yet again, my csa box inspires me.
sometimes i get ingredients that i’ve never used before, like romano beans – they kind of look like big pea pods. and who’s not excited about getting fresh garlic? i put garlic in everything. unfortunately my csa box has changed the pickup times on campus, and instead of having until 4pm to get there, now i only have until 3pm. this really sucks, since i drive into the city every day and can only leave my dog alone for so long – it seems ridiculous to drive in, get the box, drive home to drop it off, then turn around in 30 minutes and go back in for class. the main reason i chose this one is because of the convenience, but now? i might have to stop, unless i can find a way around this.
but i digress. today is my little brother’s birthday (hi eric!), and it’s also my friend kathryn’s birthday. birthdays in july mean picnics, barbecues, and running around in the grass, acting like we’re 6. i can’t wait.
in the meantime, i’ve gotta use up all of these veggies before they start to look sad, and i’ve been dying to experiment with a parsley pesto. the barbecue seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine a bunch of my csa ingredients into one fantastic summer dish: cold bean salad with parsley almond pesto. you’re welcome.
pesto is so fresh and delicious, and you can make it with just about anything. plus, it’s so easy to get it to just the consistency you want. when i’m spreading it on thick slices of crusty bread, i want it thick, like jam. but when i’m mixing it with salad or pasta, i throw in some extra olive oil to get it a bit thinner and help it stick to the veggies or noodles more evenly. and so on.
i didn’t measure any of my ingredients, so i can hardly call this a recipe – if you really want specific proportions, try this guy out, but it’s not quite the same as mine. and this would be really yummy with walnuts, but i didn’t have any.
for the pesto: in a food processor, combine the leaves from one bunch of parsley with a handful or two of whole toasted almonds, a pinch of dried thyme, and a bit of black pepper. gradually add olive oil until everything is finely pureed – add as much oil as you want until it’s the consistency you prefer. i like to make it thick, then add more oil later when i need it in a particular dish. move to a small bowl and add a splash of lemon juice, some sea salt, and a handful of grated parmesan cheese.
for the cold bean salad: trim the ends off of two pounds of your favorite beans – i used a pound each of romano beans and wax beans, since that’s what was in my csa this week. in a large pot, bring salted water up to a boil and blanch the beans for 4-5 minutes. drain and let cool, then chop into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. combine with several big scoops of pesto, and additional olive oil if needed. chill until ready to serve.