Whipping Up Some Goodness w/ KitchenAid: Mixed Olive Tapenade & Parsley Toasted Nut Pesto

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Parsley Pesto and Olive Tapenade
Parsley Pesto and Olive Tapenade

There’s something exciting about getting a new, shiny toy that makes you feel like a kid again. There’s something even more exciting about making something super delicious with that new toy and sharing it with the world. In this case, it’s my new KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor – a powerhouse culinary machine that demystifies and simplifies big, scary food processors into a joyful thing, and makes slicing, dicing and pureeing the easiest thing ever. Not to say that all my knife skills I learned in culinary school have gone to waste, but this certainly makes my life easier, especially when I have a lot of ingredients to prepare and want perfectly blended, sliced and diced food in an instant.That “something super delicious” I decided to make is some dee-lish Mediterranean-inspired recipes – a Mixed Olive Tapenade and a Parsley & Pistachio-Walnut-Cashew Pesto, which turned out pretty impressive, if I must say so myself.

KitchenAid 13-Cup
KitchenAid 13-Cup

The machine comes with two different metal chopping blades (1 multi-purpose and 1 mini-blade with a bowl insert), a dough blade and a shredding disc and a slicing disc. I used the multi-purpose blade to chop the herbs and olives, and then slowly streamed in the liquids to the dry spices and herb ingredients to whip up some delicious goodness. This machine is so awesome that you can really just throw all the ingredients in the mixing bowl all at once, and the best part about it is that you can adjust the thinness and thickness of your slices (for slicing veggies) with one slide of a button on the front so you don’t have to keep changing the blades every time you need a different-sized slice. (Which also means less cleanup time for  me – bonus!). It also has a 3-in-1 Ultra Wide mouth feed so you can fit sliced or whole ingredients through it depending on what you’re making.

I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious dip recipes I’ve created – serve them with some cut up fresh veggies, crackers, pita bread, crostini or whatever you feel like using to dip into them with. The pesto is also delicious as a pasta sauce or as a topping for grilled or baked fish and chicken, or as a garnish on minestrone or vegetable soups. You can substitute basil for the parsley and pine nuts for the mixed toasted nuts in the recipe below for a traditional Basil Pesto, or try using Artichokes and Walnuts, Peppers and Cashews…get creative! And if you haven’t tried making your own tapenade and pestos at home, you’ll love how easy they are to make with this fun, easy machine (and you’ll never buy store-bought stuff again!) Oh, and stay tuned for my next recipe for Baked Falafel with Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus and Tahini Salad! The possibilities are endless with this cool toy – my new best friend.

Mixed Olive Tapenade
Mixed Olive Tapenade

Mixed Olive Tapenade

½ c Kalamata olives
2/3 c oil-cured black Italian olives, pitted
2 tsp capers, drained
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 c flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a metal fitting blade and puree into a medium-fine paste. Mix the ingredients in the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle some fresh black pepper in and puree on low for another minute or so.

Pureed Olive Ingredients

Scoop out the olive tapenade into a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, veggies for dipping or spread the tapenade on toasted Italian bread (1/2 inch slices) for crostini.

Makes about 2 cups.

Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto
Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto

Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto

1 c pistachios, walnuts and cashews, toasted
2 c flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only, no stems)
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tsp grated lemon zest

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts in the pan until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. (You can also toast them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 5-10 mins).

Parsley & Toasted Nuts Pesto Ingredients

Place parsley, toasted nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in the food processor bowl with a metal blade fitting, and pulse into a medium-fine texture.

In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and zest and combine.

Pureed Parsley & Mixed Nuts

Slowly steam in the oil and lemon mixture to the parsley and nut mixture through the top opening of the food processor, pulsing every few seconds to combine ingredients.

Serve over pasta, as a dip with crackers or breadsticks, or as a garnish to vegetable or cream-based soups.

Makes about 2 cups.

KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor

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