Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post: Zucchini and White Beans with Creme Fraiche Pesto

Hi there! Just wanted y'all to know that I've made it safely to Singapore after a looooong flight. Funny that I really thought I was ready for this. After all, I've taken at least 4 round trips to mainland China before, which is also across the world. But I've just relearned that no matter how many times you have to sit in a cramped seat for 15+ hours, you never quite adapt to it. 8) But all whining aside, I had a great first day. Already stuffed myself with laksa and other yummies, and can't wait to report back all about it in a few weeks!

In the meantime...boy are you in for a special treat today! I've invited over one of my absolute favorite food bloggers and just one of the funniest and also sweetest human beings I've been lucky to know: Joanne Bruno of Eats Well with Others. In fact I pinky-swear promise you that no matter what kind of bad day you may be having, a quick hop over to her blog will have you laughing out loud in no time. And while she's cheering you up, she's also putting some incredibly creative, flavorful, and often healthy dishes out to tempt you. Like this Spring Pesto Panzanella or this Person Saffron-Spiced Pasta with Split Peas. Oh and did I mention that Joanne just ROCKED the boards and got her M.D.?! Well that's it for my introduction for the girl that really needs none. Take it away, Joanne!

Sometimes, I open my fridge and cry.

I have a tendency to get far too emotionally attached to my condiments.

And cheeses.

And herbs.

And any other item that I always seem to have too much and yet not enough of.


...for example


...exactly one and a half tablespoons of creme fraiche.

How does that sit in your fridge for a week without you spooning it from the container and into your mouth in a fit of insatiable hunger? (I know you thought you were being quite virtuous about it...but really. Why resist the inevitable?)


So now, due to this fit of altruism, here you are with the weight of one and a half tablespoons sitting on your shoulders. And no idea what to do with yourself.

(Now you understand what all this crying is about.)

Until all of a sudden the gods of the New York Times dining section take pity on you. "Pesto. Mix it into pesto," they say.

Not one to kick a gift horse in the mouth, you do exactly as they order, stirring it into some sauteed zucchini and white beans, and then serving it over polenta.

Go ahead. Breathe a sigh of relief. Dinner is deliciously served.

Zucchini and White Beans with Creme Fraiche Pesto [Printable Recipe]

Adapted from the New York Times Cookbook

Serves 4

1/2 cup basil

1 1/2 Tbsp pistachios

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsp creme fraiche

2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

1 1/2 lb. zucchini, chopped

1 (15 oz.) can white beans

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the basil, pistachios, garlic, a scant tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor and puree, scraping down the sides once or twice with a spatula, until a coarse mixture develops. Add the creme fraiche and puree until the mixture is a smooth paste the color of a fresh pea. Add the parmesan and pulse until combined. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the zucchini and stir to coat with oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and saute until the zucchini brightens and turns soft on the edges but is still fairly firm. Drain the white beans and add them to the pan. Add the pesto and stir to coat. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

3. Serve over polenta, with pasta, or stir into risotto.



  1. Glad you have arrived safely. :) I agree with you. I make round-trips back to Singapore regularly and I still cannot get used to that long-haul flight till now. And the older I get, it gets worse....:O ...hmmm...maybe the next thing you will whine about is the hot and humid weather...:p

    Enjoy the good food :)

    I definitely enjoy reading Joanne's Eats Well with Others - she is one of those who cooks and bakes well, writes with personality and a sense of humor.

  2. I love Joanne's blog! That healthy and scrumptious dish looks really good. A wonderful combination and lovely presentation.



  3. What a delightful recipe! I love zucchini and this looks deliciously good!!!

    Lovely recipe Joanne!

    Xiaolu,Glad you arrived safe :)

  4. What an awesome guest post! Nice to meet you you and your gorgeous, healthy soup, Joanne! Looking forward to reading through some of your reipes on your blog :)

    Xiaolu - So glad you arrived in Singapore safely! LOVED your story about the old tree with hole big enough to hide in, when you were a child. It's amazing what nature provides us with in general, but when we're kids, it's almost magical. Sad that both our memories were cut down/demolished. :(

  5. Good to hear that you arrived safe and sound! Great guest post too-a lovely and fresh dish! :)

  6. This is a lovely recipe. So bright and pretty!

  7. Joanne never fails to make me laugh and make me hungry. Today is no exception. Loved it!

  8. Joanne has lots of fun life stories and delicious recipes.
    Enjoy your vacation!

  9. Good to hear that you had a safe journey.. The recipe looks interesting..

  10. Gorgeous guest post and hope you enjoy your vacation dear!

  11. Love the creme fraiche pesto. So innovative!

  12. Two fabulous bloggers together - I love it!

  13. Love me some Joanne..have a great trip!!

  14. Hurray! Another way to use zucchini! Looks delish! Congrats on passing the Boards! Onward and upward!

  15. I love how you use pistachios in your pesto, Joanne.. Yum!

  16. This sounds fantastic! That is one healthy and declicious use of creme fraiche:)

  17. Beautiful guest pots, Joanne... This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

    Xiaolu, I am so jealous of you... Laksa and all the other yummies in Singapore make me drool... :) Have a blast...


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu