summer pasta salad, for one

It’s that time of year when I start fretting over my container garden. So far, I don’t have much planted. I have two pots of rosemary, one pot of sage, one pot of mint, one pot of thyme, and one pot of tarragon – all plants from last year. My shiso plant from last year seeded unexpected well on its own. So, I’ve got baby shiso in a pot… and in a couple of other pots too. Not to mention, I found some growing on around the porch. haha!  I pulled the ninja seedlings, but I’ve left alone all the ones in the pots. They are growing very slowly. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck with these than the ones I was trying to grow from seed last year. Last week, I bought some parsley, basil, and two cherry tomato plants. Today, I put some seeds down for cultivated purslane, zucchini, and salad greens in dirt.

Going back to the basil plants, I thought the taller growth needed some pinching back already. And then with my small handful of herbs, I decided that it was time to make lunch.

What follows isn’t a caprese salad. There’s no mozzarella cheese, no olive oil. This isn’t a pesto salad either. It was heavier on the pine nut flavor, and I skipped the Parmesan cheese and the garlic completely. And, to reiterate, it had no olive oil.

I chopped up some toasted pine nuts with my bits of basil (smelled so lovely), and then I had the gall to mush it with 1/2 of an avocado (and a tiny pinch of kosher salt).

To this, I mixed in some halved cherry tomatoes and some cooked multi-grain pasta. It was good and it was just enough for one person. I wish I had some baked chicken or grilled steak to go along with it. Oh well, maybe next time. It’s ok. I followed my pasta course with strawberries and yogurt.  A happy tummy is of the utmost importance!  (^_^)b

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roasted eggplant puree for pasta

Early in the summer, I had experimented with a batch of garlic scape pesto only to find myself terribly disappointed.

Today’s pasta sauce was the antithesis of that.

I was home from work by 6pm, and I’m away from the office for the rest of the week. I went to visit the plants in the garden before heading inside, and saw that some of the eggplant my mother planted was ready to be picked. I had three pretty eggplants in my greedy hands, and didn’t know what to do with them. I knew I wanted to roast them in some manner, but not much more than that.

Then, I remembered seeing an eggplant puree recipe in one of my library books. On page 130 of Giada’s Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis was a recipe for “penne with eggplant puree.” I used the method but didn’t follow the ingredients  exactly, and still I was very pleased with the end results.

Roasted Eggplant Puree for Pasta
inspired by Giada De Laurentiis

3 small eggplants, unpeeled, cut into one inch pieces
a large handful of sweet grape tomatoes (from the market… I wish I hadn’t eaten all my tomatoes. I pop ’em like candy if they’re sweet)
2 small onions, quartered (from my CSA)
1 small bell pepper, cut into medium slices (I had a purple one from the CSA)
garlic powder (I’m out of fresh garlic cloves)
salt
red pepper flakes
olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn

Heat your oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a separate baking dish or sheet, spread out the pine nuts and set aside.

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veggie CSA, no. 3, 2011

(haha, another entry that I’m posting later than I had originally intended.  CSA #4 is tomorrow… I wonder what it will be!)

“Things are still pretty green at the farm. Until the cukes and zucchini start yielding the shares tend to be pretty light and leafy. But lots of goodies on the way: tomatoes and sweet corn are growing steadily, onion are growing up fast, melons are on the way, and sugar snap peas are just around the corner now. This week we’ll be rolling out garlic scapes, the twisty goofy looking flower heads of the garlic plant. 100% of the garlic plant is edible, including the scapes, which need to come off the plant this time of year anyways. If you leave the flower on the plant, it devotes a lot of its energy to seed, which means less for the bulb. By taking off the flower, we redirect the plants’ energy towards growing a big fat bulb at the base, which is what we prefer. Scapes are actually super versatile, taste exactly the same as garlic cloves, but less intense. Use them any way you would normally use garlic. You can also make some bangin’ green pesto with them, or just hit them with olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven like you would asparagus. They mellow out upon roasting and are super tasty just eaten whole.

This is our best guess of what will come in the Stone Soup shares this week.

Please remember that sometimes we can’t harvest exactly what we expect!

Lettuce (head) 1
Garlic Scapes (lb) 0.25
Herbs (bunch) 1
Arugula (bunch) 1”

SE decided to only keep the lettuce. She let me keep the herbs (purple basil), arugula, and garlic scapes. Ok, I called dibs on the garlic scapes, but I would have thought that she wanted the arugula.

Poor arugula, it has been insect-chomped to kingdom come.

So, what did I do with this week’s CSA so far? I decided to take the garlic scapes (I had about 3.3 oz in reality), the basil (about 1 oz.), two handfuls of pine nuts, a pinch of salt, extra virgin olive oil (1/3 c. + 1/4 c.) and squeeze of half a lemon to my blender. Garlic scape pesto! I think I used just a tad too much oil and pine nuts, but that’s ok.

The true taste test?  I took the garlic scape pesto to pasta.  It was very green tasting.  Not in a bad way, but I realize now that I should have added cheese.  Plus, I’m such a basil pesto fan that I found myself wanting to add more basil to my garlic scape pesto.

I have a whole jar of this pesto, so I’ll be trying to think up of other applications.  I think the next one might be pizza.  (^_^)

Avocado Pasta Sauce

Oh, wow… I’m posting something? With pictures?!

This past weekend I made the avocado pasta sauce recipe as found on the Sara Moulton website. I used 3 cups of whole milk rather than four, and used more cheese than originally listed (I had trouble reducing the sauce and still wanted the right texture). I also didn’t have tomatoes on hand. In the future, I’ll probably replace the tomatillas with green bell peppers just because it’s more readily available.

The pasta sauce also makes for a good salad dressing. Yum.

a close up of my dinner

my dinner

Here’s the link to the recipe, http://www.saramoulton.com/recipebox.php?id=76&cat_id=17

~ Mikan