Fettucini, Basil, Feta

So easy and so good. We’ve been throwing something like this together a lot lately when we have little time or need a simple, springy side. A simple sauce of about half lemon juice and half olive oil. Mix it with the ratio you like best and a wee bit of salt as well. Save the zest to stir into the pasta when done too for an extra little zing. I think the pasta pictured has arugula tossed in because we’ve got lots ready to harvest, but the basil plant we had already died away. Stir in plenty of feta when the noodles have cooled a tad and grind some fresh pepper on top. Okay, I think I put some pepper on pretty much everything. I like it.

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Its Artichoke Time!

I never ate a full artichoke until Rachel introduced me to them. Her aunt lives down in artichoke country and I remember driving through once and seeing signs for buying a dozen artichokes for a few dollars or something ridiculous like that. Well, we’re just lucky to still be close enough to get some lovely arties up here too. Our neighbor has some beauties growing in his yard and Rachel is bound to plant some soon.

We tend to steam these guys in a large pot with about an inch of water. I used to just snip the sharp ends and then place them upside down in the pot, but recently switched to snipping the outside leaves, then cutting off the top third or so and placing them stem side down in the pot. They seem to cook up a little faster and fuller this way. About 35-50 minutes seems about right to cook these guys until you can easily pull off the leaves.

Adelaide is a big fan now and we started giving her an entire artichoke of her own now that she got the hang of eating them. Of course now when she spots them in the store, she usually tries to grab some to throw in the basket.

Our favorite sauce for dipping is this tarragon mayonnaise, which can be made ahead of time and chilled.

Mix:

  • One egg yolk
  • a dab of mustard
  • tarragon vinegar (I used balsamic in the past, which can be tasty too)
  • Stir all that up with a pinch of salt then slowly pour in some olive oil while stirring to make a nice thick mayonnaise and crack some pepper on top

Asparagus. Yum.

I can’t stop cutting asparagus into little pieces. Such nice, crunchy tidbits. I tend to emulate Molly Watson of The Dinner Files with this dish.

She sautees in a bit of garlic and ginger, but I was out of ginger this time and managed with only garlic. She also throws in some green onion, which is nice too. This time I went super simple.

  • Chop asparagus down to a size you like
  • Sautee in some garlic (ginger too, if you’ve got some) for a couple minutes
  • Cover for another 5-8 minutes until asparagus is tender, but still has some bite
  • Remove and toss with olive oil and lemon juice
  • I topped with some zest and parmesan, because I think such embellishments are fun, oh, and delicious

Spinach and Fava Bean Salad

This was a fun little experiment which involved:

  • one bunch of spinach
  • several springs of mint – we have some in pots, but around here at least, it grows just about everywhere
  • about a dozen fava beans – remove seeds from pods, blanche, then peel outer skin from seeds – this double peeling makes favas ‘famously difficult,’ but its really not that bad when not handling too many
  • dressing of squeezed lemon, olive oil, salt
  • oil-cured black olives – I like these because they’re not too tangy, but still have a nice, crisp flavor (I accidentally got olives with pits though, and didn’t realize until after serving –  oops)
  • fresh mozzarella

Might have been tasty with some toasted walnuts too, but we had along with some barbecued hamburgers, so keeping this nice and zippy was a good balance.


Pasta, Olives, Arugula, Parmesan

The title nearly says it all. I might have crushed some garlic and sauteed in olive oil for a minute or so, but more likely I squeezed a lemon into some olive oil. Sometimes with noodles and a few simply ingredients you just can’t go wrong.


Cannellini Bean Salad

This little bean salad came together quickly from some odds and ends I found in the fridge. It came together really quickly and I was happy it ended up so tasty. This little combo is super adaptable, but this is what I used:

  • one can of cannellini – sometimes labelled white kidney beans
  • one medium slice of white onion diced and placed in cold water for a few minutes to tame the spiciness
  • a handful of kalamata olives
  • about equal parts oil from the olives and cider vinegar plus a dash of tarragon vinegar (because I thought it was too sweet), and a pinch of salt

After mixing everything else, I stirred in some fresh parsley from the garden and some feta cheese then cracked a bit of pepper on top.


Arugula and Toast

Arugula and toast.  Its so simple, yet delicious, and feels like you’ve made yourself a fancy breakfast, when really you just  poached an egg while waiting for some toast.

Today we had this for lunch after harvesting some arugula from the garden. It was so beautiful out today, so we enjoyed this on the porch where Addie and Rachel had been busy painting in the morning.  Addie enjoys hers all cut up and absolutely loves poached eggs. Sometimes that’s all she eats of this dish, often requesting more ‘yellow part.’

I usually poach the eggs in water, just below the boil, for about four minutes. This usually comes out a bit gooey to runny, which is the way we like it. Often I turn off the water at about four minutes, but let them sit another minute or so until they bob up a little bit and they are more on the gooey side – so lovely! I don’t use vinegar or salt in the water when I poach, but just set them in the water on a large perforated spoon, trying to fold the whites over the yolk if they start to dissipate too much. The same perforated spoon is perfect for lifting them back out and setting them on buttered toast with a bed of arugula. We like to top with fresh grated parmesan and some pepper.