Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer is here -- Haze, Heat, Humidity

This past week, it's been steamy and hot here in Rhode Island. Though the thermometer didn't pass 90 here by the ocean, the sun was SCORCHING hot, and we experienced 100% humidity. There was no use taking a shower -- clothes, furniture, towels were damp, and you were constantly sticky!

So, when the hot and humid summer air sinks in and you don't want to cook, I turn to easy to assemble "cool" dishes for those hot nights - salads, cold soups (like melon or gazpacho - no stove needed), and sandwiches. One of my all time favorites is pesto, mozzarella, tomato, and proscuitto on a crusty white baguette. The tip to making a truly superior sandwich?Fresh heirloom tomatoes (a rarity this summer!) and my favorite garlicky pesto, inspired by Ina Garten. Here's my recipe:
Basil Pesto

1/4 cup (heaping) pine nuts
9 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
5 cups basil
1 cup good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano

In a food processor, process nuts and garlic until well blended (30 seconds or so). Add the salt and pepper and quickly blend. In batches, add the basil and puree for one minute or so (til well blended). With the processor on, pour in the olive oil through the spout until well blended. Add the parmigiano. Taste -- and enjoy!

My favorite sandwich:

I like to use Seven Stars Bakery's Durum Stick, sliced in two like a roll.
Layer on: lots of pesto
Fresh mozzarella - love Maplebrook Farms
Heirloom tomatoes - Wishing Stone Farms

Slice into 3" pieces, and enjoy!

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