So the other evening – in classic cliche romcom fashion – I walked down to the beach to see the sunset with the beau. We strolled in the park, cuddled under a big oak tree (or some kind of tree. I don’t know – I’m no arborist), and watched the waves lap at the sand while the sun sank oh so slowly behind Grouse Mountain. Oh yeah, and we listened to a dude play guitar and rock out the kind of tunes you’d hear on the Almost Famous soundtrack.
It was kind of perfect. Except for the grass that was tickling my ass because my short shorts were so short. But there’s worse things in life than having your ass tickled.
It’s amazing the spectrum (which sounds like rectum) of emotions we can go through. Not two months ago I was in an emotional state that could be considered more than a funk. I pretty much had full on depression. Toronto and I didn’t get along and we just weren’t going to. 60 days later – and a lot of time watching the sunset on beaches and surrounding myself with ridiculously luscious nature and good company – and I’m a totally different person. I’m me again.
I caught myself laughing and dancing and singing around the living room for the first time in 2 years today and it felt damn good.
I’m convinced of the healing properties of the ocean. And trees. And mountains. And vodka. Uhhh….
Maybe it’s because we’re really no different than other animals – made up mostly of water and oxygen and the elements of the planet sync us with happy. Or maybe it’s because I just had a great big poop and that always makes a girl feel good…. I’m not doing much to increase my sexy factor with all these bum references am I?
The point of this rambling? Nature, that is to say naturalness – be it the landscape or the type of food we eat – can have a profound affect on us. Like our bodies and minds and if you believe in spirits or souls, get the nourishment and nurturing they need from it. Nature helps me breathe and feel alive and centered. So does arugula pesto.
…Don’t you just love my segues?
Seriously though; Like my city, this arugula pesto was ridiculously luscious. In part from the farm fresh arugula, but also from the preserved lemons. If you haven’t had preserved lemons, you can get them at most specialty grocery stores or make your own. They’re delightfully tangy and salty and all kinds of awesome and you can use them pretty much anywhere you want a pop of citrus.
As with most of my recipes, and especially as with anything you’re eating raw, use the freshest and bestest quality of ingredients you can afford. Because you aren’t really cooking anything, there’s nowhere for bad olive oil or Chinese garlic to hide so invest in a good quality olive oil and get your fresh ingredients from your local farmer’s market or CSA. Because it’s awfully difficult to mess up a simple recipe like arugula pesto when your ingredients are stellar. Let ’em shine.
Ridiculously Luscious Arugula Pesto
Yield 2 servings
- 2 Cups (or 2 giant handfuls) of Fresh Arugula Leaves.
- 1/2 C Walnuts.
- 1/2 C Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- 1 Medium Preserved lemon, rinsed, flesh discarded, and chopped.
- 3 Cloves Garlic, peeled & roughly chopped.
- 1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese.
- Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place the walnuts on a shallow baking pan, drizzle with just a 1/2 tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. The oil will help the salt adhere to the nuts. Place in hot oven and bake 10 - 12 minutes, or until toasty but not burnt. Shake the pan occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool. If you toast extra nuts, they'll keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- Put everything into a food processor. Process until blended and smooth.
- Serve with crackers (I like Fig & Olive Raincoast Crisps), fresh mozzarella and shaved radish. Or, toss in pasta or spread on toast. It pretty much goes with anything.
Where do you find your happy? Does nature agree with you? Or are you more a concrete jungle kinda person? Do you cook with preserved lemons? What’s your favorite version of pesto? Spill it below in the comments section.