summer salads

Since I spend most of my days during the summer around the house, in the garden, or in the studio- I have the pleasure of eating most of my meals right here at home. That normally means grabbing whatever fresh vegetables, herbs, and other ingredients we have at the house and putting together some sort of salad or sandwich. Since our summer vegetables are quite ready to eat, I am buying local tomatoes and veggies and incorporating our herbs. The past few days I have been chowing on a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad (simply tossed with some balsamic vinegar and salt&pepper- an easy classic) and a macaroni salad with peas, red onions, and homemade pesto.
For the pesto I used this recipe from Vegetarian Bible: from the earth to the table from Love Food (of Parragon Books Ltd). I didn't really measure anything and used almonds instead of pine nuts (because of cost) and it still came out delicious for the pasta salad.

Pesto Sauce (makes 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves (I mixed two types from our herb garden)
  • 1/2 oz/15 grams pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Put the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a mortar and pound to a paste with a pestle. Transfer to a bowl and with a wooden spoon, gradually work in the parmesan, followed by the oil, to make a thick creamy sauce. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
What I liked about this recipe: no food processor or blender to clean- plus the mortar and pestle is just fun to use.
What I may change: I liked substituting the pine nuts for almonds, but I think I would toast them a little next time.

One of my summer goals is healthy, local, and home-grown eating and I am excited to see what comes from that. Cooking is so trial and error so there are sure to be some duds in the mix, but I am excited to have more time to explore.

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