What’s Cooking?

My kids have become big fans of The Cooking Channel.  Which is funny and ironic since they don’t like any food that doesn’t have Goldfish crackers or cheese as the main ingredient.  But I can see the appeal of watching somebody skillfully create a meal from a mess of seemingly random ingredients.  I myself like the idea of liking to cook, but the actual cooking?  Not so much.  A passel of picky kids has pretty much killed any joy I might have once found in the kitchen.

Nevertheless, as I said, it seems that The Cooking Channel has lately replaced Noggin in our house, and there is inspiration to be found!  Last night Michael and I decided to attempt a meal we saw on Cooking For Real.

To prime us for our cooking adventure, we started out with Cherry Bombs:


  • 2 limes, cut into 8 wedges and halved
  • 4 to 5 sprigs mint, leaves only
  • 2 cups black cherry juice
  • 8 ounces London dry gin
  • 1 cup seltzer


Muddle lime and mint leaves in a shaker or serving pitcher (if the pitcher is sturdy enough). Add cherry juice, gin, and seltzer and stir to incorporate. Serve over ice-filled glasses.


We actually couldn’t find black cherry juice at the store, so we tried one using black cherry soda instead (eliminating the seltzer), and the other with pomegranate/cherry juice (with seltzer).  I liked the one with the pom/cherry juice better.

The Main meal was Shrimp With Garlic Pesto Pasta:


  • 15 garlic cloves, peeled (about 1 head)
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus extra for tomatoes
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place garlic cloves in a single layer in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup olive oil to cover cloves, cover with foil, and bake 45 minutes, until golden brown and fork-tender. Meanwhile, in another baking dish, toss tomatoes with enough oil to coat. Lightly season with salt and pepper and roast at same temperature until tomatoes blister, about 25 minutes.

Strain garlic cloves and set aside in a small bowl, reserving infused oil separately. In a blender, add the roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, Parmesan, and basil. Pulse until combined. While machine is running, drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil until pesto comes together. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Remove to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and reserve.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and saute until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through.

In a large bowl add the linguine and some of the pesto. Toss to coat and top with the shrimp. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve.

Note: There will be leftover pesto.

Ummm . . .

Twinkle grabbed a dropped shrimp.  Lucky dog.

It was absolutely delicious!  I LOVE a good pesto, but had never experienced a tomato -based pesto.  Succulent!  And we have plenty left over to make another meal of it – yay!

I want to give special thanks to my husband for helping me with this project by doing all the cooking. It was hard work sipping my cocktail and taking all the photos!

6 Comments on “What’s Cooking?”

  1. Donna
    February 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Totally YUMMMMMMO!

  2. Crittle
    February 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Did the kids like it?

    • Lisa
      February 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      The kids all liked the pasta! Only Daisy and Kevin liked the shrimp. All in all, though, I’d call it a hit!

  3. Heather
    February 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    Looks so delicious!!!

  4. Stacey
    February 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I love you for admitting publicly that you make a drink before starting dinner! It’s always a more pleasant task with a glass in hand. That Cherry Bomb sounds delicious. So does the pasta, and shrimp is one of the few animals that we will eat. I might give it a try. Be honest, how long did it take to cook?

    • Lisa
      February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

      Well, we were going at a leisurely pace, and I’d say it took an hour to an hour and a half. I’m sure it can be made quicker. The pesto takes the longest. Drinking while you cook slows things down, but sure makes it more fun 😉

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