Pesto, handpies, and a great margarita

It has been a damn good week of eating. Summer produce can make meals both simpler and more delicious, and I am extremely appreciative of that seasonal gift.

Because mint is an herb I can grow successfully -unlike basil and rosemary, both of which seem like herbs that black-thumbed idiots can grow; what does that make me? hmm..- and I love its clean, bright flavor, I use it regularly in favorites like my mint pistachio pesto.

Earlier this week, I oven-roasted some beautiful halibut and then spooned the mint pesto atop the filet while still warm. C'est magnifique!

oven-roasted halibut with mint pistachio pesto

oven-roasted halibut with mint pistachio pesto

The tomato salad came the night after the halibut when I went against my better judgment and bought some fresh sockeye salmon. It was so stunningly just-from-the-sea that I was certain this filet would be the one to change my mind.

It did not.

Sockeye is too flat and too dense for my liking. Thank goodness for the luscious toms.

collard and chorizo handpies (pre-bake)

collard and chorizo handpies (pre-bake)

And the next night came collard and chorizo handpies which are always a treat. And later, a grilled pizza.

This afternoon, at a first grade swim party, my good friend, M, brought me a huge, fragrant bunch of basil from her yard. She is not a black-thumbed herb idiot, and I am often the lucky recipient of her success.

It was very hot today but because I'd bought more than a few flowers at the big annuals sale at the nursery yesterday and so needed to go gang-busters in my garden after the swim party, I decided, as I walked up the stairs sweaty and muddy and mosquito bitten and whooped after planting, that we'd be having pasta with fresh basil pesto tonight.

happy Em

happy Em

But first a shower. And then a margarita made with my favorite new strawberry and meyer lemon shrub* from Shrub & Co. And then a Harry Potter #7 read-aloud and then the pasta -bucatini- with fresh basil pesto, hold the garlic and pine nuts tonight to keep things light, and chopped tomatoes.

And now to bed. YAY!

*What is a shrub? A shrub is a marvelous concoction crafted from fruit, sugar and vinegar. It's yet another method of preservation though for a very different application than say, jam or pickles. Shrubs are used in cocktails (or mocktails) and provide both sweetness and tang. Shrub & Co makes outstanding shrubs: Blood Orange Cardamom and Strawberry & Meyer Lemon are two of my favorites. 

When a friend brings you basil...

Earlier today, I made a batch of cherry-rhubarb-hibiscus jam. It's a recipe I made up last summer after creating my rhubarb-cherry-hibiscus crumble; the latter was so tasty, it seemed I simply had to try and turn it into a preserve so that its flavors could last throughout the year. It was a success, and I now have five new half-pints for my basement store. Today I used both Bing and Ranier cherries, both of which I find, when they're plump and fresh, heavenly. They're pretty, aren't they?

I then ordered new photos of the boys - on my to-do list for months!- so that I can update my frames. If you looked around our home, you'd think I had two toddlers on my hands. Though it sometimes feels that way, such is not the case. I was putzing around accomplishing other things when my dear pal, M, texted: "can I bring you some basil?"

"Um, yes!"

And by the way, I say ba-sil, not bay-sil. Both, FYI, are correct pronunciations, so even though T and Jack mock my preferred short 'ba', I'm going with it. #southern

A bouquet of fragrant, just-picked Genovese was soon mine, and after plucking the stems bare, I found I had three packed cups. Obviously, pesto. I added a half-cup of mint, about a quarter-cup of toasted pine nuts, the zest of a lemon, a half-cup of grated Parm, two cloves of garlic, salt and olive oil. Pesto is such a dynamite sauce. I too often forget about it, so standard and regular it often seems. But good pesto is an exquisite thing, and I'm thrilled to have this new batch.


Really?, pestos made for freezer, amazing Father's Day dinner planned

Do y'all know where I am right now? I'm hiding in my bathroom, sitting on the toilet, typing. This is getting old. A beloved sitter just arrived, but tired Jack and just-awake Oliver are scrapping downstairs, and taking turns saying they need me. Am I really so magnetic and alluring? How is a Mommy who went completely ape-shit after 2+ hours of not-s0-fun outings this morning still THE.MUST-HAVE.BEING. onto which the children must glom? Why is there never any reprieve from this "vaunted" status? Tom forgot to put a diaper on O before his nap, so he awoke in a sea of pee which naturally I had to clean up since T left for Home Depot on some man mission. Speaking of this man mission, it has, thus far, involved drilling into the wall and ceiling just above my side of the bed. Did T cover the bed or my night-table? He did not. It doesn't take much in the way of imagination to think about how said side of bed and table look now: not clean. The Grand Relocator, as I call T, also happens to have a penchant for leaving a project after 75%; often the project is completed but the clean-up is seriously lacking, and nothing is put away (hence nickname). I patently refuse to clean any of this up.

I am snark-tastic right now and really not in a good way. You know what makes me crazier than peeling garlic (seriously, why the eff do those papery peelings insist on sticking to the garlic or to you? It drives me to the brink)? Never knowing what the next day of motherhood will bring. It would be so nice to imagine that Tuesday will be just like "_____." But it never is. The variables that might or will change seem infinite, the newly mutated variations of them sometimes wonderful, sometimes the complete antithesis of that. I swear to you some mother invented wine, not some man, as the story surely goes. It was definitely some ancient cave-woman who one day just broke down and out of desperation drank something that she forgot to put away last week because amid the mayhem of child-rearing, gathering food, doing some primordial laundry and so forth, it just slipped her damn mind to seal up the grapes. Well, hats off, Lady Cave. I bet you were thrilled and so the eff am I.

I really need to get to the gym, and that is where I'm headed, but first I will tell you about my food plans for the day, those that have been accomplished and those to come.

In my garden and at the farmers market this morning, the herbs were bounteous. The idea of a store of fresh pesto led me to buy several bunches of basil and sage, and so now in my freezer are decent-sized vats of basil pesto and sage pesto. Gorgeous! Fab! Yum! I grilled some Chinese 5-spice seasoned radicchio for lunch and enjoyed that with some goat cheese, Sungolds from my garden and some super-duper aged balsamic syrup. Delicious. Then I made the mojo sauce in which I'll marinate steaks later for the carne tacos we're having as part of dinner. I'm also going to make an avocado salad with crab and/or lobster dressed with a grapefruit sabayon, and for dessert we're going to indulge in a gorgeous pluot tart topped with dollops of mascarpone-whipped cream. Beyond amazing, yes?

To the treadmill I go.