Tonight I had the good fortune of being invited to an event celebrating the release of the Herbivoracious Cookbook (more on that another day) at the lovely Seattle restaurant Emmer&Rye. (Check out the lovely new top-floor, west-facing deck if you’re in Seattle–but hurry, summer’s almost over!) Chef Seth Caswell has earned a host of accolades for his food and wide admiration for his commitment to sourcing ingredients locally. Seattle is a bit Portlandia in its fascination with locavorism and chef-farmer relationships, and Caswell is rightly a bit of a local celebrity in this regard.
The event’s food was an excellent show of a good restaurant’s place in the world. I was charmed by plates of the most perfect diminutive vegetables: baby eggplant topped with shaved goat cheese, sweet little stuffed orange tomatoes, rich mushroom-topped tiny toasts, a single slice of purple potato topped with cauliflower puree and roasted cauliflower. Each was exquisitely garnished.
As far as I am concerned, it was perfect restaurant food. Fancy, thoughtful, and ridiculous to contemplate reproducing at home.
And then I came home to simpler fare. Whole wheat pasta. A basil pesto. Those sauteed greens. Home cooking as perfect in its place as the restaurant fare was on that gorgeous deck tonight.Whole Wheat Pasta With Basil Pesto and Greens: Put on a pot of water to cook your whole wheat pasta and saute a few bunches of greens with garlic (the combo pictured here is arugula, radish tops, and beet greens). When the greens are done, leave them in the pan to stay warm while the pasta is cooking. Meanwhile, make a basil pesto by whirling the following in a food processor: leaves from one bunch of basil (about 2 c., lightly packed), a big handful of pine nuts, a chopped clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 c. each olive oil and parmesan cheese. Layer the greens onto the pasta and the pesto onto the greens.