20 August 2012

Funeral Pesto

The family and I headed back to Brule yesterday for a quick trip. My dad's brother, Joe, passed away last week. I'm not sure I've fully processed our family's loss yet. Joe was the oldest sibling in the Struckman family. Although Joe's body was eventually completely wrecked by multiple sclerosis, his mind was at 100 percent capacity. I will remember Uncle Joe as an avid cyclist who adored his daughters and his grandkids.

My extended family rarely gathers any more. My grandpa passed away over 10 years ago and my grandma moved to eastern Nebraska about five years ago. My dad's siblings are scattered around the state and country now. I haven't seen some of my cousins in over 10 years. It's a little depressing that we all allow this much time go by without seeing each other. Certainly Facebook has helped me keep in contact with many of my cousins, but it's just not the same.

So although we gathered under sad circumstances, it was truly a celebration of my uncle's life and family. We cried and we laughed and we caught up with one another. Who knows when we'll gather again for another wedding (hopefully) or funeral (no thanks).

The other upside: Benny and Lila got to know their second cousins. They had a great time running around and staying up late. Watching them made my heart happy.

Benny and his new best friend, Parker.
Lila loved Katie, who has become a lovely young woman.
And Aunt Gloria in the photo bomb!
Lila and Londyn.

When we drove up to our house at 5, I marched straight out to the garden and looked for something to make for dinner. The garden totally delivered! A quick batch of pesto, cucumber and tomato salad and green beans were the perfect post-funeral weekend dinner. The kids, well, they were pretty satisfied customers.

The pesto recipe is from Melissa at Her Green Life and it is far superior to the recipe here.

Basic Pesto


2 cups packed basil
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil (or more if you like your pesto oily)
1 garlic clove


Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process away!

See those spaghetti and fettuccine noodles? Yeah, that's what happens when you put the garden in charge of dinner. Sometimes it forgets that it doesn't have one full box of pasta. Rather it has several remnants of boxes of pasta.

We've also been eating A LOT of cucumbers for the past few weeks. I've been experimenting with several salad recipes. This one is our current favorite because it doesn't hide the flavor of any of the fresh ingredients.

Simple Cucumber and Tomato Salad


1 large cucumber (or 3 small cucumbers)
1 large tomato
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Cut cucumbers and tomatoes into thin slices. Combine with equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually just poor the liquids on until they seem sufficient for the amount of veggies in the bowl.

Fresh from the garden: basil, garlic, cucumber, onion and tomato.

Rest in peace, Uncle Joe. You will be missed.

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