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Blog: Secret Seed Society
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We’re all familiar with the benefits of eating a healthy diet, but it seems the importance of eating seasonably is less well-known. Those who already grow their own will agree when I say that fruit and veg are at their best when freshly picked. But there’s more to eating seasonably than this.
For a helping hand click on the images below to see when different fruit and veg are in season:
Winter (coming soon)
Spring (coming soon)
Summer (coming soon)
Secret Seed Society, child-friendly recipes and tips for growing and cooking with kids for a healthier, happier future.
Blog: Secret Seed Society
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Eating what you grow with child friendly recipes and cooking tips.
Have you spent the summer nurturing and tending your runners? Well now is the time to get harvesting! But remember to send us a picture of your longest runner bean for our giant bean competition.
Is there a bean long enough for the Giant Bean Competition?
Runner Beans give your plate brilliant colour and taste great! Try them boiled with your roast dinners; stir-fried in oil with garlic, peppers, beansprouts and chicken; or in a warm new potato and mackerel salad.
Popeye knew what he was doing when he indulged in these leafy greens. Spinach is bursting with nutritional value. You can chop it up and stir it round in a frying pan with a drop of olive oil. after a few minutes it will have become much more ‘solid’ and reduced in size…delicious in our tartlets recipe with a little bit of cheese.
Another vegetable that is versatile. Looks a bit like a cucumber but has a whole taste of its own!
Wow! this courgette was yellow! It added colour to our tartlets.
We put it in our tartlets but it is also great in stir-fries or mixed with tomatoes, peppers and onions in a ratatouille. Another favourite is in muffins or cakes. You could even try it raw with carrot, pepper and celery sticks with a tasty dip to dunk it in.
Blackberries are bountiful this year, take a walk and pick your own. If you manage not to eat them all before you get home try mixing them into some plain yoghurt for a delicious pud.
These are a wonderful colour…normally bright orange but did you know carrots were purple originally? For lots of ideas for making carrot soup see Carla Carrot.
Carrots add lots of colour to other dishes or can be used to make a wonderful soup.
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My sweet friend LAURA RENEGAR tagged me! So now I get to chat about the manuscript I’m querying and tag other writers that I think might answer the questions, too. I haven’t done one of these things in a LOOOONG time. Sounds like fun! 1. What is the working title of your book? Just Desserts 2. Where did the [...]
Time to grab your backpack, notebook and Dixon Ticonderoga #2′s—it’s back-to-school time! But hey, let’s make this year a little more interesting, shall we?
How about candy-coated pencils for sucking in class? YES!!! *fist pump* (Remember, I’m from Jersey.)
I don’t deserve credit here. Back in 1994, just a few years after Roald Dahl’s passing, his widow Liccy compiled truly inspired recipes for the book ROALD DAHL’S REVOLTING RECIPES, based on his darkly humorous children’s tales.
There’s George’s Marvelous Medicine Chicken Soup from GEORGE’S MARVELOUS MEDICINE, Mr. Twit’s Beard Food from THE TWITS, and Mosquitoes’ Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried from JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. And while these treats might not be on your next tea party list, there’s also sweet favorites like Bunce’s Donuts from FANTASTIC MR. FOX and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake from MATILDA.
But considering the time of year, I thought it would be fun to share a recipe for making daydreaming in class a little sweeter.
CANDY-COATED PENCILS FOR SUCKING IN CLASS
You will need:
- 6 pencils (Dahl’s favorite were Dixon Ticonderoga #2′s)
- Play-Doh or other modeling clay (for standing pencils up)
- candy thermometer (optional)
- buttered 8X10 rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper
- buttered knife
- 1/2 pound sugar cubes
- 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP water
- large pinch cream of tartar
- few drops flavoring and food coloring
- Put sugar and water in saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Raise the heat. When syrup is almost boiling, add cream of tartar and a warmed candy thermometer.
- Boil without stirring to 250 degrees F, or until a little bit of the syrup dropped into cold water forms a hard ball (a ball that will hold its shape but still be pliable).
- Remove from heat, add flavoring and coloring. Do not over-stir and be careful, mixture is very hot.
- Pour mixture into rimmed, lined baking sheet. Edges will cool more quickly then the center, so as the mixture cools, turn the edges inward with a buttered knife, but do not stir.
