Herbaceous Pasta Salad


汤姆影院tom址入口I’m obsessed with Queer Eye. I’ve binged-watched the new season already and I’m bummed I have to wait so long for more. My husband tolerated it, but would remark here and there when he saw me watching the show in bed, tearing up with a glass of wine in hand. “… but Matt, The Fab 5 are changing people’s lives!!”

If you’re unfamiliar with the re-make Netflix show:

“The style experts on Queer Eye forge relationships with men and women who often have different beliefs from them, leading to moments of social commentary interspersed with style advice. Advising people in need of lifestyle makeovers are food and wine specialist Antoni Porowski, interior designer Bobby Berk, grooming consultant Jonathan Van Ness, fashion designer Tan France and culture expert Karamo Brown”.*

In Episode 5, the guys head to the Jersey Shore to makeover Ryan Dyer, AKA, DJ High Def. His internal struggle to continue with his Jersey DJ career or to conform to the norm is why his family nominated him for the show.

queer eye, Chicken Pesto Salad Antoni Porowski 2

In the cooking segment of the episode, Antoni teaches Ryan how to make a simple, well-rounded Italian meal that he can share with his family or to impress a date. “Cooking is sexy”. Antoni explains. “The amount of effort Ryans put into GTL-ing**, means there’s no reason he can’t put that same energy and care into cooking.” Umm… yes Antoni!

queer eye, pickled grapes Antoni Porowski 3

What caught my attention about Antoni’s Pesto Chicken Salad, was the pickled grape ingredient. I’ve never heard of it and I wanted to give it a try. While grapes and pasta are both Italian staples, I’d never think to combine the two.

I amended the recipe, omitting the chicken to make it a vegetarian dish. I also used my own pesto recipe which can be found here.



For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
? lemon squeezed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Meal:
1 pound fresh pasta
3 handfuls of baby arugula
1 cup red grapes
? cup red wine vinegar
Pecorino Romano to taste


Step 1: Mix all the pesto ingredients in a food processor except the olive oil, salt and pepper. Once roughly chopped, slowly add the olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Add halved red grapes into red wine vinegar for a quick pickle effect.

Step 3 (if you’re including chicken): season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then fry whole in a pan with some olive oil for about? 8 to 12 minutes on medium.? Flip the chicken occasionally. Cool and slice into chunks.

Step 4: Cook the fresh pasta according to instructions. Usually only needs 5 ?minutes in the water. Strain and add to a mixing bowl with the pesto, pickled grapes and baby arugula. Top with some grated cheese.

The verdict… easy, unique and delicious! In total it took about an hour from start to finish. If you make pesto in advance, as I do with my August basil harvest, the recipe would only take about 25 minutes to prepare. The overall aesthetic is so pro.? The pickled grapes adds a zing and sweetness that works very well with the nutty flavor of the pesto. And the arugula gives? just the right amount of bitterness and lightens up the meal. Fresh greens, herbs and grapes makes this a perfect summertime meal.

Antoni you are my hero!

For the day-to-day on instagram @theglorifiedtomato

*Source: google sidebar
** Gym, Tanning, Laundry.

Garden Update: Roly-poly Bugs, Daylilies and Pokeweed

I was in the front garden and noticed the marigolds I planted in my cement pots had severe damage. At a closer glance, I saw pill bugs everywhere. You may know them as roly-poly bugs or potato bugs from when you were a kid.

I found it strange because marigolds are considered an insect repellent and planted in vegetable gardens to detract pests. The pill bug is not a picky eater apparently and the pungent flavor of this beautiful annual doesn’t detract this garden pest. Upon some research, I learned if nourishment is scarce, pill bugs will eat their own excrement. So, a marigold must be like a plate of eggplant parmesan to me.

Damaged marigold
Damaged marigold

As I’m loudly complaining about the decimation of my flowers, my neighbor Eric walks by. He says “Do you know those bugs are related to horseshoe crabs?” “Wow, so interesting” I thought. These are the kinds of things about gardening that really fascinated me. I had to look this up.

Eric was right, Pill bugs are in the arthropod phylum (which includes spiders, insects, and crabs). They are crustaceans, descended from trilobites, and directly related to horseshoe crabs. Like their ocean counterparts, pill bugs have blue blood and they molt. These arthropods need to live in a moist environment. And most interesting of all– they breathe through gill-like lungs on the outside of their body. If they’re outside of a moist environment (in a planter, under stones, a piece of wood on the forest floor, etc.) they will quickly suffocate.*

In other garden news…

My hanging baskets I wrote about a few weeks back are doing pretty well. The petunias have grown since. The sedum and stone crop has been a little more challenging to keep alive. Since I placed those plants throughout the metal basket frame, I need to water them with a spray bottle. Despite them being drought tolerant, it’s been a little tedious. Some areas have died back but not all. I know this would be a lot of work and I’m still committed!

stella de oro daylilies

It’s lily season. My stella de oro daylilies are in bloom and just in time for some needed color to contrast the purple Walker’s Low overgrowthing [sic] in the garden. Remember – deadhead daylilies when the flower shrivels back- usually within one day of bloom, as their name reminds us. By deadheading throughout the season you will ensure the flowers are constant.

