It has been a very….very long time since my last post! I have had the unique opportunity of traveling for work an awful lot since January. My travels have taken me to San Antonio (three times so far), Key West, Shepherdstown, Front Royal (for a month), Atlanta, and Jacksonville to name a few. It’s been both exciting and tiring. It becomes difficult to maintain a routine at home when it is often interrupted with travel.
But anywho, here I am. Another exciting thing that has happened since my last post is that my parents have finally got their business up and running. When my dad retired last June, he decided he was going to buy some land in Powhatan and start a greenhouse growing all hydroponic produce such as lettuce and microgreens. After many months of hard work and construction, the greenhouse is finally complete (enough) to grow! And so the last few weeks my parents have had great success selling at farmers markets and talking to some local chefs and grocery stores. Check out the website here for updates. It is called Windmill Produce Farm!
Another cool thing about it is that I get all that delicious stuff for free! So far I’ve tried the Boston Bibb lettuce, red leaf lettuce, arugula, basil, and two types of microgreens, radish and mizuna. I’m really looking forward to using these ingredients in future posts! This morning Dad gave me a big bunch of fresh basil, so I decided to make pesto and a nice summery pasta to go with it tonight! I made a big batch of pesto so I could freeze it and have it on hand for another meal.
For the pesto (making about 2 cups), I used:
- 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves (from Windmill Produce Farm!)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 larges cloves of garlic
- 3/4 cup olive oil (plus some for storing)
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Pepper to taste
Look at this gorgeous basil!
In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts and pulse until it is course.
Add the olive oil and process until smooth and well combined.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the cheese. Season with pepper to taste.
You can put most of this in a container, cover with a layer of olive oil, and freeze for about three months. I used about 2/3 cup of it for a pasta dish from Eating Well.
For the pasta, you need:
- 8 oz. whole wheat pasta of your choice, I used angel hair
- 1 lb. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
- 2/3 cup prepared pesto
- 2 tsp. EVOO
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions. About three minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus to the boiling pasta. Cook for the remaining three minutes until tender. Save 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta and asparagus.
Return pasta and asparagus to the pot and add the peppers and pesto, mix well and cover to keep warm.
In a skillet, heat oil on medium and add the shrimp. Cook for about three minutes until pink. Add the wine and increase the heat. Cook for about another three minuets, allowing the wine to reduce some.
Add the shrimp and wine and 1/4 cup cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. I served with an extra little dollup of pesto and a garnish of radish microgreens (yes, from WPF!)
Can’t say enough how proud I am of my parents and all the hard work they’ve done. It is starting to pay off, and their produce is wonderful. I hope you will all give them a try if you are in the Richmond area!
The pasta was a great summer night dish (even though I’m SO ready for fall). Can’t wait to try that pesto again. Any suggestions?
Oh…and I guess in the category of updates on my life since the last post, Ricky and I got engaged in June :) :) :) May 2013 wedding! Stay tuned!