Column: More from the farmers market

Each Wednesday we have available at the Pony Express the fruit and produce from a wide variety of farms located in Nevada and California. What a delight to have available this wide assortment of ingredients to produce wonderful meals for our families. One interesting stand represents the 4-B Family Farms which grow and produce pistachios and pistachio products. Here are some recipes for these tasty nuts, oils and pistachio pesto.

Pasta and Pistachio Vegetable Salad

This colorful side dish will make a fine accompaniment to a simple poultry or fish entree and robust enough to balance barbecued ribs. It was suggested by 4-B Family Farms. I added the pistachio oil in place of half the olive oil.

7 quarts water

1 pound pasta such as Penne

salt and pepper to taste

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 small yellow squash, sliced

1 large portebello mushroom, sliced

1/2 mild onion, thinly sliced

ripe cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup shelled pistachios

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup pistachio oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

In a large pot bring water to a boil, and add about 2 tablespoons salt. Add pasta, stirring occasionally as it comes back to a boil. Cook about 6 minutes then add carrots, squash and mushrooms. Bring to a boil again and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain and place in a large pasta bowl. Add onion and halved tomatoes. Chop all but a handful of the pistachios which are reserved for garnish. Mix oils, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salad, toss, garnish with nuts and more tomatoes and serve warm.

Steamed Halibut with Pistachios

This is a family favorite from the farm. I haven't tried it, but it sounds excellent to me.

1 pound halibut steaks

salt and pepper to taste

3 lemon slices

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

1 tablespoon pistachio oil

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed, or 1 teaspoon fresh, minced*

1/4 chopped shelled pistachios

Season halibut with salt and pepper; top each steak with a lemon slice. Put steaks on a heat-proof plate; place on a rack over 1/2 inch simmering water in a skillet. Cover and steam 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Saute celery and onions in oil, add tomato and thyme and heat through. Add pistachios; mix well. Spoon over halibut. Serves 3 at less than 300 calories per serving.

* I grow my own lemon thyme, one of my favorites.

Pasta with Pistachio Pesto and Parmesan

Most of us think of pesto with pasta, either spaghetti or fettuccini, but it is also delicious on broiled, steamed or baked fish and vegetables and baked potatoes. To serve on fish or vegetables, thin with some hot water for a thick sauce consistency. A bit of softened butter may be stirred in also.

4 quarts water

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 pound pasta

4 tablespoons pistachio pesto

reserved pasta water

Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping. Cook according to package directions until just tender. Reserve some pasta water and drain pasta, returning it to the pot. In a small bowl, add reserved hot pasta water to pesto, stirring until it acquires a creamy consistency. Add to the pasta, blending well. Turn into a serving bowl, dress with cheese and serve some cheese on the side. Serve hot.

Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

It is that time again! Zucchini, once it starts producing, is probably one of the garden's most prolific plants. You can use green or yellow zucchini or other summer squash for this recipe. It freezes well for winter use too. Just coarsely grate the zucchini, add a sprinkle of salt, squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the zucchini and package in two cup amounts so you have just the right amount for your winter bread. This is my mother's recipe, and she suggested one grate the zucchini first.

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

3 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the butter, add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Fold into creamed mixture, then fold in grated zucchini, walnuts and vanilla. Divide between two greased and floured bread pans and bake at 350F for one hour, testing with a cake tester. Turn out and cool, lightly covered with a dish towel on racks.

Need a recipe? Have a cooking question? E-mail or write Ada Roelke, The Nevada Appeal, 200 Bath St., Carson City 89702.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment