…The thing is that snails in aioli really are great. A few million Frenchmen can’t be wrong!
…The thing is that snails in aioli really are great. A few million Frenchmen can’t be wrong!
…That is what my kids told me yesterday when asking whether I could help them roast crickets and then dip them in chocolate. That is what I get for allowing them to read books about survival skills.
I have 9 crickets chilling, literally, in my fridge in preparation to roast them. Mmm hmm. I said I’m going to roast crickets. If you read yesterday’s post (and she smacks her forehead!) you will see how this all came about. I’m a little too disgusted with myself to go into the whole thing again. So the big debate is whether the boys should have them salty or, as Ty- the originator of the idea- suggests, dipped in dark chocolate. I don’t care.
I tried talking to my sister for moral support. She was no help. She was excited. I think she has latent hostility toward me for all those times I stuck my pointy elbow in her ribs.
Me (whining): “I can’t believe I promised Ty I would help him roast crickets.”
Jessie: “That’s awesome! I think I saw a children’s book about cooking with insects. Maybe you could get it from the library to reinforce the lesson.”
Me: “What lesson? The lesson that I shouldn’t ‘promise’ to roast crickets? I got that one down already.”
Jessie: “No. I mean it’s really neat! There are people all over the world who eat insects. This is a great lesson.”
Me: “Well then, why don’t you come over and help them and then you can eat some?”
Jessie: “I’m a vegetarian.”
Me: “Lame excuse.”
Not shockingly, none of my cookbooks had advice on how to do this. Survivorman skewered the live buggies and roasted them over an open flame. I’m not skewering live crickets. After googling, “How to roast crickets”, unsurprisingly the choices were few. Here’s the “recipe” I found. [Read more...]
Aidan, age 8, and Ty, age 6, came flying through the door while I was preparing tonight’s deja food masterpiece. Aidan, tightly grasping two cups with the open ends pushed together yelled, “Ty just had the BEST idea for dessert tonight, Mom. Tell her Ty!”
At this point I expected them to show me some wild strawberries from the driveway.
Ty exuberantly shouted, “Roast crickets dipped in dark chocolate. I would’ve said milk chocolate, but I know you like dark chocolate better, Mom.”
Well, yes, but, ummmm… Where to go with this one?
He opened up the cups and, sure enough, showed me 4 large crickets he had “chose ’cause they looked good and meaty.”
I feel the need to interrupt myself here to make clear that we don’t eat insects around these parts. Food prices are high, but they’re not that high.
I tried to take the path of least resistance and explain that I wasn’t prepared to roast crickets tonight and I had dinner all ready to go. We just wouldn’t have time. It worked. Ty was morose, but he took the crickets out the side door and released the things. He came back in the house, washed his hands, took one look at my prepared dinner and promptly refused to eat.
Another interruption: The kid who wanted roasted crickets with dark (or milk) chocolate refused a meal comprised of things he had loved the day before.
I tried to strong-arm him. “Eat your dinner!” Nope.
I tried to coax him. “Hey! Your brothers are eating it and they seem to like it!” Nothing doing.
I tried reasoning with him. “You know, this food is all stuff you liked just yesterday. Not only that, but it is chock-a-block with nutrients and vitamins that you need in order to get big enough to bully your brothers. You do want that, don’t you?” Negatory.
I cannot believe what came out of my mouth next. I actually clamped my hand over my own mouth as soon as I heard myself say it.
“If you eat it I’ll roast you some crickets tomorrow night.”
Argh! What did I just do? He picked up the bowl and shoveled the stuff into his mouth with a delighted look. He ate his dinner in record time and proceeded to regale me with cricket nutritional information while I tried to choke back mine.
“Crickets are full of protein, Mom.”
“I think they’re probably good with calcium, too, Mom. Not sure, though, but they ought to be crunchy!”
That’s what I get for trying to negotiate over the dinner table.
In tonight’s installment of “Food! It’s whats for dinner!” I wow the crowd by serving deja food. It was a long day, these food items are nearing the end of their usefulness and I cannot bear to waste food. So without further adieu I give you my leftover selection. See if you can figure out what I did with it all! With the exception of the Vanilla Ice Cream and Raspberry Coulis it was all cooked together…
Leftover Pork chops from Father’s Day
Leftover Shredded Mexican Chicken
Leftover Slow-cooked Black Beans with Salsa Verde
Leftover Steamed Jasmine Rice
Steamed Edamame (not necessarily leftover, and not agreeing with the rest of the buffet, but let’s be flexible, shall we?) with sea salt and cracked black pepper
Leftover Vanilla Ice Cream with Raspberry Coulis
Leif was really looking forward to dinner Wednesday night. He loves ham (“the pink meat”), garlic bubble bread and homemade pasta. But he adores ice cream and anything that goes with it. I had planned this meal to please him particularly.
