Thursday, 4 July 2013

Gluten Free Crostini with Arugula Pesto

It's an empty nest here at the Kale Eats kitchen.  Both kids are off on amazing adventures on different continents and Don and I are left behind.  Luke has been gone a week already and Josilin a mere 3 days, but it feels much longer.  How we will fill our days while they are gone is an ever evolving plan, but I can guarantee we will eat well in their absence.  Walking through the grocery store this week, my cart was surprisingly empty and lacked any "convenience" foods.  It was a good eye opener of the products that have crept into our life, despite my great intentions to always eat whole food.  I'm looking forward to trying out some new recipes while they are gone and hope I won't miss them too much.

I made this bread before Josilin's departure party. It's original title is "Life Changing Bread" and it's certainly close to that for us.  I found the loaf itself a bit too soggy for my tastes, but as a crostini, it was fantastic.  I chose to top ours with some softened cheese and arugula pesto, but there is no shortage of possibilities of what you could put on them.  The Curried Asparagus topping would be great and so would the Pomegranate Salsa.  A nice cheese would work well too or perhaps toasted with some fresh strawberry jam.  We've already had this twice in a week and I'm dying to start delivering it to friends' doorsteps.  It's that good.
In order to make the bread, you will need to plan ahead a little.  I allowed the dough to sit overnight and baked it in the morning.  The time sitting allows all the ingredients to form together.  When I pulled away the side of the pan, the dough stayed perfectly formed.  Perhaps the hardest thing about this recipe is slicing it once cooled.  A sharp serrated knife is a must, coupled with a quick hand.  The pesto can be made days ahead and keeps well in the fridge.  We used leftovers for a pizza base and also tossed with some rice and veggies to make a cold salad for lunches. The mint flavour shines through and that was exactly what we needed. You could sub basil for a more traditional pesto flavour.  Jos loves mint more than any herb and I wanted her last snack to be a happy one.  Now to start planning what I will make for her upon her return.

Gluten Free Crostini with Arugula Pesto

adapted from My New Roots and The Kitchn

Nuts and Seeds Bread
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (optional: GF)
3 Tbsp chia seeds
4 Tbsp psyllium seed husks
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups water

2 Tbsp olive oil (for crostini)

In a large bowl, mix all dry in ingredients.  In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients and add to dry.  Pour batter into a greased silicone loaf pan, or a metal/glass pan lined with parchment.  Allow to sit 2 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and reserve.  Bake 20min.  Remove from oven and flip onto prepared baking sheet.  Put back in the oven for 40 min, until cooked through.  Allow to cool on a baking rack entirely before slicing.
For crostini: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice loaf of bread entirely.  Brush each side of bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Bake 10 min and then flip each slice over.  Crostini should be browned and crispy.  Allow to cool on baking rack and then top with pesto (recipe below).

Arugula Pesto

1 1/2 cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp grated Parmigiana1 lemon, zested and juiced (about about 3Tbsp of juice)

In a food processor, combine arugula, mint, parsley, Parmigiana, salt, lemon zest and walnuts.  Pulse a couple times and then with motor running, add oil and lemon juice.  Mix until combined, about 30 seconds.

To assemble crostini:
Spread a smear of softened cream cheese or goat cheese on each toast.  Top with a dollop of pesto and a sprinkle of good salt.  Enjoy!

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