October 20, 2012

Lesson 51: A Really Gross Lunch

Remember the meal calendar?

Well, it's been going splendid. See, look at all these stickers I've (mostly Mark has) received. (I showed this to a friend and she thought the stickers were tracking Samara's potty training progress. No, no. They were for me and the successful completion of a scheduled meal!)

As you can tell, we're doing a really good job. You are right if you are thinking we deserve a star.

However, we have encountered one slight glitch. I had hoped that once we had got into the discipline of sticking to the meal calendar, we would be able to tackle new recipes without breaking stride. Oh, the recipe calls for broccoli rabe and gnocchi. No big deal, we'll just add it to the grocery list and whip up the meal in no time. (Authoritative laugh.)

Me at the Grocery Store: "Yes kind shopkeeper, I require some assistance. Can you please point me in the direction of the broccoli rab-ie perhaps pronounced rab as in scab? You see, a recipe on my calendar requires its inclusion, and thus, as it is on my shopping list, I really am in desperate need of it."

Response from Kind Shopkeeper: "Ma'am, look outside."

Pause for a look ...

Continued Response from Kind Shopkeeper: "Do you know where you are? No, we don't have no broccoli rabe in Clover. Now, you go on, git."

Me: "Alas, the broccoli rab recipe will succumb to the necessity of waiting for a day of yore."

Truth? This interaction never actually occurred. The real story? Mark didn't look for the broccoli rabe, and I can't really blame him.

That being said, I did look for pine nuts the other day, and I couldn't find them. You see, according to the calendar, pine nuts were part of a new, Asparagus Pesto Pasta dish, set for Wednesday.

As it was a new recipe and the whole "take a new recipe in stride" thing never quite materialized, said meal was not produced on Wednesday, so I decided to "catch-up" and make the APP today. (I really wanted a sticker.)

Today was absolutely beautiful! The weather literally embodied everything I love about October, and providentially, Mark arrived home just in time for lunch. What a treat! Such an occasion clearly warranted the partaking of a special new meal as a family!

I thought to myself, "Oh, girl who desires to be a woman and also desires to try new recipes and cook delicious meals for her family, now is a perfect time to experiment with one of the recipes from your meal calendar that was skipped last week due to it not being a meal that your family has eaten a million times already."

I continued thinking.

"It is of no consequence that you embark on a journey of recipe-ing with a recipe that includes slightly roasted pine nuts, though you possess no pine nuts (slightly roasted or any other). Do not fear. Everything blended in the food processor that is mixed with olive oil and garlic will turn out fine!"

Not true!

The concoction that I presented before my sweet husband as his "homemade lunch" was visually and gastronomically nauseating.

The dish pictured in the magazine showed crisp noodles, simply dusted with a light pesto seasoning and luscious asparagus heads and cherry tomatoes. We had the pretty veggies. There is no messing up the direction to "wash, rinse, and cut." However, all sparkly produce loses when placed upon lime green pasta.

Seriously, look at this. What is that color?

You will not be receiving this recipe from me, as I see no reason for anyone to ever attempt to make pesto pasta sauce without pine nuts ever again.

Throughout the course of cooking, I keep saying, "I wonder if the pine nuts are important ... I wonder what pine nuts add to the mix."

In characteristic form, Mark would reply, "They can't be all that imporant. I mean the ingredients you do have are pretty flavorful."

Oh they were certainly flavorful. In a really gross way.

I tasted garlic for the entire afternoon.

Y'all, the moral of this story ...

I tried ...

and I still get a sticker. 

Lesson Learned: Pine nuts matter. 


  1. This happens to me all the time! Mike and I usually try new recipes each week too, I choose a few recipes that sound good from myrecipes.com (usually trying to find ones in which we already have most of the ingredients) and then pick up the rest at the store. Sometimes they call for a really weird ingredient that I've never heard of and take 20+ minutes looking for and Mike eventually says, "we only need a teaspoon of it, it's probably not important." So we go without and hope for the best, sometimes it's fine and sometimes it's, well, not.

    Glad you still got a sticker!

  2. I've never looked for pine nuts, but you can find pre-made pesto in the pasta aisle of your grocery store. I'm no gourmet cook--I like my recipes simple, with familiar ingredients, short cooking/prep times, and few ingredients. The simpler it is and the easier for me to master, the more likely I'll be able to stick with my plan, and repeat the recipe in the future. You're doing great! Keep it up. Speaking of food...its time to make oatmeal! :)

  3. I have actually made this exact dish before with all the required ingredients with similar unappetizing results. Some things just look better on camera and in theory.

  4. we make pesto a lot because we have a ton of basil in our garden. pine nuts are EXPENSIVE though. (seriously, if you ever find them in the store you'll be shocked.) so we use walnuts instead. much cheaper, same results.

  5. "Now, you go on, git" How many of your readers know where that came from? ;) Great story. It had your mother in tears the first time she read it and now me too.


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