As we move into winter, or what we call “greens season,” we’re in need of some new salad dressings to perk up our meals. We happened to see a potential candidate in Wild Garlic, Gooseberries, and Me, by Denis Cotter, and figured that we’d give it a whirl. We will say that for us, the downside is that it makes a lot, about a full cup of dressing, and that’s a lot for only two people. We’re just too used to making dressings on the fly for a single meal, or perhaps two meals at most, and this one makes enough for at least four meals. But, if you can live with salad dressing fit for a crowd, or that you need to store in the refrigerator for a few days, check it out.
We wanted a sauce so that our cappellacci would stand out and look nice when we had them for dinner. We surely didn’t want to drown the things in a heavy red sauce after the effort needed to fill and shape them. But we didn’t want to go with the standard sage-butter sauce, or light wine sauce; we wanted something bright and colorful. And we found it. Well, at least the germ of an idea for it, and went from there.
We have a hard time liking tomatillos. They have that slightly sour taste, and, while we don’t mind the salsas we’ve made in the past, they just don’t stand out as something we truly enjoy. This past week as we headed down to pick up our food share, we thought of making ketchup from tomatillos. Why not? Making ketchup is pretty easy; we’ve made it from both canned tomatoes and green tomatoes in the past. Why not tomatillos?
A week or so ago, we were excited to pick up Scraps, Wilt + Weeds: Turning Waste into Plenty, from the public library. It’s written by Mads Refslund, and, we figured that if we could get one or two ideas about how to use some food scraps in a novel way, well, it would be worth the time it takes to go through the book. Given all the food that’s thrown away in the United States (60 million tons or $160 billion dollars worth each year, according to The Atlantic), we figured that if we could keep some more food out of the waste stream, we’d do it.
With all that basil we picked up last week, we made a batch of pesto. We love it: it tastes great, it’s easy to make, and it uses a lot of basil, all in one whack. That also means that we have to find ways to use the pesto, which fortunately is pretty easy. We often have it as a spread for sandwiches, or sometimes tossed with pasta, but this time we thought we’d make up a quick vinaigrette dressing for salad.
When we make things for church coffee hour, we like to mix it up a bit and have something nutritious, and something perhaps not so nutritious. This week, our mix consisted of brownies (with and without nuts) for the not so nutritious part, carrot sticks and grapes for the healthier choices, and, right in the middle on the health-o-meter (well, maybe on the low side of the health-o-meter), was this dip we made for the carrots.
We wanted a quick and easy dinner the other night, so, we decided to go with a pasta dish. Easy enough, but, when we looked in the refrigerator, it was lacking, because we’ve not picked up a CSA share since we got back from our recent trip. That meant one thing. No, not order take-out. Ugh. No, not head to the store, either. It meant we had to use what we had on hand: simple staples. We came up with the idea of making an olive-based pesto for pasta. How’s that?