Not Really Pesto, Pesto

So I'm currently car-less at home in a rain storm (not sad about it at all), writing a post, breastfeeding a baby, filing my nails and catching up on True Detective and Sara Bareilles on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show. To say the least, moms can seriously multitask.

Since the birth of our little man, my life has been a series of very predictable cycles. Babies do cry, but they cry for only five reasons: hunger, discomfort, gassiness, exhaustion, and a need to burp. That's it. All I've been doing is figuring out which cry is which, following his schedule and making him happy. After 6 weeks on this earth, he's finally speaking clearly to me. I think I've got it.

I managed to get a shot of our kids BOTH smiling! Granted, this only lasted the duration of the six shot photo series.

They are both HAPPY!!!
They are both HAPPY!!!

Anyway, onto food. And not really pesto, pesto.

During any down time carved out during Flynn's naps and while Vesper is at school, I've been trying a few new things, one being this herb-nut topping. I've made pesto several different ways, but never this combination, and I generally use a food processor, not a mortar and pestle.

Almonds, walnuts, cilantro, mint, spicy red onion
Almonds, walnuts, cilantro, mint, spicy red onion

This time I found a recipe in Fine Cooking for an herb-nut topping on Arctic Char served with roasted carrots. A no-need-to-clean-an-appliance pesto recipe. Perfect. It immediately caught my eye.

Since I'm living on someone else's feeding schedule, I've found the last thing I consider is what to feed myself. I certainly wish my waistline proved that, but I did just have a baby six weeks ago, so I'm giving myself a little slack. We've had a steady trail of incredible friends visiting with food and extra arms to hold the baby or entertain Vesper, but that tends to slow down by the second month. So chicken, tuna and egg salad have become mainstays in our fridge, prepped food for grabbing on-the-go. This herb-topping / pesto is the perfect addition to pretty much anything. A slice of warm toast, a salmon filet, rotisserie chicken, even mixed in with fresh zucchini noodles.

Instead of using the food processor or blender, just add it all to a mortar and pestle and combine until you reach your desired consistency. I prefer a little chunkier for my warm toast tapenade, but as a pesto, keep on grinding.

In zucchini noodle land, speaking of, I just made the best dinner of all time with said "noodles." That recipe coming next. As soon as I get through this next sleep cycle.


Herb-Nut Topping

Adapted directly from Fine cooking


  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I didn't use, cause I didn't have)
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Literally, put it all in a mortar and pestle and combine until you reach desired consistency.