October 7th, 2013 · Comments Off
September 14th, 2013 · Comments Off
July 9th, 2013 · Comments Off
Since we bought the new house and have said good-bye to truckloads of our money, we say hello to the summer fun of another staycation this year. Well, mostly a staycation – because Kitchen Mom is planning a get away to Penland this year all by herself!
At our now fabulous new house we have a fire pit and what’s summer without campfires and storytelling? One of the first folk tales I remember hearing was at summer camp when I was little. The tale is an old Cherokee story about how the first strawberries came into the world. If you don’t know the story look here and there are cute books that the kids will enjoy.
(Kitchen Dad learned to eat strawberries this way from Lena Ubario, an artist worth looking at.)
This dish is hands down my children’s favorite way to eat strawberries. It’s a special treat they are allowed to indulge in when strawberries are at their ripest. My daughter delights in the process of dipping and swirling the berries around and my son is filled with unabashed joy that brown sugar is one of the ingredients.
Wash the strawberries and let them dry. Scoop out several dollops of sour cream into a bowl (or just use the container itself) and in a second bowl add several spoonfuls of brown sugar.
Take the strawberry by the stem and dunk it into the sour cream, coating it about three-quarters of the way up. Next, take the strawberry and dip it into the brown sugar, swirling it around until it coats the sour cream. Now , you take a big, delicious bite.
One thing I love about this mixture of ingredients is how the flavors all come together and eating ordinary strawberries is transformed by two simple ingredients into a extraordinary experience you won’t want to miss.
June 25th, 2013 · Comments Off
Cruising around Pinterest the other day I found this yummy-looking photo and was instantly captivated. We used a store-bought jar of salsa verde but check out the orginal recipe with the directions for making your own salsa verde.
We get a lot of butternut squash from our CSA during the season and I run out of new ideas for using them. This enchilada recipe is genius in its simplicity but has enough going on for many little hands to help with the prep work.
1 1/2 – 2 pounds butternut squash
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper
package of corn tortillas
cooking oil spray
1 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 jar salsa verde
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Cut the top 1/2 inch off of the garlic head, exposing the cloves. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on the garlic head and wrap completely and tightly in foil. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Placing the whole squash in the microwave for 45 seconds before cutting will make slicing easier.* Place the squash cut-side-down on the baking sheet along with the foil-wrapped garlic. Set the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 45 minutes until the squash is fork-tender.
Shred the cheese while the squash and garlic are in the oven.
Using a spoon, scoop out the meat of the squash from the skin and place in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the garlic head by squeezing at the base. The cloves will pop out. Place the roasted garlic cloves into the food processor with the squash. Add a pinch of salt and puree until blended.
If you don’t have a food processor, it’s okay – a blender will work or you can do it by hand. Once you have the puree done, set it aside until needed.
Working with 6 tortillas at a time, lightly spray each tortilla with cooking-oil spray on both sides and stack upon each other. Wrap the tortilla stack in a tortilla warmer (an awsome gift Kitchen Dad received!) or use a paper towel and place on a microwave-safe plate. Place the plate in the microwave and microwave on high for 15 seconds. Flip the stack over and microwave for another 15 seconds. Remove from the microwave and proceed with making enchiladas. Do the same with the other 6 tortillas after the first stack has been filled and rolled into enchiladas.
Working with one tortilla at a time, place two tablespoons of butternut squash-garlic puree onto a tortilla. Roll the tortilla into a cigar shape and place seam-side-down onto the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Pour the salsa verde over the stuffed and rolled tortillas and spread evenly. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top of salsa. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese becomes golden.
Serve hot but warn the kids not to burn themselves with the melted cheese. All the kids and grown-ups loved this dish… Kitchen Daughter suggested sour cream be added for future servings.
* Great trick I learned from the original website!
June 12th, 2013 · Comments Off
Here is a great website that is full of wonderful ideas and easy to understand instructions for kid art projects.
May 5th, 2013 · Comments Off
This fig-blueberry combo is a delightful bread for a weekend breakfast or delicious snack any time of day. Made in the flatbread style of traditional Italian focaccia, children will be happy adding the ingredients into the dough and rolling it out into a free-form pizza shape. This recipe calls for dried mission figs because they are usually available at any local grocer. You may use either the manual method to make this with a big bowl and spoon or else use your standing electric mixer with the dough paddle attached – either way it’s guaranteed to make your day!
- 1 cup dried mission figs
- ½ cup blueberries
- 3 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ½ teaspoons yeast dissolved in the warm water
- 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from soaking the figs.
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon orange zest (optional) (It’s fun to explain that you can use orange peel – no garbage!)
- Coarse sugar (optional)
- Handful of unsalted roasted sunflower seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the dried figs in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover them. Let the figs soak for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of liquid. Coarsely chop the figs, discarding the stems.
Place the flour, egg, olive oil, salt, yeast, orange zest, water and the reserved liquid into a large mixing bowl and blend together well. The dough will be sticky but pliable. Next add the fruit and, if you like a little crunchiness, sunflower seeds using your hands (coating your fingers with oil first helps). Children like getting their hands into the dough and helping. Spread the fruit and seeds around in the dough, trying to distribute them evenly. If you find the dough too dry, add a tiny bit of water, then a little more, until you have something pliable enough to work with.
