Before you write me off as strange (I am but that's a whole different story!), let me explain. One of the things that really attracted me to bread pudding recipes when I first started cooking was how flexible the ingredients are. Now you may have been made aware from my previous posts that I wasn't an avid experimenter in the kitchen. But it was still reassuring to know that I could always substitute dried cranberries or cherries for raisins (which BFFT hates), use pretty much any type of bread (with a few obvious exceptions - herbed focaccia pudding, anyone?), and the like. As it happens, the same holds true for pesto. I discovered this on Sunday while concocting a last-minute dinner with as many leftover ingredients as possible. I had the makings of (not to mention a craving for) pasta genoese... fussili pasta, potatoes, green beans, but alas no basil or pine nuts for pesto. However, I did have a bunch of kale in the fridge and some almonds, and because I suspected that the bitterness of the greens and nuts would complement each other well, I went to work. This is what I came up with, and according to BFFT, it "passed the pesto test" (wouldn't that make an excellent tongue-twister?).
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/4 c walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 c loosely packed fresh kale (I used about half a bunch)
1/2 c oil (I used canola because it's more neutral, but olive would probably work fine too)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the nuts and garlic in a food processor, and process to chop coarsely. Add the kale and oil and process to a coarse paste. Add the cheese and process briefly, just to incorporate it. The pesto should be fairly smooth but still have some texture. Season with salt to taste.
The other day I did a Google search for "kale almond pesto" and actually found some results! So maybe I'm not that strange after all...
P.S. Writing about bread pudding titillated (funny word, no? I still remember sitting in an Asian American literature class sophomore year in college and trying to suppress a giggle when I heard my uber-serious professor use it for the first time) my sweet tooth even more than usual. Someday soon I'll have to post my bourbon chocolate bread pudding recipe, which my former roommate and good friend Jessica loves. (Jessica, if you're reading this I miss you!!) But tonight I'm going to try my hand at tiramisu instead, for a dinner party we're hosting tomorrow evening. I'll let you know how it turns out - well, assuming the end product is good!