Friday, March 15, 2013

Pesto Green and a Link to St. Pat's Cake

It's instructive to look back over a few years of posts, both to see the rise and fall and rise again of my enthusiasm for blogging, for cooking and baking, for the joys of the seasons and to re-discover old recipes. A few days ago I started looking for my favorite chocolate cake recipe, the 86 Proof Chocolate Bundt Cake, a perfect cake for St. Patrick's Day if made with Irish Whiskey, and ended up spending a pleasant half hour or so looking over contiguous posts. There were reminders of pleasures enjoyed and challenges faced as well as the joy of discovering other bloggers.

A lot can be learned by thinking back on the large and small challenges that life throws at one. At the moment I feel like the water in the eddy behind the rock in the stream...taking a short breather in a quiet place. It's far more pleasant than I'd imagined. While getting on with the seemingly endless weeding as I prepare for the new garden year, I have time to think and to dream and to try out new ideas in my head where they are easily turned over and just as easily discarded if not just what I want. Re-potting the seedlings into larger pots is another task that allows for dreaming time. With the kitchen remodel in the dreaming stages you can imagine where my thoughts are going.

Returning to the many posts that have filled this blog, there have clearly been some dreams, particularly baking dreams, that have been fulfilled. What a lot of recipes have been tried and printed over the years! There are some that have become a regular part of our meals, but many that I tried once and then forgot about. I noticed that there seem to be very few recipes from the Comfort Food cookbook, so it may be time soon to get some of those up. My favorite Guest Blogger, No Handle, will be featured early next week, too. Lately there is less baking and more cooking in my life as I try to change my diet to keep from having those nasty stones. That doesn't mean that no baking will happen, just less frequently.

For today I give you a recipe filled with fresh broccoli and squash and leftovers. I threw it together when the garden was calling my name and every minute in the kitchen seemed one too many. If you have to cook the rice (I used leftovers) it will take longer. If you don't have already cooked chicken, either, then you may as well keep this tucked away for another day when you do have some of those leftovers, too. Prepared pesto is readily available around here in every grocery store. All I really had to do was to lightly cook the broccoli and squash with some parsley. The rest was re-heating and mixing together. It did make a nice, warm, savory one dish meal. I love the mixture of the flavors of pesto, chicken, and broccoli. Next time I might throw in some roasted red pepper strips, too. Sometimes leftovers can be quickly embellished with fresh foods and become a real treat.

Pesto Rice with Chicken and Broccoli and Squash

1 cup cooked rice (I used brown but any kind should be OK)
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/2 cup precooked chicken, in large dice
1/2 cup or so fresh broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 medium zucchini squash, cut into coins and halved
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
pepper to taste

1. Heat the rice in a large heatproof bowl in the microwave until heated through. Remove from the microwave and add the pesto. Stir to distribute the pesto evenly. Set aside.

2. While the rice is heating, steam the broccoli, squash and parsley until barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain. Add to the pesto rice. Stir to combine. Cover to keep warm.

3. Once the rice is cooked, re-heat the chicken in the microwave in a small dish. Once hot, add to the warm rice mixture. Taste for seasonings and add pepper (and salt, if necessary). Serve at once. Can be garnished with more parsley, toasted pine nuts, warmed roasted pepper strips, etc. Serves 1-2.


  1. This is my kind of dinner! I love these "hmmm, what's in the fridge that needs using up?" kind of dishes.

    I was wandering through my archives looking for recipes that I was certain I must have posted and was very surprised to see the volumes and volumes that I had posted on various things and yet not one on those particular recipes or dishes. Isn't it odd how some of the things we make all the time are left off the blog?

    (I am so envious that you are already weeding in your garden! I was looking out at our garden yesterday and noting that at last most of the snow has gone. But the garlic hasn't even sent up the tiniest point. Oh oh. Does that mean there's still more winter?)

  2. 46 plants I put out yesterday! Yes, I do love the quiet dream time in the garden and what better thing to dream than a kitchen re-do! Your dish is how I fix meals most often ;-)