Saturday, May 31, 2008

Soup for the weary scholar

It's the final 3 days before school ends and boy, are the kids feeling it. Every year they seem to get sick right when the school year is almost over - I guess it's a combination of excitement and being run down.

Poor Sabrina, she had such a bad day at school - her throat has been sore for a few days - but we chalked it up to allergies. We have had so much wind the past few days you can feel the dust in your hair by the end of the day. Yuck. So when we picked them up yesterday, Sabrina could barely talk. We took her to the doctor, and it's not strep, but her throat is inflamed and raw. Alexander suggested a trip to Golden Spoon to make her feel better, but when she turned that down, I knew we were in trouble.

So in an effort to make her feel better, I threw together Tortellini En Brodo - or tortellini in broth.

1 qt box chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups frozen cheese tortellini

Pour broth into medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add tortellini and boil for 7 minutes, or until tortellini are cooked. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, pinch of parsley, and a little parmesan cheese. Serve with an extra hug.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Our first week!

Welcome to our first week of the Barefoot Bloggers. We have been so excited to get this post up!

First, we'd like to thank Tara from Smells Like Home for allowing us into the super-cool event. She seemed excited that we wanted to join - we really like Ina Garten's recipes since she doesn't make anything strange or unusual.

Our first recipe for this event was Herb Baked Eggs. Now, we usually eat eggs as an omelette - so this was something totally new.

Sabrina here: I wasn't sure about this, but my mom said, if you don't try you'll never know. She says that a lot.

Alexander here: I like to try new things so this should be interesting.

Now Alexander made himself scarce that day (Guitar Hero 3 anyone?) so I (Sabrina) made the eggs with my mom. She just sat with the camera while I did all the work!! Aren't there laws against that?

So first, I read the instructions and laid out the ingredients.

Then, I measured out the herbs - we didn't have fresh, so I used dried.

I crushed up the rosemary so it wouldn't stick you like a pine needle.

I put the butter and milk in the ramekins. My mom said these wouldn't crack under the broiler.
She usually makes creme brulee with these. Hey Mom, why haven't you made creme brulee lately?
Next I cracked the eggs into the hot ramekins. Oh, I forgot, I preheated these under the broiler to melt the butter.
Then I sprinkled the herbs on top of the eggs. I didn't realize that I wasn't supposed to use all of it - well, they'll be extra herb-ish. That's a word I just made up. Do you like it?

This is how I presented it to my dad - with rye bread - his favorite!

Do you think he liked it?

I think I'll make this for him for Father's Day - he'd really like it!

Well, thanks for visiting our blog - the next recipe up for Barefoot Bloggers will be Pasta, Pesto and Peas. Three p's - ha ha ha ha!!

Coming up tomorrow -

Don't forget to check back tomorrow when we post our first round with the "Barefoot Bloggers"!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers

The kids have joined a new blogging group called the Barefoot Bloggers, and every two weeks a different member of the group selects one of Ina Garten's recipes for everyone to make. They are really excited and have already emailed Tara with their selection.

Sabrina has already completed this weeks recipe so be sure to check back on Thursday to see how it turned out! (Hint, it came out so well her father asked her to make it again!!)

More of Sabrina's Sunday cooking

Last night, Sabrina was in charge of the potatoes for dinner. She decided to make regular mashed potatoes but added horseradish to spice things up a bit, and put the potatoes into a pie pan to make a "pie" of sorts, but really, she just likes the crispy crust on the top!

So first, she peeled the potatoes - russets work best. We learned the hard way not to put the potato peels down the disposal - so she peeled them onto a paper towel!

Then, she cut them into medium sized chunks - after they were cut she put them in the saucepan filled with water so the potatoes wouldn't turn brown.

Cook the potatoes until tender - it took about 25 minutes. After they are cooked, drain the water, keeping the potatoes in the pot, and return them to the cooktop, stirring over medium low heat, the help "dry out" some of the water so the potatoes aren't mushy.

Now pour the potatoes into a large bowl and start mashing. At this point, we added 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup of milk, a pinch of salt, black pepper, 3 tablespoons of sour cream and 2 teaspoons horseradish. Keep mashing until you get the desired consistency. We like ours chunky so she didn't get too crazy with the mashing.

She sprayed a 9" pie pan with Pam, and spread the potatoes into the dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.

If you look closely into the middle, you can see the heart-shaped design she made!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sabrina's Sunday Meatballs

Today, it's Sabrina's turn to cook. She and her father got an idea to make meatballs - and these are David's adaptation of Rachael Ray's ricotta cheese meatballs.

First, she grated the parmesan cheese
Then, chopped up the garlic with a little help from the mini-prep:

David helped her blend everything together - I can't show you that picture - it was a little messy.

