Tomorrow, our little street hosts our annual block party. We get permission from the city to block off the street with traffic cones, and we enjoy a great day together. The party lasts all day and into the night with great conversation, delicious foods, and fun games for the children. One generous family provides all the BBQ meats (and they have a smoker!), but neighbors bring all the sides and drinks. We all gather in folding chairs and just hang out in the centrally located yards or right in the street.
If you live on a street you can block off, why not throw your own block party–if not this summer, next year? It’s a great way to build connections with your neighbors. We all look forward to this each summer, and because of COVID, we skipped last year.
It’s time for a real party!
To prepare for tomorrow’s party, I decided to make my favorite pasta salad recipe that uses the basil I’m growing in my garden. It’s the Williams-Sonoma Pasta Salad with Tomato and Bell Pepper dish.
It’s a lemony salad filled with capers, fresh basil, and veggies to make this a healthy and light side dish. The recipe is over 20 years old, and I couldn’t find it online (so I took a picture for you below from the cookbook). All credit goes to Williams-Sonoma! Here’s the link to their cookbook. I modify this recipe by doubling the fresh lemon juice and capers because I love lemon and capers! I also double the whole recipe for a crowd. Here’s what I do:
Mix 5 tablespoons good olive oil with 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and a dash of salt (more if you like salt). Add in 8 shredded basil leaves. Let this rest a while in a separate bowl while you cook 1/2 box of fusilli pasta. While it’s cooking, chop 3 tomatoes, 1 yellow bell pepper, and 3 celery stalks. Add this to the bowl with 2 tablespoons capers (or the whole drained jar like me!). Mix everything and pour your lemon-basil dressing over it. You will love this! Here’s the look of the doubled recipe with the whole box of fusilli. Enjoy!