Wednesday, June 25, 2008
What's Cooking Wednesday - Brunch with Anno and Mint Pesto
Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.
Yesterday was a special day.
I have a very dear friend, and many of you "know" her: Anno of Anno's Place. Anno and I knew each other long before our entry to the blogiverse, and while our main connection started as being fellow homeschooling moms, with children the same age and husbands who worked together, we quickly discovered our similar loves of reading, cooking, and writing, and from there moved on to discussions about family, life, the universe and everything. She also writes a great blog.
Anno is one of the rocks in my life. When I need sage words or gentle energy, I know I can turn to Anno. When I need lyricism, I can read her stunning writing. When I need to know how to cook paella, use a neti pot, hook up a sink - there's Anno again.
Another thing Anno and I share is that we're caretakers. We have several people in our lives who need much of our time and energy. For that reason, we seldom have time to really relax together - I cherish our almost-weekly meetings for a quick cup of coffee, but it's lovely to have more time.
Yesterday we had that opportunity: C is up north at camp and m is taking a workshop at the teen center in town, so we had hours available.
And I really wanted to do something nice for Anno, and admittedly, for me as well. So I made us brunch:
We had strawberry scones and whipped cream, Nuria's Rice Mint Balls with Pistachios and Shrimps (but no shrimp - sorry, Nuria, shrimp seemed a bit much at 10:00 a.m.), with mint pesto:
fresh figs stuffed with mascarpone and topped with toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey:
and squash blossoms stuffed with fresh mozzarella and proscuitto:
D was very happy, because there were lots and lots of leftovers. Michigan weather decided to cooperate for a change, and Anno and I were able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy the warm sun (hence the rather shadowy photos). The best part of the brunch was Anno, and while I took her picture, I also promised her that I wouldn't post it unless it was a good picture, and the photo really didn't capture her warmth, beauty and charm, so you'll just have to imagine that part.
Nuria, of Spanish Recipes Pic by Pic, posted this amazing recipe for Rice Mint Balls with Pistachios and Shrimps. I have to say here that Nuria has opened a new cooking world to me and her wonderful blog teaches us not only about Catalan cooking, but also about various aspects of life in her region of Spain. She is also generous and supportive as well as wonderfully creative, so if you haven't visited her, please do! As I said, I bastardized it a bit, and the next time I will certainly make the shrimp version. I think this might be my new favorite "go to" summer appetizer. Nuria speaks of the necessity of dipping sauce, and one she suggested was mint pesto, without giving a recipe. "Mint pesto?" I thought. "Hmmm... I have mint, I like pesto, sounds good!" So I experimented and Anno and I both loved the results. I think this would also go wonderfully on whole wheat spaghetti, linguini or a similar noodle, and might even be good as part of a cold noodle appetizer, etc. So, Nuria, thanks for the wonderful inspiration and the heavenly rice ball recipe!
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 large handful of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 small handful of toasted walnuts
the juice from 1 - 2 limes to taste
1 garlic clove
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Whirl mint leaves, parsley, garlic and walnuts in a food processor until well blended. Drizzle in the olive oil and lime juice and keep processing until a pesto consistency is reached.
Place in bowl or cup and add salt and pepper to taste.
Roll rice balls in dipping sauce before eating. YUM!
Finally, another nod to Nuria, who gave me this lovely award.
I've been remiss for several days in acknowledging her thoughtfulness, but as you probably know, it's been a bizarre few days. I have the privilege of passing it on to five more bloggers, so here are my pics for today, although I wish I could pass it to all of you:
Nuria, right back at you! ;-)
Anno, because I couldn't ask for a better friend
Sisters Sassy and Honeybunch of Sisters of a Different Order, because I get to MEET you guys tomorrow! Yay!
April of It's All About Balance, for providing such a great event on Monday, (Blogblast for Education), where I got to meet such cool folks and read such great posts on education
(Okay, I'm cheating here, squeezing in an extra) Teacher Patti of Teacher in the Hood and Kim of The Farmers Marketer - to local friendships and connections online and off!