Soba with Green Chile Pesto / Back From Cali

Dear Eric,

Long time, no see. PSYCH. I just saw you a few weeks ago…..and it was glorious. I know I told you in person…and on Instagram….and on Facebook….but you were absolutely the perfect host for my trip to San Diego. Remember when the food at The Patio was so good I laughed and almost cried? I’m going to blame it on whatever that Siracha cocktail was…and the grilled octopus (what was on that? pine nuts?)….and the Ahi poke tacos. It was so great to see you and I’ve probably talked everyone’s ear off saying how much fun we had and how much delicious food we ate.

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Seeing you, naturally, reminded me of how frighteningly negligent I’ve been about our little project here. Let us continue, disregarding any rules for regular, timely posts, given that I’m desperately trying to finish my dissertation and you are, I think, working on forming yours. I wrote this this morning before leaving for campus, and as a result I forgot to make breakfast and had to resort to- ugh- a granola bar. I hate granola bars. I mean, I don’t hate them, I just would rather have…anything else. I’m the worst.

I’m glad you liked my kale suggestions. I’ll address your Romaine questions here for the benefit of our adoring public (JK, I mean our indulgent mutual friends who read this on occasion) even though I know we talked about this in person when I was in town. I do not de-stem my Romaine, because I like crunchy salads and also because I’m much less particular than you. Your cookbook reading is inspiring. You are starting to sound like a Californian, but it’s not a bad thing. Just remember where you come from, pal. Remember the days when you didn’t know who James Beard was and used diet ginger ale in cocktails. 😉

Your Salad Nicoise looks lovely, although you know it’s hard for me to listen to you go on about searing everything under the sun in duck fat, boy. Good grief, Julia Child did a number on you. I kid, I kid. I know you don’t use that much and yes, I know it is very delicious. (Btw, there is a certain restaurant in DT Athens that serves duck-fat tater tots and all I can tell you is: overrated. I mean, they are tasty, but personally I find it a waste of duck. It’s a tater tot. (parentheses in parentheses: the tater tots at Clocked are my favorite….and they’re just normal!) Although,as I’m writing this I’m thinking of that duck-fat poutine I had once and thinking maybe I don’t have a leg to stand on in this argument. Although…. I don’t like ordering something that has the word fat right there in the title.)

I digress.

I’ll share two things with you this time:
1. Strawberry Moscow Mules

2. Soba with Green Chili Pesto

1. One of my three summer goals was to craft my perfect Moscow Mule recipe. This turned out to be the easiest of my three goals and as yet is the only one I’ve completed, largely because Moscow Mules are ridiculously easy. Ice, the juice of half a lime, somewhere between 1.5 and 2 oz of vodka, and ginger beer. I should have at least picked something with bitters in it and made things challenging, shouldn’t I have? In any case, I had fun with various additions, my favorites being strawberries (see below- I did make a strawberry puree for these) and blackberries. I also once added grenadine…and was despondent to learn that grenadine, which I thought to be made from pomegranate, or at the very least blackcurrant juice, is often simply corn syrup, red coloring, and citric acid. Boooooo. I did try a variety of ginger beers (though I couldn’t find the one you recommended. You and your fancy West Coast ginger beer….) and I think my favorite was Fever Tree. I won’t even talk about vodka types, because it would become so apparent I’ve no idea what I’m talking about. I’ll specify “middle shelf” and that’s it.
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2. My brother and sister-in-law got me a subscription to Bon Appetite for my birthday, which was exactly what I wanted. You know I usually read it online, but there’s something very nice and nostalgic about flipping though an actual magazine. I like marking the pages instead of just sending myself links. Anyway, I tried this recipe from the most recent issue: Soba with Green Chile Pesto and Watercress

I chickened out and used fewer chilies than the recipe called for; next time I’ll use them all. It really wasn’t that spicy, I just somehow managed to inhale a bunch of pepper-air while I was seeding them and got scared. Also, I had a terrible time finding white miso in Athens. I need to live nearer to the Dekalb Farmers market…Tamara was with me when I made this dish, and she was very tolerant (maybe even encouraging) of my need to take a picture of it for blogging purposes. The fresh herbs (cilantro, basil) and lime juice made it super refreshing and light but with big flavor. I know you don’t have much Asian-influence in your cooking repertoire, but this might be a good place to start. I love soba noodles. They have such a nice texture! Tamara and I both gave this recipe an A+.
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Write me back! (Even though it took me 4 months to respond to you) Next time I’ll share a Courtney original with you.

P.S. I want to go back to Balboa Park
P.S.S. I’m still glad I didn’t get close to the edge of that cliff.

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