Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roasted Strawberry & Butter Cookie Sundaes

Among my many jobs (photographers assistant, food stylist assistant, studio manager, photographer), I take all sorts of freelance photography gigs, including working for other bloggers. People with small start up companies or blogs always want to know one thing- how to take better photos without buying fancy equipment. 

Usually on these shoots, I'm working with big lights- strobes with soft boxes, maybe a seamless sweep, my DSLR and a large lens, lots of light stands and reflectors. So when I tell these other clients, or anyone really, that I shoot Little Market Kitchen without any of these things- flash, big reflectors, or even a proper sized still life set up, they're surprised. When I tell them I shoot this blog in the 4x5 foot space between my counter and my sink, where the only window in my (rather dark) kitchen resides, with my still life board laid across a regular kitchen stool because a table would never fit in my shooting area, they're even more surprised.

The key, I tell anyone who asks for advice on shooting with natural light in this dark, crowded city, is to map the light in your apartment. First, take stock of where your windows are, and how accessible they are. Pick out the window or room that gets the most amount of light, and has room to shoot in, then the next time you're at home all day, look at that room about once an hour. Watch the light, take note of when the room is the brightest. When your shooting area is the brightest- this is when you want to shoot. My kitchen window looks southeast at the East River, so I get the best light in the morning, but there is a tall building across the street from me, so the light gets cut down around 10AM in the winter, and 1PM in the summer. Which means this time of year I shoot all of my recipes before noon. 

Consequently, last weekend I finished making and photographing these sundaes at 10:30 in the morning. I was in a bit of a conundrum afterwards regarding what to do with the sundae I had photographed. It's not like you can save a sundae, even in the freezer the sauce gets all hard and the berries would freeze. There was nothing else to do, S and I had to have sundaes for breakfast. 

At least I went for a run while the strawberries cooled. I'd like to say we followed these up with a proper breakfast of eggs and toast, or that we had eaten bowls of yogurt or chia pudding with fruit salad earlier that morning, but I'm into being honest with my readers, so I'm not going to pretend to be some sort of healthy sane person that balances out ice cream with chia pudding. We ate the sundae you see photographed here as our entire breakfast, and it was heavenly.  

We also had smaller individual sundaes for dessert that evening. It was just an ice cream kind of day I guess. S and I are not known for our great restraint when it comes to eating. We once ate an entire pineapple upside down cake within three hours of my making it. Maybe it's a testament to my cooking abilities, or maybe we're just two terrible gluttons.

These roasted strawberries are lovely. I mixed them up with two of my favorite condiments, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, but you could substitute honey for the maple if need be. I made the cookie crumble the night before, which I highly recommend doing. Just try not to eat the whole thing before you ever make the sundaes! 

Roasted Strawberry & Butter Cookie Sundaes
Makes 4 very generous sundaes or 6 regular sized ones.
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
2 Pints Strawberries
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Pints Vanilla Ice Cream

Brown Butter Cookie Crumble

3/4 C Oats
1 C Flour
1 Stick Butter
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2/3 C Sugar

First, bake the cookie crumble. You can do this a day, or even two, in advance. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the butter in a skillet on the stove and heat over low heat so the butter melts- first it will be yellow and opaque, then it'll turn foamy, then clear, and finally it will begin to smell like nuts and turn subtly brown. Do not leave the butter unattended as it will go from clear to browned to burned very quickly. Once the butter begins to brown remove it from heat and pour it out of the pan and into a bowl or measuring cup immediately, as it will continue to cook in the hot pan if left in there. Browning the butter will take 5-10 minutes, depending on your heat.

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients for the cookies and mix until well combined. Pour the browned butter over the dry ingredients and mix again until butter is well mixed in and a clumpy dough forms.

Butter a 8x8" pan and press the clumpy dough  into the pan until it comes together to fill the pan, press until a smooth, level surface is formed. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until cookie is room temperature. Cut into squares to remove from the pan, then crumble the cookie bars into 1/2" pieces in a large bowl. Set aside.

