If you told me three years ago that I would one day consider cooking a favorite activity I would have laughed in your face. The very first night we spent in our little rented apartment in Santiago, Chile I remember having to ask my husband how to cook eggs. Poor guy had to cook every meal we ate at home for the first year and a half of our marriage because I was so. not. interested. in cooking. It didn’t help that we had no oven in Santiago for our first year and were using a fire pit outside to cook for the next, but little by little our cooking situation improved and with it came a desire to start experimenting with food. At around the same time I decided to stop eating meat (for the most part) and so hubby happily gave up his reign as kitchen supervisor and I took over. Don’t get me wrong, he still cooks (and well I might add) but he’s an avid carnivore and if I want a vegan meal I’m better off making it myself.
The one hitch is that we don’t have a refrigerator, or actually we have one, but it’s not hooked up – that’s another story though so I digress… anyway without a working refrigerator it’s a little tricky to plan meals. I have to make sure that we use all of the veggies and fresh produce within the first few days of shopping and rely on dry goods or things we grow ourselves for the rest of the week. So, when I found a recipe that relied on supplies that I already had in my pantry and grew in my yard I had to share. Plus it’s delicious and so pretty and fed me and my husband for dinner and lunch the next day.
2 packed cups of nasturtium leaves, stems, and flowers
2 cloves garlic
½ cup walnuts
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup good quality olive oil (I ended up using more because it was a little too sticky)
Pick leaves, flowers and stems, checking the back of the leaves and the inside of the flowers for bugs. Wash carefully and dry thoroughly.
Add nasturtiums to food processor or blender with garlic, walnuts, salt, and Parmesan cheese.
Blend until smooth. Then add oil in a steady stream until smooth again.
Toss with pasta, cooked beans ( I used fava but lima could be used too), or boiled new potatoes. Garnish with nasturtium flowers and walnuts.