Parsley Thief’s Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto

pasta-salad-437In the summer, sometimes simple is best- and The Parsley Thief’s pasta salad made with spinach pesto and greens is the perfect light lunch for a warm day. This is also a recipe that’s easy to adapt to whatever greens look best, and can be thrown together in very little time. We love taking it along for our summer picnics in Waveny, and since the pesto freezes well, it’s even easier to make the second time.
Parsley Thief’s Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto
Serves 4-6
This salad is really about using what’s available to you locally. Any bitter green can be substituted for the mizuna, and likewise any milder leafy green can be used in place of the mesclun. Spinach pesto is milder than traditional basil pesto, making it perfect for kids, and it’s more economical. This recipe yields about 1 ½ cups of pesto, so you’ll have plenty for leftovers, and pesto freezes well!
1 pound fusilli
4 ½ ounces fresh spinach leaves
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
a pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
a few grinds of black pepper
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 cup mizuna leaves
1 cup mesclun mix
optional garnish: additional pine nuts, grated cheese & micro greens
Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Transfer to a mixing bowl, drizzle with the tiniest splash of oil {just enough to keep it from sticking together} and toss.
Add the spinach, pine nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. With the processor running, slowly pour the grapeseed oil in through the feed tube. Process until smooth.
Pour about a ½ cup of the spinach pesto over the cooked pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Add more, if desired, until the pasta is coated well with pesto. If necessary, tear or coarsely chop the mizuna and mesclun greens into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pasta, and toss gently. Taste, and season with a bit more salt and freshly ground pepper to your liking.
Transfer the pasta salad to a serving platter, or divide among serving plates, and sprinkle with some pine nuts and a bit more freshly grated cheese. Garnish the top with a few pinches of colorful micro greens {I used micro red orach}, and serve.
Check out this recipe and more at The Parsley Thief blog

Key Lime Bars

DSC_0616-2-710Need a crowd pleaser dessert for the barbecue this weekend? These delicate and sophisticated dessert by Katie of the Parsley Thief are great choice. Katie has been making this recipe for years and she suspects it’s the crust that sets these apart from other recipes. We have listed the quantities for the lime zest & lime juice according to what regular {Persian} limes would yield…as Key limes are not always available. If you can find Key limes, use the alternative measurements that I’ve given. This recipe makes 64-1″ bars.
Key Lime Bars
For the Crust:
5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 ounces (softened) cream cheese
zest of 3 limes (or 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
juice from 3 limes (or 1/2 cup)
1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut (as an optional garnish)
non-stick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Coat with non-stick cooking spray & set aside.
For the Crust:
Add the animal crackers to the bowl of a food processor & pulse until finely ground. Add the brown sugar & salt; process until combined. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs & pulse until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, leaving the oven on.
For the Filling:
Add the cream cheese, lime zest & salt to a mixing bowl. Stir until softened and smooth. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the lime juice; whisk until incorporated & the mixture has thickened.
Pour the filling over the cooled crust & use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling is set. When done, the edges will puff up slightly & pull away from the edges of the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 1″ squares using a sharp knife. It’s helpful to run the knife under hot water & wipe it clean between slices. Sprinkle the bars with shredded coconut before serving, if desired.
To Make Ahead:
The bars can be stored, refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.Use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Clementine Cake

clementine-611What would the holiday be without a stunning fresh dessert option and Katie, the Parsley Thief does not disappoint. This recipe can be prepared with a 8″ springform pan but Katie used a 9″ pan that worked out fine. As a note: To grind the almonds down to a fine consistency (without ending up with almond butter!), pulse them in a food processor with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until finely ground (11 ounces whole almonds should give you the 2 1/3 cups you’ll need). Alternatively, you can also use almond meal – Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one. This cake tastes best when served the second day, so if possible, make it ahead of time.
Clementine Cake
5 clementines {about 1 pound}
6 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
confectioners’ sugar
clementine juice {optional}
Makes one 9″ cake
Place the clementines in a saucepan, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Drain, and set aside until cool. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. (Note: a springform pan is a must here – the cake will be near impossible to remove without it!)
Cut the clementines in half, remove the seeds, and add them (skins, pith, and all) to the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. You can also chop them by hand.
Add the eggs to a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk, or an electric mixer. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder; mix well. Add in the clementines, and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour. Start checking on the cake at about 40 minutes – you’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil about halfway through the cooking time, to prevent the top from getting too brown. Transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely before releasing from the pan.
Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar – or even better, whip up a quick glaze by whisking together sifted confectioners’ sugar with a bit of clementine juice, until you have the consistency you’d like. Drizzle over the top of the cake and serve.
Click here for the full recipe and story.