Roast the strawberries- this can also be done a day ahead, and roasted strawberries can be kept, with their juices, in a refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the tops of the strawberries and cut any large ones in half. In a casserole or roasting pan, toss the strawberries, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until juices are bubbly and strawberries are soft and look a bit roasted. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. If you want warm strawberries on your sundae, wait about 10 minutes. For cooler berries that will melt your ice cream less, you can pop the berries in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Scoop a hearty serving of ice cream into each bowl. Top with roasted strawberries and cookie crumble, then drizzle with the roasted strawberry juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Coconut Almond Bites

These delightful little almond-coconut bites are quite the treat. They're sweet enough to eat for dessert, but healthy enough to pop for breakfast too. There's protein and monounsaturated fat in the almond butter, the dates bring in some great potassium, and of course coconut is one of those modern "Superfoods," said to be good for everything from getting a quick burst of energy, to controlling sugar cravings. I just happen to love coconut. I'd eat it even if it was as unhealthy as a Snickers bar. 

Luckily, coconut isn't as unhealthy as a Snickers bar or I'd need to run a lot further every morning. Running was the inspiration for these tasty little almond-coconut bites. As of last week I've officially been running in the mornings for 6 months.  I wake up in the morning, do a few stretches, drink a glass of water, and put on my running clothes. I'm usually jogging along the East River before I've even been awake for thirty minutes. The cool air coming off the river and the lovely views of Brooklyn across the water help me shake off any remaining sleepiness. 

I've never been a breakfast person, but since I started running I've realized I may need to change that. If I sleep in and get started late, or run for more than a few miles my stomach starts growling audibly as I jog along, and I know I need to start getting some fuel in me before a long run. But I'm just not hungry at first when I wake up. And I didn't want to mess around cooking and running before work. That's where these almond bites come in. 

When I was a kid I got the idea to make frozen peanut butter-honey balls from a tv show on PBS.  You simply mixed together honey and peanut butter, globbed it onto a plate in blobs, and froze it. Eventually I improved on this model by adding oats, which allowed me to roll the dough into balls. I revisited this recipe when I came up with these balls. Only, I wanted to find a way to use healthier almond butter, and to replace the oats with something gluten free, to make this a more accessible recipe. 

I swapped in almond butter, dates to make it a bit stiffer and add natural caramel-y sweetness, and coconut in place of the oats, for a way more nutritious snack. Then I started with the add-ins. The batch I photographed has dried unsweetened tart cherries, but I've also used chocolate chips, raisins, and shelled sunflowers seed with great success.

If you keep these in the fridge they'll be softer, like a nut butter truffle (but will still hold their shape), if you pop them in the fridge they'll freeze up into a lovely frozen confection. I love the consistency of frozen nut butter. Firm, but still soft enough to easily bite. 

I like to grab one or two of these and munch them before I run for a bit of energy and fuel to carry me through, and when I return I have another one or two, as a post-workout snack before heading to work. I also like to pop one in my mouth when I come home from work, and maybe two or three for a late night dessert while S and I watch TV in the evening.  They're good any time of day.

Coconut Almond Bites

1 C Dates
1 C Almond Butter (chunky or smooth)
1 Tbsp Coconut Butter (or coconut oil)
3/4 C Shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Honey

2/3 C dried unsweetened cherries or other dried fruit
2/3 C chocolate chips
2/3 C hulled sunflower seeds

If your dates are a bit dry, soak them in water for an hour or two, if they're pretty moist skip the soak. Pit the dates, and add them to a food processor, process on high for 1 minute, add the coconut butter (or oil) and process again, until a thick sticky paste forms. Dump the date paste into a bowl.

Add the almond butter, honey, and vanilla to the bowl of dates and mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the coconut flakes and mix again until the coconut flakes are mixed in and the dough begins to clump up. Mix in any of the add ins. I used dried tart cherries.

If your mixture is too sticky, add more coconut, if it's too dry add more almond butter. It should stick together on it's own, but be dry enough that you can pick up a clump of it. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour (this step can be skipped but your balls may end up a bit flat on one side).

