Friday, October 14, 2005

it's still summer here

We read a poem in my poetry workshop called, "Why I Can't Cook Dinner for Your Self-Centered Architect Cousin," the other day which described pesto as "green joy ... a tumbling, leggy dish," by Beth Ann Fennely, which seemed especially good timing because I had bought a bunch of basil from the farmer's market.

Making pesto seems like it'd be a fussy thing, but this is my first time, and I found it really simple with a mini food processor, and the best pesto I've tasted, even pinenut-less.

Pinenut-less Green Pesto

One bunch of basil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 square inch of parmesan
juice of half a lemon
1/4 t salt
1 t extra virgin olive oil

Rip off the leaves, smash the garlic cloves and peel off the skin and the rough end, chop of the knob of parmesan and squeeze the lemon juice into the food processor. Then add the olive oil and salt and blend. I can't say this makes a lot of pesto, but pesto definitely packs a punch for the small quantity it makes.

To be honest, I find most meat cooking a bit intimidating. But, here's a way for even the most intimidated by meat cooks to manage. I take a package of 3 skinless and boneless breasts and saute them in olive oil.

Chicken Breast for Everything

3 breasts (skinless/bonless)
1/2 t salt rubbed on all sides of the chicken
1 T olive oil

Heat the oil in the pan, then add the chicken, and saute over medium high heat. Observe! Do not move the chicken at all until it looks half cooked (about 7-10 minutes), then flip it over, and cook the other side. Do the meat check where you see if it is all opaque and not pink. It's ok to take it off a little bit before it is completely completely white because the chicken continues to cook even after you shut off the burner -- really. I used a few slices for lunch, and will probably end up making a curry chicken salad or a chicken, grape, and walnut salad this week. It also is great if you are having salad for lunch and need some chicken slices to round it out.

For the pasta, I boiled water, used some thin fettucine, and then sprinkled it with parmesan reggiano, olive oil, lemon juice and then I had some summer squash left over from breakfast that I put in.

Sunburst summer squash roasted

Take squash and dice into pieces and put onto a baking sheet with a little olive oil and a good crumble of sea salt. Roast for about 15 minutes.

Sunburst squash are really fun since they're shaped like UFO's. In fact I was calling them UFO squash until I looked it up just now. They're really delicious and I can't recommend them enough if you have the pleasure of finding them at your local farmer's market.

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