Saturday, December 26, 2009

Speaking of whipped cream

A few days ago Robert had a bake off. I would say it was against me, but it wasn't cause I didn't bake a single thing. No, it was his mom's butter cookie recipe (see below- it contains butter, but also margarine and/or lard) vs. Cook's Illustrated's.

The results aren't really the point here (but CI won, as I'd insisted it would. But I tried not to insist too loudly or too often cause I tend to be a kitchen control freak and then I feel vaguely guilty about it, esp when Robert is cooking and I'm backseat cooking and he gets all exasperated cause frankly I'm being a pain in the ass. Where was I?). The point is we now have a bunch of butter cookies in the freezer! And it occurred to me today that if I took one of those cookies, slathered it with raspberry jam and topped it off with a mountain of whipped cream I'd have a pretty freakin' tasty snack.

So now you know how I'm planning to spend my evening. That and knitting. Luckily I did some yoga with Liel a little earlier.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Top 10 Regulars

Lately (OK, fine, for most of my life) I've been giving some thought to my favorite foods. Normally when I make a top 10 favorite foods list it encompasses foods that are so delicious they transport the eater to some glorious pleasure palace of gluttony. I probably spend too much time wondering which is my favorite of the 7 deadly sins, too- but that's another blog post.

Anyway, as I was happily compiling my list (again) the other day I stopped and wondered: how much did I like artichokes? Would I, for instance, like to eat them every day? So I started compiling a new list, a list of foods that are delicious and enduring. Foods that I could eat daily (or nearly that). Basically it's not so much a top 10 list as an only 10 list. If you could only eat 10 foods (excluding condiments, spices, and booze), what would be on your list? Here's mine.

1. Potatoes. I like 'em baked, mashed, fried, scalloped, fried...

2. Lobster. It just never gets old!

3. Berries. This one might be a bit of a cheat, but if it has -berry attached to it's name I'm counting it for #3. Yum.

4. Salad. Yes, again with the cheating bit. Eh.

5. Corn. Fresh, in corn tortillas, masa, cornbread...

6. Beans.

7. Cheese.

8. Squash.

9. Onions.

10. Whipped Cream.

Crap. Crap crap crappity crap. I want beef on this list! But I can't decide what to eliminate in favor of beef. Maybe lobster, but that sure would be disappointing. I adore lobster, and really think i could eat it daily. But it's not as multi-purpose as beef. Sigh. Well, anyway, you get the picture. Try your list, it's harder than it looks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On noodles and preserved fish

Today we headed down to Sunset Park to celebrate a belated Hanukkah with Kenn and Giselle. En route we stopped off at Russ and Daughters to get Kenn's gift- a selection of pickled and smoked fish! Bet you're jealous now. No, really! Put your tongue back in your mouth and swallow your drool.

If you must know I got him pickled herring with onions, pickled herring in cream sauce, pickled herring with mustard/dill sauce, pickled Icelandic Schmaltz, smoked/peppered mackerel and 2 whole smoked chubs. I love the name of those last fish so, so much. Here's a gratuitous picture of them, courtesy of Russ and Daughters.

Sadly, when I jumped out of the car to cross Houston and get to the store I dropped my hat (hand knit, of course) and didn't realize until we were in Brooklyn :( I'm really hoping that at least someone else will find and use my lovely hat, but I suspect it's just gone to trash. And I only wore it twice! I suppose the upside is that I can always make another. Fortunately I have enough of the same yarn left to duplicate it! The color was awesome with the pink streaks in my hair.

Anyway we had a great visit with the fam. K and G enjoyed their gifts (or at least pretended to enjoy them), and we loved ours! Framed photos of the kids, Lincoln logs, aleph-beit magnets (Liel could pick out lamed after I showed it to her ONCE) and, get this, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish IN YIDDISH. So, so awesome. I'm all about rescuing Yiddish from the jaws of extinction, and trying to keep it current. And, you know, learning it. I've wanted to learn for years, and even took a couple classes at our local Chabad. Sadly, I don't think I can learn Yiddish from two Dr. Seuss books, but hey, it's a start, right? Right.

Kenny had some fresh oysters that he got at a market near the South Street Seaport. What Kenny didn't have was an oyster/shellfish knife. But my brother is resourceful and determined. He opened them with a spatula! We squeezed some Meyer lemon juice on them, gave them a grind of pepper and mmmm. Delicious.

We also got noodles from LanZhou Noodles on 60th St and 8th Ave. Hand pulled noodles! The ones with duck were especially awesome. Kenny and Robert also picked up 30 dumplings from Family Dumpling on their way home, and those were g-o-n-e in record time. Sunset Park has its downsides for sure, but man, you can't argue with the food.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the greens...

I just have to pop back in and say that the kale I cooked tonight was some of the best damn kale I've ever had, ever. And we used to grow kale back in the day, in our community garden in Goleta. Good kale. The stuff tonight was unreal tho! I could've eaten at least four times as much. It was Red Russian Kale too, which is my favorite.

My semi-gluttonous longing for more kale made me long for a backyard farm yet again. One day. One day.

Roasted Garlic

Right now I've got garlic roasting in my oven. Roasting garlic, as you probably know, turns it from sharp and spicy to soft and buttery. It's delicious on french bread, and even better with a little goat cheese. After I haul my ass off of the couch I'll saute some greens from our winter CSA, and voila! Rockin' winter dinner, which also happens to be healthy and reasonably eco-acceptable. That probably means I can count my day as a success, wouldn't you agree?

In homeschooling news, Robert sent me this NY Times article today. In short it says that our brains "get" math far earlier than previously thought, and reading (esp phonics) far later. It was kind of a duh moment for me, cause Zion and Liel have been patiently living this out for us for lo these 5 1/2 years, and yet, when I succumb to moments of fear with regard to our homeschooling/unschooling choices, it is always related to reading. Let me unpack that. Zion has been doing simple addition and subtraction in his head since he was about 18 months old. Liel also intuitively adds and subtracts (correctly, for the most part) with numbers from 1-10. Zion has a basic grasp of fractions and simple division. But, he can't read. Neither of them can. They both ADORE hearing stories (we've read The Hobbit 4 times this year alone), but haven't expressed much interest in learning to read themselves. And now many of my friends who's kids attend the local public school are delightedly reporting that their child is learning to read. (Actually, one of my dear friends was telling me the other day about how interested her kids, ages 5 and 7, are in opera. She took them to a shorter version of The Magic Flute recently and they were both on the edge of their seats, transfixed by what they were watching and hearing. Meanwhile, Zion's developmental news included the fact that he'd recently (and enthusiastically) begun picking his nose with both fingers at the same time.)

So sometimes I question my educational choices for the kids- at least, I question them emotionally, since intellectually I feel very comfortable with what we're doing and where we are.

But after reading the Times article I'm shifting gears a bit. Trying to worry less about reading and play more games with math. Run with the kid's cognitive development and all.

And take the garlic out of the oven before it burns. Burnt garlic probably isn't that good for growing brains.

PS. Robert is on the phone with his mom getting her sugar cookie recipe. "We don't have margarine to mix in with the butter though", he said. "What else could we use? No, we don't have lard, either".