Remove from refrigerator after 1 hour and roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place in a tupperware with parchment paper between layers of balls and chill for at least 1 hour. Chill in the freezer if you'd like frozen, firm balls. Chill in the fridge if you'd like softer, more truffle-like balls.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tangerine Lime Curd

Happy April Fools Day! I don't have any clever tricks or pranks to play on you, just truly delicious tangy and sweet tangerine lime curd to share. There is something really phenomenal about this curd, it's lusciously thick and smooth, tangy, almost-sour from the lime, sweet and tart from the tangerine with a creamy, custardy undertone. 

A few weeks ago I was making a batch of lemon curd for a shortbread-lemon tart, when I got to thinking that I'd never tried to make curd from any other citrus, but there was certainly no reason not to. I thought of all the possibilities: blood orange, grapefruit, key lime! And then I went to the grocery store down the block.

I live in Chinatown, so my local grocery store is a slightly different experience from a typical big box grocery store shopping trip. The shop occupies the basement and first floor of a moderately tall building that nestles right up next to the Manhattan bridge. It's new- prior to this we shopped at a grocery store that was literally under the bridge, and partially outdoors, so this is like our luxury grocery store. The first floor is mainly dry goods- powdered, dried, bagged, and loose teas, candies, cakes, rice flour, bottles of oyster sauce, fish sauce. Canned lotus root, next to canned minced pork, next to canned rainbow agar jelly, and an aisle with every type of noodle from ho fun and chow mein to mung bean, to japanese soba and somen. There is also a snack aisle that S tries to get me to avoid because my eyes get all big and I start loading everything into the basket- maple cakes! taro wafer cookies! lychee jellies! black sesame everything! 

Down in the basement are all the perishables. In the back there is a sparse dairy selection flanked by freezers full of a vast array of bao (buns)- pork, shrimp, vegetable, fish, red bean, black bean, melon, peanut, black sesame (my favorite!), taro, pineapple, custard, coconut, even some durian! In the front of the store you'll find the meat and seafood. In the meat section there's a wide selection of whole chickens- head on, head off, pre smoked, black skinned, or perhaps you prefer duck? Smoked or raw duck? The seafood side includes massive bins (lets call them what they are- they're rubbermade trash cans), full of live frogs and turtles. There's also a dazzling array of fish types. Right in the middle, in between the smoked tofu (so so delicious!), self-serve frozen fishball bar, and barrel of live eels, is the produce. 

The produce section is a bit of a wonderland itself. On any given day there's likely to be jackfruit, long beans, giant strawberries, young thai coconuts, taro root, delightful little apples, luffa gourd (my shop spells it loofah though!), deep red blood oranges, super juicy plums, or a completely different set of delights. There's very little consistency with the produce selection, so I went to the store with an open mind about what type of citrus curd I'd make. What I found were rich, vibrantly orange juicy tangerines. There were lovely grapefruits, and even a bin of calamansi fruits, but the tangerines were too bright and beautiful to refuse. I grabbed some limes to add a streak of tartness because I always love a little zing of lime alongside sweet citrus, and I headed home, after stopping upstairs for some black sesame wafer cookies to snack on. 

The resulting curd is lovely. I put it on everything for the next week- toast in the morning, apple slices for a quick snack, I used it to make creamy citrus-vanilla milk shakes for dessert, spooned it into greek yogurt, served it over strawberries topped with whipped cream, and my favorite use,  I blended it into a frozen strawberry & coconut milk smoothie for incredible results. If you can think of any other delicious uses for this sweet and tart Tagerine Lime Curd, let me know in the comments! Enjoy!

Tangerine Lime Curd

2 Tangerines
2 Limes
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/4 lb Butter (room temperature)
4 Eggs
1/8 tsp kosher salt

Zest the two limes and one of the tangerines, then juice both tangerines and 1 lime to get about 1/2 C juice (if you have extra, drink it, it's delicious!). Set juice aside. Combine the zest and the sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until zest is broken down into sugar. 

Remove sugar from food processor and add to a bowl with the butter. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the tangerine/lime juice and beat again until well combined.