” But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”
Robert Burns, from “To A Mouse”
My schemes for a spectacular meal were laid last week and promptly tossed aside when my little Leify spiked a 104.9 temperature. I turned off the oven that was baking the garlic bubble bread and abandoned the loaf to whatever fate would befall it while taking my baby viking to the urgent care department.
I stuffed the resting pasta dough into the freezer for a later meal. I turned off the ice cream freezer and poured the base into a gladware container and crammed that in the freezer, too.
The only part of the meal that was done, the Scots bannock for the dessert, was stuck on a plate in the microwave and we were off to the hospital.
He had to go see the doctor AND miss his anticipated vittles. The little Nordic conqueror was not pleased.
Two days later, fever gone and appetite increased, Leif asked what happened to his bannock. I brandished the bannock and he said he wanted dessert before dinner. The bannock was wrapped in foil before it got a quick refreshing toast in a hot oven.
The ice cream base went back into the machine and churned away into creamy, sweet vanilla ice cream.
The raspberries that had macerated a bit too long in their sugar went into the blender with some lemon juice, were strained and became a beautiful fresh raspberry coulis.
Leif wanted chocolate on his plate as well, and since the desire for the presence of chocolate requires no explanation, on it went.
The recipes for the ice cream, coulis and bannock are below. The bannock can also be made savory by omitting the topping sugar and adding any variety of ingredients; diced ham and cheddar, chives and bacon, assorted minced herbs, etc… If you’ve never had a bannock it is best described as a cross between a biscuit and a scone. It can stand in for any biscuit recipe. When topped with sugar it makes a more than admirable shortcake. It is a failsafe, simple recipe and it makes so many meals and desserts special. Big thanks to my dear friend Alison (McDougall) Santora for the bannock recipe!
McDougall Scots Bannock
Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Preheat oven to 425°. Turn bannock dough onto floured surface, knead lightly for a dozen turns and separate into two balls.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Flatten dough balls to about one inch thick and put at least three inches apart on prepared pan. If preparing a sweet bannock, sprinkle the top of each round of dough generously with granulated sugar. Bake in 425° oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Below is a picture of how the Scots bannock looks before going into the oven and how it looks dressed and ready to eat.
Here is the beautiful bannock ready to be sliced into wedges and devoured. For size reference purposes, that is a pie plate in which the bannock sits.
Macerate the raspberries in the sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl for an hour. When the hour is up, pour the contents of the bowl into the blender. Cover and blend on high for 1 minute. If desired, you can strain out the seeds by pouring the coulis through a fine mesh sieve. This gives it a more finished texture. Pour coulis into a clean squeeze bottle or a mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
…Because sometimes simple is best! This recipe appeared in my Record-Eagle column last Monday.
Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes about 7 cups
Pour milk into a blender and add sugar. Put the cover on the blender and blend on low until the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the blender and pulse 5 times on low speed.
Freeze according to instructions from your machine’s manufacturer. Mine requires about 25 minutes of freezing.
The ice cream will be soft-set when done. You may transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours if you desire a firmer consistency. Remove from the freezer and allow to soften for about 5 minutes before serving.
How to put together the dessert?
Cut the bannock into 8 equal wedges. Squirt a little raspberry coulis and chocolate sauce on the plate. Split a wedge in half lengthwise. Place the bottom half of the bannock wedge on the plate and place a large scoop of ice cream on top of the bannock. Drizzle some raspberry coulis over the ice cream. Top with the sugary half of the bannock. Garnish with something pretty, green and edible from your garden. For extra bling you can use sugared mint leaves or violets.
Leif’s pneumonia blues cure.
Here’s the happy boy (sadly he had already wiped his mouth!) As you can see he’s not fond of wearing shirts.
Remember my “in case of illness” clause in the ‘Food! It’s what’s for dinner!’ project? I’m exercising it. I was at the ER twice yesterday with my four-year-old, Leif. (Actually I was there with all five boys once and my husband was there with Leif alone once.) First he ran a temp of 104.9 so we were off to visit our local urgent care deparment since it was after hours. We were there for an hour and a half and sent home with a bronchitis diagnosis and a fistful of medicine.
