Summer Days & Beet Noodles
Summer has rolled into this Montana town.
The mercury is soaring, the air thick with haze. Kids on street corners sell lemonade and Otter Pops; families flock to the swimming hole to float the afternoon away. Some days, like today, are graced with an afternoon thunderstorm; temperatures drop 25 degrees in an instant and the wind carries the heady scent of pine and rain. Plants drink up every last drop, as if they know the storms will become ever less frequent as the season rolls on. A killdeer bops and preens in the puddles on the sidewalk. Evenings are leisurely, backporch stories against sunset canvasses with friends and neighbors and wine.
There aren’t too many things in this world that can top a summer day.
And, of course, the produce can’t be beat. Farmers market is in full swing, and every Tuesday I stop by to pick up my CSA share and a few additional goodies from which to shape the next days’ menus: pea shoots, kale, romaine lettuce, baby turnips, farm fresh eggs (those yolks!), and the extra garlicky goodness of curly, swirly garlic scapes.
Beet Noodles with Garlic Scape Pesto (Serves 2)
For the beet noodles: 4 medium beets, rinsed & peeled, ends removed
For the garlic scape pesto: 1 C coarsely chopped garlic scapes 1 scant C walnuts 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil 1/2 C grated fresh parmesan 1/2 t salt 1 T lemon juice 1 t grated lemon zest
Spiralize the beets into thin noodles. (There are so many great spiralizers on the market today! I’ve had this one for about 10 years and it’s held up great, though it may be nearing the end of its useful life. If that turns out to be the case, I have my eye on this one …)
You can use the noodles raw if you want them sweet, crisp, and crunchy, or blanch them if you want them a bit softer. To blanch, plunge the beet noodles into boiling water for about two minutes, then drain and rinse them under cold water. If you choose to blanch them, save the beet water–once it cools, it makes a great garden or houseplant fertilizer! (Just be careful if you use it inside–red beet water can stain).
Set the spiralized noodles aside.
Combine all of the pesto ingredients into the bowl of a mini food processor. Let it whirl until it reaches your desired consistency.
Divide the beet noodles into two bowls, top each with a couple tablespoons of the pesto, and (if you adore cheese as much as I do) some extra grated parmesan on top.
Enjoy the garlicky, crunchy summer goodness!
Note: extra pesto will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for a few days. If you want to keep it longer, flash freeze by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet or in ice cube trays, place in a ziploc bag, seal, and use a cube or two when you need it!