Monday, May 23, 2011

MPM--Last Preschool Graduation Edition

Thanks to those who gave dinner-from-thin-air suggestions last week! It was fun to see what people are doing on the no-ideas-for-dinners nights. When I pull the whole list together, I'll post it here too.

For a week of "coasting" last week, I did a respectable amount of "new"...check the reviews after the break. This week is another busy one:

Monday: homemade pizzas (this one with the leftover onion beschamel, see below for that story, and a regular one for the kids); salad

Tuesday: overlapping kids' events, so Wawa hoagies for the parents, and happily, both kids are provided for at the various events.

Wednesday: and did I mention that the Tuesday meal for the one boy is tacos anyway so I can skip a week? Score! Bacon wrapped rosemary chicken, veggies from the CSA

Thursday: preschool "graduation." I'm not a big believer in these things, but at my sons' school, they don't do caps and gowns or anything, just a very nice end-of-year program, which is a really fun celebration. We'll get a sandwich tray and salads and have leftovers for dinner.

Friday: prom night! If my sister-in-law doesn't barbecue, we'll pick something up on the way home.

Back to last week:

As the week went on, I tried a few new recipes and went back to some old ones. I tried the crockpot version of Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. It came out pretty well in some ways, but was hampered by me developing an (unusual for me) wicked headache that day, so the smell was getting to me. But my son walked in from school and asked, "Mom, what's for dinner? It smells great!" That was a first, and I will treasure it forever. But. He didn't like the actual chicken. My husband loved it and I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure it'll make it to the rotation.

CSA season started again, so I needed to keep the produce moving. I made an old success, the Simple Cauliflower from 101 Cookbooks, and had a big enough head of cauliflower to try it two ways, the traditional and the nutmeg. I was also in my favorite gourmet store and they were pushing roasted broccoli sprouts all week, but no way was I spending $7.95 per pound for them, so I roasted them myself. Yum.

I've also been reading a book called Eating for Beginners. It was reviewed in Brain, Child Magazine, which I love, and I saw the author and I went to college together (but we didn't know each other). It is a memoir of her year of learning to be a chef in a farm-to-table restaurant, not as a career change, but in an effort to find something to feed her ultra-picky child. So yes, I was hooked. The recipes all sounded great but I went with the ones that seemed easiest: roasted parsnips and creamed spinach.

I'll start with the Creamed Spinach: Seabrook Farms does this so well, I fail to understand why I'd make it any other way again. But the recipe sounded so good I couldn't help myself. I should have, though, because I messed up the bechamel. I had tons of it and it was totally gloppy. It was good but not better and so much more work. But the roasted parsnips were awesome. I don't usually roast with butter but I followed the recipe (cut in to smallish irregular pieces-"on the oblique"--dot with butter, roast 30 min at 350 with salt & pepper to taste) and it was great.

In an odd move, knowing that our CSA kale season is approaching, I bought some kale ahead of time to try again with a massaged kale salad. I have not, traditionally, been a fan of dark leafy greens. Spinach is ok when drowned in cream or vinegar, but that's really my limit. We did have success with kale chips, but really: there's not much in the world of edible items that isn't ok when doused in olive oil and salt and roasted. So I decided to try a massaged kale & avocado salad. I feared it would be a big waste of an avocado, but it worked out. The video was a huge help; it showed me how small I needed to get the leaves. So I destemmed, chopped away, and mixed with my hands--which I hate. And I cheated and used the whole avocado--first, because they don't store well, and second, because I figured it would drown out the kale. Did I love it? No. But I really enjoyed it, and felt very virtuous eating it. It's hardly low-cal with the olive oil and avocado (half of which I massaged in to the kale, and half of which I left in tasty chunks) but full of nutrients (and I did add the tomatoes). I also liked that it held up ok in the fridge overnight (due to the lemon, the avocado discoloration wasn't terrible). So this is a keeper for summer.

And, as a bit of a surprise, I hosted my Mothers & More book group meeting. (It was the best way to ensure I got to it--have it in my house!) The book was The Help, and while I would have loved to Southern-food it up, I didn't have time or energy. (And the leak I discovered in our house 27 minutes before the start didn't help.) But--I had rhubarb, so I made the strawberry-rhubarb crumble again which was well received, and I tried the buttermilk pie recipe that a reader posted in my comments. (Thanks, reader!) It was awesomely easy, made the house smell great, and was also well received. I did find that the amount of filling I had would have been better for a deep dish pie dish, or two regular pies, but it all worked out. It is an excellent use of buttermilk, so I'm very happy to have that in the repertoire now.

And that's our week that was. Hey, if you're local, my Mothers & More group is hosting a blogger night on Tuesday; leave me a comment with your email if you want more details and I'll send them to you. We're happy to meet lurkers in person! There will be some awesome bloggers there--we'd love to have you, too!

Meanwhile, for more menus-check out I'm an Organizing Junkie!


Mom24 said...

I hope you have a wonderful time at your Blogger night. Fun!

I, too, cannot make myself like dark leafy greens, no matter how much I know I *should*. I've never made creamed spinach, I keep meaning to but never get to it.

Hope you have a good week.

tipsybaker said...

There's nothing like when a kid appreciates your cooking -- or even just how it smells. More of this on the way, I think!
I'm wondering about that kale salad. I'm very loyal to "my" kale salad, but perhaps I should broaden horizons.