Pokeweed growing out of concrete

Lastly, I found what I believe is pokeweed, poking out of a crack in the cement in my backyard. It looks cool, very “urban garden”. I want to keep it but I wasn’t sure if it would damage the foundation of the house. I took to the Google-verse and read on Wikipedia that it has a long tap root. It’s not a weed, it’s a perennial plant that can grow up to 8ft tall. Probably not good for the foundation, ugh. More concerning, all parts of pokeweed are toxic to humans and pets. But then I read that its berries are food for many birds and small animals. I think the cons are weighing out the pros and I’ll have to remove it. ‘Tis the life of a gardener.

For more on gardening in Rockaway,?follow me on IG: @theglorifiedtomato

Previously? published in?rockawave.com

The Tipping Point

paddle out 2020 rockaway black lives matter

Last week, I felt uneasy about my column on chives, given all that’s going on. I needed some time to process. I ended up rewriting this column for this week three times. It just doesn’t feel okay for me to write about gardening or cooking right now.

Our whole nation is in crisis. The killing of George Floyd on May 25th and the conversation about the resulting protests for justice and equality has entered every household in America, including mine. These hard discussions often take place around the dinner table. So while off “tomato topic” I want to share my feelings here.

I feel a heaviness. I feel angry. I feel confused, anxious and guilty. I feel an urgency to educate myself on the Black Lives Matter movement.

My brother-in-law James Walsh wrote something that resonated with me and I couldn’t say it any better than he did:

“Thank God for young people, man. They’re the ones who are going to keep us moving forward when so many things conspire to set us back.

In the middle of a pandemic they’re taking to the streets, risking their health and their lives to demand justice. To be the voice for the voiceless and the power for the powerless.

There is so much to worry about in the current state of our country, but when I see them, I see hope. Progress is made when society reaches a tipping point on important issues, and when your baseline is one of equality (LBGTQ, racial, economic, etc), you’re already so far ahead in terms of being the driving force for change.

They [the kids] already see the nonsense that divides this country. They do not need to be taught about the greed of the financial industry, the threat of the military-industrial complex, or the danger of police brutality. Those are a given, and someday they will be in the halls of power, taking these lessons to create a more just society.”

When I was a kid, I knew nothing of protesting or injustice in my life. I just read about the wrongs of our country in social studies class. And who knows if what I was reading was even true.

My feelings of hope were ignited when I saw the young kids protesting two week ago at the peaceful vigil for Geoge Floyd at Beach 95th street and the boardwalk. I was inspired by their outspokenness, courage and knowledge.

Over the weekend I went to the paddle out for George Floyd organized by Black Surfing Rockaway (@black_surfing_rockaway). It was held at 9am in the morning at beach 109th street. I rode my bike on the boardwalk and realized immediately the crowds of surfers and people on bikes in black were all headed in the same direction. The assembly on the beach was larger than I expected. It’s hard to judge a group of this size, but it had to be more than 1,000 people. The feeling of community unification and hope was present on the sand and in the sun, as words were spoken by the Black Surfing Rockaway organization before the paddle out.

It felt amazing to stand with friends, neighbors and other like minded Rockaway folks in solidarity as the surfers took to the water with flowers in hand. Prayer like chants and claps came and went like the waves in the ocean. I was with my friend Erin Silver, owner of Zingara Vintage. We started to cry. It was that moving. Change can start small, locally in our community. Be the change! No justice, no peace!

Previously? published in?rockawave.com

tagged in community, rockaway

The Versatile Chive Plant

chives 3

I’ve been spending some time this week in the Beach 91st Street Community Garden. I only planted my vegetables two weeks ago because it’s been unseasonably cold. Despite the late start, things are looking good.

This year, I have two cherry and two beefsteak tomato plants. The cherry tomatoes do very well in the garden for some reason. I have two cubanelle pepper plants, squash, kale, cilantro, sage, basil, and chives. I think I over-planted my plot. I couldn’t help myself!

chives 4
Flowers and the scapes of this easy-to-grown herb are edible. Divide the plants every three to four years in the spring for optimal productivity. It’s drought tolerant and thrives in full sun.

Last year I bought the chive plant because it was in full bloom and looked beautiful. Its flowers are round, puffy and purple. I learned only this week from a friend in the community garden that the flowers are edible!

Chives are perennials, relatives to onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and scallions. The scapes are delicious in salads; to season meat or fish; in an omelet; on homemade french fries, you name it. The flavor is onion-like but less intense.

Another advantage gardeners appreciate when planting chives is its insect repellent quality.? It will deter garden pests from eating your vegetables.

Bees also benefit from this herb. Chives are a great pollinator and if you have a plant in your garden, you’ll see bees dancing around it.

chives 1
Add some “wow factor” into your meal by using the flowers of the chive plant in a salad

Between its beauty, its culinary properties, its benefits to bees, and the environment, chives are a win-win for your garden.

chives 3

cat chive
Bring some extra chives in from the garden for their ornamental appeal. Also, your cat may enjoy investigating their pungent aroma.

For more on gardening in Rockaway,?follow me on IG: @theglorifiedtomato

Previously? published in?rockawave.com

tagged in gardening, herbs