Classic Corned Beef & Cabbage

corned1-710This traditional recipe cooks for four hours but what a great addition to your St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Katie, the Parsley Thief  shares this simple yet delicious recipe. It serves eight people. This meal is particularly great when served with some mustard & horseradish cream as condiments.
Classic Corned Beef & Cabbage
2- 3 pound corned beef briskets
6 large carrots, peeled & cut into large chunks
3 large onions, peeled & quartered
2 teaspoon dry mustard
a few sprigs each of fresh parsley & fresh thyme, tied together
4 small heads of cabbage
Put the corned beef brisket into a large stock pot. Add the carrots, onion, mustard & herb bundle. Cover with cold water & bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot & cook for 2 hours. Trim the outer leaves of the cabbage off. Cut into quarters & add to the pot. Cook for an additional 2 hours.
Remove the corned beef from the pot & transfer to a cutting board. Remove any visible fat from the brisket & cut into thin slices against the grain. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cabbage & carrots. Transfer the corned beef & vegetables to a serving platter & serve.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Pot Roast

With winter in full swing, we all need a good Roast recipe. This recipe is from Katie, the Parsley Thief and packs a lot of flavor. As this roast cooks, all the flavors from the vegetables infuse to create a complex sauce. You’ll have more that you need so don’t forget the mashed potatoes. Serves 8
1 {4-5 pound} boneless chuck roast, tied
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil {divided}
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
5 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups chopped leeks {light green & white parts}
2 cups dry red wine
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 {28 ounce} can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
2-3 branches each of fresh rosemary & fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat all sides of the roast well with flour and tap off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Place the roast in the pot and sear for 4-5 minutes, or until well browned. Flip the roast and continue searing for 4-5 minutes per side until all surfaces are nicely browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot, over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and leeks. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a simmer. Tie the herbs together with kitchen twine and add to the pot, along with the tomatoes and chicken stock. Return the roast to the pot and bring back to a boil. Cover the pot, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and roast for an additional 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
3. ransfer the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb stems from the pot and skim as much visible fat from the surface as possible. Transfer about half of the liquid and vegetables to a blender, or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the puree back to the pot and stir to combine with the remaining chunky vegetables. Leave the sauce as is, or simmer for several minutes to reduce to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning, and add some kosher salt and black pepper to taste, if desired. Remove the ties from the roast and slice. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and cover with sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

 chickensatayIt’s the holiday entertaining season so this week we’re sharing a crowd pleasing adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe by our friend Katie, The Parsley Thief. I’ve made the marinade in this recipe countless times. I use it for making these Chicken Satay skewers, but also as a marinade for grilled chicken breast, or flank steak. The Bozos love it & especially love eating off skewers. They call it “Chicken on a stick”. It’s a great party appetizer too! If you double the recipe, as I almost always do, it makes enough for a crowd…about 40-50 pieces. I like to make a big batch & freeze the cooked skewers for another time. They can easily be reheated in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Makes 20-25 appetizer size skewers

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips, about 3 inches long & put them in a container, or resealable bag.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender & puree until smooth. Thin with a bit of water, if necessary. Pour the marinade over the chicken & chill for at least one hour, or overnight.
Preheat a grill. Thread the chicken onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak them ahead of time in water, to prevent burning.
Grill for 3-4 minutes per side.
If desired, serve with Peanut Sauce.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine
Makes about 1 cup

2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
1/2 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes
Water to thin
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, or food processor & blend until smooth.
Add water as necessary to thin to desired consistency.
This is a great dipping sauce for Chicken Satay.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Cranberry Hazelnut Bread by the Parsley Thief

cranberryhazelnutbreadWith Thanksgiving fast approaching this festive Cranberry Hazelnut Bread recipe from our friend Katie, The Parsley Thief, seemed a perfect one to showcase. And of course with Cranberries on special this week in (12 oz bags, 2/$4) the timing is even better! “I’ve waited an entire year to make this recipe. It wasn’t by choice either, or because I just never got around to it, or because I think cranberries should only be enjoyed in November. Cranberries are great all Winter long. And this Cranberry Hazelnut Bread is great all Winter long. I sampled this particular version at a family dinner about a year ago, and was surprised by how much I liked it. I couldn’t place what it was I liked so much about it, until it occurred to me that it was the hazelnuts! While pecans, or walnuts seem to be the more popular choice in most cranberry bread recipes, hazelnuts are by far the winner in my book. Even with pesky hazelnut skins to deal with, this recipe is simple. It’s two bowls, no mixer, and tastes great even days later. Believe it or not, both my kids loved this bread too! I love it warm from the oven with a smear of cream cheese. My boys loved it toasted with butter.
Cranberry Hazelnut Bread

