30 August 2010

Patio Picnic

Sunday night, my husband conceived of a torch-lit back patio picnic in which we would have various friend over, cook al fresco, and talk late into the night. We got two takers, and David and one of them did indeed talk late(ish) into the night by flickering torch and candle light.

We spread quite an impromptu feast on our elegant folding table turned buffet: chicken, pepper, and onion stir-fry (which David cooked al fresco over the Coleman camp stove); fresh tomato-basil bruschetta (a cooperative effort between me and Tabitha); leftover fried rice; black olives; pesto potato salad (more about that later); delicious local watermelon (compliments of Tabitha); and party mix (leftover from a movie night I put on last week with some friends).

David dishes up

scary blurry pic of me

mood lighting

So, this is a post about pesto. See, I don't forget my promises. These past few weeks (before my friends re-claimed their generously long-term loaned food processor) I'd been having quite a time of it with the pesto, throwing a handful of basil, a glug of olive oil, some garlic and what-not into the processor and banging out a batch every few days. I added parmesan cheese once, but I like to keep things simple (and inexpensive), so it was mostly the short list of ingredients: basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and nuts (usually walnuts).

The most recent batch I made, I took pains to actually write down amounts so that I could post it here. But each time is truly a new and unique manifestation. Cheese may be added. Your taste for garlic may not be as pungent as mine. Perhaps, the more traditional pine nuts appeal to you. Go for it! But for the record, here's one incarnation:

In no particular order, place in your food processor:

4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups basil
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Whiz until smooth! You may have to scrape down the sides a time or two. If you prefer a wetter pesto, add more oil.

I've found lots of delicious ways to use pesto, and it doesn't last for more than a couple of days in our fridge. Spread on bread and toast. Add a tomato for a twist on the classic summer tomato sandwich. Stir into pasta for light summer fare. And my favorite so far this year: use as a "dressing" for potato salad. As in, cook diced potatoes, drain them, and add pesto. No more needed! Got any other great ideas for pesto uses?

*I added the label "CSA Dinner" to this post because the peppers, onions, and potatoes were all from our CSA box! This week we got a pumpkin that I'm looking forward to cutting into--I just have to decide whether to turn it into pie or curry!

1 comment:

  1. we've been making pesto, too, from this Downs garden. Since I don't eat pasta, I loved the idea of pesto potatoes. YUUUUMMMMM.