- Working quickly, lay 2/3rds of a pencil (not the pointed end) on top of the mixture. Using the buttered knife, lift up the candy and gently wrap it around the pencil. You can create all sorts of shapes before it hardens. When the candy is almost set, stand the pencil point side down into the clay. Try not to touch the candy now, as you’ll leave fingerprints.
- Repeat step 6 with other pencils.
Note: Do not double the recipe to make more. Make additional batches instead.
That’s it! Now suck away in class, but don’t tell your teacher who gave you the recipe! I don’t want to get in trouble!
While ROALD DAHL’S REVOLTING RECIPES seems to be out of print, it has been resurrected several times. I suspect it will be released again. But if you just can’t wait to devour SNOZZCUMBERS or LICKABLE WALLPAPER, I suggest checking for a local indie seller.
By: Donna J. Shepherd
Blog: Topsy Turvy Land - Donna J. Shepherd
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What child hasn't dreamed of meeting the elusive Tooth Fairy, Santa, Sandman, or the Easter Bunny? Ava wants to invite them all to tea, but how can she? Find out in "Ava's Secret Tea Party" - an imaginative tale sure to enthrall children for years to come. Boys and girls alike will delight in finding the hidden teacups and cookies in the fanciful illustrations and planning their own
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5 Stars Psst! If you are a kid, come closer. If you’re not a kid, stop reading! Right now. We’re not kidding. This book is FOR KIDS ONLY. Okay, now here’s what’s inside: Open to any page and find fascinating facts and brain-building activities guaranteed to make you smarter, funnier, more interesting, and better [...]
What are you doing this July 4th? As usual, we are throwing a party for friends and will be watching the Twilight Zone Marathon on SyFy. After a BBQ and our Patriotic Parfaits, we’ll head off to watch fireworks. Here’s a list of every place you can watch fireworks in Broward County.
This Independence Day, treat your family and friends to individual patriotic parfaits made from gelatin, instant pudding and non-dairy topping. They’re light and creamy, so delicious and gluten-free. Even those who are not big fans of gelatin seem to love this dessert. You just might want to make it an annual tradition in your home.
- 1 3 oz. box of berry flavored (blue) gelatin
- 1 3 oz. box of strawberry or cherry flavored (red) gelatin
- 2 3 oz. boxes of vanilla flavored instant pudding
- 1 16 oz. carton of non-dairy topping, such as Cool Whip
- 1 cup boiling hot water, divided
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups of skim milk
- Blue food coloring
- Red food coloring
- 6 large strawberries
- Red, white & blue sprinkles (optional)
- Mini toothpick flags for decoration
You’ll need 3 mixing bowls, a whisk, a measuring cup and 6 wine glasses or goblets.
Make the Gelatin
Place blue gelatin powder in a bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup of hot water, mixing for a minute or two until gelatin is dissolved. Quickly add ice water and whisk briskly until gelatin starts to bubble and foam. Place the bowl in the refrigerator. Repeat these steps for the red gelatin and place bowl in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes, take the bowls out of the fridge and whisk each one so the gelatin does not harden too much along the sides and bottom of the bowls. Make sure you use a clean whisk each time so you do not start to mix the blue and red colors. Place the bowls back into the fridge for 20 more minutes.
Make the Pudding
Empty the two packages of instant pudding in a bowl Mix in the skim milk and whisk it all together until smooth. (The pudding will be much thicker than you would normally make it, because you are using much less milk for this recipe than the package directions calls for.) Place the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Mix it Together
After gelatin has been chilling for 20 minutes, take all 3 bowls out of the fridge. Put 1/2 of the pudding mixture into the blue gelatin and the other half into the red gelatin. (If the pudding is so thick that it is hard to whisk, you can add a small amount of water or more milk to it before adding it to the gelatin. But do not add too much to make it thin or runny.) The pudding is yellow and will change the color of the gelatin a bit, making the red a lighter pink and the blue a tad green. Add 1 even cup of non-dairy topping to each bowl and whisk that with the gelatin and pudding until smooth. At this point you can add several drops of red food coloring to the red gelatin mixture and several drops of blue to the blue gelatin, to create stronger colors. Chill the red and blue gelatin mixtures for 20 more minutes.
