A Squared: Brown Thumbs & Weekend Happenings

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Brown Thumbs & Weekend Happenings

The beginning of my urban garden... stay tuned for more!
Ahh... happy weekend!  Did anyone else feel like the countdown to Friday was abnormally long this week?  Nothing too exciting was happening here this weekend except some massive spring cleaning, organizing, and home improvements.  Wow, are we married people or what?

We have a little deck at our place and since this will be the first summer we'll get to use it I want to take full advantage and grow a few herbs and vegetables.  I have a notoriously brown thumb that Alex loves to tease me about; I've never met a basil plant I couldn't kill!  Here's hoping that I can break the cycle this year.  We've got a grill, now we have our plants, and we have a set of small deck furniture on its way as well-- I'll post pictures later when it all comes together.

I also wanted to share a recipe for the dinner that I made for us on Friday night.  We decided to stay in and watch a movie and drink some wine, so I decided to try a (meatless for Lent) new pasta recipe that looked good.  This recipe was really quick and easy-- the only thing that you really have to cook is the pasta.  Typically I'd share this in a What's For Dinner Wednesday post but, although delicious, I will not be making this meal again as I basically poisoned my husband with it!

After dinner he had some really severe heartburn and trouble swallowing, which I have seen happen to him only a few other times since we've been together-- once was on Valentine's Day a few years ago at an Italian restaurant during dessert, but Alex just thought it was the champagne or that he had accidently encountered some shrimp (which he's allergic to).  More recently it happened right after Christmas when he was eating some chocolate withe almonds. Surprise!  Alex is apparently allergic to almonds and thus last night's sun-dried tomato and almond pesto was only a success for me.  I'll share the recipe below so that you can make it for your almond-friendly friends.

Penne with Tomato Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella


  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
  • 12 sun-dried tomato halves  *Make sure you use the jarred oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.  I used the dried ones from a bag and ended up needing to add additional olive oil.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound smoked mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat penne
In a small pan over medium heat, toast almonds until golden brown, 5 minutes. In a food processor, pulse almonds, parsley, tomatoes, garlic and oil until slightly chunky. Pour into a bowl; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add mozzarella; toss to combine. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and toss immediately with pesto.  I also tossed in a few additional thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes to the final pasta mixture, which added some nice flavor and texture.

Recipe courtesy of Joan Lang via epicurious.com.

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