Saturday, June 22, 2013

The joys of summer

The last two months of school are always a little bit insane. Wrapping up curriculum, talking about changes for next year before you even know what next year holds, meetings upon meetings upon meetings, and of course the fact that you have to deal with 160 students that really want nothing more than to be on summer vacation- and trust me, so do YOU!

But then, it moves quickly and I find myself sitting here, first week of summer under my belt, relaxed and joyous that two months of free time is a head of me. Adam and I were pretty smart this year and planned very little for the first two weeks. So, we often find ourselves around 1pm sitting on the couch chatting (sometimes still in our PJ's) and thinking what the rest of the day may hold.

Turns out a lot of really wonderful things happen at our house when we are work. The chickens cluck around the homestead, Sandee does a lot of sleeping, each room feels different due to the amount of sunlight coming through the windows, and the slight change in wind is always noticeable due to the sounds of the live oaks rustling in yard. I'm not sure we will stay in Topanga Canyon forever, but it's these quiet days at home that makes me truly love where I live. Our little cabin, that often feels like rustic appalachia, is such a serene get away from the hectic city, "the valley", and the scene of LA.

Another great thing that happens when we are at home are the freshly made lunches that we throw together whenever we are hungry. Recently, my dad said to me that one of the greatest pleasures in life is eating lunch outside with a really good glass of white wine. Well, Dad- you are totally correct on that front. The veggies are plentiful, the salads are fresh, and not even the small yellow jacket buzzing around me can ruin a good summer lunch outside.

Today, in honor of the solstice and the amazing amount of basil we have in garden, I made some pesto. Fresh and layered in with a little bit of mint I think this is pretty much the best pesto on the block. It's vegan, fresh, and damn is it good on just about anything. Play around with the garlic as much as you like but I think two small cloves gives it all it needs.

Happy summer!

basil and mint pesto:
1 1/2 cup of fresh loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup of fresh loosely packed mint leaves
2 small garlic cloves or 1 large one
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup great tasting olive oil (the spanish kind from Trader Joe's is the best and really pretty cheap)

Combine fresh herbs and garlic in food processor and chop until small bits. Add pine nutes and pulse until blended. Slowly add a little olive oil at a time until smooth and more of a sauce like texture. If you like it more "saucy" use 1/2 cup olive oil.

Mix it into pasta or roasted veggies. Use as a pizza sauce or in a casserole. Tripple of recipe
and freeze for later!