Yields: 1 loaf
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, November 2011
If you decide to make this bread at any time of year besides November, you might have a hard time finding fresh cranberries. In that case, you can substitute frozen. My favorite way to eat this bread is smeared with cream cheese, but it’s also delicious sliced and toasted with butter!
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted buttermelted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
you’ll also need:
a standard loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2)
extra butter, or non-stick cooking spray to grease the pan
Preheat oven to 350˚. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. After roasting, pour them onto a clean dish towel and rub vigorously until most of the skins are removed (some stubborn skins will remain, but that’s okay). Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.
Grease the loaf pan. Add the flour, sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts and cranberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly you can tent the pan with foil. Let the bread cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter, cream cheese, or just as is!
To Store: Let the bread cool completely before wrapping. Store at room temperature for a day, or two. For longer storage, you can refrigerate the bread for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.

Apple Crisp by The Parsley Thief

app18-710Every day when the kids come home from school, they see the enormous basket of apples sitting on the counter, and ask, “When are we going to make apple crisp?”. I say, “Soon. “Well, yesterday we finally made it! I was hoping to make my Mom’s recipe. But, she was at work & I knew she wouldn’t have it on her. Once the ball was rolling on this project, there was no stopping it. So, I went to my trusty Ina cookbooks & found one there.

Apple Crisp by The Parsley Thief
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Serves 10
8 large tart apples, peeled & cored
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the apples into bite-sized chunks. Place in a large mixing bowl & combine with the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cinnamon & nutmeg. Toss to combine & pour into a baking dish big enough to fit all the apples.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, light brown sugar, salt, oatmeal & butter. Beat on low for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is broken up into small bits. Crumble the mixture evenly over the apples.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is brown & the apples are bubbling.


Click here for the printable recipe.

Fennel & Orange Salad

salad9-710Katie, The Parsley Thief, just loves salads like this. Super simple, no washing, or spinning lettuce & it looks so gourmet. It is sure to really impress your family, or dinner guests. She especially loves the flavors used in this dish, such as the fennel. Her grandmother frequently served it and it always brings back fond memories. If you’ve never tried it, it has a subtle licorice flavor and a texture similar to celery. Enjoy!

Fennel & Orange Salad 

Serves 4 


1/2 small red onion

2 large navel oranges, or blood oranges

1 large fennel bulb

6 dry-cured black olives, pitted & coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced fresh mint


Cut the red onion into very thin slices. Place in a bowl of cold water & chill for 15 minutes. This helps mellow the flavor. Cut the ends off of the oranges. Sit the orange on one end & using a sharp knife, cut along the contour of the orange, removing the peel & pith. Working over a bowl, to collect the juice, cut the segments out of the oranges, removing any seeds. Place the segments in the bowl with the juice & squeeze any remaining juice from the cores. Next, cut the fennel bulb in quarters lengthwise. Trim most of the core away from each section, leaving a bit in place, to help hold the slices together. Thinly slice the fennel sections lengthwise. Drain the red onion. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice & kosher salt in a mixing bowl until emulsified. Transfer the fennel & red onion to a serving platter. Arrange the orange slices on top & pour the orange juice over the salad. Scatter the olives & mint on top & drizzle the whole salad with the dressing. This salad can be made ahead of time. Add the dressing & mint just before serving. Click here for the printable recipe.


Summer Squash Salad

summersquashsaladSummer salad options are many with all the fresh vegetables coming in here at Stewart’s daily from local Connecticut farms. Katie from The Parsley Thief  shares a special summer salad her Pop served up with all fresh ingredients using squash which is just becoming available. Enjoy!
Summer Squash Salad
1 pound of fresh peas
2 red scallions
1 zucchini squash
1 summer yellow squash
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 Ounces Feta cheese
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste.
Shell the peas into a bowl. Then you need to bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil, and blanch the peas for about 2 minutes, and drain. Next, take 2 red scallions, clean them up, and thinly slice them. Add this to the bowl with the blanched peas.
Next, take the zucchini & squash, and thinly slice them. Put them in the bowl.
Then you’ll need to mince up some fresh basil. You only need about a tablespoon of minced basil, but Katie used a bit more. Add that to the bowl.
Sprinkle about two ounces of crumbled feta cheese into the bowl.
Lastly, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, some salt and pepper to taste.