09 June 2010

Snack a no-go, dinner a go-go

I wanted to tell you all about this wonderful little cracker that I'd made in fun animal shapes for Jasper. I wanted to tell you they were made with whole wheat flour and freshly grated cheddar cheese. I thought they were tasty, but when offered to Jasper, he asked for "fishies." It seems that damn Goldfish Cracker won't be leaving my pantry too soon.

Aren't they cute? But, since they aren't kid-tested, I'll have to look for another recipe before I pass one along. So now I'm going to to tell you a couple of dinner stories in pictures this week.

The first is an entree salad, a term that elicits a perplexed look on Seth's face, not out of disgust but sheer confusion. "It means we're having salad for dinner," I'll say. On a rare late spring Saturday, we had some sunshine around here, so we headed to the farmer's market for some goodies, which inspired the salad. I topped it with some broiled fish, which, in my book, elevates it from a first course to a main. A simple dressing of oil and vinegar did the job.

1) Tore lettuce greens and sliced radishes, carrots and kolrabi on the mandolin slicer

2) Sauteed canned chick peas (rinsed and drained) in olive oil until they turn a deeper, golden color. Add a liberal dose of salt.

3) Broil fish (no, that's not fish in the picture) with just a little drizzle of oil and well-seasoned with salt and pepper. Remove fish when done and turn the oven off. Then toss pita in the oven to warm (mine was actually frozen, and this thawed and lightly toasted it, yum).

4) Combine the veggies, chick peas and dressing, top with fish and serve with bread.

This second meal was also inspired by the farmer's market and a huge bundle of fresh asparagus. I'd wanted to make pesto with it for a while and have just been waiting for the season. I thought Jasper might go for it since I paired it with his favorite meal of pasta. He still wasn't overcome with excitement, but it may be the only bite of asparagus I'll get in the little guy this year. I really liked this pesto, and although pesto is hardly a new dish, I hadn't had asparagus pesto before.

1) Trim asparagus by grabbing each end with one hand and forcing it to break where it may. This is the best way to get rid of all of the tough end, which could ruin this dish. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 375 degree oven until very tender and slightly paler in color. Cool completely. Combine asparagus, a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan, a couple of tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, an herb if you'd like and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz. Add more oil as needed to achieve a spreadable paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2) Toss with pasta of your choice. Mine was frozen cheese tortellini. I used the leftover pesto on a pizza the next day. Yum, too.

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