“Mommy, I love it!”
Nothing sounds as sweet as those four words emitted from the mouth of a picky eater.
My Gigi is an adventurous girl and never says no to escapades that would send most little girls into hiding. So far in her short, sweet life she’s whizzed down a zip-line, shot paintballs at camp counselors and climbed rocks to heights that make me dizzy, just to name a few of her adventures. And if you ever agree to tag along with us for a day at Disney’s California Adventure Park, be prepared to take her on California Screamin’. Twice. That’s how much she loves the adrenaline rush.
Lately, her adventurous streak is winning points in the kitchen, too. Take this pesto, for example, which is adapted from a recipe by Food & Wine. I made this on Monday, refrigerated it overnight (which only made it better, not that there’s anything left to prove my point), then served it up Tuesday after a particularly hectic day which involved me continuing to recover from eye surgery in between researching gluten-free baking and shuttling back and forth between school, karate and a friend’s house.
Anyway! I liberally poured the pesto over bowls of steaming hot pasta, still blanketed in a wee bit of cooking water, then served Gigi a bowl of plain noodles with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I gave her a taste of the pesto-covered pasta, promising an extra Thin Mint if she goobled it up. (Judge all you want, until you’ve harbored a picky eater under your roof, you’re incapable of knowing the efforts one will undertake to get them to try new foods.) We hyped the pesto as a creamier, cheesier version of her favorite Gigi pasta.
She took the first bite. A hesitation. Then another, larger this time. Then a third, then the entire bowl. Then – miracle of all – she asked for more.
So if you need me today, I’ll be in the kitchen. Making pesto. For my picky adventure seeker who maybe isn’t so picky anymore….
Gluten-free update: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta in this recipe. If you haven’t had luck with gluten-free pasta, see this post at Gluten-Free Girl for making a perfect pot of gluten-free pasta.
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse lightly to chop, scrapping down the sides as needed.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the spout of the food processor, scrapping down the sides as needed.
- Serve immediately, on pasta, fish or chicken, or store in an airtight container overnight.