Talk Food Festival: Aida Mollenkamp

Posted on Oct 14, 2013 10:45am

California-based food expert, TV host, writer, and culinary curator, Aida Mollenkamp joined the ladies in the kitchen for The Talk Food Festival.  She showed the ladies how to make some delicious eats!  Here are her recipes.

Baked Chicken with Jalapeño Pesto
Makes 4 Servings


  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided, plus more for garnish

  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  • 1 head garlic (about 10 to 12 cloves) smashed and skins discarded

  • 2 limes juiced and divided (about 6 teaspoons)

  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • 4 boneless, skinless fresh chicken breasts about 3 pounds

  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted shelled pistachios

  • 1 small jalapeno seeds discarded roughly chopped

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves

  • 2 green onions (aka scallions) trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for garnish


  1. For the chicken: Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, a few cranks of pepper, all but 1 clove of the garlic, 4 teaspoons of the lime juice, onion, wine, and broth in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth.

  2. Place chicken in a large (about 13-by-9-inch) ovenproof baking dish, season with a few pinch of salt then pour the garlic mixture on top and cover with aluminum foil.

  3. Place dish into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Pull back the foil and baste the chicken by spooning the garlic mixture over the chicken. Cover the dish with the foil and return to oven and continue to cook, basting the chicken every 15 minutes. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife, about 35 to 45 minutes total. Meanwhile, make the pesto.

  4. For the pesto: Combine the remaining olive oil (about 1/3 cup), pistachios, jalapeno, remaining clove of garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a small food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.

  5. Add a pinch of pepper, the mint, and half of the scallions process until well combined but finely ground and not totally smooth. Add a splash of water and the cheese and pulse to just incorporate (you want the pesto to remain pretty loose and to have a finely ground texture – it will not be totally smooth).

  6. Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired. (Pesto can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.) Serve the chicken topped with a large dollop of pesto, a pinch of the remaining scallions, and drizzle with a little olive oil.


Prosciutto Hand Rolls Recipe
Makes 24 appetizers


  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) prosciutto, sliced paper thin (can substitute prosciutto)

  • 3 ounces baby arugula, watercress, or other peppery green, washed and thoroughly dried

  • 6 ounces Manchego or another aged sheep's cheese

  • 3 ounces quince paste (aka membrillo) or fig jam


To assemble, spread prosciutto out on a clean work surface. Place 3 pieces of arugula in the center of the piece, top with a very thin sliver of cheese and a thin slice of quince paste. Roll each prosciutto piece up to into a cylinder (or cigar form) to enclose filling.

Place on a serving platter and repeat until all the prosciutto is used up. (Tip: Keep the serving platter in the refrigerator until you have assembled all the rolls so that they stay cool.)

(Can be made up to 4 hours ahead and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.)

Simplified: Serve the prosciutto the classic Italian manner, tiled on a plate like a carpaccio with a good drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Glorified: Drizzle the prosciutto with truffle oil before rolling it up, add a few marinated mushrooms, and/or replace the quince paste with a drizzle of truffle honey.

Modified: Replace the filling with a spoonful of your favorite pesto sauce.


Kale Salad with Pears, Persimmons, and Honey-Spiced Nuts Recipe
Makes: 4 servings (1 cup peanuts)


  • For the nuts:

  • 1 cup shelled, roasted and salted peanuts or cashews

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Pinch of salt or dash of Worcestershire sauce

  • For the salad:

  • 1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 medium ripe Fuyu persimmon

  • 1 medium ripe Anjou pear

  • 1 medium shallot


For the nuts:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the nuts with honey and paprika and a pinch of salt or Worcestershire sauce and mix until well coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic, about 10 to 15 minutes total. Set aside to cool completely. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and stored at room temperature.)

For the salad:

Fold each kale leaf in half lengthwise then pull out and discard the center rib. Tear leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large nonreactive bowl (you should have about 6 cups).

Add vinegar and salt to kale and, with clean hands, rub and gently squeeze the kale until it just begins to soften and wilt (it will darken in color). Add oil, honey, and mustard, toss to coat and set aside while you prepare the rest, at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, quarter the persimmon, discard the stem, and cut persimmon into paper thin slices. Halve and core the pear and cut into thin slices. Trim the shallot, halve it lengthwise, and cut into thin slices. Add fruit and shallots to salad, as well as some freshly ground black pepper, and toss gently to mix.

Taste salad and add more salt or vinegar, as desired. Divide salad among plates, sprinkle each with 1 to 2 tbsp of nuts and serve.

Simplified: Save some time by using store bought honey roasted peanuts.

Glorified: Top with some shaved hard aged cheese, such as a good Parmesan or Pecorino, and/or some roasted squash.

Modified: You could also blanch the kale quickly (for about 30 seconds) if you don't like it raw.

Soak the shallot in the juice of 1 lemon for about 5 minutes so as to make it less harsh tasting.


Chocolate-Pistachio-Wafer Wedge Recipe
Makes: 12 servings


  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3 (1 inch wide) strips of orange peel

  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)

  • 1/4 pound Moravian wafer cookies, chocolate wafers, shortbread biscuits, or your favorite thin cookie, broken in half

  • 1/2 cup roasted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • Cocoa, for serving (optional)


Prepare an 8-inch springorm pan (or loaf pan or square cake pan) by coating with cooking spray or butter, then, if you have it, line the bottom with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper, go ahead and skip it but know it may be a tad harder to remove the wedge from the pan). Coat the paper with cooking spray or butter.

Place chocolate in a small bowl and set aside. Combine cream, orange peel, and liqueur, if using, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat (make sure it doesn't boil). Pour cream over the chocolate and let it sit until the chocolate starts melting (about 2 to 3 minutes).

Discard the orange peel and gently stir the chocolate until evenly melted and smooth. Add the cookies or biscuits and stir until coated. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Top with pistachios then let set up in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours.

To serve, let sit for a few minutes at room temperature so it's easier to slice. remove from pan then slice into 12 wedges (or slices if in a loaf pan) and serve as is or with a dusting of cocoa. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.)

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