Friday, September 3, 2010

It's the End of the World as We Know It

And I feel fine. Earl is approaching and it's the last weekend of summer. Some people are behaving like it is the end of the world. Really, it's just going to rain a lot this afternoon and tonight, be super windy, and then be a gorgeously sunny weekend in the mid 70s. I'm not mad at that.

Since we'll only be able to get summer time produce for a tiny bit longer, I thought I'd include a few recipes that you might make for this coming weekend of grillin' and chillin'. With all of the basil that I bought last weekend, I made some pesto and then tossed it with some pasta and veggies for a cold pasta salad. Ordinarily I can't stand pasta salad, but anything coated with pesto is an exception. Because I said so. Use a bit more pesto and salt (use 12 ounces pasta rather than 16 ounces) than you would if you were serving the pasta hot. Flavors tend to diminish when food is cold, so this helps to keep it vibrant. And don't serve the pasta salad super cold right out of the fridge. Let it sit out for about 15 minutes and give it a stir just to make sure to redistribute any pesto that may have accumulated in the bottom of the bowl.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Make the pesto. Meanwhile, cook 12 ounces of pasta according to package directions. During the last minute of cook time, add 1 medium zucchini (that has been cut into matchsticks) to the cooking pasta. Drain and rinse briefly under cool water. Add the drained pasta and zucchini to a large bowl along with the pesto, 1 pint of halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and 1 cup of perlini or bocconcini mozzarella (small mozzarella balls). Stir to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Serves 4 to 6.

I came across this recipe in The New York Times last week. I loved the idea of grating a tomato to make the vinaigrette. I ended up using quinoa because when I first made the recipe using brown rice, my rice was way too sticky to be worthy of being called a salad. It was more of a cold risotto...not a very desirable texture. I also decided that with the flavors of the vinaigrette, it would work really well as a Greek Grain Salad, for lack of a better name, so I added the feta and olives to round out the salad.

Greek Grain Salad with Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette
(Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman)

1 medium to large ripe, locally grown tomato
1 garlic clove, green shoot removed, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups cooked (and cooled) grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, medium or large bulgur, or a combination
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts for garnish

1. Cut the tomato in half along the equator (see tomato photo above), and grate the cut side on the large holes of a box grater into a wide bowl. Discard the skins. Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients, toss together and serve. Serves four to six.

Last but not least, let's not forget about corn on the cob. First, yum! And second, can I please say that it is a major pet peeve of mine when people boil the hell out of their corn on the cob. You don't need to boil corn for 20 minutes. It's not a potato, people! You can eat it fresh. I usually just boil it for about 5 minutes (just to warm through), top with salt, maybe a touch of butter, and eat. You can also make this fabulous fresh corn salad.

Have an amazing weekend!

1 comment:

WendyB said...

Putting off going to Montauk till tomorrow. No need to be there for the rain!