Thoughts on dinner – and Potato Salad with Parsley Mint Pesto

I love dinner.  And I like to cook, so you would think that dinnertime in my house would be a happy time.  Tasty food, a glass of wine, witty banter – what’s not to like?  Here’s what – a tiny person who wants to sabbotage dinner.  That would be my sassy 2 year old who would gladly subsist solely on wee crackers shaped like animals, and thinks dinner is an evil plot to make her sit still in a chair and watch her parents try to have a conversation about something other than bodily functions.  The sabbotage begins while dinner is being made.  It goes something like this…

Scene: my kitchen. Potatoes are boiling, oven is heating, I am taking sausage from fridge and preparing to wash asparagus.

little goose: “Mommy mommy! I want to play frow up!”

acacia: “You want to play what?”

little goose: “Make my dollies frow up mommy!”

acacia: “You want me to make your dollies throw up?”

little goose: “YEAH!!!”

acacia: ” Eeewww.” sigh “Ok.”

5 minutes later, back in the kitchen washing asparagus. Asparagus goes in oven, potatoes are mashed, pan is heating for sausages.

little goose: “Mommy mommy! I want a snack.”

acacia: “No snacks, It’s almost time for dinner.”

little goose: “I want something else!”

acacia: “I didn’t even tell you what’s for dinner yet.”

little goose: “I don’t like dinner! I WANT SOMETHING ELSE!”

acacia: “But we’re having sausages for dinner!”

little goose: “I want sausage now. I want to play dollhouse. I want to watch strawberry shortcake. Uh-oh, I pooping.”

5 minutes later, back in the kitchen opening bottle of wine so it can “breathe”… Pouring glass of wine. Drinking wine.  Sausages in pan, asparagus out of oven, table almost set.

little goose: “Daddy’s home!”

acacia: “Hi, how was your day? Did you get the mail? Sausages for dinner. Let’s wash little goose’s hands!”

RJ (daddy): “Good. Yep. Yum sausages! Let’s wash your hands little goose!”

little goose: running away and giggling “NO, hee-hee! I hiding!”

RJ: sigh “Is that wine?”

We did finally have dinner that night, and little goose ate 3 bites of sausage, before declaring “I’m done” and (by the way mommy) “I don’t like dinner.”  So yes, its a tough audience, but I still love dinner. 

Here is my current favorite dish – its a great side at dinner, or one dish lunch.  Its pretty adaptable – use your favorite seasonal vegetable(s) with the potatoes.  My favorite is purple sprouting broccoli, which no one sells so you pretty much have to grow it yourself.  If you’d like to have this dish with purple sprouting – start some seeds now, plant them out in a month or so, and voila – next March you’ll have some purple sprouting broccoli!  In the meantime try it with regular broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, kale – you get the idea.

Potato Salad with Parsley-Mint Pesto (makes about 4-6 servings)

1.5 – 2 lbs Yukon gold or red potatoes – cut in about 1″ pieces

Olive oil

Kosher or sea salt

3 Cups Seasonal vegetable (broccoli, radish, asparagus, etc.) – cut bite size

1/2 Cup Roasted almonds (plus some for garnish)

2 Cups Parsley

3/4 Cup Mint leaves

1 Large Garlic clove

1/4 Cup parmesan chunks

1/4 Cup water

2 tsp Cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tb Capers – drained and roughly chopped

1 Tb minced shallot

3 Hard boiled eggs (put in COLD water, boil, turn off heat, wait 10 min.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put potatoes on a large rimmed sheet pan and toss with 1 Tb olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Roast for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss your chosen vegetable with 1 Tb olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt.  After 15 minutes, toss the vegetable mix into the potatoes and continue to roast 5-10 minutes, until veggies get some golden crispy edges.

For the pesto: combine the parsley, mint, garlic, parmesan, 1/2 cup roasted almonds and 1/4 tsp salt in food processor.  Pulse to chop everything up into small chunks.  Add 1/2 Cup olive oil and process to a chunky paste.  Add 1/4 Cup water and process just to combine. 

In a medium bowl combine 1/2 Cup of the pesto with the vinegar, dijon, capers and shallot.  Chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the bowl with the dressing.  Add the hot vegetables and toss.  Taste and season as you like with salt, pepper, more pesto, etc. and garnish with additional chopped almonds.  Eat this warm, room temp or cold. YUM.

NOTE: Save remaining pesto in fridge for up to a week, or freeze for later. Its great in vinaigrettes, spread on crusty bread, or tossed with hot pasta too.


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