October 26, 2012

Mint, Basil and Walnut Pesto for speedy dinner

For the first time it really feels as if everything is about to fall into places. Like I'm finally stepping forward with the right foot. With the right mindset. The right attitude. But most importantly, towards the better tomorrow. My thoughts are clearer. Eyes wide open. Hands ready to give me a pinch anytime they see me falling asleep of comfort. Cause sometimes I do that. I lock myself inside a tiny cage of this moment, cause the next one scares the hell out of me. So, I freeze. Stop breathing. Stop feeling. And let the apathy take over.

Then, I become ashamed of myself. I look at the mirror and cannot believe that this is she who is supposed to be me. After all those sleepless nights picturing my life, my future, and my prospective happiness, I'm still standing here. Barefoot, watching myself without a slightest note of recognition. The glare is empty, not even able to reflect the gleam that is modestly bursting into the room. The wind is raging, but my hair remains unmoved. I pray for that one strand to move and to bring life into this picture, but it simply doesn't. It doesn't want and it doesn't care. The scene remains rigid. Marble. Cold.

Soba Noodles with Yellow Beans and Mint-Basil-Walnut Pesto

It's been like that. I've been like that. Tossing about and going round in circles for some time, without a single clear thought in my head. With too many questions and so little drive to answer just a few of them. But life goes on. The new day comes, sometimes even bringing a pinch of hope along. A promise that if I take just one step forward, I might be pleasantly rewarded. And that's what I did. I took a step. Even though it was scary. Terrifying. It was out of my comfort zone. Asking me to tear apart the veil of coziness, to come out of my shell, to take a stand and to say that I want this. I really want this! To spill out the words just as if they meant everything. And they meant everything to me. In that moment, in that second, in that sound of the lifetime - then, they were me. I was naked and intimidated, standing at the edge of my life while clumsily getting ready to dive...

And when I did, when I fought down the fear, silenced the panic-driven thoughts and made a final move, the ocean showed me the way. Gracefully and slowly. Life started falling into places.

Mint, Basil and Walnut Pesto

When it comes to pesto, it's another amazingly great thing that Italians came up with. It's easy, it's fast, and more importantly, it's heavenly delicious. It might give a so needed kick to the most boring dish as well as to be a dish just by itself, accompanied only with a slice of fresh bread. Toast? Even better!

It can be incorporated into the soup, stew, risotto, salad dressing or sandwich. It can be served with roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. Or! it can inspire you to make a tasty and healthy vegetarian dinner in less than 15 minutes. Just prepare a small cup of pesto in advance, and it will be a very handy companion at any rush-insistent times.

By the way, try adding some fresh mint into your traditional basil and walnut pesto. I'm sure, you'll be surprised what an incredible freshness it will create. Perfectly perfect with a nice crunchiness of beans and a generous splash of earthiness lavishly generated by the soba noodles. 

Soba Noodles with Yellow Beans and Pesto  

Mint, Basil and Walnut Pesto

0.7 oz (20 g) fresh mint
0.7 oz (20 g) fresh basil
0.7 oz (20 g) walnuts, toasted
1 garlic clove
1 oz (30 g) freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a food processor or using mortar and pestle, blend together mint, basil, walnuts, garlic, and Parmesan.
While mixing pour in the olive oil - as much as it is needed until you get smooth and spreadable but not to watery texture. Finally, season with salt and pepper according to your own preferences.
Pour prepared pesto in a small jar, and keep refrigerated. Best used within a month.

Soba Noodles with Yellow Wax Beans and Mint-Basil-Walnut Pesto

Soba nooodles, approximately 4 oz (110 g) for one serving
4 oz (110 g) yellow snap peas, though green are also fine
2-3 Tbsp mint, basil and walnut pesto, recipe above
salt and pepper, if needed

Prepare the noodles following the instructions on the package. When there are only 4 minutes left for noodles to cook, add the beans, washed and cut into small pieces. Cook for 4 minutes, then strain off the water, reserving 1/2 cup (120 ml) for the sauce.
Mix the noodles and beans with pesto, adding as much reserved water as needed so that the noodles are perfectly coated in sauce.
If you feel like, season with some Himalayan or sea salt and pepper. 
Serve warm. 

Soba Noodles with Yellow Beans and Mint-Basil-Walnut Pesto

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