Saturday, September 17, 2011

Here we go....Pesto!

I have finally made the jump into what I have been wanting to do for so long....  Start a blog about my experiences cooking with my kids and teaching them about food and nutrition along the way!
Seeing the kids' faces light up in confidence when they can "cut" into peach or apple, or spread peanut butter on a cracker or slice of bread is so rewarding for me.  Yesterday, I made pesto with my twin two-year olds, and they LOVE mommy's "cheene"  (aka "machine" or as we know it--the food processor).

It dawned on me when I was talking to a friend of mine about what to make for kids' lunches and snacks, that many people may not believe in themselves enough in the kitchen to steer away from a recipe and possibly make a mistake. Sometimes that is when the best food comes out!  In desperation for a sandwich spread and a dip to use for the kids to dip some (well-intentioned) carrots into, I used pesto (just a spoonful or can't go wrong) stirred into a little mayo. It turned out fabulous!
I had the boys help take the basil leaves off the stems and into the measuring cup.  Then they practiced
 "I dump", as they liked to call it, when they put the leaves into the processor.  And they both LOVED to push the button on the "cheene"!
S. and G. working their magic with the "cheene" ( processor).  And no my fellow parents.....I didn't not give them full control over it.  They just watched and helped :)

Here is the recipe I like to use when we made our pesto:
~2-3 cups lightly packed basil leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil.....take or give a little
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put all theingredients except the olive oil and cheese into a food processor.  Pulse it so that it is very fine.  Then add the cheese and pulse again until it's fine and smooth.  With the processor running, add the olive oil slowly until it starts to become smooth and to the consistency you like.

We froze some of the pesto (without the cheese), and then I like to keep a container in the fridge (with cheese) to mix into mayo for a veggie dip, or use the pesto on pizzas or sandwiches, mix the pesto and a tiny bit of mayo with hard-boiled eggs for a twist on egg salad.   Spread on some whole grain crackers and top with a cheese and and an apple slice.  Sounds weird, but again it was a no-recipe test and it worked!
Pesto is one of those flavors and colors that I think is great for kids to be exposed to.  It's fresh, green, and super tasty.  It's so useful and the the kids love it :)  And, I can't forget to mention that we like to have it the old-school way too: stirred into pasta for a quick and yummy dinner!

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