recipe from now on, no more searching, definitely some experimenting with herb combos but no more measurement/amount alterations.

One of the things I always look for is that perfect recipe for something. The one that makes me say, okay this is it, the one that ends the search, the one that everyone will love and say damn he makes an amazing [insert food]. Pizza is not one of those things for me, hummus on the other hand I’ve got, buttermilk ranch yep, cashew chicken still not so much, pesto is now good to go.

This naan bread came out pretty good but still not as great as I wished. I did substitute some ingredients for healthier ones but, I think I’ll keep trying for that perfect flat bread. My obsession/inspiration is this place right up the street from us called Herbs and Rye. J and I ate there for the first time right before going to see Best Coast at the Cosmo and we’ve hit it a couple times since (we both love their flat bread pizzas). When I find something I love I have the urge to try and make it at home. This worked well for the fix but the search continues for the perfect flat bread/naan.

Below is an mp3 of Best Coast, if you like you can purchase it here here. They’re great!

Best Coast - When I'm With You

Herb Pesto

This recipe is from the Best of Sunset Summer Flavors a Sunset Magazine publication.

1/4 c. walnuts
1 1/2 c. lightly packed herbs of choice, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, mix and match
6 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. garlic, minced
6 T. extra-virgin olive oil (I was going to cook on pizza so I used a high heat oil like peanut)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake walnuts on a cooking sheet for five to eight minutes, lightly browned. Combine walnuts and all other ingredients in a food processor and blend until coarsely pureed. Makes 3/4 cup.

Naan Bread

This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.

2 c. bread flour
1/2 t. sea salt
1 1/8 t. active dry yeast
3/4 c. yogurt or buttermilk, at room temp
2 T. melted butter or vegetable oil
1 t. to 1 T. spring water as needed

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Knead for ten minutes and then place in a oiled bowl. Turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. After 45 minutes into the rising start heating a pizza stone in the oven at 475 degrees. Let stone heat up for 45 minutes on lowest oven rack. After dough has risen punch down and divide into 4 balls and let rise again for an additional 20 minutes covered with plastic wrap. Roll dough balls out into 8×12 inch ovals. Brush with melted butter and slide onto stone cooking until it starts to puff up, about two minutes. At this point you can remove and add toppings. Return to just long enough to melt cheeses/heat up toppings.

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