We have tried many a wing recipe in the past, but these ones by Emeril kind of win. I may be suffering from a bout of the “recency effect”, but we are definitely making these again for Superbowl Sunday. The best part is they are so easy, that my little one may be able to make them almost entirely by herself. I am sure someone will pry themselves away from the TV and help her out with getting the wings “in-and-out of the oven”. Lining the pan with foil is a must – otherwise scrubbing the sheet pan will be a total drag.
We had these for dinner and Ria and her friend who was over ended up having a kitchen playdate. You always run the risk that when you come to our house you will be “coerced” into cooking dinner with us. Plus, the kids get quizzed on how to scale recipes – and hence a free math lesson! We enjoyed these with fried rice and given how simple this recipe is, it is going to be added to our regular rotation for sure. Continue reading →
Summer break is upon us and someone is always hungry or constantly opening the refrigerator, looking for a snack. My plan over the summer to keep the hunger pangs at bay and to keep the snacks relatively healthy, is to regularly have a frittata handy. The variations are endless and with bounty of summer vegetables, I am sure we will come up with many new concoctions. Frittatas are also a good vehicle for various odds and ends and cooked leftovers. In fact, in Italy, occasionally before serving lunch or dinner, a small amount of the meal is purposely set aside for a frittata the next day. Leftover frittatas also make the best school lunch/summer camp sandwiches.
Here are some combinations I am considering – please share your ideas and favorite combinations with us as well in the comments section. Kids will enjoy coming up with their own special combinations/masterpieces. Have the kiddos come up with a creative name for their frittata, and perhaps if they are keeping a summer journal, they can write the recipe in it.
Think vegetables, cheese, herbs and perhaps some kind of meat and put together ingredients in any combination that sounds good. It’s tough to go wrong.
Asparagus, red onions and feta cheese
Potato and bacon
Caramelized onions and parmesan cheese
Mushrooms, broccoli and asiago cheese
Kale and/or chard with garlic and onion
Onions, peppers and crumbled sausage
Ricotta with roasted vegetables and herbs
If you feel so inclined the kiddos (and everyone else) always enjoy hash brown potatoes with their eggs. Breakfast for dinner anyone?
Zucchini and Goat Cheese Frittata
Ingredients by Claire Robinson
1 small zucchini
1/2 small purple onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
10 eggs, well beaten with 2 tablespoons water (can be done with hand mixer or in blender)
4 ounces goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise in half and cut each half into very thin half moon shapes.
Melt the butter in a large (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute the onion and then add the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook just until slightly tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Spread the onion and zucchini evenly over the bottom of the pan and top with the beaten eggs.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow it to cook until just starting to set at edges.
Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the top, and put it in the oven until golden on top, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Slightly cool the frittata in the pan before slicing.
Serve it from the pan or invert it onto a plate, then slice and serve.
Children love “pocket-portable” food and if you make these empanadas with them, they are a guaranteed to be a hit. They can be filled with virtually anything – catering to the pickiest of eaters. Even sweet things like caramelized bananas and chocolate 🙂. An empanada kitchen playdate is super fun and we have the kids design their own empanadas, give them creative names and roll and fill their own dough. While the empanadas bake, the munchkins get some play time before snack or dinner.
The dough recipe below is fantastic, but if you aren’t in the mood for making dough, store bought is just fine. Lucca Deli in the Mission stocks some pretty good empanada dough disks in the back. These empanadas freeze really well. Throw some par-baked ones on a tray to freeze and then store them in baggies. To re-heat just bake for a little longer, and you have a really yummy school lunch.
Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together.
Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour
Baked Meat-Filled Empanadas
This is a really delicious and traditional Argentinian filling from the NY Times. One of our favorites. You can leave out the raisins or olives, if you desire.
1 1/2 tablespoons lard (we use olive oil)
1 cup fine-chopped onion
1/2 pound lean beef, minced
Salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
Empanada dough (see recipe above)
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
12 pitted cured black olives, sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. Melt lard in a 10- to 12-inch skillet. Add onion and sauté on medium until it barely starts to color. Add beef. Cook until ingredients are lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste, cumin, paprika and hot sauce. Set aside. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll dough as thin as possible. Cut 6-inch circles. Scraps can be re-rolled one time. Place some meat mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border around filling. Top with a slice of egg, some olive pieces and a few raisins. Brush egg on empty side of circle, fold dough over to make a half-circle and crimp edges. Traditional squared empanadas can be made by folding an inch or so of each of the pointed ends of the half-circle over to make straight sides, then folding up the rounded bottom to square off the empanada.
