It would not be unfair to say that Carmen Baskind cut her teeth on pasta. She grew up the oldest of six children in Pittsburgh. Her family’s roots were in Sicily, Italy, and Calabria, Italy. The likes of braciole and fried bread with smelt were everyday occurrences. Everyone in the neighborhood had a huge vegetable garden, and Baskind’s great-grandfather tended his right up to his death — at age 98. No wonder, then, that when she was 12 and her contemporaries came home from school and watched the soaps, Carmen turned her TV to PBS and watched Julia Child.
“I have always loved cooking,” Baskind says.
She has Gourmet magazine dating back to the 1960s and many other titles as well. Why does she give them space when she could find the recipes so easily on the Internet? For the experience of leafing through the venerable pages and experiencing the images and the author’s personality, as well as the ingredients and the methods. It’s an important distinction.
Baskind has cookbooks, too — three by her favorite Julia Child and a “worn out” Redbook cookbook.
“I love the spills and splatters on a cookbook,” Baskind says. “It means that I like a recipe and made it more than once.”
Baskind and her late husband moved in 1983 to Siesta Key. They were in the interior design business with Wallpaper Warehouse and Step Up Flooring from about 1985 to 1996. Her bright pink house is surrounded by lush, tropical plantings.
Since 1998, Baskind has been a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Previews. Her teammate is Marty Warren. Warren and her husband owned white-tablecloth restaurants in Maine before moving to Florida, and she is also an enthusiastic “foodie.” So, it makes sense that food is part of the Baskind/Warren partnership. “When we get together to work, it is always with some wine and delicious munchies,” Warren says.
And Baskin puts her dual passions into play by billing herself as “The Hungry Realtor.”
Yield: Six to eight entrée servings, 10 to 12 as a side dish
1/2 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 cup frozen baby peas
1 cup frozen baby corn
1 cup matchstick carrots
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced, soaked in cold water 15 minutes and drained
1 cup celery in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
6 ounces crumbled garlic feta
1/2 cup kalamata olives diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper
While onion is soaking, cook pasta.
Place frozen peas and corn in a strainer.
Place carrots in a large strainer you will use to drain the pasta.
Place the pasta strainer over the one containing the peas and corn. Drain the pasta over the carrots so that the liquid “cooks” the veggies in both strainers.
Put peas, corn, carrots and bowties into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients. Toss with dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional fresh mint, if desired.