While some school girls use their carefully honed fashion sense to woo the opposite sex, I chose to stock my lunch box with desirable treats, creating jealousy among my peers and drawing the attention of my squeaky-voiced crush. Each morning, I’d smear imported cheeses between slices of crusty bread, garnish pasta salads with flat-leaf parsley and use cookie cutters to shape top-shelf peanut butter and raspberry preserve sandwiches. Each day classmates would encircle my lunch table to see what I’d brought, until finally, my crush asked for a nibble of my chevre. He must have been impressed, because later that afternoon, he asked me to “go” with him.
Now that we’re all grown up, and lunch boxes are no longer acceptable, we must rely on the lunch bag. Properly equipped with a green market pasta salad, sweet vodka tea and late-summer peach, it will surely turn on the guy in the cube next to you.
Green Market Pasta Salad
1 pound penne
3 heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 ears of corn, kernels removed from stalks
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 bunch basil, washed, leaves picked from stems and cut into thin strips
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Strain and run cold water over the pasta until it reaches room temperature. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar. Add the tomatoes and let marinate. In a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add corn and asparagus and cook until tender, no more than ten minutes. Add the warm corn and asparagus to the tomato mixture and pour over the pasta. Toss with the basil, salt and pepper to taste.