We haven’t been able to get it together enough to work on actual preschool activities, but there are always opportunities to learn around here. Lately, we have been learning in the kitchen together. We have tried some new recipes and challenged G’s fine motor skills while working on following instructions. The kitchen is always a great place for these (and other) skills to be honed. And the results are almost always yummy!
I got a great deal at the grocery on a package of organic basil and I immediately thought of making pesto with G. The process is so easy and I just knew she would love using the food processor.
I set up all the ingredients while she was napping and when she got up and had her hands washed, we got to work.
First, we used our fine motor skills for tearing the leaves of the basil off of the stems. I was pleasantly surprised that her tearing skills have greatly improved. She enjoyed pulling the leaves and laying them in a pile.
Then, we transferred the leaves to the food processor bowl. We had a quick conversation about dropping them into the bowl because there was a blade at the bottom that was very sharp (safety first).
Once the leaves were all torn and in the bowl, I put the lid on and let G push the “pulse” button until we reached a desired consistency. We talked about the spinning and the cutting going on inside this amazing machine! I also talked to her about the lid needing to be on and secure before the processor worked.
Then we added the pecans, Parmesan, and freshly cracked pepper. I put the lid back on and secured it. G could hardly wait to push the button again. This time as she pushed the button, I poured extra-virgin olive oil into the feed tube and we watched our basil pesto come together, like magic!
G was so proud of the finished pesto and obviously loved working with the small kitchen appliance. I am already thinking of lots of things we can make together this way. It is such a great introduction to working in the kitchen for toddlers (as long as there is close supervision).
We ended up using part of our basil pesto in some chicken breasts I flattened for dinner. We used more of it as a sauce for the homemade gnocchi we had in the freezer for lunch the next day. If you are making it and not using all of it immediately, remember to cover it with a layer of olive oil, to reduce browning (even if you are freezing it). Here’s our thrown together recipe for basil pesto:
Note: all quantities approximate and to taste
1 lg pkg. basil (stems removed)
1/2 c. pecans
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1-2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1/2-3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil.
- Add basil leaves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until leaves are roughly chopped.
- Add pecans, Parmesan, and pepper to the bowl and pulse until minced.
- As you pulse the last few pulses, stream in olive oil to the bowl through the feed tube. The mixture will come together and moisten.
To store: pour into a storage container and cover the top with a layer of olive oil to prevent browning.