Pesto Garden Swirls

Pesto and tomatoes and olives, oh my! # 73: Pesto Garden Swirls

Guys, add Iceland to your bucket list if it’s not already on there. It’s GORGEOUS. Nate and I rented a car for a week and drove around the Ring Road stopping at as many waterfalls as humanly possible. After day 3, you forget what life was like before you came to Iceland. Idyllic farms and tiny Icelandic horses sprinkle the countryside as you fly by in search of the next hot springs spot. Have I convinced you yet?

The only downside is how incredibly expensive all the food is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all delicious! I’m not normally a seafood kinda girl, but I ate my weight in freshly-caught cod and lobster. But it is much pricier than California, so I had to limit the amount of desserts in favor of real meals. Here are a few of the sweet treats I tried:



Skyr cake is a lighter, fluffier version of cheesecake. It’s base is an Icelandic yogurt (or at least a cultured dairy product that is super similar to yogurt) that is super mild in flavor so pairs well with bright berries and fruit. We also had a deconstructed skyr dessert at Slippurin during our day trip to the Westman Islands. It was a bowl of fresh skyr topped with crunchy graham cracker crumbles and green herby granita. A bit like a crushed popsicle, mixed with crumbled cookie and creamy yogurt. We ate it so fast there is no picture evidence. Oops!



This was an Icelandic version of an apple pie. It had a crumble topping and the base was a sweet cake studded with syrupy apples. Super sweet and satisfying, though I have to say, it was all about the accomplices on this plate. Homemade vanilla ice cream and whip cream with blueberries and of course, the caramel sauce topping it all off. I think I like the classic American version of apple pie, with a top and bottom layer of crust, a little bit better. Are you more of an apple crumble person or a classic pie person?


Anyways.. back to the present!



I know, I know. A savory bake? Where’s the chocolate? Well, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of butter in this one. I got inspired by one of my current favorite baking blogs, The Wood and Spoon, and tried to recreate her most recent recipe. One of my life mantras is to not compare myself to others though, so here’s my interpretation! Cherry tomatoes and only a handful of green olives make these swirls salty and rich.



I brought some in to work this morning and when asked what they were, I immediately said “pizza scones.” A: it’s easier to explain than my fancy attempt at a name and B: everybody loves pizza! So, call them what you want but with two types of cheese, pesto and tomato, they’re essential swirled pizza bites.



Instead of a yeast dough, it’s a scone dough that includes a small amount of sugar. Just some flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, butter and heavy cream. When I started typing that list, I thought there were less ingredients and upon further reflection, seven ingredients is pretty hefty compared to other dough I’ve made. The process is simple though – no chilling or machines needed.




I did it completely by hand, but it would have been better to cut the butter in with an actual pastry cutter. The butter got a little soft from the heat from my hands, making the end version of the dough a little stickier and harder to work with.



Cherry tomatoes are my favorite type of tomato! Whether yellow, orange or red, they’re sweeter and cuter; what more could you ask for? I’m not the biggest olive fan though. A little bit goes a long way with the flavor of green olives so I loaded up on tomatoes instead.



Brb, painting a pesto masterpiece. Where you at, Picasso? Side note, have you seen the movie “Loving Vincent” yet? It’s about Vincent Van Gogh and it’s done in stop animation with paintings in Van Gogh’s style. I saw it on the plane back from Iceland and loved every minute of it.



When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!



All sliced, diced and ready for the sauna.



Look how much they puffed! Little pizza balloons, so cute. I think a few extra tomatoes couldn’t hurt.



Happy munching!


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