Friday, May 30, 2008

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Tomato-Herb Pesto

Apparently, the Kiddo’s lunch box is a bit of a curiosity at school. Not just because it is one of these cool, environmentally-friendly “bento” versions, but because of what is in it.

“You, uh, don’t exactly serve you kid the same thing as most parents,” explains her teacher. In a good way, though, she even commented that she often wants to add a note to pack the teacher lunch, too. Teachers from other classrooms even come to see daily, “what’s in the box.”

I didn’t think it was all that crazy. Sure, there is an occasional serving of roasted asparagus, which the kiddo loves as long as it is soaked in balsamic vinaigrette. And I am guilty of sending in things like Carrot Souffle and Tortellini with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes over Mac-n-cheese. But nothing too out there. Unless you ask my brother-in-law.

It seems he has not yet recovered from the last meal I served them when they came over. So, when I volunteered to make everyone dinner after my grandfather’s funeral, the suggestion was met with silence. And looks of fear.

“As long as you don’t make anything weird,” came the response from my brother-in-law, the most likely of the group to speak up on the topic. Okay.

I took it a bit personal. Like a challenge. I’m really not used to having someone NOT want to eat a meal I cook. I've gotten a bit spoiled by many previous grateful dinner guests, it seems. And, we didn't just get them all drunk, either. Sure, it helps, but not a given.

I was also driven by the need to just “do something” in the context of gathering after a funeral. Cooking for others is my way of showing I care. I have a bit of an Italian grandmother’s soul, it seems. I set to work to create a menu that all twelve of us would enjoy.

To do this, I fixed salad with greens just bought from the farmers market that morning, roasted asparagus also fresh cut, and the one vegetable dish that I have ever cooked that my sister will eat.

The menu included:
Roasted Asparagus
Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grilled Salmon with Herb Crust
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Brats (can’t go wrong here)
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Tortellini with Sundried Tomato Pesto (below)
Roasted Summer Vegetables with Sundried Tomato Pesto (below)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Ice Cream

I didn’t have any leftovers, not even enough for the Kiddo’s lunchbox.
Here is the vegetable dish with the pesto recipe. This one is a keeper to use for now with local asparagus and later in summer when tomatoes and peppers are more abundant.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

Sundried Tomato Pesto
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.


MamaBird said...

Oooh! Ooh! ExPatChef's Lunchbox Bento, please! Do you have plastic bento containers? What do you put in there? What are the boy's faves? I so love the bento lunchbox blogs...

Rachel said...

Damn, B, that's tasty looking. I'll have to remember this for a few years from now when I have to (gasp) start packing lunches for Jess.

I love asparagus season. Reason Number Eleven-teen that we're spoilt in Melbourne? We get fresh, delicious asparagus, local-grown asparagus from September thru February. Then again for a brief period from April to, well, about now. I'll totally have to make the tomato pesto; I'm hoping that next year, I'll have enough tomatoes to dry a few myself. Am experimenting with seeds from a friend's cherry tomatoes!