Unconventional Birthday Treats
Do you like birthdays? I like birthdays. Wouldn’t you want a cake for your birthday? I would like cake for my birthday. This all seems very logical, right? Well, D’s birthday was the other day. He doesn’t like birthdays and he refused to have cake (something about watching his waistline, yada yada yada). I eventually wore him down and we went out for ice cream. For your reference, hand-dipped dulce de leche topped with soft-served vanilla that you swirl together once they get melty make an excellent combo.
But there was no cake.
So, instead I wished him happy birthday with colorful pesto on toast. At first thought, it seemed rather dull (colorful yes, but “dull” in the sense that cake would be so much nicer). But once I got going, the pesto was rather festive in its own right. Thanks to the chartreuse shade of the sorrel, this pesto is a brighter hue than the traditional darker basil version. The flavor is also brighter, but not too too tangy thanks to the mellowing affects of the almonds. In the end, birthday wishes were happily conveyed via pesto on toast.
As for the birthday boy, he’s in the doghouse (although I don’t think he knows that) for eating birthday cake after all…at the request of his grandmother. Sure, refuse me the indulgence of making a yummy-from-scratch-cake but let your grandmother guilt you into a stryofoam slice from the grocery store. I’m just bitter because what I really wanted was an excuse to bake. As delightful as the final pesto product was, it just wasn’t the same as cake.
Sorrel Almond Pesto with Tomato on Toast
Adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden Cookbook
1 c. loosely packed roughly chopped basil
2 c. loosely packed roughly chopped sorrel
1/3 c. slivered almonds
3/4 c. freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
4 or 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
The Rest of It
1 or 2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
parmesan cheese shavings
Place all pesto ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender. Process until everything is fairly well chopped. Begin adding oil slowly while still processing. When a fairly smooth paste is formed, stop processing and taste. Add more salt or pepper as needed and process one final time. Store pesto in air tight container for up to a week.
Preheat oven to 400 F and place baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and place in oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, let cool, and spread pesto on each slice. Top with a slice of tomato and a cheese shaving.
(makes appetizer portions for 6-8 people or enough pesto for a generous dish of pasta)