Picklesandcake


Dinosaur Chicken Nugget, Asparagus and Black Olive Pizza


I asked the girls on the way home Friday night what they wanted for dinner. Pizza was the overwhelming choice. When I asked them what they wanted on their pizza, a new Pickles and Cake feature was born.

“Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets!” Sadie blurted out.
“Olives! And Asparagus!” Lillie shouted.

I processed the request for a second and realized that enthusiasm always wins out.

“You imagine it and we will make it!”

Now where to find dinosaur chicken nuggets!


I ran out of time to make my own dough so I picked up some Flatout Wraps – nice and easy.

Popped them onto a baking sheet and laid down the sauce, nuggets, veggies and cheese.

Baked in an oven for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.


The crust was crispy and crunchy!


A quick slice and our new pizza was ready to eat. Sadie was starving and ate every bite.


The pizza was really tasty and the fun meter was pegged because they got to make their own imagined meal.


I asked Lillie what she thought of her new creation.

“Are you kidding?! This pizza is phenomulous!”

What?! Is that a combination of fabulous and phenomenal? Am I really that out of touch?

Lillie and her dinosaur friend enjoying dino chicken nugget pizza
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Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho Recipe
June 22, 2009, 9:29 pm
Filed under: chris, gourmet kids recipe, lillie, picklesandcake, recipe, sadie, sauter


It’s summertime in Florida which means hot soups are off the menu. Gazpacho is a traditional chilled raw-veggie soup from Spain with a tomato base. It’s like a refreshing liquid salad. I remember John Croatti occasionally making an amazing grilled vegetable gazpacho at the Berkeley Grille so I gave him a call to find out how it’s done. Grilling off a few veggies adds a complexity and heartiness to the soup that is worth trying.

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

3 ripe tomatoes, cut in half
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 6 pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 1/3″ strips (see photo)
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 average sized cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
3 cups V8 or tomato juice
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil


The first step is to brush the veggies on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place on a hot grill.


Grill for about 3 minutes on each side. You want the zucchini to still be a little firm in the middle. Drop veggies into an ice bath (large bowl filled with ice and water) for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the skin from tomatoes and peppers.


Pulse tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs in the food processor (the blender would work too) until finely minced but not pureed. 12 pulses should do it.


Finely dice peppers, cucumbers and zucchini by hand. Pour puree into large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. If it is too chunky, add a little extra tomato juice. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours – overnight if you can. The grilled veggie flavor was perfect 24 hours later.


Serve up with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little more cracked pepper.


Sadie quietly ate her whole cup of soup.


Lillie loved the gazpacho as well! Another winner!



Will They Eat It? Japanese Crab Snacks


Talk about a hardcore snack – these crunchy little whole crabs are coated with a savory soy glaze and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. As soon as I saw this unique snack from Japan, it jumped to the top of the “Will They Eat It?” list.


Yes, this is really a snack! Sadie was ready to go and could hardly wait for me to set up the shot.


Hmmmm? Crunchy crab snack? I am so ready!


Love this shot! Bye Mr. Crabs!


Lillie was a little more skeptical but said she loved them. She put on a good show. Check the video at the end for her Oscar-caliber performance.


Check out the video! Sadie crunching the crab is so funny and Lillie’s hesitant praise is dead on. I ate one and could barely get it down. The intense and concentrated seafood flavor was over the top.



Lillie Loves Corn
April 28, 2009, 9:13 pm
Filed under: corn, epcot, lillie, pickles and cake, sauter
corn power!

Finally tall enough for Soarin’ and Test Track, Lillie was itching to go back to Epcot without Sadie to hit up some new rides. The two of us arrived during their Garden and Flower Festival on a late afternoon.


The weather was perfect and she loved both rides. They had some great playgrounds set up to wear her out.


We took a corn break in the park and then headed home as the sun was setting. Perfect afternoon with my little buddy.



