It's not very productive. Well, except the progress of watching a newborn baby fill out and grow into her little baby fat rolls, right before my eyes (she gained a whole pound!). That counts for a lot. And I'm getting really sad about leaving and missing her day-to-day development, not to mention her squishy cheeks and soft, downy hair... okay, obviously I am in love with my baby niece.
It's slightly baffling, though, isn't it, how one can accomplish almost nothing when a little one demands so much attention? I always think that if I had more time at home, I would start checking things off my to-do list left and right (this list includes awesome things like: 1. learn to quilt; 2. build furniture by hand; 3. go foraging for mushrooms; 4. go fishing and catch all my own fish). Turns out all of those things (particularly as that is only a very very abbreviated list) would be a little over-ambitious with a baby around. Makes me thing about whether I'm going to just keep on with my rock star auntie ways or if I'll eventually cross over into the parenting world... good thing I have no intentions of making that decision just yet! I still have a few years before the biological clock starts its foreboding ticking, right??
In the meantime, I will parachute in and fill my family's and friends' refrigerators with delicious homemade meals. And this one has been one of our favorites these last couple of weeks.
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Summer Garden Vegetables
This is another one of those "method" recipes - I don't give exact amounts, because it depends on your preferences. added tons and tons of tomatoes (can never get too much of them in the summer!), and a good handful of fresh, chopped lemon verbena. I also happened to have a yellow squash on hand, which was delicious, but you could also add zucchini or really any vegetables from the garden.
3-4 servings angel hair pasta
2-3 cloves of garlic
squeeze of lemon
2-3 Tbsp heavy cream
fresh cherry tomatoes - as many as you want! (I usually cut them in half)
1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 yellow squash or zucchini, cubed
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
few grinds of black pepper
fresh herbs of your choice - e.g. lemon verbena, basil, coriander, etc.
1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
2. Cube the squash and put into a ziplock bag. Pour in a glug of olive oil, the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Shake up to coat the squash.
3. Spread the squash out on a baking tray so that it is in a single layer. Drop the garlic coves (still in the paper skins) in a corner of the tray, and roast it all until the parmesan has browned and the squash is tender. It should take about 30 minutes.
4. Remove the tray from the oven. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into a small bowl, and mash with the avocado, the cream, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
5. Heat a pot of salted water on the stove. When the water is boiling, cook the angel hair pasta in the boiling water on the stove for approximately 3 minutes (follow the package instructions- but you want it to be al dente). Drain the pasta and dump it into a big serving bowl.
6. Mix the pasta with the avocado cream sauce. Mix in the parmesan-crusted squash, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh herbs. Sprinkle with a bit of extra salt and pepper if needed.
7. Serve at room temperature.