Pour into a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until curd thickens. About 10-15 minutes. If the lemon curd begins to bubble turn the heat down a smidge, you want to keep it just under simmering temperature. If you'd like to use a candy thermometer, the curd will thicken at 170F,  remember to keep the thermometer from touching the bottom of the pan. It should get thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and then just a bit thicker.

Once thickened, remove the curd from heat and pour into jars. I ended up with about 20 oz of curd. Once curd cools to room temperature, keep it in the fridge. It'll thicken a bit more once cool.

Try this curd over vanilla ice cream, on poundcake, toast, or as an apple dip! It's heavenly blended into a strawberry smoothie too. Alternatively, you can pour the curd into a pre-baked pie crust (a graham cracker or shortbread crust works well) and refrigerate it for a few hours to make a lime-tangerine tart. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cardamom Spiced Almond Milk

I have always loved juice. Every morning from kindergarten through twelfth grade my mother would pour me a large glass of orange juice to start the day. On photo shoots, while everyone else stirs cream into their coffee I'm the only one tapping into that jug of fresh OJ caterers always provide with the breakfast spread. 

I used to bug my mom to buy my a juicer when I was a kid, so I suppose it's pretty predictable that when the fresh pressed juice craze hit New York I couldn't resist the allure of those overpriced little shops with their 8 dollar bottles of exotic delights. Pineapple, wheatgrass, kale, and mint- how do such disparate flavors come together so well?!  It was at a juice shop (Juice Press) that I first discovered almond milk drinks. Mint-Matcha almond milk, creamy berry, vanilla latte, sweet pea- I discovered a whole world of almond milk drinks. A whole new realm of juice-like drinks! One day I spotted an almond drink on the shelf that was clearly designed just for me: Cardamom Milk.  

It was an almond milk made with coconut water and flavored with vanilla, sea salt, and of course cardamom. I love cardamom. I love just about anything with cardamom in it. I had to try it. I cracked it open there in the store and before the bottle reached my lips I could smell the cardamom and vanilla mingling and I knew I had found a little bottle of creamy heaven. 

So understandably when Juice Press discontinued Cardamom Milk about six months ago I was bummed out. No other juice place made anything similar and I felt betrayed by my beloved Juice Press. I switched to the vanilla-y Black Label drink but it wasn't the same. Then a few weeks ago I was reading about how easy homemade almond milk is when it occurred to me that I was being ridiculous mourning the cardamom milk. Obviously I could make it at home. I could probably make it even better! All I needed were some ingredients and a nut milk bag. I live in downtown Manhattan, I thought, how hard could a nutmilk bag be to find in SoHo?

Impossibly hard, it turns out. After failing to find one at Sur La Table, Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and all the chinese kitchen stores on the Bowery, I resigned myself to the idea of using a clean kitchen towel instead, and you know what, it worked perfectly. Turns out there's no need to waste money on a nutmilk bag. My ikea kitchen towel produced an even 3.5 cups of delicious and perfect almond milk. 

This cardamom almond milk is truly heavenly. It tastes like a melted spiced vanilla almond milkshake, or sweet spiced chai without any tea. Chilled, creamy, a tiny bit sweet, and delightfully spiced- I like to drink it plain on it's own as an afternoon pick-me-up, but it would certainly be delicious pour over cereal, mixed into coffee, or whipped up into a smoothie. Enjoy!

Cardamom Spiced Almond Milk

1 C almonds 
3.5 C coconut water
2 soaked dates
1 soaked vanilla bean
1 tsp cardamom
1 vanilla bean

Place the almonds in tupperware that can hold at least 4.5 Cups. Add the coconut water, cover, and allow to soak for 8-10 hours. I soaked mine overnight. 

If your dates or vanilla bean are hard and dry, pit the dates and cut the vanilla bean into 1 inch pieces, then allow them to soak along with the almonds for the last 2 hours. 

Add all ingredients to a blender (make sure you pit the dates!), and blend on high for about 2 minutes. Put an open nutmilk bag in a large bowl, or place a strainer over the bowl, and line that with a clean kitchen towel or washcloth. Pour blended mixture into towel-lined strainer or the almond milk bag. If using kitchen towel wrap towel around the almond mixture. Squeeze the bag or towel, squeezing all the almond milk out of the mixture. This may take several minutes, and I find it easier to do in stages, about 1/3 of the mixture at a time. Squeeze until the almond pulp left behind is dry.

