Our first CSA pickup of the season was this weekend, and so the summer cooking frenzy begins. How exciting! On Sunday, I defrosted some shrimp from my winter fish share from Cape Ann Fresh Catch and made a quick stir-fry with garlic scapes, bok choy, tatsoi, scallions, and snow peas, the latter of which we picked ourselves at Waltham Fields. The simple sauce contained no soy. Just two parts fish sauce to one part sugar. Fabulous over rice.
Then last night, I grilled chicken from Chestnut Farms and served it over salad with a lemony spinach pesto dressing (yes, the same one you made for me, Red—thanks for the inspiration). My BFF provided the orzo pasta salad with feta and herbs. Then came strawberry shortcake assembly. When was the last time you had real strawberry shortcake? Not the kind over those circular store-bought sponge cakes. The kind over real buttermilk biscuits sliced in half so the berry juices soak in. The kind with sweet, local strawberries not soaked in methyl iodide. The kind with real whipped cream on top, lightly sweetened with a touch of vanilla. If you’re not going to make my rhubarb pie, at least make my strawberry shortcake, for god’s sake. Have you no soul?
Sorry. Didn’t mean to get so worked up. It’s just that if you’re going to be eating all those delicious vegetables, I think it’s okay if you have a little dessert.
Spinach and Pine Nut Dressing
For those extra heads of lettuce you find yourself with at this time of year. It's also a good use for your lemon verbena.
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 oz.)
¼ cup pine nuts
Juice from 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
Zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tsp.)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small frying pan with no oil, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and starting to get golden-brown in spots. Let cool. Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse until well-chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture reaches a creamy dressing consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Great with a grilled chicken salad.
Source: Adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis.