Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pesto Chango

Baby Number three has joined our world, which means I have been adjusting to a new speed. My mom came to stay with me for two weeks, and ended up staying for almost a month-I must have seemed pretty pathetic. With an unexpected c-section, school starting and a kiddo in soccer for the first time, the help was more than welcome.

I was oh-so-happy I had prepared all of those freezer meals and had completed a lot of the projects on my list so that I wasn't just sitting on my bed, nursing for the bazillionth time (who knew 10 pound babies would be so hungry?!), thinking of the gallery wall I still wanted to complete. Yes, I would have been obsessing.

My mom had been talking about pesto and my basil plants were pretty much out of control, so the first time Baby Tres took a nap without being splayed across my chest (in his carseat, of course), I ran out to the garden, plucked about 3 cups of basil leaves and dashed back inside to put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor.

Toasting the pine nuts, I took a deep breath and slooooowed down-it smelled so good, and I relished being in front of a gas burner again, since that's frowned upon while holding a newborn. After a few quick pulses and then a spin in the processor with olive oil drizzling in, the parmesan, basil, pinenuts, garlic, salt and pepper all came together in a fragrant green bowl of happiness. I used my small cookie scoop to divide into an ice cube tray that I'd paid more than I should for, because it's technically a 'baby food storage container' and reserved the rest for the next night's dinner; roasted tomato and pesto pasta from Our Best Bites (cookbook number 1).

I knew I was starting to feel human again because it was Family Movie Night rolled and making the pesto inspired me to make home-made pizza instead of ordering it in. We have a great local butcher, Blue Valley Meats, (just featured in Sunset Magazine), so I picked up some italian sausage since the kids' favorite is 'meat lovers' and my mom and I would enjoy an amped-up adult version. Starting with a basic dough recipe, I pre-baked the crust for about 10 minutes so that it wouldn't get soggy. Then I added a touch of marinara and started layering on the sausage crumbles, fresh slices of lemon boy and solar fire tomatoes (from my garden, natch), basil, healthy slices of Mozzarella di Bufala, and dollops of the pesto I'd made earlier. It was ah-mazing!
The most recent of my kitchen adventures has been (again, Our Best Bites...I'm a little obsessed, I guess!) Caramelized Banana Bread with a Browned Butter Glaze. Holy deliciousness-I would write more, but the babe calls, which means the boobs must follow, just make the bread yourself, because it's delish!