Yes, I said pesto popsicles. Allow me to explain …
A few weeks ago, my friend Stephanie (she of IronStef fame) and I had the distinct pleasure of judging EarthDance Farms’ Pesto Festo pesto cooking competition at the Ferguson Farmers’ Market … and a distinct pleasure it was!
Those of you that followed my previous blog, Adventures in Eating Locally, know that I’m a huge fan of EarthDance and all they do for the local food scene here in St. Louis so getting to judge a cooking competition highlighting one of my favorite things — pesto! — was a true treat.
Prior to the judging, I explored the farmers’ market, which boasts goods from over 60 local growers, bakeries, artists, and restaurants. If you’ve never been, you should definitely check it out … I was blown away by the amazing produce and goods offered at this market. But, I was really there for the pesto so let’s get to it!
Pesto Festo is a free yearly event that celebrates the basil season and allows attendees to engage in a variety of fun, family-friendly activities that promote personal health and the health of the environment. In addition to the pesto cooking contest, Pesto Festo also featured chair massages by The Bloom Connection, pesto cooking demonstrations from Operation Food Search, upcycled crafting with Perennial, and educational, interactive booths that promote environmental stewardship and community building … seriously, what more could you want from a free event!
The pesto cooking contest began promptly at 10:30. Steph and I were presented with seven pesto dishes, which we had to critique based on presentation, originality, and taste … and from the first bite, we knew we were in for a delicious morning. Each entry was unique and tasty, but there were a few entries that truly dazzled our senses and our tastebuds so choosing the winners was pretty clear.
So, what were the winning dishes, you ask?
In third place … Moira Ross’s pesto flatbread. Moira’s dish wasn’t the only flatbread we tasted that day, but everything about her version was top notch. The crisp crust, the earthy pesto, the creamy goat cheese, the tangy tomatoes, and the peppery arugula all combined to make flatbread heaven. Great job, Moira!
In second place … Stephanie Morgan’s carrot top herb pesto. Remember our judging criteria of originality? Well, using carrot tops as the basis for pesto defines originality … and when combined with the rest of the ingredients in Stephanie’s pesto, it makes for the tastiest pesto I’ve ever had! Way to go, Stephanie!
In first place … drum roll, please … Elizabeth Simons’s pesto popsicles! Elizabeth is the Program Manager at Live Well Ferguson, and her pesto popsicles were beautiful, incredibly original, and utterly delicious. From the first bite of these tangy, creamy, eartly popsicles, I was pretty certain Elizabeth would be our winner … and that she was! She also generously allowed me to share her recipe for these unique treats with you! Congratulations and thanks again, Elizabeth!
Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Simons
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups vanilla yogurt
- 1/3 cup basil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend to combine.
2. Pour the mixture evenly into 8 small (3 ounce) paper cups.
3. Cover the paper cups with aluminum foil and poke hole in center.
4. Insert popsicle sticks into the foil holes.
5. Freeze overnight.
6. Remove foil and tear off paper.
Makes 8 mini popsicles.
Congratulations again to all the winners … and thanks to EarthDance for allowing me to participate in this fabulous event!