Assemble the Parfaits
Line up six parfait glasses. Place an equal amount of blue gelatin mixture at the bottom of all the glasses. Top each with 2 heaping tablespoons of non-dairy topping. Take care to keep the ingredients from mixing together; you want to see the distinct layers of the parfait. Top each white layer with equal amounts of red gelatin mixture. Then top off all the parfaits with a dollop of non dai
Maybe I got over-enthusiastic about the kale at the farmer's market last week. I've had my head so far down in 1964, I haven't cooked much the past couple of weeks except for Sunday dinners. Now it's time to cook (or massage, or juice, or etc) the kale.
I've still got a ways to go. But I'm making a dent. Kinda how I feel about the novel right now. Happy Weekend! Eat your kale.
Congratulations to our picture book Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic, which just received its THIRD starred review! School Library Journal calls it “a stellar title that will rest comfortably next to acclaimed picture-book memoirs by Allen Say, Peter Sís, and Uri Shulevitz.”
We asked celebrity chef and Top Chef finalist Angelo Sosa if he’d be willing to share one of his favorite soybean recipes with us in honor of the book, and he did! Here’s his mouth-watering summer recipe:
Angelo Sosa’s Chilled Edamame & Spring Pea Soup
2 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp salt
2 cups peas
1 cup edamame (soybeans)
1.5 cup water, preferably mineral water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup shitake mushrooms
1 cup grapeseed oil
½ tsp salt
Sweat ginger & shallot in olive oil until aromatic. Add peas, edamame, cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, cook for an additional 7 minutes, blend til fine, immediately chill on ice. Garnish with shitake mushrooms that have been sliced thinly and cooked in grapeseed oil until golden brown, removed, dabbed on paper towel, dried, and salted. Also garnish with Thai basil.
For more recipes like this one, be sure to check out Angelo’s new cookbook, Flavor Exposed.
What are your favorite ways to eat soybeans? Share them in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic! (US addresses only)
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As the club for children that love to grow, cook and eat vegetables, Secret Seed Society was thrilled to review Arthur Potts Dawson’s recipe book, Eat Your Veg. Here is what happened when we showed it to some of our Secret Seed Agents.
Wonderful taste combinations for the whole family to enjoy cooking and eating.
The pages were quickly turned, we all “oohed” and “aahed” over the colourful dishes. Mouth watering photography and plenty of tasty recipes left us hungry to get cooking and eating vegetables.
We like to be brave with trying out new flavours and Arthur’s book was full of inspiration to get creative in the kitchen, like pea & mint lollipops, adding ginger to his carrot soup, pairing parsnip with lemon, rocket with watercress oil, beetroot with cumin and coriander.
Secret Seed Society helps families make the most of what they have in their garden, in store or left over. We’re not fans of recipes that are too prescriptive and make you feel you have to go and buy lots of ingredients because nothing else will do. We think it makes you a less creative cook and also leads to waste, especially when you grow your own veg. We felt Arthur was on the same page as us, keen that nothing should be wasted, he uses discarded asparagus trimmings to make ‘Waste not Asparagus Soup’.
Arthur is keen to excite people about veg.
Arthur has been a hero of ours for some years for his connections with the Shoreditch Trust and Peoples Supermarket. An understanding of food, its growing, cooking and eating is of such great importance to us all on a personal and a global level.
This beautiful book will inspire the whole family to cook a rainbow of veg whatever the season and we are already working out some alternative lollys with our Seed Agents. Umm what about butternut squash and rosemary?
While I admit the name doesn’t sound all that appetizing, you will love Garbage Soup! Make this soup when you have plenty of leftover rice, lentils and veggies on hand. It’s called “Garbage” because of the recycled leftovers and the pile of other ingredients. The smoked sun-dried tomatoes really add a depth of flavor. The best thing about this recipe is that your amounts and ingredients don’t have to be exact. It’s delicious, low in fat and healthy – a great way to get fiber into your diet!
- Saute one chopped onion and one chopped stalk of celery for about 5 minutes until softened
- Lower heat and add 4-5 cloves chopped garlic, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes
- Add 4 cups organic chicken stock
- Add 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Add your leftovers (about 1 cup rice, 1/4 cup lentils, cup and half of veggies)
- Add some fresh chopped kale
- Add about 8 smoked sun-dried tomatoes
- Add one large chopped tomato
- Cook for about 10 minutes just enough for leftovers to soften
- Put chunky soup in blender to puree in batches and then return to heat until bubbling hot
- Taste and add more salt if needed
- If you like thinner soup, you can add more chicken stock
By: Pam Bachorz ,
This Sunday's Washington Post Magazine had a fantastic feature article about one of the best things we discovered when we moved to the DC area: Berger cookies.
