Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer Cooking: No Recipe Summer Pasta

My Latest CSA Pick-Up, Week 8
After a slow start to the CSA season, the veggies are coming fast and furious as we near the halfway mark in the season.  This week brought another bag of dragon tongue beans, pickling cucumbers, a couple of onions, a couple of tomatoes, a zucchini, a yellow squash, new potatoes, cabbage, blackberries, lemon zucchini cookies, plus a chicken and a half dozen eggs.

I had a crazy busy week last week.  I did my first food styling gig for one of the many movies that are filming in town. Lest you think that sounds glamorous, rest assured that I spent the better part of 18 hours over a two day period tucked in the back of garage waiting to crank out as many identically decorated pancakes as it took to get the scenes on film after multiple takes.

To complete the rest of my glamorous week, I fulfilled a five year old gift certificate by flipping crepes for 70 guests.  There were so many people in the house, that I set up in the driveway. Which was fine until it started raining.  The toppings bar was whisked inside, but I remained outdoors, and finished cooking my crepes standing at the back of an mini-van, sheltered by the opened hatch.  Makes you want to sign up to be a personal chef, doesn't it?

The good news is that I had the foresight to add most of a quart of buttermilk to the bag containing my cut up chicken, so that when I got home from crepe fest a little earlier than I anticipated (and soaked down to my undies), I only needed to drain the chicken, pat it a bit, give it rub down with some mixed spices, and get it on the grill.  Twenty five minutes later, and a kiss with some BBQ sauce the last few minutes, and dinner was nearly ready.

Buttermilk Brined Chicken
I haven't been to the Saturday farmers market for several weeks since I was either purging during the last ever garage sale, or helping prep with Dave Martin at Veggie U.  So I was excited to finally get to go this past weekend.  The booths were positively bursting with summer goodness!  I traded a new never used juicer for some tomatoes (chimpmunks have decimated most of mine in the garden), lettuce, broccoli, red onions, and some beautiful eggplants.  I also scored some sweet and juicy yellow sugar plums and freshly pulled corn on the cob.

Sunday night I made this recipe from Eating Well - Provencal Summer Vegetables, with a few twists of course.  I didn't have any leeks on hand, so I thinly sliced the CSA onions on a mandoline and used in place of the leeks.  For the cheese topping, I used a delicious local cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy.   I made a perfect side for a leftover grilled chicken leg/thigh.

Provencal Summer Vegetables

Of course there were leftovers.  And the extra veggies that didn't make it into the above recipe I roasted after tossing with a bit of Olive Tap's Basil Olive Oil. So as I began thinking about Monday's dinner, I knew there were leftover roasted veggies, fresh corn, beautiful small broccoli with tender stems, plus nearly a pound of ricotta cheese leftover over from crepe fest (I made a crazy good filling with ricotta, cream cheese, fresh orange juice and zest, and a bit of powdered sugar).

It's hot, I don't really feel like cooking much, and that is exactly where having a plan and some big picture concepts of how you are going to tackle that CSA share before the next week rolls around, come in handy.  So consider this a sneak preview to one of my "No Recipes" in my book Seasons to Savor: Eating Locally, Seasonally, and Simply. 

No Recipe Summer Pasta 

2 - 4 ounces per person of  whatever pasta shape you have on hand (reserve some pasta water)
1 c. or so of cooked or roasted vegetables, leftovers basically
fresh raw veggies of choice - something you can toss in the pasta water to cook briefly, like fresh corn or broccoli
'sauce' - a bit of butter, or olive oil, or ricotta or cream cheese
fresh herbs of choice - I used basil
grated cheese for topping
Salt and Pepper

Cook your pasta as directed on package in salted water.  Reheat your cooked veggies in microwave (or oven) to heat through.  Toss in your raw veggies the last few minutes the pasta is cooking.

Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water.  Return pasta & veggies to warm pot, add desired 'sauce' components (one or more) including a spoonful or so of reserved pasta water, tear some herbs and add, season, then toss with tongs to combine. 

My No Recipe Summer Pasta

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this no recipe summer pasta post. It sounds like a great summer idea.


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