4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon vitamin C (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.
Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, and the vitamin C, if using. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Pull out before dinner to get to room temperature. Before serving, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts.
8 ounces bacon (optional)
5 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook over medium heat just until crisp; drain on paper towels.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch until bright green and slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain well, run under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain again.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, onion, sugar and raisins. Add the broccoli and toss the coat with the dressing. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Just before servings, fold in the sunflower kernels and the bacon pieces. Serve immediately.
Heirloom Tomato Sandwich
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh sage
8 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread, toasted
3 medium heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
8 center-cut bacon slices, cooked
1 cup arugula
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over 1 side of each toast slice. Top each of 4 toast slices with 3 tomato slices, 2 bacon slices, and 1/4 cup arugula. Top with remaining 4 toast slices.
Autumn French 75 Cocktail
For the Concord Grape Puree:
1 1/2 cups Concord grapes, stems removed (about 8 ounces with stems)
1/4 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
For the Cocktail:
1 ounce London dry gin, such as Beefeater
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce Concord grape puree
1/4 ounce juice from 1 lime
1/4 ounce simple syrup (see note above)
2 ounces chilled sparkling wine, or more to taste
For the Concord Grape Puree: Puree the grapes in a blender on medium until only small pieces of skin remain. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing and stirring the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids, stir the lemon juice into the the resulting liquid, and refrigerate if not using immediately.
For the Cocktail: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the gin, St. Germain, grape puree, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass or flute and top with 2 ounces sparkling wine.