Chunky Lemon Pecan Pesto + Dinner

First, I just want to say I've found a new obsession. It's a blog my mom sent me the link to and both of us have been DYING over her food. Her photography and recipes are by far the best I've ever seen in a blog. I stalked her on instagram and pinterest and I've looked through most of her blog. Everything is mouth-watering. I really encourage everyone to go take a look at her blog She's gotten me in the fall mood even more than I already was. All of her pumpkin and chocolate combinations inspired me this weekend to bake- which I never do anymore. So i got in the kitchen and decided to make "Pumpkin Coffee Cake Bars w/ a Cinnamon Chocolate Drizzle"
and also a "White Chocolate Maple Pumpkin Pecan Bark"... both sounded delicious in my head and both were failures. For the bars I used a basic pumpkin bar recipe and just cut it in half because I'm not good at all at baking. At all. I used to be obsessed with it but now I just leave it up to the professionals and eat the yummy treats they make. But either I missed something along the way or the recipe I used just wasn't rught because they ended up having the texture of a spongecake... but they were very dense, not flaky and buttery and chewy like "blondies" which was what I was going for. And the taste was bitter... and on top of that my chocolate started seizing so I had to make it more like frosting rather than a drizzle because It got way to thick. But I still ate like 2 of them because I was craving somethimg sweet and I kept wanting it to taste better. They weren't completely awful but just not... good. So I have yet to madter the art of baking. Next with the bark.. it was just an over sweetened, over almond bark tasting (we ran out of white chocolate chips), goopy mess even when I froze it. It just wouldn't congeal. So that was the story of my Sunday baking fails, but hey... everyone has those. 
So today I was looking at her blog again and so many new ideas popped in my head for recipes- all savory dishes- no baking. But we didn't have ay of the ingredients on hand, and all the thinking about cooking got me excited to cook so I asked if I could make dinner. Luckily my mom wasn't in the mood to cook tonight so here's what I came up with-

Baked Herb Salmon w/ Chunky Lemon Pecan Pesto over Polenta and a Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

Let's just say everything turned out a whole lot better than Sunday's experiments. 

For the salmon I just baked it in lemon, olive oil, herbs, salt/pepper, garlic cloves and scallions.

The polenta was just a basic polenta- cornmeal, chicken stock, bay leafs, salt/pepper. That's it. No cream. No cheese. And it tasted creamy and delicious... once I spent 30 minutes straining it from its lumps because I poured the cornmeal in too fast.

But onto the main reason I'm blogging- the pesto. Now it's a really chunky thick pesto- but I think it was perfect for this dish and really brought out the flavor in the salmon. 

Chunky Lemon Pecan Pesto-

about 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
olive oil- eyed it
1 lemon juice (1/2 zest)
pinch cayenne pepper
fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves

I eyed it for the pecans and cheese but If I had to guess I'd say about 3 tbs or 1/4 cup parmesan and about 1/3 cup pecans. Just eye it and add as you go. I also added some dried basil for a stronger earthier taste. Just pulse it all together in a food processor until it's thick, smooth, and creamy. Add whatever you want more of for taste.

Here's some pictures of my bars- 

I didn't really spend that much time on the pictures for these.. oops. 

But seriously... go check out Halfbaked Harvest. Now. Then go cook something because after looking at her blog, trust me you will want to. 

                                      XOXO- Cecilia A.


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