First of all, is there anything more wonderful than opening up a too full and extremely disorganized fridge and being greeted by a bouquet of fresh mint? It’s a beautiful sight. And one that will (hopefully!) translate into an awesome baking project this weekend. I’m feeling my kitchen groove come back. But you’ll have to hold for the results until next Tuesday!

Another wonderful and inspiring thing in my life, person, actually, is one of the farmers at the Emory local farmers market. I can’t remember his name, or the farm’s name, but let’s just say that he made my week. I’ve been showing up to his stand every week for the past month or so buying basil and zucchini (pretty much all he’s had), but this week when I stopped by it was with a heavy heart. I had only $1 to my pre-paycheck name and no funds to pull out cash from the ATM. Not only did I only have $1, but he had a luscious spread of herbs, tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, and something else I’m forgetting. It was a tragedy. But, smiling, I asked him for as much basil as $1 could buy. While opening a little paper bag he asked me to try a cherry tomato. Did I like it? Yes? “Here, I’ll throw a few in. Oh, do you like oregano? I’ll give you some of that too.” At my protests he simply shrugged his shoulders, saying “you’re a regular.” Elated, thrilled, joyful–none of these words really describe how wonderful the transaction was. A stranger giving away food because that’s what you do in a community-based society–you help each other out. Needless to say I’m going to bake him up something super nice to give him next Tuesday as a thank you. BUT this is all to say: GO OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS. Not simply because they’re nice and friendly and will give you free food when you’re out of luck before your paycheck, but because by supporting them you’re supporting a community, and by supporting the community you’re ensuring the well-being of not only yourself but the people you know enough about to care about and countless others that you don’t know about and don’t know enough to care about.

Ok, so, the recipe. Again, it’s a simple farmers market dinner of basil, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini mixed with my pantry staples–fusilli pasta, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, and almonds. But it’s delicious and filling, which is all I can really ask for. You can use any nut, of course–pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews–whatever you have on hand: that’s the beauty of pesto!

Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Almond Pesto

1 c fresh basil
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water for 10 minutes if dried
1/4 c almond slivers
1/3-1/2 c olive oil (depends on how well the sun dried tomatoes incorporate to the basil and almonds)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until well combined. It will be slightly chunky, but well mixed. Add more oil as necessary (I found that adding oil to each serving size helped the pesto cover the vegetables and pasta).

Serve with pasta and fresh, seasonal vegetables.