Let the rolling begin!!
Ready to go into the oven -

Great job, Sabrina - I can't wait to try one!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Alexander's waffles

Since it's Saturday (yeah!!), there's always more time for breakfast. So when Alexander came downstairs early and announced he was ready to eat, I told him he could be in charge of his breakfast destiny. "Waffles today!", he announced.

So I helped him set up the waffle iron, and here he is in action - today we are using boxed Aunt Jemina mix, since I wanted to keep things simple.

First he learned how to properly measure out the mix -

Then add the water -

And 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil -

Stir gently - so it doesn't go flying all over the counter - and yes, that happened!!

Ladle into your waffle iron -

So he didn't get quite enough batter the first time, but that's ok - it looks like a dinosaur came and took a bite out of it!!

And enjoy! Good job, Alexander!!

Come back later, Alexander says he wants to make crumb cake!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sabrina's cooking tonight

Since the temperatures have been well over 100 degrees the past few days, we have been doing an extraordinary amount of barbecuing. The kids haven't had a chance to make too many things, but tonight Sabrina made our secret family recipe for baked beans. Her grandmother has been making these beans for at least 20 years - and to my knowledge it is one of those recipes that isn't written down, just made up as you go along. So follow along with Sabrina:

First, assemble your ingredients - 1 large can beans, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, spicy brown mustard and onion. The mustard didn't want to get into the picture.

First, open the beans and pour them into a medium size bowl.

Next, chop your onion. This onion was very large, so she used about 1/4 of it. Chop the onion into small pieces. You don't want to bite into a large chunk of onion!

Put the onion in the bowl with the beans.

Then put one squirt of mustard into the bowl.

Now 2 squirt of barbecue sauce.

Then 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a greased pan. Sabrina sprayed the inside of a large loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sabrina's Rice Krispie Treats

Yay! Sabrina is making Rice Krispie Treats. Her grandfather dropped several hints that he would like them, and since they are coming over tonight, she thought it would be nice to surprise him with a batch!

She gathered her ingredients and got started. First step, grease a 9x13 pan so you can get your treats out without a sticky mess:

Next, measure out your Rice Krispies cereal. 8 and 1/2 cups of cereal for this batch. Make sure you put the cereal in a large enough bowl - you need plenty of room.

Now, measure out 1/4 cup of butter and one 10.5 ounce bag of mini marshmallows.

Microwave the butter and marshmallows for 1 minute on high. Stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds until the marshmallows are just about melted. Stir well until you have a smooth mixture. Be careful, it is hot.

Now, pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal and start mixing. Work quickly because the mixture is very sticky and once it cools down you won't be able to mix it.

Once everything is well mixed, pour the mixture into your greased pan, and gently smooth it down. Don't be too rough, unless you like smashed rice krispies

Ta-da! Now, set the pan aside to cool completely, then cut into squares. We are going to dip half of the squares into chocolate to see how they come out. We'll post pictures of those later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sabrina's Artwork

Sabrina really wants to be an artist when she gets older. I told her she already is one! She's been drawing her whole life and she creates all kinds of cute characters - here is one that she made for me to put above my desk. Every time I look up I see it and it makes me smile!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Alexander makes a grilled cheese sandwich

Since yesterday was Mother's Day, Alexander decided that he would make his own lunch so I could relax. Relax while watching him cook? I think not.

However, he agreed to let me photograph him every step of the way (disguising the fact that I was supervising).

Here is Alexander making his delicious grilled cheese:

First step is to melt the butter in the pan.
Then place the bread into the hot butter.
Then place the cheese on the bread - two slices of American - he hasn't graduated from the school of better cheese yet.
Press down gently to help the two slices of bread stick together.Cook until both sides are toasty brown. Then remove the sandwich to a cutting board and cut into whatever shapes you like. Alexander chose squares.

The last step is the most important - enjoy your lunch!
Coming up next time - Alexander will show us how he makes his cappuccinos!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sabrina's baking bread!

We found this amazing bread recipe in the current Williams Sonoma catalog. It's what they are calling "no-knead" bread - you mix the dough and leave it to rise for 12-18 hours. Sounds like something even a child could do! And thats exactly what I told Sabrina - and she couldn't wait to get going. She gathered her ingredients, chopped her herbs, and had the dough ready in no time at all.

The dough, which calls for very little yeast, was full of lemon zest and rosemary. I can think of so many things to add to it, but we kept it simple this time.

It's so different from any bread recipe you've ever tried. The dough is so soft and sticky, I kept thinking we should add more flour.
Now since she was in school when the bread finished rising, all I had to do was smooth it into a ball, coat it with flour, and leave it for another 2 hours.
Finally, it was time to bake. I preheated the oven, placed the dough into the pan, and set the timer.
Checking the dough at the halfway mark.

Wow, baked to perfection. The smell from the lemon zest and rosemary was intoxicating. I couldn't wait to show her when she got home from school.
Now there's only one thing left - to eat it!