So, what to write about... it's on the tip of my tongue, literally: food! Pesto, to be exact. It's that time of year, when the ears of corn grow heavy, the tomatoes swell ruddy and sweet, and the bushes of basil reach the point where it's either cut them down or allow them to take the yard by force. Back off, basil--I'll eat you up, I love you so!
Pesto, like vinaigrette, is stupidly simple and infinitely flexible. The name is a variation on the Italian verb for "pound," or so says Wikipedia. One is supposed to do such pounding with a mortar and pestle (which I do have, because I'm ancient, but don't use, because I'm lazy). I saved myself a sore forearm by using a borrowed Magic Bullet (shout out to Tali!), which is magical indeed when it comes to pounding pesto. Here's my very rough recipe:
-plastic grocery sack full of basil leaves
-4 cloves garlic
-about 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
-however much olive oil makes basil damp enough to puree well (1 cup, maybe?)
Blend in small batches in Magic Bullet until soupy in consistency, pour in ice cube trays, freeze, pop out, and store in plastic baggy in freezer. Enjoy all winter long! Note: one cube roughly equals one tablespoon, so the size is ideal for flavoring recipes from pasta to sandwich spreads to this stellar roasted red pepper soup I concocted.
Note #2: most pestos include chopped pine nuts, and I've done this before, but the actual flavor of the nut is somewhat lost in the bodacious basil flavor, so I omit; according to Wikipedia, that means my pesto is actually a "pistou" now. Fancy! Don't get me wrong, I love love love the mild crunch of a pine nut atop a lovely caprese salad (another August favorite!), but I'm not about to drop $12.99 on a jar (seriously, that's their actual cost) for texture alone. Use walnuts, or something, if you feel like a nut. Note #3: this is probably the only time I will ever counsel the use of walnuts. Ick.