When Even Five Ingredients Are Too Many

    Being in dental school means traveling around with the same group of about 90 people for 4 years. Same classes, same clinic times, same lunch hour. So the other day as we all opened our lunches, one of my classmates commented on the hummus I had made. And another friend at the table brought up how her mom made a Lebanese feast the other night. And another talked about his babaganoush made with eggplant from the local Farmers' Market. I was in heaven - I mean, how wonderful that my classmates love food like me!

    We are in the process of finding a date to hit up a few Farmers' Markets, because, can you believe it, I have never been to one in RVA? I know, it's pretty shameful - but I don't have a car, so I think that's a pretty good reason since I'm not in walking distance to any of them. I need to do my research to see which ones are closest because I've heard there are a few scattered around the area.

    In lieu of attending the Farmers' Market, I was able to use some fresh lime basil the other night, and hence, this post was born. One of my classmates brought me a couple snippings of sweet basil and lime basil which he grows. I mean, come on, how much more perfect can you get? Fresh herbs picked that day? He even packaged them in a little cooler in moist towels so they'd stay fresh throughout the day.

    I rushed home and opened the Tupperware and spent a couple minutes just tasting the herbs. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them - I'd originally thought a quinoa salad with tomatoes and feta and cucumbers. But they were too good for that - as much as I love feta, it can crowd out other flavors.

    What I decided to do was let the herbs shine on their own - I boiled some curly pasta until it was al dente. Then I drizzled in a few tablespoons of my very favorite and sacred olive oil. This is the best, guys, and I do mean it. I bought about 9 bottles in Las Vegas the last time I was there because there are only 4 places in the country that sell it. Of course, when I got home, I realized they have an online store. Fail.

    I sprinkled in a little salt - because I think it helps bring out the flavor of any herb, and some fresh pepper. Then I tore in the herbs and finished it off with some lemon.

    That's it. It really is so simple and as someone who grew up watching my mom cook, sometimes I feel like I'm cheating when I make something that tastes so good but takes no time at all and only uses about 3 ingredients. But if there is something I've learned since cooking on my own and refining my own style - it's that there is a time and a place for complicated. And it's not when you have fresh herbs from the garden.

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