On the bottom they are like black-and-whites--a mild cakey vanilla round--but on top they are piled with luscious, decadent fudgy frosting. They define the phrase "sink your teeth into it".
While they are a Baltimore phenom, it's still a hit-or-miss proposition to find them where we live, next to DC and a half hour from Baltimore. So when the article said there was a decent copycat recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, I decided to give it a shot.
They came out great (photo at right). I daresay the cake bottom was even a little tastier, though the real Berger frosting is still the winner. The recipe wasn't very hard or time-consuming, despite the process of frosting the cookies after they cooled. I used recipe #2, with 50/50 mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate chips.
Guess what this family will be having for snacks, coffee breaks and breakfast this week? :)
|Half of a Ramos Gin Fizz recipe|
I had a wonderful 40th birthday party organized by my husband and friends. My wish was to dress up and eat delicious appetizers with my friends. Just about everyone attended the party, and I was able to visit and talk with them. One friend revealed that her favorite drink was a Ramos Gin Fizz
, which involves raw egg white*, orange blossom water
**, lemon and lime juice, and other ingredients, all shaken for 12 minutes. Of course, my mixed-drink enthusiast friend had to make one on the spot. I had a sip, and was hooked. It's akin to drinking lemon meringue pie, only not as sweet.
Master bartender/mixologist Chris McMillian shares the history and demonstrates the assembly of the drink here
. I tried my hand at making the Ramos Gin Fizzes yesterday during our Easter brunch. (I skipped the cream, however.) There were times when I had to hand the shaker over to my husband or another guest in order to serve food, answer the phone, or simply take a break. I ended up making four servings, but fortunately, some people were willing to split a serving. The work and the wait were worth it.
*Read New York Times
article Things Get Messy When Bartenders Crack an Egg
, by Glen Collins.
**I have a bottle of orange blossom water that will last me years. I'm going to start cooking more from the dessert sections of my Middle Eastern Cookbooks.
By: Pam Bachorz ,
Freihofer's little chocolate chip cookies get all the press. But I always loved their hermit cookies even more. They were much bigger, for one thing, and had a satisfying chewy texture.
The hermits were pillowy square bar cookies that tasted a little like molasses and a lot like cinnamon and cloves. They were full of flavor and the raisins in them always were juicy and plump.
When we went home to upstate NY for Christmas, I asked my mom to pretty-please pick up a box at the store. She looked. My aunt looked. No luck. Then I got the bad google news: the hermits have been discontinued.
I tried to ignore the siren call of the hermits, but this weekend I had had enough. I decided to make my own.
They started out looking a bit... strange (at right). You make the dough, then put it on the cookie sheet in long strips. Next time I might try giving the dough a LOT more (like, 1 cup more) of flour and/or chilling it before doing this. Or I'd just spread it evenly over the sheet.
I used the fancy raisins from Trader Joe's, and highly recommend doing that, if you can find them. They were lovely and plump, unlike those sometimes dried-out little things that come in the Sunmaid boxes.
They spread a LOT as they baked (at left). I followed the directions and baked them for 15 minutes (mind you, in a convection oven, not sure if that really made a difference time-wise). But when I cut into them, they were pretty goopy (the directions say to let them cool 5 minutes, then cut them warm). So, I baked them for 6 minutes more. Still goopy. At that point I threw caution to the wind and cut them anyway. I have a feeling they were SUPPOSED to be goopy when you cut them. It cools into a chewy middle.
That or I've just exposed my family to eggy food poisoning... gulp. Who wants some hermits?
And here they are, at right, cut and ready to chill out in a Rubbermaid container. The verdict from the family? DELICIOUS. FEED ME MORE. And this from two boys who regard raisins with suspicion, at best.
As for me, I think the recipe comes close, very close, to Freihofer's. I want to play more with making them look like those happy square cookies. But in terms of taste, pretty dead-on.
My next mission: duplicate Berger's Cookies
. Because despite those little beauties being from Baltimore, they are sometimes Far Too Difficult to locate.
By: Elizabeth Varadan
Blog: Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish
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Here is a picture of a banyan tree (that we didn't take; it's from a public domain site, since we kept forgetting our camera.) You see these in both Bangalore and in Chennai. And I like to call it the tree where one tree makes a whole forest.
The dog is well again! The student art show is on display (which deserves a post of its own, one of these days.) And now, at last, India.