Our dinner was at Chez Subway home of the $5 footlong. Guess what. Even at $5 a pop it’s still really expensive to feed five hungry boys and two hungry adults there.
We got home, gave him the meds prescribed and watched the left side his face (and his lower lip) start to swell up like a really cute little balloon with very big blue eyes. So at 11 last night my husband packed the little guy back into the van and headed back to the ER.
I stayed home with the other boys and cleaned the kitchen. It made me feel better. And that’s saying something ’cause I hates cleaning!
This morning saw all five boys and I scooting to our pediatrician’s office so she could eyeball Leif herself. We left with a new diagnosis- probable pneumonia, a new fistful of medications, a McDonald’s lunch courtesy of Nana and a serious need to chill out.
That’s what we’re doing for dinner tonight. We’re chilling out. I don’t know what we’re having, but it’s probably not going to be worthy of description let alone pictures.
The good news is my little viking seems much improved. His swelling has gone down and we just need to focus on clearing his pink little lungs.
Slainte Mhar everyone!!!!!
Has anyone else noticed that I’ve botched the dates on every single one of the ‘Food! It’s what’s for dinner!’ posts? Of course, I’ve gone back through and fixed them. I may be the only one who noticed them but my Grandmama taught me it was better to be honest and good than to not. That was a Steve Martin line. I’m not thattrustworthy. I quit Girl Scouts my first year. All we did was make sit-upons. Sit-upon my rear. But I run on…
In case anyone is wondering why there was no quinoa salad on the plate last night I have an explanation. The Big XY came home from work and was ‘famished’. He needed something to eat ‘quickly’ and the quinoa salad was the first thing he could grab from the fridge. Eh bien. There was plenty on the plate anyway!
Grilled Ham Carbonara on Homemade Linguine (or with boxed rotini if I am having too much fun outside with the kids to tear away and make pasta! Look at me- 3 meals in and already copping out!)
Steamed Broccoli with Garlic
Garlic and Italian Herb Bubble Bread
Blueberry Shortcake with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (The blueberry fulfills the fruit category, you see!)
~I was just ready to post this and my 6 year old, Ty, walked up to me with tears in his eyes. “Mom,” whined he, “The guys think my Bionicle is their least favorite. Can I make cookies with you tonight?”
*For those of you without kids let me break this down for you. He is annoyed by his brothers dissing his Bionicle. However, he is not so annoyed that he missed recognizing an opportunity to manipulate his mother into making cookies and letting him crack the eggs. I informed him that I already had plans for tonight’s dessert (see above). He whined, “Then what can I do?”
Mom: “Well, you can quit whining, for one.”
Ty: “For one dollar?”
You see what I’m dealing with?
Wow! You wouldn’t believe the weird stuff going on here today. Our power went out this morning around 10:30a.m. So, feeling mighty full of myself for thinking of such a fun and educational idea I got the kids through their schoolwork in record time, got everyone groomed and packed them all into the van to go to the library. And their power was out, too. Duh! They’re on the same grid.
It wasn’t a wash because the kids sat on the library floor with the children’s librarian and the group of them built a gigantic brick castle and were shouting medieval things at each other. I chatted with our town librarian about great places to buy produce locally and the best Salvation Army locations around here. That woman is a librarian in the truest sense of the word. She is a treasure-trove of information!
When the library’s power came back on we checked out the books we had grabbed by the dim emergency lights and headed home.
Our power was back up, but my server was down. ACK! And I wanted to post my dinner plans for the night. Here they are, better late than never.
Homemade onion poppyseed hamburger rolls
Grilled hamburgers with super secret toppings (I’m submitting this to a recipe contest and if I tell you I’d have to… Oh never mind. If it’s published it’s not eligible for the prize!) Of course, I’ll try to take a really good picture so you can see what’s on it. C’est si bon!
More Chilled Latin quinoa salad
Crash Hot Potatoes (Thank you The Pioneer Woman and Evil Chef Mom for giving me the heads up on these babies! I’ve successfully addicted my kids, husband, mom, sister and three aunties to this recipe!)
Gin and Tonic (“Gin and tonic, Pats?” “Oooooh, Gin and tonic, Eddy” wink wink.)
Updated with picture Wednesday June 12, 2008.
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