|My market haul: chives and basil, eggs, green tomatoes for frying, and less-than-perfect |
tomatoes for jam, damson plums (also for jam), potato bread and fresh taglitelle.
At the farmer's market there is an amazing amazing herb stand. You can smell the basil, lemon verbena, oregano and lavender from outside the stand. And then, ducking under the awning, you catch sight of huge lush bunches of these stunning herbs. I have had to limit myself to buying only two bunches at a time. And at only $2.00 a pop, I don't feel too bad that I have such a black thumb.
Last week I bought basil and chives, for a pesto (recipe below). For dinner, I mixed the pesto with the taglitelle and some fresh ricotta. (The Blue Ridge Dairy ricotta is amazing; if you're in the D.C. area, find it and get it. You can thank me later.) It was mighty delicious. Then, monday morning as I was scouring the fridge for a lunch I saw a half a container of hummus and the left over pesto and inspiration struck. I mixed them together, grabbed some bread and salame, and rushed to the metro.
I am sure I am not the first person to put hummus together with pesto, but can I claim the joy of discovery? Because that was the best lunch I'd had in a long time. It hardly needed the salame (though it was a delicious addition). It was almost as easy as dipping carrots in hummus, but much more fulfilling, and flavorful. And, mentally, it felt like a meal, not like scrounging.
Here's the cheesy basil and chive pesto I made:
1 big bunch of fresh basil
1 big bunch of fresh chives
1 clove of garlic
handful of chopped, toasted nuts (I used almonds, which were a pleasant surprise)
1/4 grated dry cheese, like parmesan, pecorino, or ricotta salata
Good, bright olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of fresh ricotta
Roughly chop the basil leaves and chives. Put the basil and chives in your food processor or blender. Add the nuts and dry cheese, garlic clove, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil, and give it a quick couple pulses. Now, steadily pour the olive oil in, while running the processor, till it is the consistency you like. (I tend to like them rather rough, and light on the oil, but its really a matter of preference.)
Scoop that into a bowl and fold in the fresh ricotta with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, till fully incorporated.
For the open faced sandwiches, I used a hearty potato and rosemary bread, but I think any good white crusty bread will do. Nice thick slices, now, and toast them if you like. (I like!) mix equal parts hummus and pesto together, and spread in a nice thick layer over the bread. Top with your favorite deli meat, or roasted lamb or roasted pork, or chicken breast or tomatoes or anything, really. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
(Sorry I don't have a picture: I ate them too quickly to snap one.)