Tag Archives: Olive oil

End of summer golden gazpacho

3 Sep

I credit ketchup for my love of food. My dad, in his infinite wisdom, introduced ketchup as a last resort to his obstinate toddler as he coaxed her (me) to eat. While successful in the early days, Palate Gal - ingredients for golden gazpacholittle did he know that I would later identify ketchup as its own food group.

For a long time, I loved ketchup more than I loved any other food, and I put it on just about everything that wasn’t salad. My ketchup usage hit such highs that I remember my grandmother telling me to “quit it” as ketchup was just “red sugar” that I was “drinking like soup.” (Probably true.) I don’t recall rethinking my choice for even a minute.

To this day, sometimes I crave ketchup and go out of my way to make or buy something I can eat it with. Just ask the server at America’s Dogs in O’Hare International Airport. Continue reading

Backyard pesto and hand cut pasta

25 Mar

Every year on the first day of school, my brother, my dog, and I posed for the camera. Early in the morning before heading to the bus stop, we went outside with our backpacks already on, held up our fingers to demonstrate the grade we were each entering (4 fingers = 4th grade…the dog refrained from this part), and smiled as my parents took our picture to commemorate the day. To me, the photo signified the beginning of a new year, and I remember the pride we took in the outfits we had chosen for that first day and the worry we felt about the unknowns of our new teachers and routines.Backyard pesto

This annual photo op always took place in the backyard in front of our small family garden. Usually by September, the bed was in full swing – tomato plants too heavy for their own height, zinnias reaching higher and higher for the sun, and a jungle of basil fending off the native army of mint. While simple, it reliably produced ingredients for our summer cooking needs.

My favorite warm weather food was my mom’s pesto. I remember smelling the basil as I rode my bike up our driveway on my way home from our local swim club and running into the kitchen to see the pesto in the making. My mom’s version is creamier, nuttier, and more garlicky than the traditional Italian type. With only a few ingredients and 2 steps (blend, add oil), it was ready in a snap. The most difficult part was knowing how much oil to add; the sole instruction was to slowly add the oil to the spinning food processor until the pesto looked ‘right,’ which I learned meant smooth, not too stiff, and not too runny. Continue reading

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