I might complain when it’s 90+ degrees and I’m stuck in an overheated train station, but of course summer has a lot going for it. A nice day at the beach on Saturday is a good start. I’ve already mentioned how great my basil plants are looking this year, so it seemed like as good a night as any for making pesto. (And a little Caprese salad too.) I used to test different recipes for pesto all the time, trying to find just the perfect balance of ingredients. Finally I learned that the best recipe is to wing it. A lot of basil, some oil, and garlic, then taste. Add toasted pine nuts, and taste again. Add some grated parmesan (or similar cheese), taste again, toss with pasta, taste, and then add the salt. There are simply too many variables (how strong your garlic is, how salty the cheese is, how fresh your basil is, how good your olive oil is, etc.) to trust any one recipe. The results? It was just about fantastic. There wasn’t a bow-tie left in the bowl after dinner.
And speaking of summer, a favorite warm weather night spot of mine is Tapeo 29 in the Lower East Side. Sure, they have some nice tapas on the menu, but I’ll just take a glass of the sangria, white or red. They open the windows (and walls) to the sidewalk when it’s nice out, and the place has a great vibe, away from the scary throngs of people over towards Orchard and Ludlow.