Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Despite bouts of illness plaguing our family yesterday, we still had a good St. Patrick's Day. The whole family dressed in green and we had a great green dinner! I made Pesto Salmon, Pesto Mashed Potatoes, and steamed asparagus. I started by making my own pesto. I got 2 4 oz. boxes of fresh organic basil on sale for $.99 each. So I made two batches of pesto. I've made it so much that I just did it without a recipe this time. Here is what I did yesterday.

Basil Pesto

4 oz. fresh basil, rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 cup (or less) extra-virgen olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
splash or two of lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan or romano cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the basil in your food process with a metal blade. Pulse for a few seconds to break down the leaves a little. Add the garlic and pine nuts. With the food processor running, stream the olive oil into it through the open push chute. Add lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper and pulse again until blended to your preference.

My 5-year old daughter loves helping me make pesto, and she loves eating it too. She saw me put the parmesan cheese in and she said "That's your secret ingredient! That's why I love pesto so much!" Silly girl. (She does love parmesan though. She'll eat it out of a bowl, with a spoon, if allowed.) She was my sampler and let me know if there was enough salt in the pesto.

I'm not a big fan of cabbage, corned beef and other typical St. Patrick's day food. That's why we went with a non-traditional, but green, St. Patrick's day meal. Yes, there is a lot of pesto in this meal, but it's yummy and green, to boot! The potatoes were kind of an olive green color, but still tasty. Pesto Salmon was yummy and easy. My fave type of salmon is Wild Alaskan Sockeye. I always go for the wild!

Pesto Salmon

basil pesto, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
1.5 lb fresh salmon fillet

Preheat oven to 400*. Spray a 9x13 pan with olive oil. Place salmon in pan, and spread with an even layer of pesto. Lay it on as thin or thick as you like. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more, until the salmon is done. (Opaque and flakes easily with a fork.) Be careful not to overcook.

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

3-5 medium to large red potatoes, cubed
1/4 cup milk, or as needed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup basil pesto
salt and pepper to taste
Place potatoes in a saucepan filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and mash (I use electic beaters) with milk, butter, and pesto. Mix in salt and pepper.
Asparagus was on sale for $1.49/lb, and you can bet that I picked some up! I just steamed it, since I was feeling too tired to do anything fancy (although I did think about it). To drink, we had a Lemonade Knudsen sprtizer. I added a drop of blue food coloring to each glass to turn it green. (Ya know.... blue + yellow = green?) It was actually very pretty. I don't usually like to use food coloring, but will make exceptions for such important holidays as St. Patty's.
For dessert, I made a Texas Sheet Cake and cut out servings with a shamrock cookie cutter. I used this recipe, but left out the nuts and used one cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Then I made some green buttercream frosting and piped a shamrock outline on each little cake. I have about 20 little shamrock cakes and a whole pan full of Texas Sheet Cake scraps. :) I hope everyone enjoyed St. Patty's Day!


Carrie said...

What a great meal! Everything looks so yummy!

HoneyB said...

Yummy! I love love love the pic of the sheetcake cutouts and of course the one of your little girl!

Cami said...

Your St Paddu's day dinner looks great...love the idea of pesto for St Pat's day. I may steal that idea next year! ;o)