CSA Box + August Garden Panic = Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is your friend when your garden is producing volumes of tomatoes and your CSA box is full. Can you pair a meatless meal with an intense, tannic red wine? Yes!
Beet Green “Pesto”
First: my sincerest apologies to all speakers of the French and Italian languages. My nickname for this “pesto” is Beet Green “Méthode Pestoise”. French Champagne manufacturers go to great lengths to let us know that Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France (I think they’re right on this one). The best anyone else can do is “Méthode Champoise”. For pesto, you need to use basil and pine nuts, period. However, you can make a wonderful pasta topping with many other combinations. And, if you prepare in advance, you can make the pesto, minus the cheese, and freeze it into little pesto pucks that you can pull out of the freezer and use at a moments notice. Our Bossy Acres CSA farmers would declare this to be a Boom! moment. Use any pesto recipe, just use some greens you like with nuts you have in your pantry. It’s that simple. Here we have the green tops from the beets in our CSA box with almonds we had in the pantry. Boom!
Zucchini Tomato Gratin (with added eggplant – don’t tell Julie)
We like Eating Well magazine, the recipes feature a healthy approach, moderate calories and few artificial ingredients. Here’s the recipe for the Gratin of Zucchini & Tomatoes. We also had eggplant in our Bossy Acres CSA box, so I snuck that in. Julie isn’t a big eggplant fan, and I wanted to see if I could pull one over on her.
Beet Green “Méthode Pestoise”
We started by cooking up some pasta in well salted water. We mixed in a bit of pasta water into the “pesto” with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. We had some lovely green (even when ripe) tiger stripe heirloom tomatoes, so we chopped those up and added them to the bowl. Basil is only here for garnish.
Trediberri Barolo ($32 before shipping from Italy)
I enjoyed meeting Nicola, the young Trediberri winemaker on my Langhe weekend earlier this summer. What a treat to enjoy his wine back home in Minneapolis!
Eye: Lovely medium red, blue highlights in the glass in the sunlight.
Nose: Red fruit, a little smoke and tar in the background.
Mouth: Not overly fruity or rich. Intensely tannic, but very nice with food. Not a patio wine at this point, maybe in 15-20 years!
Everything worked great together. The addition of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese gave an earthy richness to both elements that seemed to be just what was needed to pair with the wine.
One final note: Julie was not fooled. Eggplant is eggplant, and I need to work harder to hide it in our dinners. Any ideas?