Friday, July 11, 2008
My Most Delicious Lunch

I would have taken a picture of my lunch, but my camera's battery was apparently being borrowed by someone else. Ahem, honey.

In mid-April, my dear friend Ilex of Homesteading in a Condo came over and put in my first kitchen garden. A box made from untreated cedar harnesses the garden; she worked tirelessly and grew the plants herself from her own seedlings. All of this work and effort intimidated me--she is venturing into a new business selling gardens to people who rent or live in condos and apartments. She is also trying to educate individuals that gardening is not difficult. I don't believe her, as I am not a gardener. I have managed to slay hostas in a single week, and tulips wilt if I should come near. So, this kitchen garden was as much an attempt at keeping something alive as it was an opportunity to cut down on grocery and fuel costs and avoid salmonella. Lo and behold, my garden is flourishing.

As are my squash plants.

My basil, while hidden underneath the squash plants (along with my beans and cucumbers and peppermint and eggplant) are doing quite well, too. So! With a perfect pesto recipe in hand, I went shopping for the rest of my meal, as my tomatoes still have a good month until they are ripe.

Here's what I made:

Perfect Pesto:
(adaptation of Ilex's fresh pesto)

1/4 cup chopped pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/3 cup extra extra extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of fresh basil

Chop up the basil leaves and pine nuts. Dump everything in a bowl and mix it up. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a couple dashes of salt. Set aside.

Italian Ratatouille (Yes, I made that up)
Serves 2
1 organic Vidalia onion
1 fresh yellow squash, picked from your garden, preferably. (Pick them when they have grown 6-8 inches, or be like me, and wait for them to become huge phallic beasts and whack off one half of the end and toss...mmph)
3 Roma tomatoes.
Another clove of garlic, pressed.

Parboil the tomatoes for about one minute. Take them out of the saucer and rub ice all over them. This allows the skins to separate from the fruit. Peel the tomatoes and slice in nice big chunks.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and squash with more olive oil. Takes about five minutes on medium high. When done, dump everything in a bowl (or, for nice looks, place the tomatoes directly on top on the squash and onions). Splash it all with a teaspoon (or a cup, whatev) of olive oil. Sprinkle some of that fancy cheese on it. Let your eyes feast on the beautiful colors, but not for long, lest everything get cold.

Sit down with a glass of wine. Red, preferably. Do this at noon on your day off, and you're already content.

Cover your Italian Ratatouille with your homemade pesto. Have some bread on the side, to make it more pastoral.

Enjoy the scintillating textures of nuts and soft squash, crunchy onions, and chewy basil. I don't think there is a better flavor than this--a meaty vegetarian dish including the product of your own labor.

Ah, contentment.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
Where the weak are killed and eaten

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