My kid-self might scoff at me for this one, because I used to be obsessed with ketchup. I’d put it on everything, wouldn’t try a piece of chicken without it, and thought it was the best thing ever. (I also don’t like mustard, so that helped with ketchup’s winning title.) Little Nikki would be shocked I ate a burger this weekend with no ketchup on it. Just a big Jersey tomato slice and a good spread of pesto. How grown up of me.
Pesto is totally my favorite condiment now. Is that pretentious? I don’t care. It’s so versatile and fresh. And in the summer, you have no excuse but to make it yourself.
I’m not going to give you an exact recipe for pesto, because I don’t know one and it’s a bit silly to figure it out and write it down. But I promise if you combine the following ingredients in a food processor you’ll get something yummy.
Basic Basil Pesto or Best Condiment Ever
What you’ll need:
- Basil – since I can’t really grow my own, I like to get mine in bunches from the farmer’s market. Stop, stand still, smell it first. Ah.
- Nuts – In this case I used pistachios, but you can also use walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, whatever
- Garlic – I use the kind that’s pre-chopped and kept in jars with olive oil
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
Chop basil, nuts and garlic in food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until it’s at the spreadable consistency you desire. Mix in parmesan.
Put your basil pesto on pasta, sandwiches, eggs, burgers, steak, pizza. Seriously. It’s good on everything. Bon appetit!
Today I’m thrilled to be featured on one of my favorite blogs, Mimi + Meg in her new series “My DC.” I loved showing Meg around some of my favorite Dupont spots including the Farmer’s Market and Dolcezza.
Check out the post to see what we did and to learn a little more about moi. Thanks Meg for having me! Can’t wait to do this again soon!
Beautiful tart from Bonaparte Breads
A perfect crumbly alfajor cookie from Dolcezza
That night I made a lovely dinner with my market finds: capellini with ramps, spinach and ricotta, with roasted asparagus on the side. A perfect spring meal!
I just love that word. Caramelized.
It might be one of my favorite words to say. And well, to eat too.
I made this goat cheese and caramelized onion tart a few months ago, but was reminded of it this afternoon when I made some balsamic brown sugar caramelized onions. I do love the combination of caramelized onions and goat cheese. The onions go especially well with the Firefly Farms bûche noir I picked up at the farmer’s market this morning. And the amazing curried butternut squash tart I bought yesterday from Whisked!
I paired the two with a simple salad and baguette for dinner tonight. But this week I plan on making another tart with the cheese, onions and slow roasted heirloom tomatoes.
There’s something about the combination of all of these things that’s rustic, simple and imperfect but oh-so-perfect at the same time. This is the kind of food I’m really into right now. I hope to share more.
Lots of things have been making me pretty excited recently…warm late night motorcycle rides around the National Mall, new opportunities at work, going home to New Jersey for Easter with my family, gorgeous flowers all around GW’s campus, and spending time with my guy over good food and drink.
And one other thing…asparagus. When they appeared at the Dupont farmer’s market this Sunday I jumped at the chance to grab a few bunches. I think I was more excited about what the asparagus meant…springtime, warm weather, flip flops, drinking outside…
I brought the asparagus home and thought about what to do with them (last year I made this great risotto). But I felt like they were special this year and deserved a little more individual attention. I didn’t want to make a big fuss with them. So I tossed them with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roasted them for 25 minutes at 400°. And then, get this, I topped them with a poached egg. Now a poached egg is pretty ordinary, but this was my first one. I was pretty nervous that it wouldn’t come out right (as with most recipes I try for the first time). But I magically poured the egg into a whirlpool of simmering water and out came this oozy gooey perfect poached egg. Genius!
Ok I know I sound a little crazy. But the combination of perfectly poached egg and the perfectly roasted ripe and flavorful asparagus…oh my goodness. I literally was shaking when I was taking the photos of this dish. It took several tries before I got a photo that wasn’t blurry. I was so excited to take a bite and it was just heavenly. All the right tastes of spring and gratification of cooking something that tastes that good. Seriously, I have chills as I’m writing this. Also at the market on Sunday, the wonderful Joe Yonan was making tacos and signing his new book Serve Yourself (go buy a copy!). He spoke about the privilege and joy of cooking for yourself. He couldn’t be more right and I really felt that with this little asparagus experience.
So all I can say now is to go to the market and buy some asparagus. Or something else that’s inspiring. Cook something simple and wonderful for yourself. Enjoy life and these small moments of bliss.
PS. Shout out to Kara who also wrote about the wonderful vegetable that is asparagus today – I get it, lady!
I feel like I’m finally cooking again. Spring has brought a new sense of excitement…for creating new things, for fresh veggies, for eating light and fresh. Getting to the market and getting in the kitchen seem more regular now. And that feels good.
This past week, my favorite market finds were oh so green spinach and fresh creamy ricotta. For an appetizer, I sautéed the spinach in garlic and olive oil and paired it with the ricotta drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Such a savory, sweet, simple veggie dish.
And it will only get better. Soon there will be asparagus, ramps, strawberries, tomatoes… ah the produce possibilities!
What’s inspiring you in the kitchen this spring?