Sunday, July 3, 2011

There'll be no sorrows left to drown/Early in the morning in your evening gown - Elvis and salads and pesto.

A week of ridiculously, dangerously hot weather culminated in an incredible Elvis Costello show at the Pageant. I'll let Christian Schaeffer of the RFT tell you all about it. I love Elvis and I've seen him many times, but this was absolutely one of the very best performances. I even managed to get myself right down front and center, within just a few feet from the man himself. I'm sure my exuberance, and my unwillingness to give up my spot once I claimed it, pissed off a few people, but I like to think that I do a pretty decent job of keeping Mr. Costello front and center on the airwaves here in St. Louis via my radio show, so tough shit, people!

Anyways, to get back to food, let's start with the most recent first. I bought a nice package of chunks of albacore tuna at Trader Joe's the other day and all I have been thinking of is Nicoise salad, but just hadn't had the opportunity to make one until tonight.
What a perfect combination of ingredients. A perfectly boiled egg, lovely steamed and creamy red potatoes, thin blanched green beans, grilled tuna, tomato wedges and black olives, on a bed of spinach, all drizzled with a garlicky Dijon vinaigrette. Gosh, I already want another one. It was perfect for a warm day.

Earlier today I finally made pesto out of the basil I plundered from Allison's garden the other day. She left town and forgot to harvest the ripe stuff so she gave me permission to gather a few things. The banana peppers were delicious in a beef mixture for tostadas, and I will be eating the yellow squash soon. But today, it was pesto. I bougtht a bag of almonds in the shell weeks ago but had been too lazy to crack them until now. I don't love pesto made with pignoli so I usually use walnuts, but I was thinking that the creamy richness of almonds might be very good. I toasted them a bit in a hot pan first, then used about a palmful of nuts with maybe a cup and a half of basil leaves (loosely packed). Lots of garlic, some parmesan cheese and a generous amount of olive oil results in this emerald green dish of goodness.
I have to think about how I want to use it though it probably won't be till Tuesday. I think it will be good to let it sit and meld all the flavors even more. I like how the skins on the almonds made the little reddish brown flecks in it. Festive!

Last night we had a very late dinner after Steve got home from work. Considering how incredibly hot it was, I wanted to make a big salad. I had bought strawberries and blueberries for salad, and a roasted chicken so it seemed like a natural combination. I thinly sliced some Vidalia onion, added iceberg lettuce (I purposely wanted iceberg for its crunch and water content) and spinach, then chunks of strawberry, a handful of blueberries and some shredded white meat chicken. I wanted a poppyseed dressing and I really like the bottled kind mixed with a bit of vinegar to cut the sweetness. Oh, and I threw in some croutons for more crunch.
I apologize for the crappy photos. I'm out of batteries for my digital camera (and keep forgetting to buy more) and I have to make do with my mobile's cam.

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