It's hard to believe that two weeks ago Saturday afternoon we were driving home from the San Francisco airport after about twenty-three hours spent either in a plane or waiting for one. And that two weeks before that we were being met at the airport in Bangalore by our nephew after a similar flight. (No wonder we were so jet-lagged!)
We have grown nieces and nephews (with families) and a sister-in-law in Bangalore. During two earlier trips to Chennai (formerly Madras), we had not been able to include Bangalore in our visits. So Bangalore was our first stop this time. Our nephew, Ashok met us at the airport at 5:00 a.m. We stayed with him and his family, and had a wonderful visit with him, his wife, Gayatri, their two children, Rohan and Tarun, and our sister-in-law, Malathi. And also the family dog, Caesar, a 90-pound golden labrador who longs to be a lap dog. I miss them all already!
Unfortunately, we were so busy catching up on news and enjoying the visit, that we forgot to take pictures, even though my husband had taken two cameras. I'm waiting for our nephew to send copies of the pictures they took so that I can post them here.
On the very first day (Sunday) I also met up a writer friend I met online a little over two years ago, Rachna Chhabria. We had exchanged copies of our books and have followed each other's blogs, and she was a great help to me in navigating aspects of FaceBook. She teaches creative writing at Mount Carmel College.
Her blog, Rachna's Scriptorium, always has interesting insights and good advice about writing. It was a pleasure to meet her in person. H
By: Pam Bachorz ,
This year, for the first time, Little Dude asked me to MAKE the cake for his birthday party.
For a moment I sat, stunned. "You don't want me to get it from the bakery?"
"No, I want you to make me chocolate chip-cookie dough cupcakes. Because I love your baking the best." He flashed me a smile and dashed off to play Ninjago or Pokemon or some other game that involves teenish boy-men smacking each other with magical creatures or swords.
Because he loves my baking the best.
I was sunk.
Happily, I found that chocolate-chip-cookie-dough cupcakes are quite The Thing on the internet. I made my own with this mix of methods, with my very own mixed but tasty results:
1. I made the this "cookie dough stuffing" recipe for the middle and froze it overnight, which all the recipes seem to agree is critical. I went with an eggless recipe because I really didn't want all of Little Dude's friends to get food poisoning along with their rock-and-roll goody bags at the party.
2. I mixed up a boxed yellow cake mix and filled the cupcake tins. Then I plopped a dough ball in each. No need to cover it or otherwise mess with it. The cake will take care of it.
Now here's the first thing I wish I had done differently. I didn't have any boy-birthday-appropriate cupcake wrappers/papers: I only had Christmas ones. So I merrily sprayed the heck out of the pans and trusted that would work.
Wrong. I spent a lot of time and anxious energy trying to coax those cupcakes out of the pans. Thankfully, first graders don't really evaluate whether a cupcake is PERFECT before shoving it in their mouths. Husbands are a different story. They point out the raggedy sides. And then they shove the cupcake in their mouths.
And then I boot them out of the kitchen.
3. After the cupcakes cooled, I frosted them with icing that tastes like cookie dough--for real. This stuff tastes AMAZING.
But here was my second mistake: the recipe says to dump all of the confectioners sugar in at once, then blend. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. The sugar went everywhere. Happily for me, my sweet and helpful mother was visiting. As she wiped away probably a half pound of sugar, she simply smiled and said, "you have never done anything halfway, my dear". Look, at left. She really did smile.
Blend the sugar in gradually. Little bits at a time. Or you'll wish you had listened to me.
So how were the cupcakes? Raggedy. Rich. Delicious. I would definitely make these again, so long as I had suitable cupcake wrappers. In fact I have some extra dough balls stashed in the freezer, just waiting for another opportunity to whip these up.
Little Dude's review: "They were really good, Mom. But I didn't like the frosting."
Me: "Oh. OK. Well, I won't freeze the leftovers to put in your school lunches, then."
Little Dude, panicked: "Wait, no, you can freeze them. I'd eat them for LUNCH." (As opposed to breakfast, I guess... not that we EVER have cake for breakfast in this house...)
So, you might want to consider vanilla frosting if you're making these for kids. But for grown-ups? Go whole-hog and do the dough frosting!
By: Pam Bachorz ,
This weekend I decided to make a recipe that my sister had posted on her blog awhile back: Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies from Picky Palate.
They were just as delicious as you're hoping.
