Friday, October 4, 2013

All Roads Lead to Brooklyn: Carrot and Walnut "Pesto" + Sundried Tomato Sweet "Harissa"

I promised to come home early and I intended to keep my promise. I really did. Except that I engaged in a daydreaming activity on the subway, missed a couple of stops and ended up in Brooklyn. I could have just taken the subway back, but once in Brooklyn, I figured why not take a couple of steps down to Dumbo and buy a baguette at the Almondine bakery. And so I went. I could have easily returned after I purchased the baguette, but Almondine is just a couple of steps away from Jane’s Carousel. I could never resist a carousel, the carousels are magic. As a kid I could go round and round for hours, and I can still do, just by standing there and watching the horses go up and down, down and up, waiting for the chariots, listening to the music and the tiny people laugh. And as I stood there watching Jane spin, I looked up and the season changed from summer to fall, how appropriate!

And I could have easily turned at that point, but it was the carousel, and the golden afternoon in Dumbo, and the summer refusing to leave the city despite what the carousel was saying, so I decided to walk the Brooklyn bridge back home and take the photos of maybe the last sunny day disappearing across the other river.

And as I crossed the bridge and found myself in Tribeca, I figured why not stop by Grand Daisy and get another baguette, or as they call it stirato back there. The Daisy was closed, which led me to Soho and Balthazar...

When I finally got back home, an hour and thirty minutes pass the promised time, it was dark. But the essence of the beautiful early fall remained in the air, and the street lights were festive and the street was bustling, so I remained in front of my building for a while and experimented with low light photography. And when I finally, finally got back home for real, two hours pass the promised time, I had two baguettes and nothing for dinner. I also had about thirty minutes to create healthy and wholesome meal for the family, without incurring the wrath, scorn and fury of Dr. V.

My pantry-keeping habits are non-existing. I do have a pantry and it is loaded with stuff, except that none of it is immediately useable. My ability to buy food for a couple of days ahead is non-existing too, and when I reviewed the contents of the pantry and the contents of the fridge, it produced -- a) carrots, b) sundried tomatoes, c) walnuts, and d) almonds -- in terms of foods that could be consumed immediately. We did have some cheese too, and a food processor, and from there, the fastest dinner ever practically made itself...

Baguette with Carrot Walnut “Pesto” & Mozzarella


* 14 oz carrots, cleaned and cut into small pieces
* 4 oz walnuts
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 4 sage leaves
* Salt and ground white pepper
* 1-2 baguettes
* about 6oz mozzarella, cut into thin slices


1. In a food processor pulse the carrots, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, cumin, sage, salt, pepper, vinegar and about two tablespoons of water into a smooth pure. (You may add a bit more or less water depending on how thick you want your pesto to be.)

Cut the baguette into slices about 8-10” long, and then cut each slice crosswise in half.

Spread the pesto on both sides of the baguette, layer with the mozzarella slices, close the sandwiches and serve.


Baguette with Sundried Tomato Sweet “Harissa” & Feta


* 3 oz sundried tomato
* 4 oz blanched almonds
* 2 garlic cloves 

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tbsp lemon juice
* 3/4 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
* 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika (Pimentón de La Vera)
* 1/2 tsp ground coriander
* 1/2 tsp ground caraway
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1-2 baguettes
* about 6oz feta cheese, cut into thin slices

1. Cover the sundried tomatoes with boiling water and leave for about 15 minutes to soften. Drain and reserve the water.

2. In a food processor pulse the sundried tomatoes, almonds, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, spices and about 1/2 cup of the reserved water into a smooth pure. (You may add a bit more or less water depending on how thick you want your harissa to be.)

3. Cut the baguette into slices about 8-10” long, and then cut each slice crosswise in half.

4. Spread the harissa on both sides of the baguette, layer with the feta slices, close the sandwiches and serve.


  1. I love your photographs! That actually sounds like a delicious dinner. I find myself in situations like this where I loose track of time, and end up eating cheese, jam, and bread for dinner. So thanks for the recipe, I'm excited to try these spreads!

    1. Thank you, and please let me know if you liked them.

  2. What a surprise! I clicked on an email from Tastespotting to check out my new posting (we are on the same page, by the way), and I saw QueenSashy come across your gorgeous baguette photo. I had no idea you have a blog! I loved the story of this post (as I often find myself doing the exact same thing) and your photos are beautiful! You will have to bring your camera to our next potluck. You have a new reader in me! xo, Cristina (from Food52/

    1. Hello there, and thanks for stopping by! The blog is really a recent thing, I’ve been collecting the photos and the rumblings for quite some time and kept them private, and over the summer I decided to “un-privatize” them. I do try to stay away from technique and giving advices, since there are far more knowledgeable folks (including you) out there… Look forward to our next get-together! xoxo

  3. Just tried the sundried tomato Harissa. Added it to pasta, and it was delicious!!!

  4. Is there a substitute for sage leaves? It can be a suggestion

    1. There is no 1 to 1 substitute per se, but many other herbs would work nicely. I also make it with parsley sometimes, it's a bit of a different flavor. Oregano, marjoram, or tarragon...

    2. Thanks for the suggestions. I tried adding the parsley, and I must say, the pesto overall is genius! I love it. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    3. Great!!! So glad it worked out and thank you for letting me know.


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