It has been a big, big week. Almost too big. Amelia was the lead in the school play – ‘Little Women’ – and was fantastic. I actually got tired of other parents coming up to me and complimenting her performance. The show was also a big relief – I realized that I had been dreading it going badly. For her it didn’t, but for the poor guy who was lying in the middle of the stage when the lights came up about halfway through…
…he basically passed out from nerves. They all coped very well and since they always run two casts and make the principals come to both sets of performances, the other character stepped in. They had to do one minor scene without the character while the alternate actor was dressing, but nobody noticed.
I have a preliminary design for the cover but still have lots left to do before that is all final and ready.
So what has all of this got to do with frozen Summer? Nothing, but these things and the need to finish reroofing the carport have been distracting me from real cooking. But today we got back into it with a little bit of a bang. I’ll try to give proper posts to the sourdough bread and the spinach, cranberry, almond and persimmon salad, but for now I will only talk about the capellini con pesto.
I noticed that our vegetable garden has finally come to the end of its Summertime life. Soon I will have to dig it over, plant fava beans and let the arugula that self sows run wild and let the artichokes in the corner reestablish themselves. The last remnants in the garden were seven large, woody basil plants. But they had lots of leaves. And the leaves were tasty. So I picked all seven plants, plus the beginnings of the arugula plus thinning out the very expansive sorrel plant. I added a few leaves of sage and a little bit of oregano flowers.
I already knew I wanted the sorrel. I like my pesto a little lemony and add lemon juice to regular pesto pretty frequently. But this time I was thinking about time and place and how a real garden cook with a reliance on the land and the seasons wouldn’t stick to the purists ligurian pesto. So I added sorrel (which is growing beautifully right now) for the lemony taste. And arugula for pepperiness and also because it is in season. And a little sage and oregano because they would go and I don’t use them enough.
East Bay Pesto
Then I made pesto – a lot of pesto – at least three pints. I had about a pound and a half of mixed leaves. Probably a pound of basil leaves and a third of a pound of sorrel and the rest totaling at most a sixth of a pound. I used five whole heads (largish) of garlic. I used three cups of lovely extra virgin olive oil. I used about a cup and a half of lemon juice. I used about a third of a pound of walnuts and half a pound of really nice pecorino romano cheese. I used about two tablespoons of salt. Blend it all together in batches – it takes a LONG time and you have to pulse the blender on and off so you don’t burn the motor out. IF things gets stuck, stop and stir everything up frequently. As batches get blended, pour them into a big bowl and mix them together.
Then I froze an ice cube tray full of pesto as well as three 12 ounce tubs. The rest got used for capellini pasta with sausages, homemade sourdough bread and a fresh spinach, dried cranberry, slivered almond and sliced persimmon salad.
Did I mention that we started the day out with crepes?