Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pesto and more

This is a recipe for pesto.  But really it's a story about community disguised as a recipe.  It's a long story but a good story.   I will start at the end and work backwards.

Over Labor Day, Marj and her husband Paul came for a visit. They are both visionaries and entrepreneurs, as organic gardeners and owners of the world's best body care, Mirror Lake Organics

When they came to the cottage for the weekend, they brought food picked from their garden.  Marj made an amazing tomato salad, orzo with fresh asparagus, and corn.  To say the food was good would be useless.  I would only say that I wanted to come home, sell my house, and start a farm of my own. 

Later in the week, I went to the Oscoda Farmer's Market and met a woman who had a farm herself.  She said that she had the largest farm in Alcona County and picked the food herself.  I tasted one of her tomatoes (at her urging) and bought two boxes.  I don't even like tomatoes.  I also bought potatoes and green beans.  For the next three nights my dinner consisted of her green beans, tomatoes, and potatoes.  They were magnificent. 

I also bought a large bunch of basil.  For $1, I thought if nothing else my car was going to smell wonderful for the ride home.  I saw on fb my VP at work, Henry had also purchased basil and was going to make pesto.  Perfect.  He posted the recipe for me.  I made pesto. Thank you Henry.  Your time was perfect.  :)

From Pesto

And more inspiration....

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about my friend (and executive chef) Tamara and her recipe for salmon.  The flavor and the experience can't be transcribed into words.  Suffice it to say it was exquisite. As is she.

She got me thinking about food and being brave with unique combinations. I wouldn't think about crystallized ginger (who would really?  Apparently someone because stores sell it). She is fearless in her recipes and has me thinking about what else might be fun to do, to make, to try. 

And my friend Karen who by day is an HR rockstar; at night and on weekends, she bakes.  She bakes works of beauty.  It's great fun to watch what she is making, er baking next.  No, she doesn't ship.  Yet. 

It's great fun to find community in unlikely places.  What I will do with the pesto is yet unknown.  This I know for sure ... I am grateful to all you who inspire, share, and help.  I know that will make many more trips to the local farmers market, experiment wildly, and continue to admire good baking from across the country. 

Pesto (courtesy of Allrecipes)

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste.

From Pesto

From Pesto

From Pesto

Will be certain to let you know what I do with the pesto. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Marj's famous dressing

Ingredients (no amounts - just "to taste")
Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
Garlic clove(s)
Dijon Mustard
pinch of sugar
fresh ground pepper

Add crushed garlic, vinegar, sugar, pepper & a bit of Dijon mustard and mix with fork or small whisk until well blended and creamy. Add olive oil to above mixture and blend well

You can also add dried herbs if desired.

We had this over tomatoes from her farm's garden.  Here is how she made it: For the tomato salad, I just tossed together chopped tomatoes, diced fresh basil, "potato peeler" slivers of Parmesan and the dressing.

Staple now.  SO good. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Green beans

I love vegetables.  I love farmers' markets.  I have fresh green beans, pine nuts, and feta cheese.  Together, it all sounds really good to me.  So this recipe is adapted from several other recipes.  Yum.  

1/3 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, blanched in boiling salted water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Sprinkle of feta cheese

Drain green beans well and pat dry.

Toast the pine nuts. When toasted, add the green beans with a little butter and toss to coat evenly. Cook just enough to warm through, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, sprinkle with feta cheese, and serve immediately.