Monday, July 13, 2009

Pesto and the joys of summer

From a technique standpoint, I think the cooking in the summer gets easier. There are TONS of great ingredients around, my favorites: tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, herbs, you name it. I want to eat this food for the rest of my life, and I crave it in the winter. Once you have a couple of basic techniques down, the rest is just a matter of figuring out and experimenting with which flavors go together.

A quick summer dinner:

Oven roasted portabello mushrooms stuffed with lemon artichoke pesto
Backyard Roma and heirloom tomato salad
Grilldomed ribeye steak with thyme

The pesto is easy, there's more on that later. The mushroom caps are cleaned, oiled, and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted in an oven at 350F for about 30-40 minutes until soft, or grilled. Be careful, don't burn them, keep them soft.
From Big 'Dawg Eats

1/2 cup of canned artichokes
1 tbsp of capers
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of minced parsley
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 squeezed lemon

Pulse in your food processor and mix the ingredients.
Drizzle in olive oil until you have a nice, dense pesto consistency. Et voila!

Want a different pesto? Add basil and parsley instead of the artichokes, maybe throw some pine nuts (or pecans?) and finish the same way. Pesto is a smashed wet, oily paste, that is given major depth with your favorite dry cheese and then finished with olive oil. Pick your favorite herbs, add enough fat and seasoning to make it interesting. There's no wrong way to do this. Mystery solved.

As far as the tomatoes go, the more ripe, the better. The dressing is just nice olive oil lightly drizzled with kosher salt or fleur de sel. This is what I'll be dreaming about in 6 months.

Steak: rub with olive oil, kosher salt, ground pepper, and fresh thyme leaves, let it sit as long as you can stand it. Sear TRex style on your grill. This was ribeye, doesn't need a sauce, but if you must, you certainly could.

From Big 'Dawg Eats

Wine pairing: Oregon Pinot 2007 A to Z. Nice minerally, light, low alcohol. Not overpoweringly fruity, with a nice gentle bottom end and short finish (although we didn't really let it open, it was gone in about 20 minutes.)

From Big 'Dawg Eats

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