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August Book of the Month

The Pesto Cookbook

by Olwen Woodier (2018)

Reviewed by Sarah Cournoye, Youth Services Librarian, Beaver Dam Community Library

While I like reading fiction, cookbooks spark my imagination, too. August brings an abundance of fresh, flavorful produce from gardens, farmers markets or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes. Sometimes I’m left wondering how to use it or want something different and new to do with it, but it has to be something my family will try. Woodier’s book delivers new and tempting ways to transform produce and herbs using things already in my pantry and kitchen.

When the word “pesto” is used, it conjures up the taste and smell of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan, but that is just one of the Italian pestos and comes from Genoa, Italy. Other regions and countries incorporate local herbs and healthful ingredients to make their own pestos, pastes or purees – such as Brazil, Singapore, North Africa, Mexico, Argentina and France.

Basic ingredients and their preparation are listed in the first chapter. Then come delightful recipes to make use of these fresh concoctions. Whether with greens, grains, beans or meats, there are multiple ways to enjoy them, including desserts.

A few on my list to try are the parsley-fennel pistou (a traditional French pesto), an avocado mayonnaise, and the boneless chicken thighs with peanut-sesame pesto. Yum!

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