Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local Asparagus, Arugula and Pesto Pasta

Last night I tried a new pasta recipe. I had some local asparagus that I picked up at Nature's Corner on Seacliff Drive in Leamington, and I was just itching to do something different with it. I saw this recipe while zipping around on the web, and thought it sounded perfect!

I made a few adjustments to the recipe, for instance, instead of making fresh pesto (which I love), I used up some jarred tomato pesto that I had leftover from the mushroom and leek pizza I made last week. I added some basil from our garden and grated in a clove of garlic to suit my taste.

I had 2 partially used boxes of whole wheat penne. How annoying! So I used what was left in both boxes and made some space in my cupboard (win!).

I had to buy some arugula, and unfortunately it wasn't available loose (so I couldn't just buy a handful or so), but I plan to make a steak salad this week so I can mix what's left into the baby greens I have on hand.

I am a fan of asparagus, and it's good for you too (with the whole having folate and vitamin K) but I wish I could say the same for arugula. I don't HATE it, I just don't love it. It's a great little leaf though, full of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C and K, so if I can find a way to use it, I do.

So here's what I did:

Cut the asparagus into 1" pieces and steamed it barely tender. In another pot, I cooked the pasta (though I'm sure I could have just popped the asparagus in the pasta water as it would have floated and I could have fished it out when it was done).

In a bowl I plopped a few tablespoons of jarred tomato pesto (President's Choice brand in this case), chopped up a few basil leaves, and grated in a small clove of garlic.

I drained the pasta, threw it back in the pot with the pesto and the asparagus, tossed in a couple of handfuls of arugula and stirred to combine. Drizzled on a touch of olive oil to loosen the sauce up a bit as well. It didn't need salt (probably because the pesto was perfectly seasoned) but I did add some fresh ground pepper.

I had a couple of herbed foccacia rolls in the fridge from a grilled veggie sandwich I made last week, so I sliced them, brushed them with olive oil, and toasted them in the oven.

The pasta and toasts were topped with a bit of freshly grated parmesan, and we dug in.

Asparagus Arugula Pesto Pasta

The Verdict?

  I liked it. It had good, balanced flavours.
Quinn ate it right up. That surprised me as the arugula is bitter. He did, however, leave the asparagus bits. Probably didn't like the consistancy.
Don liked the flavours, but he prefers his pasta to be "saucy", so it wasn't to his liking.

I'll probably keep the recipe as an occasional meal, but it won't go into "The Rotation"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Intro, Revisited

Since I'm not doing much with my fibre business at the moment, this poor journal has been sitting stagnant. One day, I hope to have the time and energy to pick it up again, as it was an incredible outlet.

I am "The Chef" in our home. That's not to say that Don isn't a great cook, he's amazing! He just has so much on his plate that he rarely gets the chance to cook. We, like many others these days, are looking for ways to be a little more efficient with our money, so I try to be creative with meals.

We have a 20 month old that has recently found a deep love of food. I think that's due to his new-found ability to handle a fork which gives him a bit of independence. Most parents (at least in my experience) seem to be hesitant to introduce this hands off (no pun intended) approach since it usually comes with a week or so of mess.

Nothing a bib, a tea towel across the lap, and (in extreme cases) an old shower curtain under the high chair won't remedy! This too shall pass, right?

We're very lucky that Quinn doesn't have any noteable allergies, so the food possibilities are endless. Some of his favourite food to eat are things you wouldn't imagine a toddler would enjoy - hummus, curried chicken salad, arugula...

How did I learn how to cook? The mean streets of...Ok, really, it was from my Mom. She was the Queen of "Cheapo Cooking". Out of necessity, we would eat pots of chili, spaghetti, stew, and garbage soup (all the leftovers of the week in the pot). I attribute my psychological inability to eat leftovers to this experience, but I did learn how to stretch a buck.

When Don and I got together again (he was my high school boyfriend, 1, 2, 3...awwwww), my form of food was more "comfort" and his was more "gourmetish". Over time, my comfort food has become more refined and I've experimented (and found I like) cooking with things like red wine. And over time, he's admitted that my style of cooking has become his "comfort food".

As a family, we really enjoy food...and I very much enjoy trying to come up with new (healthy) combinations that both appeals to our palates and don't break the bank.

So that's what you'll find, hints, and ramblings about food.

Some posts will have actual recipes with actual measurements, and some will be general ideas of measurements. I only know what WE like. You might adjust ingredients and amounts to suit your family.

If you try any of the recipes, I'd love to hear about them! Maybe you do something similar with a few tweaks? Tell me about it!

I hope you enjoy what's on our plates!

There will probably be some random musings about the things that I question, or things that are important to've been warned.