Just a few photos to give you the flavor of making these big, decadent babies:
You start with double-stuf Oreos and a cookie dough that has an especially high amount of flour (I'm guessing it keeps the dough from spreading too much).
Then you put a full scoop of dough on both the top and the bottom. Here's the progression: innocent Oreo, having no idea what's coming for it. Nervous Oreo, wearing a dough hat and pants, wondering where this could all be doing. And finally, enormous Matzoh-ball sized Oreo, fully enrobed in dough and regretting the day it ever ventured out from the supermarket.
I found it easiest to just take the scoops of dough between my palms, with the Oreo in the middle, and sort of just squish the dough all around the cookie.
Above, the deed has been done, much like Han Solo dunked in Carbonite.
And then finally, the cross-section of goodness:
You could make a meal out of one of these things. Or... maybe two of them. Or three, laden with both happiness and regret.
They really weren't hard to make and if you can get your kids interested in helping, they'd be a great family cooking project. Little Dude was only interested in CONSUMING them!
By: Emily Smith Pearce,
Blog: Emily Smith Pearce
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The weather’s getting cooler—time for comfort food! This is a new recipe we love.
It’s Mark Bittman’s Tuscan White Beans, from his cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I serve them over pasta and add fried bread crumbs.
These are just bread crumbs (I make them from stale bread and keep them in the freezer) that I fry up in olive oil with garlic. Somehow with this treatment they take on an almost bacony-like flavor. So good.
On top, add the garlic olive oil from the Bittman recipe and a good grating of parm. It’s like grown up mac and cheese—but leave out the parm and it’s vegan.
The recipe makes a lot, so if it’s too much for one evening, you can freeze some to save for later. Just make sure that you thaw gently (at room temp or at a very low temp) or you’ll end up with mush.
In other news, really enjoying my blogging class (Blogging Your Way with Holly Becker of decor8). It’s making me think about ways I may want to re-tool my blog, improve it, and tighten its focus. What would you like to see more of? What are your favorite posts? I’m thinking of spinning the food section off into another location. Not sure.
Currently reading Russell Shorto’s The Island at the Center of the World, which follows the history of the New Amsterdam colony before it became New York. It’s slow-going, with a large cast of van der _____’s to keep up with, but the subject matter is really interesting. There’s an enormous trove of Dutch archives on the subject which until recently had been unexamined. The premise of the book is that while the study of American history has always focused on the English roots of our country, that the Dutch influence, via New York, is actually quite significant.
Also recently read Jean Craighead George’s The Buffalo Are Back with the kids. It so made me want to go see the buffalo. It’s a kind of historical picture book with a fair amount of text, a format I’m not usually as into these days, but it totally works, and the illustrations are great. May need to make a prairie trip when we return stateside. It sounds so exotic in the book.
Off to eat some leftover pumpkin soup (made last night). I’m not much into sweet pumpkin things but the savory soup, especially with a little chipotle swirled in, really hits the spot.
2 Comments on Tuscan White Beans with Pasta and Fried Bread Crumbs, last added: 10/14/2011
I really want to write this morning--it's my Saturday morning time of solitude at Panera--but I also really need to think about my grocery store trip after this, so I can spend some time this afternoon cooking ahead. So I'm mixing menus into this post. Thank God my stomach is nearly normal again--it makes it much easier to get excited about cooking and menu planning!
Tomorrow, after church we have friends coming over for lunch, and I've been racking my brain for what to serve them. It's always hard to have a hot lunch ready after church, and we often do sandwiches or bagels, but we're tired of those, and my friend needs to eat low-carb. I think I'll make taco meat this afternoon and put in in the crockpot in the morning. I can have the tomatoes chopped up ahead of time too, and I'll have extra lettuce so my friend can make a taco salad. Perfect.
If they're still around for dinner, or even if they aren't, we'll probably just throw in some frozen pizza. That's usually the game plan for Sunday nights--a Sabbath rest for the cook (me), easily expanded for guests, and always a kid-pleaser.
Monday lunch will be a get-your-own affair for me and the Bantams, and Papa Rooster if he's working at home; Chicklet8 and B6 will be at school. Monday night we have piano lessons after school, right into the dinner hour, so I either need to have something in the crockpot or the oven...or make a quick stove-top something when I get home. I know--we haven't had my sister-in-law's Baked Potato Soup yet this fall, and I have potatoes we need to eat up. I'll put that in the crockpot and add a salad and those sweet multigrain rolls I have in the freezer. (49 cents a package on clearance last week at Aldi, and they were so yummy!)
