Monday, June 23, 2008


We wanted to have a picnic in Prospect Park Sunday night with our friends Mindi and Tom, but rain clouds rolled in, forcing us to come up with a plan B. Mindi was exhausted from a weekend-long painting project, and I didn't want to go out to eat, so they came over to our place (bearing beer and fresh mint from their landlord's gardenaren't they great?) and we had a low-key indoor picnic. As gorgeous as the park is right now, we didn't have to lug blankets or hide our beer, and we were also able to listen to the new My Morning Jacket album (awesome) and watch the U.S. women's gymnastics trials on TV (scary). As it rained and thundered outside, it felt especially cozy being at home among friends.

Indoor picnic:
Baba ghanoush and potato chips
Linguine with pesto and roasted tomatoes
Tossed salad with fennel, parmesan, and red wine vinagrette
Cookies, berries, and chocolate

This recipe has made many, many meals. I've spooned it on grilled fish, pork chops, and crostini, tossed it with vegetables and pasta, and used it as a salad dressing of sorts. Dan also likes eating it straight out of the bowl. For this menu, I added pesto to 2 pounds cooked linguine and tossed in a mix of cherry tomatoes that had been roasted in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
(Makes about 2 cups)

3 handfuls of basil leaves (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts, and basil. Pulse until slightly pureed. Pour in the olive oil gradually, pulsing with each addition until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, parmesan, and salt. Taste as you go, making sure it's balanced. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator.

Baba Ghanoush
I served this dip with potato chips but it would also be great with crudite and the classic accompaniment, pita bread.
(Serves 4-6 people)

1 large eggplant
1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
1 minced shallot
2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place it on a baking sheet, cut side down. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until soft. As it is cooking, mix the tahini, shallots. garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin in a large bowl. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it cool a bit. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and puree it in a food processor. Pour the puree into the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with chips, pita bread, and crudite, or keep it covered in the refrigerator.


lil miss dubin said...

You are an insanely prolific cooking lady. I'm impressed! (Sometimes I make great, inventive things; tonight I had pita chips and veggie buffalo wings.)

Daniel said...

I feel I must address this eating-pesto-out-of-the-bowl claim.

When making pesto (I don't always just loll around waiting for Lisa to finish blogging so she can feed me), I will of course perform a taste test. And if that taste test is successful, I may take another spoonful to celebrate my cooking triumph. After that, the rest goes right on the pasta or pork chops or whatever.

Which is to say, I'm not in the habit of slurping up big bowls of pesto like it's gazpacho.

Also, Tom and I were not as scared of the young women honoring our country in the Olympics as Lisa and Mindi.

Everything else in this post is accurate to the best of my knowledge. The pasta was delicious. I will be having the leftovers for lunch.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin