Friday, August 15, 2008

Summering

As the summer rolls along and the days fly by, I have found we are moving towards using our summer crop of vegetables from the backyard and the market more often. I have been trying to cook on a daily basis, fresh and easy cooking. I finished the book The Omnivore's Dilemma and I am currently waiting on my library hold for his follow up In Defense of Food. It really changed and challenged the way I think about what will enter my mouth and the mouths of my babes. They both classify as toddlers now, you know, the ones who love something one day then despise the sight of it on their divided plate the next afternoon. A true challenge, but one I feel up to as I explore cooking, not only for them but for Tim and I. I remembered an old favorite that uses fresh tomatoes and green beans, if you have a glut or want a fresh dinner, this is great.
summer tomatoes and beans
It can be a bit labor intensive but the results are awesome. I am terrible at recipe giving because I never measure, I just add what I think is needed, but try this recipe. It embodies summer to me.

So, gather 3-4 large fresh tomatoes, score the end in a cross pattern and drop in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. This will allow you to peel the skin off easily. Just let them cool for awhile after removing them from the water or you shall burn your little fingers. Ouch. (You can use the water for cooking the pasta to accompany the dish.)

Chop coarsely and add to a largish pan with plenty of chopped fresh garlic (I use a whole head) and a splash of olive oil and let cook down until liquid evaporates and the tomatoes look cooked (maybe 15 minutes, medium flame). Add a splash of balsamic vinegar about 5 minutes in.

Meanwhile clean green beans and cut in half or so. When the tomatoes are cooked down add the green beans and about 1/2 cup olive oil, then add more balsamic vinegar to taste. You must use the balsamic, it allows a rich tangy flavor to develop. Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. And another key component is a bunch of fresh chopped basil, add this and let wilt (I add almost a whole cup, but whatever you have) (Must be fresh). If you chose you can add chopped roasted almonds at the end and a handful of grated Asiago or Parmesan gives a lovely finish.

Last night I served it with whole wheat pasta that we salt and peppered, added a little olive oil and balsamic to, then dished up next to the veg. My husband believes strongly in carbs filling the plate (the bread was for both of us, or so he says).
husband's plate
But then he usually only eats one meal a day. Bread is good with this dish because you will have a lovely emulsion of olive oil on the plate and it must not go to waste.
view from my seat
Bon Appetito.

I have actually finished the Wedding Shawl but, though exceedingly lovely to touch, it is not very impressive unblocked. A task I shall try to endeavor this weekend. The little vest is on its way to stealing my heart. I love vest knitting. Simple to design/modify.
Vest for Mason
No nonsense and wearable in California. Makes the recipient look even cuter than he was before donning the vest. What is not to love? This one will receive a garter neck/armhole edge and then be done.
Vested
It is snug but I think the cotton will stretch as needed. Next up, another one for Owen (slightly larger, I think) and another one for a little one coming this way in Autumn. The second vest will use stash yarn (yay, Frog Tree) and be considerably warmer, I think. We shall see.

This fabric has been intriguing me, peeking from the stash box.
coral reef modified
I decided to make it a purse and embellish it a bit with a few knots and beads. No real progress, just a little play.

Hope the weekend shapes up to be a celebration of Summer for all. We are off to a jaunt at the beach, escaping the temperatures in our Valley area for respite by the sea. Enjoy and try that recipe if you can.

Here is what we see when we eat in the backyard on the patio.
dinner guests
They are truly boy through and through, dirty and diaperless and loving every moment of it.

too dirty for dinner

1 comment:

Nonnahs said...

That meal looks so delish! I just started the book, so we will need to chat. :) Hope you're having a great weekend - it's such a nice day today. :) xo-S.