Not Quite Yet

At night when I internet stalk–I mean catch up with my feed reader–Joe always inquires how I can possibly read about all that good food. It’s even worse during Passover, which is now on it’s 5th day. The good news is that leaves just 3 more to go, the bad news is that we’ve consumed a lot of matzah.

Not as much as usual, because I’m keeping us on a strict “only as much as absolutely necessary” matzah rationing type of diet, but still more than I’d like.

Lillia pretty much won’t touch the stuff, and I kinda think she’s on to something.

I’m definitely counting down the meals until I can stop washing everything by hand because we don’t have enough passover dishes to get through one day, and until I can eat a grain besides matzah meal. That’s not even a real grain, people.

But, just because I can’t eat delicious bready things doesn’t mean you all have to suffer too. You should eat a sandwich for me, and then tell me all about it. I’ll just stick to salads and stuff like that.

OK, OK. Mine won’t have any croutons or breadsticks. I refuse to feel sorry for myself though…it’s only a couple more days.

In all honesty, I am kind of a glutton for punishment I guess, which probably has something to do with why I signed up for another triathlon this year. And I bought a wetsuit, so now I’m pretty committed to “being a triathlete” just so I can get a good return on the investment for the damn thing. I’m gonna have to do a whole bunch more of them, even though I totally hate running and biking isn’t really my thing.

Anyway, back to the reason I have to do all that exercise: bready stuff, which is my one true love. I know this because it likes to stick around after I’ve eaten it, usually in the form of thighs and hips.

Before passover started I was trying to use up everything that had any grains in it in the freezer. This included eating weird soups, baking a lot of things in mystery dough tart shells, and eating breadsticks to use up the stash of pizza dough I like to keep in there for emergency dinners.

I know, I know. Breadsticks aren’t anything new. But you know how they tell you to write stuff down when it’s stuck in your head, so you can get to sleep at night without worrying about it at 3 am? Just think of this post kinda like that. I have to get these breadsticks off my brain so that I can think about what kind of egg-potato-matzah meal creation I’m gonna make for dinner tonight.

I rolled these breadsticks up with a ton of pesto I made in a huge batch when the arugula in my garden needed to get pulled out to make way for spring planting. I’ve also been slathering in on fish and can’t wait to eat it on pasta…yeah, when passover ends. The pesto is just bitter enough, just spicy enough to really lend it’s flavor to the dough. The saltiness of the cheese kicks it up a notch, and letting the cheese caramelize in a super hot oven is pretty much the best way to get a good savory crunch.

Arugula Pesto Breadsticks
makes 8

1/2 cup or so arugula pesto, recipe follows
1/2 cup or so shredded parmesan
One 9.5 oz portion of your favorite pizza dough
salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven at hot as it will go, and if you have one, put a pizza stone on the lowest rack. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Let the dough come to room temp, then stretch it out to about a 6″x 8″ rectangle. Let is rest 10 minutes or so, then come back and roll it with a rolling pin until it’s very thin and about the size of your cookie sheet.

Smear the pesto all over the dough, all the way to the edges. Then sprinkle the parmesan over. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 roughly equal portions. Twist each portion a few times until it holds itself together well and looks all pretty. Press any loose parmesan back into the twists, give a good sprinkle all over with salt and pepper, and slide the whole tray in the oven on the lowest rack.

Bake for about 10 minutes, then take them out and check them. Turn them over for even coloring and give them just a few minutes more in the oven. Don’t let them get too brown or they won’t be tender anymore. Serve with dipping sauces if you like, but they’re pretty fantastic on their own.

Arugula Pesto

This is the easiest part of this easy recipe. You just take a big bunch of thoroughly washed arugula (or any other green, really) stuff it into your food processor and grind it up with a couple of cloves of garlic and a big handful of pine nuts or walnuts. When it’s pretty broken down, add a big pinch of salt and drizzle some olive oil in, about 1/4 cup to start, until it starts to look creamy and pretty smooth. I leave the cheese out, because I store extra in my freezer–to use on pasta later, or for dishes in which I can’t have cheese (kosher meat dishes)–and it freezes better without the cheese anyway. To store it in the freezer, fill an ice cube tray and freeze the pesto until solid, then store in an airtight container. Pull out a couple as you need them.

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