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The Feast of Saint Nicholas: Cilantro Pesto

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Blessed Feast!

I was raised with the true story of St. Nicholas.  I always knew the truth of the Santa legends and promptly hugged Grandma after receiving gifts marked “from Santa.”  When we became Orthodox, celebrating St. Nicholas Day seemed only natural.  We decorated the mantle on Wednesday and put up our stockings last night.  The kids can’t wait to put up the tree, but they will have to wait a bit longer for that.

We were iced in and chose not to brave the slippery twenty mile drive to liturgy this morning.  Instead John made pumpkin pancakes, and I put out our St. Nicholas treats.

Nuts and chocolate coins are traditional St. Nicholas treats.  I made vegan carob coins in my mini muffin tin using this recipe plus a pinch of salt.  Last year I made them too thin; this year they are too thick.  Maybe next year I’ll get them just right.  The little clogs were stitched in felt from this pattern.  I can’t bring myself to put food in the same shoes that their feet have been inside, so I made those little clogs instead.

After breakfast we pulled out this book–a relic of my childhood collection.  We snuggled up with blankets and read from our basket of Christmas books.  We watched holiday movies, played outside in the icy wonderland, played board games, filled the bird feeders, and strung popcorn for the birds.   The bird feeding idea popped up twice this week in my internet subscriptions; both here and here.

Our poor confused tree, stuck between seasons.

Our poor confused tree, stuck between seasons.

Snuggle Bunny

Snuggle Bunny

Little Man

Little Man

Ice on the rose bush.

Ice on the rose bush.

Since it’s a feast day, fish is allowed.  That means shrimp for us!  John and the kids picked a lot of cilantro for our CSA farmer earlier this week, so I found this recipe that I modified for our purposes.  Normally I would have used brown rice, but my aunt gave me gallon of white jasmine at Thanksgiving.  What a better day for a white rice treat than a feast day?  I served this with a little salad and a variety of roasted baby winter squash from our CSA.  We like to think of them as squash fries that you don’t have to peel first.  You just eat them right out of their skins after they are cooked.


Shrimp with Cilantro Pesto

1 heaping cup cilantro leaves, washed
6-8 green onions, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp pecans (didn’t measure)
1 clove garlic
1-2 tsp agave syrup (I am out of white sugar and it worked just as well)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar (any vinegar would work)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, to taste

3 cups dry jasmine rice, cooked according to package instructions
1 lb raw shrimp

Start your rice.

In a blender or food processor place the first eight ingredients.  Blend until mostly smooth.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  In a bowl toss the shrimp with a heaping tablespoon of the pesto and saute for 3-4 minutes in the skillet, until they are pink and opaque throughout.

Serve over rice with the extra pesto.


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