Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeding the Wilsons.

 As a babysitter for the Wilsons, I have found that many of my days are spent almost exclusively in the kitchen. I think it's safe to say that the majority of my time every day is spent cooking. Here's a look into what I've been making (and eating) lately.

Salads here consist of lettuce, tomato, and avocado. If you think this sounds simple and dangerously close to boring when repeated a few times a week all're correct. However, slicing up these avocados every day has made me realize that I LOVE avocado. Truly. Also, this salad bowl and tossers are pretty legit.

One of our dinner favorites around here is the Wiliams Sonoma recipe for rosemary balsamic pork marinated tenderloin. I usually don't like pork tenderloin all that much, but the flavors in this recipe compliment each other beautifully.

As always, stir fry is a staple. To make a delicious, light Ginger Sauce for stir fry, combine 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp chicken broth, 1 Tbsp dry sherry, 1/4 c minced ginger, and 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar. Pour on after all the veggies have been cooked up and the meat added back in. I usually simmer it all in the sauce for a little bit.

While I was in Minnesota, I visited Izzy's Ice Cream. One of the flavors available that day was called "Cereal milk." It was a new flavor that they were just trying out, but I was too weirded out to try it. In concept, it is ice cream made out of the milk at the end of a bowl of cereal, but basically it's just ice cream made out of milk that has had Kashi sitting in it for a while.
Even though I didn't want to try it, the concept had me intrigued and I made a batch myself here. The Kashi that sat in the milk all night was disgusting pulp, but after straining it all out and making the ice cream in the cuisinart, I added a bit more fresh Kashi back in for crunch factor. It was really tasty.

 After seeing this post about iced coffee, we decided to whip up a batch of our own. Being a big cinnamon fan, I opted for the all cinnamon version. The benefit of the sweetened condensed milk is that it adds the sweetness without contributing a disgusting grit of sugar. It really does change the entire consistency though, so some people probably won't like it.

In Maine, blueberry muffins are practically a requirement.
The recipe I used here was okay, though doesn't make the soft, doughy muffins that I like. What I really did like about it though, was the BEAUTIFUL batter the recipe produced. It looked like a glorious sunset!
Last week, we tried this recipe from Pioneer Woman and they were fantastic! Not to mention the finished product was much more attractive, even if the batter wasn't quite as lovely.

I saw this recipe for Anadama bread a million years ago in the back of my mother's Family Fun magazine and ripped it out but never ended up trying it out. Luckily I have the ever useful world wide web at my fingertips and was able to find the recipe that I lost years ago with a simple google search. Phwew!
And it's a good thing I tried it, as this bread is SO simple to make and even more delicious!
Of course, I then had to follow the fantastic bread with some honey butter to smear on it. Simply leave one stick of butter out until very soft, then beat with an electric mixer and beat in 1/4 c of honey. Yum.

Another simple homemade option is croutons! Just cube a loaf of bread (I used a whole grain baguette) and toss in a bowl with melted butter (I used a stick of salted butter with a minced clove of garlic cooked in while it was melting). Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until very crunchy. I also sprinkled a bit of parmesan over them while they were cooking.

This is Pinch, the ninety-two year old grandfather of the kids I babysit. We have dinner at his house right down the road a few nights a week during the summer. He doesn't care for much by way of variety, but he does love my mashed potatoes and signature double chocolate brownies (I use a cup of chocolate chips instead of the walnuts).

And, as always, the meal I prepare most frequently is PB&J. Everyone but Gardner (who eats fluffernutters on white) likes raspberry jelly, but Leverett prefers creamy peanut butter, white bread, and no crusts. Tookie likes creamy on wheat and Harrison likes crunchy on white. Gardner gets made if his sandwich is cut at all, Leverett likes little triangles, Harrison inexplicably likes his sandwich cut once vertically and once diagonally, and Tookie will eat whatever.
The three who like cut sandwiches LOVE having special designs though. I've made sunshines, hot air balloons, and sailboats. My least favorite sandwich is what we've dubbed "confetti," which basically consists of me cutting the sandwiches into pieces as small as I can get them. It takes forever and it's not even easy to eat the sandwich afterwards because all the little squares come apart. After I made Leverett this sailboat, he asked me, "How did you get so good at cutting, Aleena? Did you go to special cutting school?" Nope, Leverett. I was born with it.