Vermont Sourdough, part 2


Second try on Jeffrey Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat.

This time I followed the steps for shaping the loaves (unlike last time, where I kind of just scooched the dough blob into oblong lumps). It was beautiful. Until I grabbed and pulled them out of the folded linen, completely deflating the beautiful loaves and creating worse shapes than last time. ARRRGGGG!

Also, I probably added too much extra water, making the whole thing a frustrating mess.

Clearly, the yeasties were doing their thing in there. Flavor and texture were great.

I stopped feeding the starter after this loaf. Phew! Time for a break.



Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives

When she picks a recipe, she really picks a recipe.

This is from The International Cookbook for Kids by Matthew Locricchio, which she borrowed from the library. I believe this Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives is French.

It was a project that took several hours, lots of chopping and stirring, even some very, very attentive brushing of dirt off mushrooms with a paper towel.

The cookbook did a nice job of laying out the steps, and I appreciate that they clearly didn’t dumb down the recipes just because they’re for kids.

Bon Appetit!

Farro salad with peas, asparagus and feta


This is Farro Salad with Peas, Asparagus and Feta from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook.

Our 5-year-old did most of the chopping and mixing, so not to tricky a recipe. We used regular farro where the recipe calls for semi-pearled, so it took 35+ minutes to cook rather than 10, but the whole salad was still ready in a little less than an hour.

Also, it calls for sugar snap peas, which I bought at the grocery store, but they were kind of old and didn’t look so great so at the last minute I put in frozen peas instead.

The dill is really good in this — not too dilly, just blended nicely with the other flavors. We’ll definitely make this one again.

Gratin of endive and ham


This was really easy to make and pretty fancy at the table. It’s Gratin of Endive and Ham from The Bon Appetit Cookbook.

It’s Belgian endive wrapped in ham and smothered in a cream sauce and Swiss cheese.

I’ve never cooked Belgian endive before. It’s a little bitter, which is a great flavor with the salty, meaty ham and sweet, cheesy sauce. The kids demanded PB&J when they saw it come out of the oven and head the name, but then they smelled it and changed their minds. One asked for seconds.


Latino-style Chicken and Brown Rice


Another excellent recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook — Latino-Style Chicken and Brown Rice.

This is very similar to Arroz Con Pollo recipes I’ve made before, except this is designed for brown rice and it has more going on. Green olives, capers, roasted red peppers, green bell pepper. It feels more like a meal than just white rice and chicken in a pot.

This takes almost an hour in the oven, so it needs to be started at least an hour and a half or two hours before dinner.

Also, I always add a bit more salt and more oil than the recipes in this cookbook call for. For example, this one starts with just a teaspoon of canola in the pan to saute the onions and green pepper. I add about a tablespoon. I don’t think that’s going to push us over the the limit for fat tonight.


Homemade chicken nuggets


These chicken nuggets are based on a recipe that uses ground chicken as the base. We add extra seasoning (hand mixed cajun spice blend from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que cookbook instead of Zatarain’s Creole). I also use fresh shredded Parmesan cheese instead of powdered, fresh minced garlic instead of powdered and a little oil added to the crumbs. Oh, and salt. This recipe oddly leaves out the salt. More than once I’ve followed the recipe faithfully and served salt-less nuggets. Not good. Add salt to the chicken mixture and the bread crumb mixture.

The sides here are roasted asparagus (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, bump the oven up to 400 to 425 after the nuggets come out and bake until a little browned) and Cajun corn from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que cookbook.