3. Arrange empanadas on a baking sheet. Squared empanadas should be placed with folded side down. Bake 10 minutes. Turn empanadas over, bake 5 minutes longer, until lightly browned on both sides. Allow to cool briefly before serving.
We are loving our regular kitchen playdates and the kids are bonding over our collective love of international food and cooking together. Kitchen playdates can get messy, but if you don’t mind the clean-up (make the kids help!), they a wonderful post school activity. Especially when the weather is bad in the winter, it’s ideal to get busy in the kitchen and learn a little bit about cooking, measuring, teamwork and in our case since it is usually an international recipe, the world. We usually make part of the meal with the kids and then have an early dinner and call it a night. It’s a welcome change of routine for all of us. Continue reading →
Bakery in Cologne, photo by Simon Collision via Flickr Commons
Lucky me to have a sister-in-law who is a fabulous baker and who is fond of inviting people over for coffee and homemade cake in the afternoon. She was also kind enough to come over this week with my itsy bitsy neice to show me how to bake stutenkerl, something especially nostalgic from her childhood in Germany.
Here’s what happens when you let kids design their own party cheese plate: they come up with some interesting combinations that you would have never thought of and they might find a little inspiration to try some new foods. Most importantly, they’ll have a great time letting their creativity flow. Over the years I have really come to appreciate how much kids enjoy the chance to make choices at mealtime. Just giving them options reduces how picky they are and makes eating together a lot more fun for everyone.
I would like to take credit for this brilliant cheese plate idea, but all the credit goes to Ria. I’m not exactly sure where she came up with the idea, but once she put it out there it wasn’t hard to sell me on it. We spent a good deal of time discussing, then shopping for what would go on her cheese plate which included some of her favorite cheeses (she is partial to the ooey-gooey creamy triple cream ones), crackers, salami, fruits, nuts, olives etc. Once the ingredients were procured she added her artistic flair and came up with this lovely design for a party that we hosted:
Our next adventure in junior cheese plate design came in the form of a dinner play date with Luca and Stacie. They brought over some of their own favorite bits and pieces to add to the mix and the kids got to work. They eagerly dove into the project first choosing their plates, then checking out all the goodies. It was delightful listening to Luca and Ria’s conversation and descriptions of what they were thinking as they worked on their designs — a rainy day-themed plate complete with raisin raindrops; artfully drizzled apple slices; sweet and salty dried fruit and salami bites — and a wonderful thing to hear them encourage each other to taste and sample. We made sure their plates were hearty enough to qualify as supper (giving us adults a night off from dinner duty) so Stacie and I sat back with a refreshing beverage, nibbled and chatted. Cheers to that!
We love this as a fun and fuss-free play date for kids of any age. Given the call for cheese plates this time of year, it’s also a perfect activity to keep little hands busy amidst all the holiday revelry.
Listen to the kids discuss their cheese plates:
Here are some ideas and tips for hosting Your own parti du fromage:
Involve your kids in the shopping and planning. We love any excuse to visit a specialty cheese store, but even a well-stocked market will do. Do some tasting and sampling to get the ball rolling.
Give the kids total free reign to pick some items, then suggest, nudge and supplement with others (and raid your pantry) so that you have a well-rounded assortment of things that will make a complete meal. You can still give kids a choice even in unfamiliar territory (“these olives or those?”, ‘”pick one of these”)
Keep it lively by tasting and sharing opinions. Consider taste, texture, aroma, presentation and encourage everyone to share the stories and ideas behind their creations.
For those who are less gung ho about the idea of cheese tasting, you could easily turn this from a cheese plate project into creative grilled cheese sandwich party. We recently hosted a grilled cheese party with a big bunch of kids and they had a blast experimenting with different combinations and coming up with crazy sandwich names. If you don’t have a panini press, you can toast your sandwiches up in a waffle iron which will make you the coolest play date host ever.
Have even more fun by letting kids create a menu, write a description or make a drawing to accompany their creation.