Pantry Wars: Episode V: The Empire Throws a Few Back

“That’s right R2, we’re headed for the Dagobah system”

Well, actually, we’re headed to the 6th arrondissement in Paris: St Germain. However, instead of hanging out with Earnest, Jean-Paul and Simone at Les Deux Magots, we will be drinking an elderflower liquor that shares it name with the famed artsy district of Paris. St. Germain is made by cute farmers in the French Alps. You can read all about it on their very swanky and trendy website. Someone definitely shelled out a pretty penny for the marketing campaign, but hey it worked. St. Germain comes in a gorgeous bottle and is a light gold color and the flavor is quite flowery, but doesn’t taste like bubble bath (as I find many flowery drinks do). The classic St. Germain cocktail recipe of proseco, club soda is listed on their website, but I found that adding a blackberry gives it a tiny taste boost and looks quite sexy.

The drink is delicious, but be warned, I had two and passed out at eleven pm. The cocktail inspired a St. Germain salad dressing on a leafy bed of arugula and strawberries. There is an over-abundance of whole wheat pasta in my pantry, so I decided to make a fresh arugula and purple basil pesto to go on it (and I found pine nuts too). And for desert, to celebrate Rhubarb season, I made a compote served with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.

Menu:

St. Germain Cocktails

Arugula salad with Mustard St. Germain vinaigrette

Whole Wheat Pesto Pasta

Rhubarb Compote with Fresh Cream and Berries.

Arugula salad with Mustard St. Germain vinaigrette

Serves 4

For the salad:

1 bag arugula

4 large strawberries, chopped

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 Tbs pine nuts

For the dressing:

1 Tbs St Germain

4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (use the good one that you save for special occasions, I like Fini)

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

Method:

1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts to the pan and cook for about two minutes. You are trying to lightly roast the nuts so they turn slightly brown.

2. Add all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk until blended completely. Drizzle over arugula, strawberries and cheese. Add pine nuts and toss.

Arugula and Purple Basil Pesto

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 box whole wheat penne

1 bunch purple basil

1 large handful of arugula

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (the sharper the better)

1 Tbs pine nuts

Sea salt

Method:

1. Cook pasta according to box and set aside.

2. Meanwhile add the basil, arugula and olive oil into a small food processor. Pulse a few times and add the cheese, nuts and salt to taste. Continue to blend until it has reached the right consistency.

Rhubarb Compote with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 stalks of very red rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 small carton of heavy whipping cream

Fresh strawberries

Method:

1. Beat the cream with a hand held mixer on high speed until peaks form and set aside in the fridge

2. In a small pot, boil the water, sugar and rhubarb. After about 5 minutes, turn heat down to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes or until the rhubarb becomes soft and starts to fall apart. You may need to drain off some liquid if it becomes too soupey.

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