My original plan was to write you a feisty letter entitled “Pesto Wars,” and ask our readers to name the winner. Then I had a bad day and now I don’t even want to win the pesto wars. I’m feeling like a nothing. A little nothing going no where.
Everything is just… nothing.
I had always seen this period of my life as a time where I’d risk everything to chase my dream. I’d work like a dog and reach for the stars. And it wouldn’t matter whether or not I won because I’d be happy doing something that I love.
But here I am, without a clue as to what my dream is, probably not able to peg love if I brushed up against it. So instead of a river gushing forward, I’ve become a whirlpool – moving and moving and telling myself that if I’m working this hard, I must be moving somewhere.
That’s how I came up with this recipe. You gave me basil pesto – so I’d give you mint pesto. We’d take a vote and I’d win. Gold star for pesto champion Shaina; time to move on to the next win.
I tried to muster my champion energy after work today as I plucked the mint leaves for this recipe from my garden in the front.
A few weeks ago, our garden was wild with mint, parsley and mystery plant overgrowth. In the winter, Arielle planted mystery bulbs that a friend of hers smuggled here from Europe. Summer transformed them into leaves that span the length of my torso. Walking up our stoop and into our front door was a trek through the jungle… It made me feel like a character on fern gully, where all the plants have voices.
But a neighbor complained. All that fostering of life for nothing?
Nothing. I resented her. I fought her (in my head). And I trimmed the plants.
Now the plants are back and we’ll have to cut them again soon. It’s a cycle of nothing. The plants grow, we harvest them, they come back. They grow, we harvest them, they come back.
All I do in my life is fill jars and empty jars and fill jars and empty jars.
How can one thought be so calming and panic-inducing all the same time?
I fill jars and empty jars and I fill jars and I’m lucky to have jars to fill, jars to empty, jars to share, jars that hold black beans and split peas and mung dal and wheat berries and steel cut oats. So many jars that I get to fill and empty day in and day out!
As for my mint pesto … it’s yummy, but as for winning… I’m over it.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back in the game, but for now, I’ll admit that there are a few things that aren’t winning in this recipe. First, the potatoes in the mint pesto potato salad. Somehow, your potatoes are always the perfect balance of brown crispy on the outside and butter smooth on the inside. I don’t know how you do it. Second, I’m ambivalent about the use of garlic in this pesto. Garlic typically enhances savory flavors, but I’m unsure about the mint/garlic combo. Send tips!
I want to be a veggie roasting pro when I grow up. Get ready, get set, and I’m going…
- 6 handfuls of fresh mint (About 4 cups)
- 3/4 cup raw walnuts
- two cloves garlic
- Juice of two fresh lemons
- lots and lots of black pepper
Combine all ingredients in food processor until pureed. Use immediately or store in freezer til you need it.
This green potato salad is a healthy, vegan (and much more flavorful!) alternative to plain old potato salad. It’s minty and fresh, and best served cold. The organization I work for often refers to our members as “deep green.” Well… this is what this dish is. The pesto is dark green, and the green beans make it even greener (I will walk you through the process of blanching them so that they’re perfectly crispy and bright bright bright green!). So switch things up and some color to your next summer picnic!
- Red Skin Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Mint Pesto!
- olive oil
Cut potatoes into wedges and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until brown and crisp at 500 degrees. Meanwhile, wash and trim fresh green beans. Bring water to a boil. Add green beans to boiling water for no longer than one minute, and immedietly transfer to bowl of ice water to pause the cooking process. You will be left with bright, crunchy green beans. One potatoes are done, mix with green beans and pesto for a delish potato salad in several hues of green.
s., you might need to check out the unknown bulbs (with voracious foliage); it might be the cousin of Kudzu.
p.s. Think of what you have ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED!!! and TREAT yourself!
Shaina you are a winner to me. And i love your cooking. Miss you lots!
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