Once all the almond meal in the bag/towel is dry you should have about 3.5 Cups of almond milk. Store in fridge until you're ready to use it, and use within 3-5 days. Almond milk will separate in your fridge so always shake up the jar before using. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pappa Al Pomodoro- Tomato & Bread Soup.

This post is devoted to one of the most stereotypically "grown up" parts of my life, takeout lunch at work. I have three main jobs, I work freelance as a photo and food styling assistant, I shoot product and event photography, but the job I spend most of an average week doing is studio managing for a photographer (the lovely and talented Jayne Wexler). 

In high school, when I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I grew up, I used to read a lot of books about working in the fashion and magazine industry (in other words, everything by Lauren Weisberger, Plum Sykes, and Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus), all of which would talk about lunch at work. Publishing company cafeterias, fancy restaurants like Cipriani, halal carts, takeout chopped salad, these were all things I had never experienced in suburban Ohio. My parents were teachers, their work lunches consisted of lunch boxes with contents not too dissimilar from my own. Perhaps because of my love of eating, I remember the descriptions of the Conde Nast-ish cafeteria even more clearly than I remember the infamous Blue Sweater rant from The Devil Wears Prada. 

When I graduated from college and got my first job in the city working for the same photographer I work for now, I experienced my first real grown up working lunches. I started out as an intern, and got to be the one to go out and pick up lunch- I thought this was pretty wonderful, in fact I felt quite a bit like Emily in The Devil Wears Prada, except my boss was cool instead of terrifying! I was picking up lunch in Manhattan and eating it at my job in a photo studio! This was frankly pretty remarkable to 22 year old me. 

We even ate things I'd read about in books! Sandwiches from delis and falafel pitas, delivery thai, and even delicious lunch specials from Balthazar! Many aspects of working in photography are pretty atypical when compared to an office job. I don't have a fixed schedule, sometimes I'm in the office, sometimes I'm on location. Sometimes I'll work freelance almost all week and only go in once or twice. Sometimes I retouch all day, sometimes I'm on set photo assisting, sometimes I balance the bank account, sometimes I spend part of the day picking up equipment or scouting studios. So the things that are typical and office-like stick out to me as fun and different. Takeout lunch in the studio, getting a cup of water in from the water cooler in the reception area, our new location in an office building with a doorman and an elevator that comes when you push a brass button, an elevator that I don't drive to our floor myself with a big lever. I like the blend of artsy-unstructured and office work. 

So, this soup then. Nearby to our new studio location we have discovered an Italian takeout place that makes the most heavenly soups. Never mind that they're actually called Sandwich House because the soup is really the star here. Every day they have three different offerings, and on Wednesdays one of the choices is Pappa Al Pomodoro. 

I had never heard of Pappa Al Pomodoro when I first saw it on the flimsy paper takeout menu, but I like Italian soup, and I know pomodoro means tomato, and I love tomato soup, so I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed.  I had never seen a broth-y, chunky tomato soup before, and I loved the soft, broth-filled chunks of bread. 

Pappa Al Pomodoro has become a bit of a wednesday tradition for me, so I decided perhaps I better try my hand at making it. I knew I wanted to add cheese, as Sandwich House does not add cheese and I've always thought this was a serious error on their part, and I decided to roast the tomatoes because I love them roasted, and S was out of the city for the day and he doesn't like roasted tomatoes. 

One of my biggest concerns was that I did not want this to taste like marinara sauce in any way. I absolutely despise tomato soups that taste like eating a big bowl of pasta sauce. When I began researching recipes for inspiration many of them called for simply stewing the tomatoes in water, but I wasn't having that. I knew I wanted to use chicken broth, to avoid going in that dreaded marinara direction.

