Archive for November, 2010

For Those Wondering….Glass Jar Find

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I’ve received a few calls and email regarding the jar on the front cover of the Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Baby Cookbook.  First, let me tell you I did the recipes only for the book and did not write the text, nor take the photos.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend the photo shoot either so when people kept telling me they liked the baby food jar on the cover and where could they get one, I was baffled.

Recently while dining at a new restaurant in San Francisco, Bar Agricole, I saw a very close resemblance to the jar on the cover.  The waiter presented our check in the jar and I turned it over to see a strawberry and name “weck” on the bottom.  When I got home I googled weck and found this site.  So if you’re interested in canning or just getting neat little glass jars for storing small items or feeding babies, check them out.  (And please don’t call me about the jars on a Sunday night at 11 p.m. – really it happened)

On a more serious and confusing note, Williams-Sonoma sold the rights of this book (I had no say) to Fireside Publishing and they rereleased with a new cover.  However the recipes and text is exactly the same.  I know, I know.  Just do not buy both.

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Out of the Garden Pancakes…The Greener Latke?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

 

I’ve been wanting to take some photos of my Out of the Garden Pancakes, so I made them for dinner for meatless Monday this week.  When making them I was reminded of latkes and that Hannukah is coming up so soon this year.  My kids even said “These look like green latkes.”  I think these could be another addition to your Hannukah table and would go nicely with the usual potato latkes if you’re looking for a twist and some color.

Out of the Garden Pancakes

from The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler page 115

Children who “don’t eat vegetables” will eat these pancakes.  They are a filling entrée, a   hearty snack or a side dish for grilled meats.

Makes about 10, (4 inch) pancakes

1 cup organic broccoli or broccoli florets

12 organic asparagus spears

1 cup (6 ounces) sliced organic brown mushrooms

¼ cup chopped organic onion

1 large garlic clove, minced

¼ cup expeller pressed canola oil

2/3 cup organic whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon fresh dill weed

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 large cage free, organic egg

¼ cup organic milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place broccoli and asparagus in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with about 1 to 2 inches of lightly boiling water.  Do not let water touch vegetables.  Cover and steam vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. 

Put steamed broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off to chop, or chop by hand.  Be careful not to puree.  Transfer chopped ingredients into a large bowl and stir in oil, flour, dill and salt.  Add the egg and milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. 

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Drop batter by ¼ cups into the skillet and cook until firm on bottom, about 2 minutes.  Turn the pancakes with a spatula and sprinkle cooked side with cheddar cheese, if desired.  Cook other side until golden, about 1minute.

TIP

Adult Treats.  This recipe can become adult hors d’oeuvres by dropping batter by tablespoonful for bite size treats.  Top these pancakes with a spoonful of baby’s left-over apple puree or a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

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This Year’s Thanksgiving Challenge….The Flu

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

So my challenge last year was the vegan menu.  However if you’ll recall (see last year’s post) I was pleasantly surprised with all the dishes and everyone – vegan and carnivore – seemed full and happy.

This year’s challenge is that it’s only a few days before the big turkey day and my son has the stomach flu.  Poor kid.  I got a touch of it last night, but nothing like he has.  His grandparents have already bowed out of coming for the holiday.  I certainly understand.  Who wants to come to a potentially guarantined household?  And that’s the problem for me too.  The wondering who else may be sick on Thanksgiving?  Will I get worse?  What about my husband and daughter?

Being that I try to make dishes ahead, I already have cranberry sauce made, as well as a tart crust.  I opted out of the lackluster pumpkin pudding (see previous post about test) for a pumpkin ginger tart instead.  At least we have something, right?  I could put the cranberry in the pie tart and call it a cranberry tart.  I feel like everyone remembers the sweet stuff anyway.  How bad could that be? 

I’m thinking positively and today I picked up my heirloom turkey.  It was already ordered, so I really didn’t have much of a choice.  Because our group is so small this year (and getting smaller), I decided I’m going to try brining the bird.  I feel like I’m the only person to have never brined a turkey.  I’m feeling confident because it’s not a 15 pounder.  I’m not going to worry about making space and the bag leaking all over my fridge, since I’ll be able to get my petit 9 pounder in a large stockpot.

At the very least the turkey will come in handy for turkey noodle soup if we all get sick.  Here’s crossing my fingers our planned menu goes somewhat as planned.  But if it doesn’t happen, we’ll do it another night. 

Here’s our favorite brussels sprouts recipe for Thanksgiving or the rest of the year.

Leaf Us Alone Brussels Sprouts

(pg. 205, Petit Appetit: Eat Drink and Be Merry)

Although they are one of my favorites, I realize Brussels sprouts are not welcome by many. I think they get a bad rap because they are usually boiled, bland, and still rock hard in the center. Peeling the leaves and discarding the center core, makes for an entirely different taste and texture. And yes, you and your kids may even have a new green favorite. Note this takes time and patience, but little hands make great peelers.