Okay, Tuesday, same as Monday's lunch plan...but on Tuesday evening, I'm picking up Blondechick and her stuff from college, and then we'll keep on going into Chicago. It's her birthday, and all she wants is a mother-daughter shopping spree at the big Forever 21, and dinner out--maybe at the Cheesecake Factory, I think she said. I'm sure the Bantams will have finished off any taco leftovers already, but hopefully there will be leftover soup for the gang at home. Then when Blondechick and I get home, we'll all have birthday brownies and ice cream together. Can't believe she will be 19!!
On Wednesday, I have parent-teacher conferences in the morning, and I'm eager to hear from C8's and B6's teachers! It seems like they are doing well. The kids will all be off school, and Blondechick will be there too, so to celebrate, we'll have French toast, sausages, and o.j. for lunch. For some reason, my kids think French toast is just the greatest thing, and I love it too. It takes time to make the quantities we require, however, so we don't have it that often. My parents arrive that afternoon, and I will have one of our eternal favorites waiting in the crockpot, beef stroganoff (beef stew meat, cream of mushroom soup--salt, pepper and onion powder to taste--add sour cream and mushrooms at the end), along with Butternut Squash Soup and a salad.
Then on Thanksgiving Day, I'm not sure if my in-laws will arrive before or after brunch, but I'll make enough Sausage-Egg Brunch Casserole for everyone. I have panettone and stollen to go with that (one of the Aldi advantages is their great European baked goods), and y'know those bags of frozen fruit they have at Aldi? They're equivalent in price to fresh fruit, but already cut up for you, and we like it kind of half-thawed. So cool and refreshing.
We are NOT having turkey, we are having ham, because we love ham, and nobody...really...likes...turkey. (I bought a turkey, for 48 cents a pound, because where can you get meat that cheap? But we will have it some other time, and I will turn most of it into turke
What savory foods are you preparing for Thanksgiving? Any recipes made with pumpkin? Pumpkin pie is a perennial favorite at our fall gatherings, but this year we're also experimenting with something new -- pumpkin soup!
Why pumpkin soup you ask? We just finished reading and listening to a cute story all about pumpkin soup.
Pumpkin Soup - Book & CD set by Helen Cooper, read by Kathleen McInerney. Macmillan Young Listeners (August 2009); ISBN 9781427207401; 32 pages; paperback and CD
Book source: Review copy received from publisher
Is there such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen? Duck, Cat and Squirrel enjoy making pumpkin soup together. Each animal has his own specific task -- Cat slices the pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in water and Duck adds the salt. Happy with this set-up, they cook up delicious batches of pumpkin soup. But one day Duck decides to take a turn at stirring the soup and ends up stirring up a mess of trouble instead. Luckily friendship reigns and the trio eventually sort things out. Soup makes everything better, especially when prepared together with thoughtful, sharing friends!
Cooper's Pumpkin Soup won the prestigious Kate Greenaway medal in 1998. The illustrations of the animal friends and surrounding woods are top-notch and completely adorable. Cooper doesn't scrimp on the details. Readers who look closely are awarded with little treats like pumpkins on the china, a pair of tiny bugs that watch the story unfold and other interesting carvings on the furniture. It's worth a re-read just to have a chance to stare that the pictures! The book is the first in a trilogy, preceding A Pipkin of Pepper and Delicious!
Pumpkin Soup is a book that's a lot of fun to read-aloud. The liveliness, drama and pacing of the text also makes it the perfect choice for the audiobook format. Kathleen McInerney skillfully uses her voice to play up the dialog between the friends and bring life to the characters. She even makes slurping noises! Early on in the book, readers learn that the animals like to perform music and the audiobook background tunes add to the musical flavor already alluded to in the book. We did notice a few differences between the written and spoken text (trudged is trotted in the book and the narrator substituted the word pleased for happy), but the changes didn't detract from the listening experience. Also, for those with beginning readers should be awar
The Holiday season is approaching fast, the streets of New York City all decorated in lights. I love this time of the year. A walk down 5 ave or Madison ave or anywhere in New York, you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste the holiday season. There are all kinds of fun things to do. What is the wonder of it all? Christmas celebrates Jesus's Birthday while Hanukkah celebrates a wonderful story about how a small amount of oil good for one day ended up burning for eight. This was the miracle of God. Both of these holidays are very different from each other. Then there Kwanzaa I am not sure what that celebrates but it also involves lights. What are these holidays about. I believe all three are about family, communication and a love for your religious beliefs.
