Since it is November and a special time of the year to say thanks, this is my profound thanks to all the wonderful help I receive when teaching classes at the Cooks Warehouse. (Thanks too – to Wendy Allen, the director of the cooking school. You are the reason that the assistants know what they are doing!) The assistants in every class are really special. With the exception of the Principal Assistant, each volunteer is there for the love of food and cooking – and does not get paid. (Except in vouchers to take more cooking classes:) So this means they help me unload the groceries, prep the recipes, assist me during class, (and the class members, too), serve the food, pick up the dishes and clean up the kitchen. Sounds exhausting, yes? It is. And they do all this with a super attitude and an inquiring mind. So thanks to all the wonderful assistants I have had over the past 3 years. You know who you are – and you are incredible. You’ll see pictures of the assistants throughout my blog, and on my website. Once you see those dynamos in action – you too will want to take them home, too!
Here is a recipe from my last class – a great use of the last of the summer’s basil.

Macadamia Basil Pesto Salad
1 (15 oz) Tin Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) Tin Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) Tin Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
2 Heads Romaine, Shredded
1 Recipe Macadamia Basil Pesto*
½ Cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Curls for Garnish
Toss the beans with a small amount of the pesto until well coated. Serve on a bed of the romaine and garnish with the parmesan curls.

Macadamia Basil Pesto*
1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
2 Cups Packed Basil
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Lemon Zest and Juice
½ Cup Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1/8 – ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
Place nuts, basil, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor or a blender, drizzle in the oil a bit at a time and blend until creamy.

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