Pesto potato salad

pestopotato2

I love to look at pictures of famous people. People.com is my guilty pleasure, but I actually don’t bother with most of the crap on their website. I don’t care about reality stars or royals– I only care about the real famous people! Don’t show me pictures of the attention seekers; show me pictures of Jessica Chastain and Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence and people with actual talent. I don’t even know why I look at Star Tracks, which is the section that publishes pictures paparazzi take as stars are leaving the gym or Whole Foods. It takes forever to load each page, and the pictures of celebs in fancy dresses at awards shows is where the real entertainment is. Who can resist pictures of pretty dresses? Surely not me.

I was obviously bored in front of a computer too many hours when I worked in an office, because when I eat this pesto potato salad, I think it’s the sort of thing a celebrity would eat for lunch (since Jennifer Aniston ate a Cobb salad for lunch for 10 years while filming Friends). See, I really wish that I didn’t know these random facts, but I do, so I’m just gonna embrace it. Random useless facts are always fun to pull out at parties.

pestopotato3pestopasta4

Back to this salad though: If you have any basil plants outside and fear the cooler weather might get to them, make this before it does. If you have basil plants inside and they have suddenly overgrown (which mine had), this recipe is calling your name. If you like pesto, even just a little, you need to make this creamy pesto and use it for the salad.

The dressing is creamy from a little Greek yogurt and mayo, and it’s full of flavor– the basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are a tradition too good to change. A little parsley, vinegar and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and tender potatoes coated in the sauce placed atop spicy, lightly dressed arugula complement each other splendidly. The punch from arugula and burst from tomatoes create enough contrast that you feel like you’re eating a salad, not a just a potato salad, and that’s because it is a real salad. It’s a healthy, delicious and interesting combination that is perfect for the end of summer and good enough to eat several days in a row.

pestopotato4

——————————————————

 

Pesto potato salad
adapted from Cooking Light, July 2015
makes 4 main course servings
four-stars

 

Notes: Any kind of potato works. I used russet because that’s what I had, but  waxy potatoes such as new potatoes would be great for this.

If you only want one or two servings at a time, only dress enough potatoes for those servings, and refrigerate the dressing and potatoes separately. Additionally, reduce the amount of arugula and tomatoes for fewer servings at once as well.

 

1 ½ pounds potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1 inch square pieces
1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce (about a 1 inch by 2 inch piece) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
olive oil
arugula, roughly 4-6 cups
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

 

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on stove and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, strain put in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Put basil, parsley, Parmesan, yogurt, mayo, vinegar, pine nuts, the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt in the bowl of a mini-chopper or food processor. Pulse until blended– you may need to scrape down the bowl to ensure that everything is well blended.

3. In a serving bowl, stir together the juice from the other half of a lemon and a glug (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Toss in the arugula and cherry tomatoes. Add the creamy pesto to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to coat.

4. Serve the arugula on plates, and then top with potatoes. Bon appetit !

Pig and peach crostini

pigandpeach4

It is peach season! It is tomato season! It is green bean season! It is watermelon season, and okra season, and squash and corn and blackberry season, and the season of so many other types of great produce. That means that although the the rise in temperature may correspond with the decline of your desire to actually cook, you can make easy meals without any heat.

I have quite a few recipes in the archives from last year that fit this bill, but you can never have enough heat-free options. At least I can’t. Continue reading “Pig and peach crostini”

Centro torta

torta5

This blog has existed for over a year! Can you believe it? I can, and I can’t. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been working on it for over 52 weeks now, but when I look back at some of my first posts, it’s noticeable that all of the practice has improved my photography. When I look at the recipe page, too, I can’t believe that I’ve made and shared so much and so many different types of food, but I also can because I think about how I haven’t had the month of pizzas, or the month of quiches, or the month of the same dishes repeated over and over again for quite a long time. Continue reading “Centro torta”

Spring risotto

springrisotto2

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy for me, and the following few weeks will be, too. Not too busy time-wise, but event/plans wise. Work, volunteering, going to the beach, normal stuff, and now classes, which also have homework. Yes, my cooking classes have begun! I guess I’m officially a student again, but I don’t feel like a student, so I’m not identifying as it. I’m still up for any and all student discounts, though, and my community college ID has no expiration date, so I suppose that I can use it forever. Hooray for a perpetual JCrew discount. Continue reading “Spring risotto”

Asparagus revuelto

asprevuelto4

You may have noticed that I’ve been making a lot of salads as of late, and you might be hoping that this trend stops, or is at least slowed a little, and I’m right there with you. I need to share some more exciting things rather than “vegetables this way.” It just so happens that I tend to eat a lot of veggies, and I’m always looking for new ways to eat them. Once it starts getting warm, too, I especially start to make dinner by sticking whatever is in the fridge on top of greens and calling it a meal. However, I’m yet again going to actively be working to have more diversity on this site. I’m sure the salad things won’t stop (I already have an idea of something that is really, really good for next week), but hopefully I’ll have more variety to share with you in the not too distant future.

