Who Cooked it Better? Pine Nut Contest

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You’ve read the recipes. You’ve salivated all week. You’ve wished I would never mention goddamn pine nuts ever again. Now it’s your turn. Which of our four very inventive pine nut recipes is the very best of all?

Will the winner be:

Lisa’s Bacon-Wrapped Date ‘Cannolis’ with Pine Nuts,

Natalie’s Herb Grilled Salmon with Seared Heirloom Tomatoes and Toasted Pine Nuts,

Matt’s Pan Seared Scallops, Red Onion Confit, toasted pine nuts and sage oil, or

JoeHoya’s Pine Nut Butter and Gelee?


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  • bobbyc October 10, 2008  

    Wow, this is a tough one. I think we’ll need to have a gathering so we can taste each dish before we vote.

    Good luck to everyone. I guess the winner gets to hang out with me and Tony in the ES Hall of Fame?

  • Maidelitala October 10, 2008  

    I was very attached to Natalie’s for a while but the sheer brilliant simplicity of JH’s finished product pushed me over the edge. Now make it for a veggie lactard and serve it up JoeHoya!

  • JoeHoya October 10, 2008  

    Maidelitalia – I think you could make the Pine Nut Butter and Gelee veggie-friendly with a few quick tweaks:

    1. Substitute veggie stock for chicken stock and omit the parmesan in the pesto base. You might need to add some additional salt to balance out the flavor.

    2. Use agar-agar, guar gum, carrageenan or a similarly non-meat derived gelatin alternative to solidify the gelee.

    I haven’t worked with any of these products before so I can’t speak to their effectiveness, but it seems like a relatively easy set of tweaks to make this fully veggie friendly.

  • Dude October 14, 2008  

    Joe Hoya’s actually makes the pine nuts the key ingredient, it seems to me. . . with the others, it is just merely an addition to the dish. All they do is toast it an sprinkle it on. Only thing is, I’m not sure how the gelee would taste.

  • JoeHoya October 14, 2008  

    Thankfully, it actually tastes like traditional pesto…primarily basil, with a bit of garlic and parmesan cheese. The color comes from using opal basil, instead of traditional basil.

    Through trial and error, I learned that the gelatin reacts quickly to heat. If you put it onto something hot – say a hot polenta cake or some pasta – it will melt and basically turn into a purple-tinted pesto. Definitely still usable.

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