Pistacia Vera on the tree

Pistachios were the only real pregnant craving I ever had and it was an easy one to indulge.  Who knows why pistachios were the food I needed. But, if cravings are your body’s way of telling you the nutrients it needs, then a healthy protein was fine with me.  Better then burgers, right?  My only problem was to keep consumption to a reasonable level.  That whole “eating for two” is fine if you want to look like “two” after the baby is born.  The problem with nuts is they’re just too easy to eat.  That recommended handful-a-day can become three fistfuls in a heart beat when you’re not thinking about it. 

Before pregnancy pistachios were something I rarely purchased.  They were tasty, but expensive.  There were plenty of other more economical options available.  But since then pistachios have made a regular appearance in our home.  I like them best straight from the shell.  They’re nature’s perfect food.  When I was thinking about the blog however, I realized that I don’t really cook with pistachios much.  I like them in biscotti with cranberries.  I used them in my “fake” fruit cake.  But generally speaking, I just eat them, a handful at a time.  I decided that I had to do something new with the tub of nuts that I bought for the occasion and I had to do it quickly.  I had already made a significant dent in the supply before blog day rolled around.  I considered using them to crust halibut. I thought about adding them to couscous.  Ultimately I decided to make pesto.

Of course it’s hard to find adequate quantities of basil at a reasonable price at this time of year so I used cilantro.  We had our pistachio “pesto” smeared on big slabs of toasted French bread along side a bowl of butternut squash soup.  It was the perfect winter meal, healthy yet satisfying.  I think I’ll use the leftovers with pasta tonight.  And, I know I’ll make my pistachio pesto again, assuming of course I can keep them in the cupboard long enough.

Pistachio Cilantro Pesto on toasted French Bread

Pistachio Pesto

  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves (about 1 ½ cups packed)
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • About ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients except the olive oil and salt in a food processor.  Puree while drizzling oil.  Add enough oil to create a spreadable consistency. 

The best thing about writing this blog is that it forces me to look at the ingredients in my cupboard with a fresh perspective.  The worst thing is that I eat all the things I make.  Why isn’t there a national carrot and celery sticks day?