Saturday, June 30, 2012

Delicious & Stinky

It's summer and right now, we are experiencing some really hot days. Hot weather always makes me lose my appetite a bit. It makes me want lighter meals. Cooler meals. It makes me want to not cook, to make SP grill everything. Of course right now it's so stinking hot that neither of us wants him outside grilling.
Pesto came to mind. Simple. Quick. And we have a lot of happy herbs on the deck.
The basil on the left is what we grew from seed. The basil on the right is the plant we bought at Home Depot. They are turning into little basil trees!

The third pot of basil, grown from seeds.
Using angel hair for the pasta also cuts down on the amount of time you generate heat in your kitchen! It only takes 3-5 minutes to cook. I wanted the pesto that we made last year, the Pesto di Noche.
The recipe was in Saveur Issue #140 last summer. I like that the basil does not need to be blanched first like some pesto recipes. I like the crunchy, earthiness from the walnuts. The tang from the sun dried tomatoes. The sharp bite from the cheeses.
 We made half a batch and of course omitted the garlic.
This year we remembered to save a bit of the pasta water for flavoring/thinning the pesto. So good! Even thought we thinned it a bit with the pasta water, it was still thick enough that we thought it would be a nice thing to make for a party but instead of mixing it with pasta, spread it on crostini.

As for SP, when I mentioned pesto for dinner, he immediately remembered that we had garlic scapes from the CSA in the refrigerator and that I had a Garlic Scape Pesto recipe from the same issue of Saveur. So that's what he wanted. We made half a batch.
 The garlic scapes are pureed with cashews and parmesan. We added some fresh chives, too.
Most of my readers know that garlic often bothers my stomach so I try to avoid it. But what I usually don't mention (complain about) is that garlic smell disgusts me. SP calls my nose Super Sniffer because he cannot believe how I pick up smells or that I can be so repulsed by certain smells. He was in so much trouble a year ago when one night I got home from afternoon tea with a friend and discovered he had cooked mussels for himself. The smell was everywhere and it made me gag! I kept a napkin pressed to my nose all night and banned him from ever cooking those vile smelling things in the house again. I just don't like seafood smell.
I also don't like meat smell when I'm in the meat section of the grocery store. All that raw meat... all of it... just smells gross. Just like the seafood section smells gross. It is perhaps a good thing that SP does nearly all the grocery shopping because I cannot stand to spend much time, if any time, in the meat/seafood areas picking out meat. If we are at the store together, I will hang out in the bakery or tea aisle while he goes off to get the meat.
Back to the garlic scape pesto. Potent! Stinky! SP said it was delicious but he liked my walnut-basil pesto better and would only make the garlic scape pesto again if we had garlic scapes from the CSA and even then he would probably prefer to cook the scapes with some greens.
Along with the pestos, we made a salad of CSA lettuce, CSA cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, and green olives.

The garlic scape pesto was so stinky that I put every single part of the food processor in the dishwasher, which I never do. Usually the food processor parts are hand wash only. I also was afraid of lingering garlic scape stench emanating from the dishwasher, which had just been emptied that morning, so I loaded everything we had pulled out for cooking, I mean everything, every bowl, pot, lid, colander, salad spinner, and then some into the dishwasher and turned it on right away.

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