Fresh-Sauced Gemelli with Artichoke, Feta and Grilled Chicken


I’m a relatively new convert to the fresh sauce revolution and I still can’t believe how easy it is to make. Fresh ingredients never cooked that come together from the heat of the pasta. Fresh flavor at its best. I’ve tried different variations several times including one of my first Pickles and Cake recipe postings. This time around, I was inspired by a batch of beautiful yellow tomatoes and a craving for artichokes. Some grilled chicken on top infused with some complimentary flavors will push this dish over the edge.


The first step is to marinate the chicken. I marinated about a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the following:

Mediterranean Marinade

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grape seed or canola oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp season salt (I used the Tuscan Chicken grinder below)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley – rough chopped


Combine all ingredients in ziplock bag and marinate in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Grill off the chicken on high heat and let it rest. Slice thin just before plating.

(why didn’t I take any photos of the chicken on the grill?!)

Fresh “No-Cook” Tomato Sauce with Artichoke Hearts and Feta

2 Tbsp spring onion
2 Cups deseeded, chopped tomato
1/2 Cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped Feta

The girls will eat anything I make, as long as I involve them in the cooking experience.


The first step is to pick some fresh herbs. Lillie is a pro at carefully plucking off the basil leaves.


I set Lillie up to deseed the tomatoes. Its important to pull all the seeds and the jelly stuff out of the locule chambers.


She does a great job – this is what they look like once they are cleaned out and cleaned up…


While she was deseeding the golden beauties, I opened a can of baby artichoke hearts.


Then I rolled up an herb ball for easy cutting.


A quick chop to all and we are one step closer.


I chop chop the tomatoes and and throw everything in a bowl.


A quick stir and the sauce is ready to go. Well, ready to sit anyway. It needs to sit on the counter for a few hours for all the flavors to meld.


Boil your favorite stubby pasta and transfer to individual bowls just as the pasta is al dente. I generally use a multigrain penne but I’m a sucker for Barilla’s gemelli and could care less about the extra carbs with a fresh, healthy meal like this. Gemelli is dense and perfect for this type of sauce.


Toss pasta with the sauce. Once the sauce hits the hot pasta the herbs wilt and the garlic mellows. Top with sliced chicken and some feta. Done!

Sadie was starving and finished this entire bowl!


Lillie wolfed down the whole bowl too.


It was a perfect night outside so we set up a little table by the pool.


This was probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in a while. The smokiness of the grilled chicken and the full savory flavor of the fresh sauce – the accent of the feta and texture of the gemelli. Every taste bud was smiling and the kids loved it all.



Will They Eat It? Sardines!
March 12, 2009, 4:18 pm
Filed under: lillie, pickles and cake, sadie, sauter, will they eat it?


A few months ago Lillie and I were watching a documentary where dolphins circle a school of sardines and churn them into a giant “bait ball” that attracts birds, sharks and just about anybody else in the area that has a hankering for some sardines…like my children. I actually found the moment of the show that sparked her interest…

Lillie: (rubbing belly and smiling) Mmmmm! I love sardines!
Me: (laughing out loud) You do? Have you ever tried a sardine?
Lillie: Mmm hmm! I love sardines…
Me: Really?
Lillie: Yes!
Me: If I bought some sardines, would you eat them?
Lillie: Yes!!!!


Time for another “Will She Eat it?” Challenge!


And so I picked up some sardines, but not just any sardines…”Mediterranean-style” sardines with olive oil, garlic, red pepper and black olive….


And suddenly even I was interested in trying these sardines. I remember eating them on crackers as a snack growing up ALL THE TIME until one day I took a bite, but not all the way through. I pulled back and saw a tiny little skeleton on my cracker! Last sardine in 25 years!


So now it is the moment of truth! Will they eat it? They are both so excited and ready to go even after seeing the contents of the tin…


Lillie eats her sardine in two bites and gives it a big thumbs up.


Sadie has thrown her picky ways behind her and was all in!


She was actually the first to ask for seconds!


I tried them myself and they were actually pretty delicious. I chewed it quick. My first thought was, “this would be great whipped into a Caesar dressing.”




Lillie and Sadie love Mussels!
March 6, 2009, 4:59 am
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, lillie, mussels, pickles and cake, recipe, sadie


Lillie teaches us how to properly use a mussel shell to pull out the next mussel.