Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gourmet Lemonade Party

I'm so having one of these next year when we Arizonans have lemons coming out of our ears...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Asher and Luke's Favorite Dishes

I'm going to Europe on Friday and usually, I freeze lots of meals for Nate when I go out of town. But, Nate never thaws out one, which used to hurt my feelings, but then, I realized that I was forgetting that he is a more than capable cook and was completely buying into the stereotype that a wife who is so selfish as to leave her husband with his own children must leave him meals. I'm learning, I'm learning...

It also helps that I don't have the energy to make dinner every night right now (much less extra meals) and really, dinner for 10 days? That just wasn't going to happen.

Of coures, even as I say all this, I still feel a little guilty leaving him and I figured this would be an excellent time to put together a link list of my kids' favorite foods that I make and probably won't remember in 10 years. These are the "almost as good as McDonald's burger and fries" for my kids:

Spaghetti sauce:
Meat loaf:
Cracker Chicken:
Taco Soup:
Sugar Cookies:
Wild Rice Chicken Salad:
Banana Bread:
Homemade bread:

What dishes do your kids love?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Asher and Luke's Favorite Pancakes

I don't love these, but maybe it's because the boys (and often I) have had them for breakfast every morning for the past two years. I've learned that one can add 1/2 cup of applesauce or 1 mashed banana for a delicious change, but don't try blueberries or chocolate chips--my kids like they're pancakes without any colored additions to the mix.

Asher's and Luke's Favorite Pancakes
based on Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

2 c all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 beaten eggs, we use egg replacer
2 c soy milk
1 c vanilla soy yogurt
4 T cooking oil

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and slat. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, soy milk, soy yogurt, and cooking oil. Add soy milk mixture to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter will be lumpy).

For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 c batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or until panckaes are golden brown, turning to second side when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.

This recipe will feed my kids pancakes every morning for the school week.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stir-Fried Portobellos with Ginger-Oyster Sauce

I've been sorely neglecting this blog (like so many other things). But, I'm coming through the first trimester and feeling a little more adventurous in my cooking. I have to admit, I was sad to not have enough energy to cook (we used all our freezer meals) and not feeling up to make anything that I didn't already know (delicate stomach and all). I didn't realize how much I use cooking to relax.

I'm still not that adventurous, but this is a recipe I tried pre-pregnancy and loved. The sauce is so rich, the portobellos and tofu such excellent meat substitutions that my kids totally ate it up, and even my husband said it was a satisfying meat substitute.

It has tons of steps, but after making it a few times, I suspect it will be rather intuitive and easy.

Stir-fried Portobellos with Ginger Sauce
Cook's Illustrated

2 T soy sauce
2 T sugar
1/4 c chicken or vegetable broth

1 T soy sauce
1 c chicken broth
3 T oyster-flavored sauce
2 t roasted sesame oil I used regular sesame oil
1 T cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, minced
4 t fresh ginger, minced
4 T vegetable oil
6-8 portobellos, stems discarded, gills removed I left the gills on mine, did 3 portobellos and 1/2 pound tofu, I also sliced the portobellos into strips
2 c sliced carrots or other longer cooking vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans
1/2 c chicken broth
1 c snow peas or other quick cooking vegetable like bell pepper, celery, zucchini
1 pound leafy greens like bok choy or napa cabbage I left this out and added extra of the other 2 vegetable types

1. Whisk glaze ingredients in small bowl; whisk sauce ingredients in separate small bowl. In third small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1 t vegetable oil
1a. Drain tofu by wrapping a firm block in a dish towel and put an even weight on top of it (I use a couple cans on top of a cutting board) for 20 minutes. Cube tofu into bite-size pieces and toss with 1 T cornstarch until covered.
2. Heat 3 T vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Put tofu in pan for 3-5 minutes (don't touch for first 3 minutes to get a nice golden crust).

Add mushrooms to cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. This is the tricky part, the tofu needs about 5 minutes longer than the portobellos, so act like you're cooking two separate dishes in the same pan while timing. The tofu will be golden when it's time to turn; the portobellos require watching the clock. It's not as intuitive for me, at least, to tell when they're done.

Using tongs, turn mushrooms and reduce heat to medium; cook until second sides are browned and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; add glaze mixture and cook, stirring, until glaze is thick and mushrooms and tofu are coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to plate; rinse skillet clean and dry with paper towels.

3. Heat 1 t oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup broth and cover skillet; cook until carrots are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates, about 30 seconds. Transfer carrots to plate with mushrooms.

This felt like a lot of extra steps. I transferred the mushrooms and tofu to a plate but cooked all the vegetables slightly spaced apart but in the same skillet.

4. Heat remaining t vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium high heat until beginning to smoke. Add snow peas and bok choy stems or napa cabbage cores and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add leafy greens and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 1 minute.

Push vegetables to the side of skillet to clear center; add garlic-ginger mixture to clearing and cook, smashing mixture with spoon or spatula, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds, then stir into vegetables.

5. Return everything to skillet with sauce. Toss to combine and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened and vegetables are coated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, top with sesame seeds, if using, and serve immediately.