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Summer Food.

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

We’ve had a busy few weeks here. Airline travel, half marathon running for doctordad, rain, working for doctormom (writing a grant proposal and a new class), more rain, adopting a new dog, picking up a new (used bike) for the big kid, tennis lessons, the library book sale. So even though we both are home more or less for the summer, meal planning sometimes gets away from us. Take yesterday for instance, we had run out of milk, butter and coffee in the same week. We’d likely have run out of eggs, but we don’t buy those at the store (we pay in advance and get them from the farm weekly).

Yesterday afternoon Doctordad was on his way to the grocery store (err, on the way to his car in the backyard) when our neighbors invited us to join them for dinner. We agreed we’d eat together, co-mingle the previously planned food and make it a date. Our dinner plan was hamburgers and something. It’s summer. Summer is a time for fresh produce (from the same farm). Normally we let our kids pick salad dressings, but since I was bringing the salad over the fence I dressed the salad ahead of time. I picked homemade honey-dijon dressing, the recipe is on page 195 of this book, Feeding the Whole Family. I have yet to make something from this book that I don’t like. The index, not so good. But the recipes are fantastic.

Homeade Honey Dijon Salad Dressing

2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
3 TBS brown rice vinegar (I might have used apple cider because that’s what I had)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
(their recipe calls for 1/3 c fresh basil, but I didn’t have any so I left it out).

Blend it all (you can do it in the blender if you like). I put it into an old apple juice jar that looks something like this and then give it a good shake. We used part of it two weeks ago and I finished off the bottle last night dressing the salad.

apple juice bottle

Fresh lettuce, goats milk feta, a few tomatoes, sunflower seeds and dried blueberries. Yum. Apparently yummy enough for a 2 yr old non-salad eater to give it a go. The 5 yr old and 8 yr old salad eaters both asked for seconds. The 8 yr old would like you to know she’s not actually a salad eater, she just does it because we ask her to (and then goes back for seconds when no one is looking).

Categories: What we are eating

Dinner Party

June 4, 2011 2 comments

Last Friday of school. Last daycare day for the summer. My spouse is out of town = solo parenting with my two kids who are already geared up. Couple that with my neighbor children who are smack in the middle of a 2 week stint with grandparents as their parents are overseas for work. Grandparents live in a state that is more than a day’s drive away. I decide to take advantage of this and plan a “kids dinner party” (that’s how my kids were advertising it).

My friend Wendy, who is super wise, told me her daughter’s birthday party involved kids making pasta from scratch. Cue plan for dinner party here: I’ve made pasta lots and my neighbors like pasta.

Note: before you read farther and actually see the pictures of my home — remember kids dinner party on the last day of the work week when you’re husband is out of town and you have a lot on your plate does not mean clean like mad. It means run the dishwasher, stuff the mail in the in-box and roll with it. Our house is generally a bit disorderly by Friday, but it is usually clean. Orderly is just unrealistic for us with two working parents. We can do orderly, but then we sacrifice the important stuff like story time before bed.

Pasta is really not hard to make, although your experience might be enhanced by purchasing a pasta maker. We own this one, purchased for $39.99 at our local old-school hardware store (Marshall’s for the local folks).

Essentially a pasta roller works by sticking the dough between two rollers that you crank with a hand crank. It isn’t hard, I can’t imagine an electric one would be better than the old school kind.

Sometimes when you’re working with kids they do weird things, like pushups while they are waiting their turn. Run with it. Just make sure they wash hands between pushups and handling dough.

After working through it a few times, you might find you have a bossy kid who wants to take over. Sometimes you have a sweet neighbor kid who is also the oldest and the two oldest kids take over the process. Let them.

Other misc. stuff we have to help — our countertop with work space is a wooden countertop from Ikea. It doesn’t clean up dough very easily — I picked up a marble pastry board from a yard sale for a buck. If you have granite or similar countertops you won’t have any issues with rolling dough so this step is redundant. My marble board moves around a lot, so we have a piece of that plastic stuff you put under an area rug that we stick under the board.

You aren’t really rolling this dough if you use a machine, but I wanted to explain what we have on the counter in the pictures.

Recipe

2.75 c of flour – I used regular old white flour.
3 eggs
1tsp salt

1.In your stand mixer with a dough hook, put flour and salt. Add eggs and mix. My stuff didn’t come together well, so I added some white wine. (few tbs)

2. Knead dough for 8 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and supple. Dust dough with flour. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. –> Don’t skip the sitting step.

3. Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut into your favorite style of noodle or stuff with your favorite filling to make ravioli. Lay out on dishtowels on trays as you work with all the dough. At this point you can dry it, freeze it or cook it.

 

 

Cook pasta (just a few minutes,not the standard 8-10 minutes the box says), buy frozen meatballs and jarred red sauce. Serve pasta to children with a choice: red sauce or butter, meatballs or no.

Buy ice cream for dessert and pop in a movie. Three kids + one mom watch movie. One kid reads. Grandpa pops in to say they had a delightful dinner out at a restaurant serving local food. Finish movie. Send home 2 happy kids to 2 happy grandparents. Put 2 happy kids + 1 happy mom to bed. That’s a successful dinner party.