Makes 6 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

Cut off bottom stem or core of each sprout. Carefully peel away the leaves until it becomes too hard to peel. Cut off bottom core again and peel more layers. Continue cutting and peeling until it is too difficult to peel apart.

Place leaves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and stir until all leaves are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again.

Spread leaves onto prepared baking pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until leaves are cooked and start to crisp with golden edges.

Kids Korner

I brought these to the table to peel while my children were having a snack. It must have looked interesting as both my four year old and 18 month old starting peeling, too. I told them they were Brussels Buddies. My son just kept telling his dad “We’re only eating the skins.”

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May The Force Be With You – Star Wars Cookies

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Check out these out of this galaxy Star Wars aprons my friend gave the kids.  At first I think my friend (die hard Star Wars fan) and I were more excited than the kids.  Did I mention she gave me Star Wars cookie cutters?  (While I like Star Wars, I’m a bit of a cookie cutter addict – I have over 100).  And there was a debate of which Fett (Boba or Jango) was in the set.  My son loves Star Wars and the whole family even dressed up for Halloween in the theme.  But I think he didn’t get excited by the apron and cutters at first, because they weren’t action figures or legos.  

However, once the dough was made…we all got into character.   We were creating all kinds of character favorites and oracticing our Yoda and Vader voices to get in the spirit.  I was a bit leary of the success of the cookie cutters before trying them, because of the detail and spring pull, however they worked great and are simple to use.  You don’t have to press super hard, which made my 4 year old excited.  I am especially fond of Yoda.  Because of all the detail you can make any simple sugar cookie dough and not even worry about frosting or decoration.  Although maybe we’ll try that next time.

In case you’re wondering and thinking of Christmas gifts the aprons and cutters are  from Williams-Sonoma.  Thanks Janelle! (we owe you some finished cookies)

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That’s a Wrap – Another Reason to Avoid Fast Food

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

We already know we shouldn’t eat fast food because of the low quality ingredients, high fat and salt content, and it’s support of factory farming.  However no one probably thought much about the wrapper that’s around the food …until now.

A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows that greaseproof papers, or PAPs, break down into PFCAs: carcinogens that are prone to build up and remain in the body. The most notorious of this class of chemical is PFOA, the ingredient in nonstick cookware. 
Fast food is not the only culprit for greaseproof papers.  These are also found in popcorn bags and other supermarket processed foods that are meant to be heated in the microwave. 

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=76745#ixzz152S4T57l

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I Heart Pumpkins with Pumpkin Pudding Recipe

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

I love pumpkins.  They signify fall to me, and Halloween is just the beginning.  I love their shapes, their colors (my favorite color is of course orange), and their tastes… Really everything from butter to muffins to breads to pancakes to pies to ice cream (I can go on and on).  I just can’t get enough.  Luckily you can buy canned pumpkin year round.  If you can’t in your area, now is the perfect time to stock up.

Here’s some photos from this year’s trip to the pumpkin patch.  We go to the same one every year (Peter’s Patch at the Springhill Jersey Cheese Co.), so I won’t bore you with the same blog (read last year’s).  However we experience it new every year as we share it with someone different each year.  This year with friends with kids.  It was such fun to see the kids all having full together:  milking cows, digging potatoes, petting donkeys, choosing pumkpins and racing up hay bales.  Here are a few favorite photos from the day.

 

I found this amazing looking recipe for pumpkin pudding from one of the Top Chef Dessert Judges on the Daily Candy website.  I’m hoping to recipe test it for something different for this year’s Thanksgiving table.  If you try it before me, let me know how it goes.

Dannielle’s Pumpkin Pudding
 

Serves four
 

Ingredients
 

1 envelope gelatin
¼ c. water
3 eggs, separated

½ c. milk

¾ c. brown sugar

1 15-oz. can of pumpkin

1½ tsp. pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. cream of tartar (optional)

1/3 c. sugar

1. Dissolve gelatin in water and set aside.

2. Combine egg yolks, milk, brown sugar, and pumpkin in saucepan, stir well, and cook over

medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in spice and vanilla, and then add gelatin mixture.

4. With handheld or stand mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form

(about four minutes). Slowly add white sugar and fold into the pumpkin mixture.

5. Divide among teacups, cute little bowls, or carved-out mini pumpkins, and refrigerate until

set.

6. Garnish with fresh whipped cream.

*NOTE* November 23rd Update – DISSAPPOINTING PUDDING

I made the pudding and while my family enjoyed it, I did not.  It had a texture that I didn’t care for.  Not like a creamy pudding at all – more like pumpkin pie filling.  I didn;t feel it was special enough for the big day.  Please note it makes much more than the recipe stated “4 servings”.  It filled 8 parfait glasses!

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