Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rhubarb is in!

Bliss. Pulled, cut, and froze 12 cups worth this week. Made a blueberry rhubarb coffeecake for breakfast with the fresh crop. My husband said if he died by drowning in this mix, he'd be ok with it. It's pretty good. Here's the recipe:

Rhubarb Coffeecake

From Barb Celichowski (Thanks Mom!)

1 stick butter
1 1/2 c sugar

1 egg

1 c buttermilk

1 t salt

1 t soda

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

2 c rhubarb (or mix with other berries to equal 2 c quantity)

3/4 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

Mix all ingredients. Fold in rhubarb. Pour into 9x11. Sprinkle topping on. Bake 350˚ for 45-50 min.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Week 6 - Viva Italia (+ Fajitas)

Chicken Fajitas
TuesSalmon and Collard Greens
WedsLasagna (freeze 1/2)
FriRigatoni w/Sausage and Peas
AltsPizza (Luce!); Popple (Jody's recipe in comments a couple postings below)
I'm still pondering the results of last week's poll. Ye hearty poll-participants appear to be unanimously prep-chef AND clean-up crew in your households. Why is this? How can it be? Passion for more time in the kitchen? Fear that no one else will wash the spoons as well? Spouse convinced (told, even) that this is not their place? Fascinating. I would be a miserly bat wielding a rolling pin of bitterness. We all sort out how to deal with the hectic balance of parenting, working, and running a household, don't we? Happy cooking (and cleaning).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This is what cheesecake looks like after 4 hours in the oven.

Found a new recipe to try for my husband's birthday for Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake on Epicurious. I got a late start, going for groceries at 10:30PM. Went to 2 stores to get the ingredients I needed, then popped it in the oven at around 1AM. I asked my husband to set the alarm for an hour later. Something went amiss and we both woke up around 4:30 wondering if the other had gotten the cake out.

I think we were spared the hideous burning odor because it baked partially submerged in water. There was probably a good amount of time where the water was just evaporating off and things weren't starting on fire.

A bit of a scramble the next day and I came across a recipe from Magnolia Bakery that we used to enjoy in NYC. We'll try the cheesecake another day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Format is Everything

We made corn on the cob this week which usually goes over well with the kids. For some reason, my 3-year-old decided she did not want it on the cob. Very well. So I cut it off. This, unfortunately, also proved unacceptable. In a last-ditch attempt to make it somehow appealing, I offered "corn chips." I cut it from the cob, but cut deeper so the kernels stayed together in pieces she could pick up with her fingers. She loved this. The pictures show the progression (digression?). Anyone else have unusual food-prep preferences going on with kids? I'm thinking there could be a book behind this for any out-of-work food stylists out there. Maybe it's not even about being fancy, just having a cool name.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week 5-Catching Up

TuesDinner out (so far, I'm loving this week)
WedsGrilled brats and asparagus
Thurs1-pot spaghetti (BH&G recipe I made when first learning to cook.)
FriStir fry beef
AltsTomato quiche (will tackle on the weekend when I have more time); "Popple" with hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, cheese suggested by a reader. Will either experiment with what I remember of her description, or make a last-minute call to confirm what to do. Jody, if you're out there, leave the recipe in the comments so we can make it!
I think "stir fry" has appeared for 3 weeks running. I have yet to make it. We have a birthday this week so will enjoy a mid-week night out. We also have a rarity in our house after this weekend's cooking -- leftovers! Usually they're devoured at lunchtime, but the fridge needs emptying out. I'm getting a wide range of stories about how many of you all handle menu planning which I'll share later this week. For now, happy cooking.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Great, Easy From-Scratch Pizza Dough

My husband usually treats us to homemade pizza on weekends, but he was busy hauling dirt and wood chips this past Saturday, so I thought I'd try my hand. Not sure of what recipe to use, I looked in a reader's suggested cookbook: "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. The result was fantastic.

I was suspicious about the lack of kneading and 2t of sea salt, but both contributed to a wonderful crispy crust. I used a dough-hook on a mixing stand and it formed a ball just as described. So easy, I dare say it was fun. This will be my go-to recipe whenever I make the pizza -- the steps are simple so it's a good one for kids to help out with.

Mark Bittman Pizza Dough

Some good tips on the link as well about how to raise dough in the fridge over longer periods (if you want to make it in the AM, for example), or how to freeze it. Some things I had always wondered about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Week 4-Three meals "no silverware required"

MonSloppy joes (good one to double)
TuesRotisserie chicken ($6 every Tuesday at my local Whole Foods.)
WedsTomato quiche (recipe here: taste of home quiche)
ThursStir fry beef
FriOven fried chicken fingers (great recipe here: epicurious chicken fingers
I substitute Ital bread crumbs for the corn flakes and serve with honey. We all love these.)
AltsChip plate (like a taco on a bed of chips—easier for little kids to manage than a full shell/tortilla)
Easy enough, except for that quiche which I love, but takes 2 steps to cook (crust/inside). We'll see how the week shapes up. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mom's Day treat

I'm sure there are recommendations advising against posting photos of raw meat on one's blog, but aren't these skewers lovely? They're part of a very tasty dinner my husband made for me on Mother's Day this year. Mmm. They looked even better basted and grilled, but I was too busy eating to take pictures.

Monday, May 11, 2009

On the third day, dinner was ready.

Ever have one of those meals that just can't make it to the table? I made cabbage dolmates last week, but it took 3 days to get there.

Day 1: Cooked the cabbage leaves. Then my youngest woke early from a nap, and I knew I wouldn't be able to finish. So I put the leaves in the fridge.
Day 2: I mixed up the stuffing for the rolls (basically a meatloaf), and found out we were going out to dinner with visiting family members. Stuffing goes into the fridge. Hope those leaves are holding up...
Day 3: Rolled up the stuffing in the cabbage (leaves were fine, phew), made a mini-meatloaf with the extra for the freezer, mixed an avgolemono sauce for the top, and enjoyed a meal worth waiting for.

This is why I pursue 1-hour plus recipes once a week at most! It might take the whole week to get there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Week 3 - Pancakes in a pinch

MonSpaghetti (if making your own sauce, double it so you have some to freeze)
TuesOrange Chicken w/Sweet Potatoes (a great crock recipe panned in online reviews but eaten with gusto by my family
ThursStir fry chicken
FriSkewered pork tenderloin on the grill
Altsblueberry pancakes, hamburgers
Based on the blog-jamming number of responses to this week's poll, it appears that making breakfast is one of the more popular evening meal "quick fixes." I included it on the alternates list this week for a night when the household could use a happy surprise. Happy cooking.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crunchy Lemonade (i.e. A Call to the Doctor)

Occupying young kids while cooking is half the battle of completing any recipe as many of you know. I thought I'd found a way to reasonably entertain my 3-year-old by getting out a fancy and apparently delicate aperitif glass from which she could sip lemonade. I think she must have been trying to catch a small ice cube, and bit down on the glass. She ended up with a mouthful of broken glass. Yikes. Recipe Step 2: Call the pediatrician.

It was impossible to tell where all the glass ended up (swallowed? on the table?), but the doctor assured me that typically this type of thing passes without a problem. In case you're wondering, you look for fever or stomach pains within 3-4 days. It wasn't worth x-raying because the glass was clear and likely wouldn't show up. I don't remember what I made for dinner that night, but I will certainly remember my daughter's appetizer.