Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer bounty

This past weekend it rained. And it rained. We made it down to the farmers' market between downpours and also had our farm share we picked up the day before, so our kitchen was overflowing with reds, purples, oranges, browns, yellows, blues, and green green greens. Something about the cloudy light made the colors even more vibrant and I wished I had 20 people I needed to feed. It was a day of cooking, one of those rare and luxurious days when there is nothing else to do and a million things I want to make. So I did. I made kale chips, eggplant parmesan, bread, tomato and black bean salad, stuffed zucchini, chocolate chip cookies, prepped peaches for freezing, snacked on raspberries and blueberries fresh from the market, and made pesto.

I can't believe I haven't written about pesto sooner! It's one of those quintessential summer meals and there are as many variations as people to make it. This is nice with pasta or as a rub on meat, or spread onto a sandwich. Try more or less garlic, more oil for a looser pesto, less for a thicker one, add other herbs, add pine nuts, go nuts!

8 cups loosely packed basil leaves, a bit of stem okay, washed and dried

6 medium garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 TBS cilantro salt or 1 1/2 teas. salt

yield ~ 1 1/2 cups

In a food processor or blender, add basil and garlic and puree until you have a smooth consistency. Drizzle in olive oil while blending. Add salt to taste.

Pesto can be frozen, or stay in the refrigerator for about a week.

Herbs that sit in the fridge for a while can get limp and dried out. To revive them, cut off the bottoms of the stems as you would flowers, and put into water. They will usually come back to life nicely.

We also got our meat CSA this weekend, so I made an super easy baked chicken.

Super Easy Baked Chicken

Feeds 2 adults and 2 not very hungry kids. Assume one leg/thigh per adult, with a little left over.

2 whole chicken legs (with thigh still on)

1 shallot bulb, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices lengthwise

1 sprig rosemary

1/4 cup sage leaves

1/4 cup thyme sprigs

salt and pepper

1 lemon, cut in half

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.

Rinse and pat dry chicken and place it into a baking pan with 1 to 2 inch deep sides.

Put shallot slices all around chicken. Tuck rosemary, sage, and thyme around and under chicken.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly squeeze lemon over chicken and put the lemon halves in pan. Drizzle entire pan with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until joint does not bleed when you cut into it.