Homey don’t play that!

I dislike clowns.  I really do.  They creep me out massively.  But if I were to hire a clown for my children's birthday parties I would hire 'Homey D. Clown'  from 'In Living Color'.  Without further adieu:       Okay.  I said without further adieu, but I have to say that my husband has been laughing so hard he's actually having an asthma attack and he's wheezing behind my left elbow as I type this...  Wheeze.  Wheeze.  Laugh.  ("Stop it," he says...)         … {Read on...}

Cold Creamy Zucchini Soup

faux-vichyssoise

I am aware that my kids may be the exception here, but they live for vichyssoise.  Seriously.  When we were planting potatoes this summer the kids looked at me blanky until I explained that we could make almost endless vichyssoise and homefries.  That got their attention and they got their hands in the dirt, STAT!    I can't explain their fascination with cold potato and leek soup logically.  My eldest and second born eat anything I put in front of them.  My third born, not so much with most veggies, but he's coming around.  My fourth born has a nearly clinical paranoia of all foods vege and green.  The only exceptions are green grapes and Granny Smith apples.  My fifth born dislikes anything he decides to dislike whenever he feels like it with no pattern whatsoever.  Naturally, any food they all like predicably gets shoved into the rotation as frequently as possible.   We are, however, being overrun by man eating zucchini right now.  We have zucchini the size of femurs that seemingly grow overnight in our garden.  Obviously, once the skin gets thick they get tossed to the chickens (and NOT on them as some people around here seem to think is the best way to get their attention.)  Miraculously, some of these gargantuan zukes still have delicate skin and very few seeds.  That makes it human fare!   I have grown somewhat weary of three versions of "I don't like zucchini" at our dinner table so I employed subterfuge to great effect last night.  A beam of light … {Read on...}

A cheesy giveaway! Curd you participate?

caprese-top-shot1

I've received quite a bit of email about my "Blessed Are the Cheesemakers" post.  Many people have seen the citric acid in their local markets or health food stores but can't seem to locate rennet.  I decided, not because I'm altruistic and generous, but because I want everyone to enjoy doing what I enjoy doing (namely cheesemaking in this instance), to give away some cheesemaking supplies.   Homemade mozzarella balls marinated in pesto on garden fresh tomatoes.  Mmmmmm...   So, we come to the strings.  Because I listened in senior Economics class.  Yes, Mr. Griswold, I remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch (or free cheese.)  Just answer the following questions and on Wednesday the 20th of August I will do a random drawing (or figure out how to use that random.org thingie) to determine the winner.   Please tell me why you would like cheesemaking supplies.  The more pun laden, the better. We need your email address so we can figure out how to get you the goodies. I'm really interested in hearing your favorite ways of using fresh mozzarella.  This doesn't have to be creative.  I won't cry myself to sleep on my huge pillow if there is a collective 'caprese' in the comments column. (This is not a question, but it's one of those extra-credit jobbies)  If you'd like an extra entry, just mention the giveaway on your blog.    And the boring bit... Er, I'm unclear on the legal ramifications of shipping cheesemaking cultures worldwide, so for … {Read on...}

‘fess up! What bugs you in the kitchen?

Most days I feel like a kitchen superstar.  Last week I canned 50 quarts of garlic dills, catered an event for 50 attendees 1-1/2 hours away with all five of my kids in tow (major thanks to my Mom for coming along and riding herd...), made three- count 'em- three premium cheesecakes (two for the event, one for my visiting sister and her new boyfriend!), made mozzarella cheese and pesto enough to feed the Italian army, experimented with a couple recipes, made several loaves of bread and managed to put three meals a day on the table for my family of seven.  I did it...    But as I worked my way through last week one dish (or sometimes several dishes) at a time I had a few moments of frustration.  I had an epiphany (and yes, Dad, it hurt.)  While I undoubtedly love cooking and am thrilled to have the opportunities for both captive audiences (husband and kid) and paying audiences (newspaper column and catering/cheesecake customers) there are still things that I just don't like to do in the kitchen.   This epiphany came as a shock to me.  A shock as big as when I realized that although I loved my children, there were some things I just didn't like doing with/for them**.  I can hear a collective 'duh' rising from the blogosphere, but to me this was news.   **Changing befouled diapers, listening to them practice the same sound effect four hundred times behind my head while I'm trying to decorate a customer's cheesecake, eating goulash (HOW can they all love it … {Read on...}

Parental paychecks.

birthday-iced-coffee-and-chocolate-blueberries-from-liam

My boys have always enjoyed cooking with me.  I have daily "cooking buddies".  The kids take turns (with the help of a wheel that keeps track of whose turn it is) helping me prepare dinner.  There is much weeping, gnashing of teeth and rending of hair when someone's turn is missed or Mom exerts executive privilege on a meal (no deep frying with small fry, if you know what I mean...)   Lately, however, they've been wanting to do their own kitchen projects.  On my birthday last week my eldest snuck into the kitchen (and that takes some doing- he's not a subtle kid.)  He quietly prepared this as an "afternoon refresher" for me.   Look at his plating!  He takes after his Mama.   Mama's birthday iced coffee with fancy plating by Liam.     My second-born, Aidan, caught wind of what was going on and did not want to be left out of the "doing something for Mom's birthday" trend and banished me to the porch.  In short order he presented me with this masterpiece.  How about that interplay of flavors and textures?  What a guy!     Granny Smith apple with chocolate sauce, almonds and blueberries- a light afternoon birthday snack for Mama by Aidan.     Buoyed by his success and the amount of huggy thanks offered by Mom, Liam woke up early a couple days ago and made me this!  Love the use of edible flowers and demerara sugar in the plating...     A nice surprise morning cuppa Earl Grey with lovely plating by Liam.  Note the straw- '"because straws … {Read on...}