Leaving the dough in the bowl, find a warm spot in the kitchen and let it sit for an hour to rise. Take the risen dough, knead it a few times, then place it on a greased baking sheet or pizza stone. Flatten it out with your hands and place a sheet of parchment paper over it. Using your rolling pin, roll out the dough from the center towards the edges. Let the kids take over and help with the rolling. At our house we tend to go for abstract shapes, but you may like a more geometric circle or rectangle. Whichever shape you go for, try and have the dough as evenly spread out as possible. If you’re adding the sugar, sprinkle it over the top of the bread just before it goes in the oven.
Place the bread in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let the bread cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Bread may be stored in an airtight container for several days.
*The dough can be made the day before and stored the refrigerator. Roll it out and pop it in the oven the next morning for a freshly baked breakfast!
March 12th, 2013 · Comments Off
Mmmm, hot warm biscuits!
There’s nothing better than pulling apart a biscuit and smearing it with butter. I have several recipe cards and even a book for making a variety of different kinds of biscuits. It’s one thing I remember learning to cook from my grandmother when we would visit her in Mississippi. This recipe is pretty straight forward and super easy with the kids helping. Keeping with the appalachian theme of the Sody Sallyratus story I tweaked it from this Appalachian Cat Head Biscuit recipe.
We’ve even made our own butter in the past and believe me if there is anything that delights children more than making biscuits it’s making their own butter!
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (do not use self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (buttermilk may be substituted)
4 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Combine the dry ingredient together in a large mixing bowl. Next, add the butter a few cubes at a time and with your impeccably clean hands snap the butter between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse bread crumbs. Make a well and add the milk and again mix with your hands, until the dough is just moistened. Knead just until it comes together, about three or four times. Always be careful to not overwork the dough.
The kids, by the way, love, mixing, kneading and playing with the dough – here is where they get to have some real fun!
To make biscuits, have them pinch off a ball of dough about 2 1/2 inches across and shape into a biscuit. Place the biscuits into large cast iron skillet side by side,(if you don’t have a skillet lay them on a cookie sheet) and pat them down as flat as you can. We’ve found this dough to be super sticky and the best way to flatten them is to use the bottom of a glass with a little oil on it. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are a light golden brown.
This recipe was inspired be the appalachian folk tale Sody Sallyratus and you can find a link to the story here.
There are also some very nice books available on amazon.
November 7th, 2012 · Comments Off
October 31st, 2012 · Comments Off
September 24th, 2012 · Comments Off
As the summer growing season comes to an end – we’re getting in as much local watermelon eating as possible. I tried carving one in a fancy shape this year like you can see here but that was a dismal failure – so I’ve looked for other ways to liven up our watermelon habit. There’s a very cute folk tale about a Turkish folk hero named Mulla Nasrudin. Nasrudin is a very wise man and also very funny. Children and adults will both delight in these humorous tales. If you’re interested in learning more Turkish folk tales this book is a wonderful resource – Watermelons, Walnuts, and the Wisdom of Allah: And Other Tales of the Hoca by Barbara K Walker.
Walnuts and Watermelons – find this story and others here.
As Nasrudin rested under a tall walnut tree one day, he looked a few yards to his side and noticed a big watermelon growing on a thin vine near the ground.
Nasrudin looked up and said, “Great God, please permit me to ask you this: why is it that walnuts grow on big strong trees, while watermelons grow on think weak vines. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
But at that very moment, a walnut fell from high on up in the tree and hit Nasrudin square on the head.
“Ah!“ remarked Nasrudin. “I suppose Nature’s ways might not be as backward as I thought. After all, if a big watermelon fell out of the tree and onto my head, it might have killed me!“
Here is our version of a watermelon, walnut salad with the added goodness of fresh blueberries – at our house it’s become a special breakfast treat. If you’re in a light mood, feel free to stop and serve the fruit salad in its simplest form. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. But adding freshly made whipped cream elevates this dish to new heights and if your kids are like ours, you’ll have them singing songs in your honor!
2 cups watermelon, cut into bite-size pieces.
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup broken-up walnut pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Note: If your walnuts are not already broken into pieces, place them in a napkin and let your little ones bang them with the bottom of a can to break them up, then shake out the napkin into the skillet.
Put the watermelon and blueberries in a bowl and add the toasted walnuts. Gently mix everything together. I let the kids handle the mixing part and they love to snitch extra bites of fruit while my back is turned. Ah! The wonder of childhood – that joke never gets old!
For the Whipped Cream
With your hand mixer or standing mixer with the whisk attachment, making fresh whipped cream is very easy. Pour the cream into a bowl, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar if you like your whipped cream to be a little sweet. Starting out on a slow speed so as not to splatter yourself with liquid, gradually increase the speed as you see the cream start to thicken. Pay attention to the consistency of the cream as it mixes – you want the cream to stand up in peaks, but you don’t want to over-mix and make butter! There are great tutorials on YouTube.