The result was lovely. The roasted, slightly blackened tomatoes provide a wonderful blend of bright acid-y tomato and dark-earthy-caramelized burnt (in the best way) flavor. The bread becomes beautiful and soft, the zing of the basil leaves is mellowed by their slow cooking in the broth, and the cheese is of course delightful- melty and gooey and blending with everything perfectly. A step or two above my takeout Pappa Al Pomodoro for sure, though it won't make me love work lunches any less. 

Pappa Al Pomodoro

3lbs Roasted tomatoes
32 oz Chicken broth
2 tbsp Tomato paste
3 C Water
3 Garlic cloves 
1 Small red onion
2 C Cubed peasant bread (approx 1/2" cubes)
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
4oz Mozzarella cheese
4 Sprigs fresh basil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Toss tomatoes with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast for 30-35 Minutes, until Tomatoes are beginning to blacken. Remove pan from oven, remove tomatoes from pan and pop them on a bowl or plate and set aside.  (You could do this a day or even two before and store them in the fridge to make a quick weeknight dinner).

Finely chop the onion and garlic, and add to a soup pot, along with 2 tbsp olive oil, a hearty pinch of both salt and pepper, and the fennel seeds. Cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, water, tomato paste, and basil leaves, and bring to a boil. Once the soup boils, add the cubed bread and reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes, until broth is reddish and flavorful. 

Ladle into bowls and top with grated mozzarella, and more fresh basil if desired. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roasted Beet Pesto

Hot pink pasta! Scarlet spaghetti! Neon magenta macaroni! Fuchsia fusilli! Yep, this spaghetti sure is bright and eye catching. I used beets in an otherwise pretty traditional pesto recipe, and created this explosion of color and deliciousness. 

Beets are delightful, and delicious. If you've never cooked with them before they can seem just a smidge intimidating with their dark red color and rock hard raw texture. But they cook up just like a potato, and there are oodles of delightful ways to prepare them. Roasting is my personal favorite beet cooking method. Boiling is fine, but I love the dark, slightly caramelized taste the high heat of roasting lends to the beets. 

Pesto is one of my go-to weeknight dinners- just pop a bunch of ingredients in a food processor, turn it on, and you've got a fresh, flavorful sauce. There are tons of pesto variations out there using different nuts, or adding additional herbs or spices, but I wanted to change the base of the pesto, to add a whole new ingredient that would add body and texture as well as taste. The end result is a deliciously smooth and mildly earthy pesto I would happily devour any day of the week.

If you wanted to save time on this recipe you could easily roast the beets a day (or even two) before, skin them, and pop them in a container in the fridge until you're ready to whip up the pesto. You can also feel free to vary the kind of nut used. For instance, if you have walnuts or pistachios instead, I am sure either of those would be just as lovely as almonds in this pesto. 

This bright pink pasta is so colorful, lovely, and delicious, it'll certainly please guests at a dinner party, and I bet children would be so taken with it's color they'd be happy to give it a try. Or you could make it on any old night, and turn a weeknight into a brightly colored dinner celebration. Enjoy! 

Roasted Beet Pesto

1 lb spaghetti
4 med beets
1 oz fresh basil
3 oz (1/3 C) almonds 
2 oz Pecorino Romano, grated (+a bit extra for serving)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 C ice water

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove and discard (or save for a another recipe) the greens from the beets, wash beets, and place on a large sheet of tin foil. Drizzle beets with a bit of olive oil, wrap them in the tin foil and roast for 50 minutes - 1 hour. When the beets are soft enough to poke a fork in easily, remove from the oven. Fill a small bowl with 1 cup of ice water and one by one, place the beets in the water for a few seconds, then remove them, and the skins will easily slip off. Skin all 4 beets this way and set aside. You can do this the day before and keep the roasted beets in your fridge if you'd like. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the 1 lb pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente, and drain in a large colander. 

While the water heats up, juice the lemon, pop the beets in the bowl of a food processor and add the basil, lemon juice, almonds, grated cheese, and olive oil. Process on high for 3-4 minutes, until the pesto reaches your desired texture. I like mine mostly smooth, but with a bit of a grain.  

Place cooked and drained pasta in a large bowl or pot and add the beet pesto, toss until well coated. Serve with extra grated cheese sprinkled on top.