Monday, October 27, 2014

In the kitchen: family

I don't know what it is - perhaps it's the weather cooling down and the coming of the rain - perhaps it's the loneliness that comes from the lack of adult interaction for long stretches of the day.... perhaps it's the extra text messages that have been flooding my phone of my parents sending me pictures of their vacation on the east coast... whatever it is - it has me missing my parents and sister almost to the point of pain. 

As Liam grows day by day, my heart hurts so much knowing that he is changing so much in between visits. His mile stones - like finally being able to swat at items in front of him, or being able to grip - his favorite being our shirts as we hold him, or the way he smiles and coos and makes your heart swell with a love so dense it's almost palatable. All of these things - they are missing it... and I am missing them. 

I have this habit of using cooking as a way of helping me to bridge the distance gap. I didn't grow up in a home with professional cooks, but I did grow up in a home where there was always cooking. It seemed like we tended to bond over food. The process of choosing the menu, the prepping, and the cooking, and the eating... ahhh... yes the eating. Cooking and baking. Family dinners and Saturday morning family breakfasts. Whenever we get together we are always cooking together. 

Whenever my parents come to visit us they always bring their own ingredients. Things that they know they can't find here - or just wanting to stock up the house so that we don't have to make the hour drive into Kona to buy proteins or other such ingredients.  This last visit they brought coolers full of proteins, homemade sauces, and lovely baked goods. Ross and I had been working for weeks to make sure that the freezer and fridge was empty for this vast bounty! 

Getting to the picture of the pasta above ~  My dad is a wonderful gardener. He has these hands that are able to make things thrive. Plants. Food. Children. Grandchildren. They all grow under his loving and gentle spirit. Well - this last trip he brought me two jars of his homemade pesto. He harvested sweet basil from his garden and made jars of this wonderful goodness to give to me and some of the other family that we have here. Gifts of homemade pesto and banana bread. I've learned the way of giving handmade and homemade gifts to family and friends from him. It is such a rich and wonderful way to express love. I hope to pass this onto Liam when he is older. 

I have a point - I promise. This morning I woke up missing my dad - so I cooked with his homemade pesto. A simple pasta dish, but it made me smile because I was nourishing my body with the ingredients that he made for me.  It was like I was home in San Diego again - eating at the kitchen table with all of their voices around me. Laughing and telling stories in both English and Tagalog.  Sigh. Oh how I miss them. 

I wanted to leave you with the recipe of the pasta that I started my day - me week with. A simple one, but one filled with memory and love. 


Asparagus pesto pasta 

3/4 cup asparagus chopped to bite size 
4 chopped garlic cloves 
2 Tbsps olive oil 
2 cups cooked pasta
~ 3 Tbsps pesto (adjustable amount depending on preference) 
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add garlic to infuse oil with garlic flavoring. 

Add asparagus and sauté for a minute. Then add a bit of water and cover to cook. After a couple of minutes of steaming, add pasta and pesto. Stir till combined. Add a little salt (remember the cheese is salty) and pepper. Top with grated parmesan. 

Simple but delicious! I like serving this with a side of baked salmon. Yum! A good variation of this pasta is to use zucchini instead of asparagus.    

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