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Two Years In Minnesota and Pistachio Relish Topping

2010 August 10

Must be some kind of sign. A sign for what, I don’t know. Something on the negative side most likely. Here it goes: woke up this morning, after a dream about an elaborate wedding dance contest that I was in for someone I didn’t know, without a shoe, on a revolving stage that the bride said would help to spin me, and then I woke up to my website being down in reality.

Take me back to the dream. It was just getting good. I started making up my own dance because I didn’t know the ballet routine. While the other bridesmaids were doing elegant side leaps, there I was, the one shoe wonder, running across the stage, with my Asian dance partner behind me yelling for me to stop, while hitting me with a fake rose that we picked up in a previous dance move, while my mom was in the audience stating “how cute” it all was. I was doing this for at least 30 minutes in my dream world time.

I don’t have control over “fixing” anything when the site is down and I dislike this fact very much. Basically, my husband and I get to play the communication game with my brother-in-law in California as he is my host and in control. Then he gets to work on it, or not, while I wait. Since I know little about these things, I think the worst-it’s broken forever, my posts are lost (don’t ask me how), I ruined his work and things will be different from now on causing a meltdown on both sides. Oh, the agony!

The intended use for this relish but I prefer it on pasta with basil and Parmesan.

But I took this as a sign because the plan for my post was to celebrate that exactly 2 years ago today, we moved to Northfield, Minnesota from northern Indiana so that my husband could experience his turn at his first job that goes directly with his degree. The first two months felt like something exciting and new (like the Loveboat) but the seas were not so calm thereafter. That’s when I took the website being down as some kind of cosmic ‘screw you’ about my plans for this retrospective post. Maybe the universe will want me to write about our first 3years here…I hope it’s something good in our future.

Weeks ago, in my farmer’s market picture, you might have noticed green tomatoes. I had plans for those large beauties and that plan was to make the July cover recipe from Food & Wine-green tomatoes with pistachio relish. This is the creation of James Syhabout, voted as one of the best 2010 chefs, according to the editors of the magazine.

Unfortunately, this didn’t suit my taste buds. Salted pistachios, to me, are pieces of joy placed on earth for tongue-tingling pleasure. The other ingredients are tops on my list but it resulted in something unexpected. One of those rare things where the parts are better than the whole.

Others would adore this dish; someone out there did for it to be on the cover. I should note that I used white wine vinegar instead of Champagne and I might be allergic to pink peppercorns, thus fresh ground black pepper made an appearance in its place.

With about a cup of the relish, I decided to adjust the flavor by removing some of the sugar, adding more olive oil, adding lemon juice and some coarse salt, then tossed it with pasta, basil, grated Parmesan and tuna. Now that was something that made my taste buds happy. My suggestion is to make the relish and experiment until you please your palette. Place it over some greens as a dressing, top grilled vegetables, add it over the top of some grilled halloumi cheese or bread, finish with a spoonful on fish, or garnish your soups- just a few ideas.

Pistachio Relish Topping inspired by James Syhabout
Makes about a cup

Ingredients:
1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
2 tbsp small capers, rinsed
2 tbsp white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp black or pink peppercorns, crushed
juice from half of a small lemon
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

In a pint jar, combine the pistachios, shallots, capers, vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, lemon juice and olive oil. Shake and refrigerate overnight. Toss with pasta, basil, grated Parmesan (perhaps tuna and a dash more olive oil), place over some greens as a dressing, top grilled vegetables, add it over the top of some grilled halloumi cheese or bread, finish with a spoonful on fish, or garnish your soups- just a few ideas. The topping will refrigerate for up to 3 days.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. carol berey permalink
    August 10, 2010

    So, I’m having company and was going to make the recipe with tomatoes that i saw in the magazine. Are you saying it’s not so good?

    • August 10, 2010

      I didn’t like it on the green tomatoes. The flavors just didn’t meld well but it wasn’t horrible. If it were me, I’d try something else.

  2. audra permalink
    August 10, 2010

    If I were you and making something for friends make her bread and zuchinni and feta it is amazing and I am scared of eating cheeses like that it is delicious and looks expensive 🙂

    • August 10, 2010

      Thanks, sis! It’s true, she and Jenny (her sis-in-law) made it with feta and Aud used to gag at that cheese…I loved hearing the news.

  3. August 10, 2010

    Isn’t it interesting when amazing ingredients come together to produce something less than stellar? It is hard to understand why. Thanks for sharing though, and I hope that you have no web site troubles in the next few months (I know how frustrating those can be!)

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