Luckily for you, this recipe is for asparagus revuelto is a main dish (with veggies of course!) that works for breakfast, lunch or dinner, makes use of the lovely springtime asparagus popping up at all of the markets and grocery stores, comes together pretty quickly, and is absolutely delicious. It’s a pretty humble dish–any dish that’s main ingredient is eggs is pretty humble– but I wouldn’t hesitate serving this to any guests or even at a casual dinner party. The recipe below is only for two servings, but it’s easy to do some multiplication and make it for a crowd. Continue reading “Asparagus revuelto”

Creamy spinach soup

spinachsoup1

I realize that I was just recently discussing how it still feels like winter, but I must reopen this topic so I can confirm that I definitely was correct. This past weekend was just downright cold, especially given that there’d been a few daffodil-filled days in the not so distant past. I’ve been an icicle for a few days now, but according to the weather forecast, I should be thawing by later today, and hopefully fully by Thursday. I’m looking forward to it.

For the time being, though, I’ve still been looking for foods that warm me up. Luckily I found something that is quite warming and also shows glimmers of spring, and even hints toward a spring vegetable. Creamy spinach soup. Continue reading “Creamy spinach soup”

Chai peanut butter

chaipb1

There is a peanut butter company in Durham that sells peanut butter nationally, primarily in local businesses but even through Food52. The products are awesome.They have your standard peanut butter, but they also have variations and mixtures with different types of nuts, some with chocolate, and a couple other flavors. I’ve only tried one type, chai spice peanut butter, and it is to die for. But a small jar of it costs $13.

$13 peanut butter is an expensive habit, so although I couldn’t resist buying one, I savored my little jar. No delicious chai peanut butter sandwiches graced my lunch routine; I only ate a smear on a small slice of bread after meals. I wanted to eat so much more though. I wanted to eat the whole jar in one sitting, and I easily could have done that. Two or three sittings might be a more reasonable approximation than one, but Ben would have polished it off at one time without a second though. Therefore, he wasn’t allowed to eat any of the special nut butter.

Continue reading “Chai peanut butter”

Spinach and ricotta pasta

in serving dish

I completely botched a recipe. I guess that “completely” might be a bit of an overstatement, but it certainly felt that that way when I was trying to mix raw spinach into a pound of cooked pasta in a 3 quart saucepan. It seemed like a novel idea– the piping hot pasta would surely steam the spinach; my pot was just smaller than what I was supposed to use. I was wrong though. The test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen did not say to use the residual pasta steam to cook spinach. They really did plan you to make the pasta dish in a pretty easy manner. Continue reading “Spinach and ricotta pasta”

Lentil and tomato stew

lentiltomstew1

I forgot that the Super Bowl is this weekend. If I’d remembered, I might have found a dip to share with you. Actually, I have a recipe for a caramelized onion dip that I’ve been wanting to try, and a Super Bowl party would have been the perfect reason to make it. It’s too late for that, though– I’m actively searching for ways to avoid hearing/watching Ben watch the game. But now I’m thinking about the dip, and now I want it, so I might make it anyway for my own not-Super Bowl party (aka me binge-watching Friends on Friday night.)

Instead of appetizers, snacks, dips, chilis and foods involving hot dogs and barbecue sauce, I’ve been focusing on the things that will get us to springtime: Foods that have some vegetables, dishes that ooze with gooey, lightly browning cheese. Dinners that you can make on a weeknight and some sweets for you to leisurely whip up on Sunday afternoon. I’m especially trying to take advantage of the citrus that’s in season– all of the oranges I’ve tasted this year have been particularly juicier and sweeter than I’ve ever noticed. (Don’t worry, at least one citrus recipe will be coming soon, and you will absolutely love it.) Continue reading “Lentil and tomato stew”

Veggie wrap

wrap1I had the busiest Tuesday of my life this week. I might have overscheduled a bit, and this is coming from the girl whose aunt’s family was on an episode of Oprah in the early 2000s entitled “The Overscheduled Child.” (For real. I was there; it was boring. All I got was a free book about overscheduled children.)

I woke up, did blog stuff, went to work, went to register for a culinary certificate at a community college, went to a 2+ hour meeting for the Race for the Cure, raced to JCrew before it closed to get a sweater that I’d called about and asked them to hold, and finally meandered home at about 9:15.

I know that lots of people often do much more than that every day, but for me, that’s too full.

The moral of this story is that I haven’t had much time yet to prepare food this week. I do have all of the ingredients for a summer lunch that I often prepare, so I’m going to share that with you. Continue reading “Veggie wrap”