Take some bell peppers—the tinier the better—and roast them in a 350 degree oven until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Then stuff them with feta cheese and top with a generous spoonful breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil, chopped fresh herbs and a little salt. Pop back into the oven for 15 minutes or so, until the crumbs are golden on top. Thank you, David Tanis for the inspiration.
Heidi Swanson, you're a genius.
The one miss on my menu was a mixed cucumber salad from the Franny's cookbook. Franny's is one of my all-time favorite restaurants but the recipes from this cookbook don't always translate at home. I had to track down three different kinds of cucumbers (although the authors of the cookbook suggest even more), peel and seed them, cure them in salt and sugar to add flavor and draw out the moisture, then toss them in a vinaigrette dressing with some herbs. Not much work, really, but it sure felt like it. And it didn't have the same pay-off in terms of flavor. Some tomatoes with pesto or a salad of shaved raw zucchini in the same vinaigrette would have been easier and less fussy.
My new mantra these days is "It doesn't matter." Not that I go around not caring about anyone or anything, but whenever I find myself going numb with anxiety, or obsessing over this or that, I repeat that phrase to myself and almost instantly (sometimes I have to repeat it a few times), the thing becomes as trivial or unimportant as it really is. Most of the thoughts running through my mind do not matter in the big picture of my life, and it feels freeing to release them like balloons.
Healthyish summer supper
Baked gin-marinated olives with feta
Swordfish with new potatoes and salsa verde
Cucumber salad with herbs
Peaches, apricots and blueberries
Franny's salsa verde
I would describe this luscious green sauce as zingy. A little bit on your plate goes a long way, but you can put it on pretty much any protein or vegetable, so it's easy to get carried away. The original recipe calls for lovage, but if you can't track it down (I couldn't), just use extra parsley and mint. I also added a bit of lemon juice and adjusted the recipe to be made in a food processor. If you like, you could also chop everything finely and combine it in a bowl.
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup lovage (or more mint and parsley)
4 tsp. drained capers
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine the herbs, capers and garlic in a food processor and blend until it's a pesto-like consistency. Pour into a small bowl and add the salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice and stir until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. The sauce can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours; serve at room temperature.