There is lots of wonder in these holidays. They have been celebrated for many centuries but do people truly know there meaning? Our children see them as a way to get gifts. Doing this time shopping is encouraged by all stores. I believe it is much more important to learn about these holidays instead of making them just another way to make an extra buck. Sit down with your children, tell them what the true meaning of the holidays are and do not buy the latest gadgets on the market. Here is a good idea for a gift give your children books about the holidays instead.
One Candle - "One Candle" By Eve Bunting. Illustrated by K. Wendy Popp. Published by Joanna Cotler Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2002. Summary: "Every year a family celebrates Hanukkah by retelling the story of how Grandma and her sister managed to mark the day while in a German concentration camp." This book has wonderful illustrations and a very powerful story about one family's celebration of Hanukkah. This book is a great example of something that should be taught to your children on this wonderful holiday. The Jewish people believe in family and community and this wonderful books looks at both. I highly recommend it to your kids and to you as well. It has lots to teach everyone.
Talia and the Rude Vegetables- "Talia and the Rude Vegetables." By Linda Elovitz Marshall. Illustrated by Francesca Assirelli. Published by Kar-Ben publishing a division of Lerner Publishing Group Inc. 2011. Summary: "City-girl Talia misunderstands her grandmother's request that she go to the garden for "root vegetables" but manages to find some she thinks are rude, as well as a good use for the rest she harvests. Includes a recipe for Rude Vegetable Stew." This picture book has lots of fun pictures and a wonderful Jewish story line. When I read this book it touched me. It is about the Jewish tradition of charity, family, community, and holidays. This is a must have for any young child in your family. The holidays are not about gifts, shopping but about family, charity and love. This books combines all three. The best part is it comes with a very tasty vegetable stew now that cannot be beat. Make it a must have for every child and adult.
The Littlest Frog- "The Littlest Frog." By Sylvia Rouss. Illustrated by Holly Hannon. Published by Pitspopany Press. copyright 2001 Printed in Israel and sold in New York. This is a funny twist on the bible story of Exodus. A long time ago the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. It is believed they build huge pyramids, cities and castles. It is written like a Jewish folk tale. This time is celebrated doing S
by Leda Schubert
THE PRINCESS OF BORSCHT is about Ruthie, who is afraid that her beloved grandmother will die of starvation in the hospital, where she is temporarily bedridden with pneumonia. Grandma, who is a bit of a character, says borscht—beet soup—might prevent this starvation, and when Ruthie and her father (who thinks borscht is yucky) return to Grandma’s apartment, Ruthie searches for the recipe. All the busybody neighbors come by to help and order each other around. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. Why is Ruthie a princess? You’ll have to read the book! It’s filled with royalty.
My grandmother, Sonia Broffman (nee Lerman), was a great cook. I remember her faux chopped liver, made from green beans and something (walnuts? Chime in.), and her chicken-in-a-pot. My mother was also a great cook, but she owned her own business and rarely had time to inhabit the kitchen. Not to worry; I always managed to eat and maintain my plumpness.
Though I myself am an only child, I have a whole lot of second cousins who are very proud of being descended from the seven Lerman brothers and sisters. Perhaps I wrote THE PRINCESS OF BORSCHT as an homage to the women in my family, though I’m not sure I knew what it was about until I read a few of the reviews. This is not uncommon with writers, by the way. We need readers!
I first drafted the story in a writing group many years ago. Bonnie Christensen, esteemed illustrator, joined the group and drew me a picture of Ruthie, which I loved to bits and which I treasure. We dreamed of doing the book together, and thanks to Neal Porter, we did! Bonnie included subtle tributes to her family, mine, and to Neal himself. Look carefully. She also messed up her kitchen by throwing borscht around to get the drips just right. Ah, research.
I don’t particularly like to cook, but I do love beets. I plant them every summer and watch them come up. Shortly thereafter they disappear. Is it the dog? A slug? Beetles? Mysterious forces from the universe? Then I go to the farmers’ market and buy some. Roasted, boiled, served in salad or in soup, they can’t be beat. The recipe on the back cover is only one of many possibilities.
Readers, I hope you like the book.
[Above, Bonnie throws borscht around (you can see her reflection). Photo by Bonnie Christensen]