So here’s the deal. It’s the tail end of finals week. I’ve been cooped up in my apartment for the better part of ten days. It’s barely gotten above 30° since I got back from Thanksgiving break. We had an ice storm on Thursday. And it’s snowing, again. I thought I lived in the South. I was under the impression that it wasn’t supposed to snow here. Ever. Or maybe once in a while in a fluke extreme weather event. I know I used to live in the South, because during finals week of fall semester freshman year I didn’t study because I was tanning. Tanning. In a sundress. On the lawn. In December. And now I am not studying because I’m staring out the window at the snow trying to keep full-on depression from setting in.
The solution? Pretending. Pretending that it is not December. Pretending that it is not finals week. Pretending that it is summer, and I am on a picnic at the Eno, and I have no commitments, and I am eating lovely, summery, picnic food. And watching the deer graze and the turtles bask. And finding relief from the intense heat under a beautiful, freezing cold waterfall.
That day, which I am pretending now but which really happened once upon a time, was really wonderful. Finding the Eno was something of a turning point for me. I’d gone through the past three years not exactly hating Durham, but pretty convinced that it couldn’t offer me anything that I really wanted. Like nature, and peace, and quiet, and beauty, and the exhilaration of being in a perfect place. I tried the quarry – it was a bit warm and mucky and overcrowded for me. The Duke golf course is like almost being in nature but being constantly reminded that you aren’t really. And then I found the Eno. It’s pristine. The water is fresh and cold. After months of either sweating outside or being bombarded with stale, air conditioned air inside, the feeling of being both cool and in fresh air was incredible. There were actually herds of deer grazing nearby. Trails meandered along the river. Families swam in the amazingly cold water and laughed and the sun was warm and people like us had picnics and salamanders skittered about on the rocks and trout lurked in shadowy pools. I stepped on a crayfish. I played with the clay. I relaxed. I was so happy there.
Back to reality. There is one part of that day that I can more than just imagine – the food. On our picnic, we brought homemade baguettes and cannelini dip and camembert and poached pears and cookies and this wonderful pea and edamame bruschetta spread. It was all delicious. But the pea and edamame spread was especially delicious. It’s the loveliest shade of green, it’s fresh and bright and creamy, and it screams “I am summery! I am delicious!” So I made some. While it snowed. And just the color made me feel a little better. Instead of serving it on a baguette I like to have it like pesto, mixed in with some angel hair pasta and sprinkled with chickpeas and grated parmesan cheese. It’s lovely. I feel better. Please come over if you would also like to pretend it’s not December.
Pea and Edamame Pesto
Adapted from Inspired Taste. Makes about 2 cups of pesto.
- 1-1/2 c. frozen edamame
- 1/2 c. frozen peas
- 4 oz. parmesan cheese, roughly cubed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 scallions, ends removed
- 1/8-1/4 c. olive oil
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook edamame and peas according to package directions, or boil edamame in salted water for 4 minutes, adding peas for last minute.
- In a food processor, pulse parmesan, garlic, scallions, and 2 TBS olive oil until smooth. Add edamame, peas, and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Taste. Add salt, pepper, or more cheese to adjust seasonings to your liking. Add olive oil until you reach the consistency desired. Serve on pasta, on toasted bread, or stirred into eggs.