Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! green stuff edition

Happy St. Patrick's Day! None of us has a drop of Irish blood in us, but that didn't stop the kids from wearing green head to toe this morning, including stripes of green hairspray. (Don't ask me why we own green hairspray. I'm not sure myself.)

We had all kinds of fun green things planned for dinner, a menu that Daniel and Anya came up with themselves: green eggs and ham, green salad with cucumber, green grapes, and dessert with green frosting.

As it turned out, dinner was a rushed affair because Daniel spent the afternoon at a friend's house working on a science project, and didn't get home until almost 6:00. Said friend's younger brother was at our house for a play date with Anya (we like doing the "kid swap" with this particular set of siblings after school sometimes), so by the time everybody was back where they needed to be, we didn't have a whole lot of time to cook.

Fortunately, the dinner we planned didn't take long to fix, though it involved dirtying a lot of dishes and was a mad rush from start to finish. I hate feeling so rushed and impatient but if we'd gone at kid pace for this one, we would still be waiting for Anya to scramble the eggs.

First, I set Daniel to work making pesto. Here he is cleaning basil:

Anya was in charge of brownies. The recipe is a handwritten one from my friend Rachel, and Anya couldn't read my writing. She understand "chocolate" and "butter" well enough, though.

Stirring up the eggs and sugar!
 Here we are back at the pesto master. I made the unfortunate mistake of telling him to add some olive oil and then not telling him how much and not paying attention when he poured it in...

Once Daniel was done making pesto soup, I set him to work washing lettuce for salad. Here he is wielding some Romaine leaves in front of our atrocious sink. (Side note: I can't wait until we can grow this stuff for ourselves instead of buying tasteless bunches from the west coast. Also, I hate this disgusting sink and can't wait until we get a new one.) 

The last and easiest part of dinner was making scrambled eggs. Daniel is very good at cracking eggs.

By this point I was so frazzled cleaning off the table and getting everything else on, I failed to get pictures of Anya, who did the actual scrambling (she did a good job, too), and I'm afraid the photo of our meal is rather uninspired. Still, you get the idea.

Scrambled eggs, ham, rolls, pesto, salad, green grapes, kiwi berries
In the end we had scrambled eggs (with pesto sauce to make them "green"), ham, rolls, green salad, green grapes, and a new-to-me fruit called "kiwi berries" that I picked up at Brennan's the other day. I think they're just immature kiwi fruits, but I wanted to try something new so I bought them. Daniel and Anya didn't like them (too sour, they said) but I did!

After clean-up and screen time, we frosted the brownies with green mint frosting. This might be the most pathetic-looking pan of brownies I've ever made but they tasted fine and nobody complained!

Here's the low-down on this week's Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! I hardly need to tell you how to make ham (slice it) and scrambled eggs (mix up some eggs and cook them in a skillet), do I? Still, I'll share the recipes from the rolls and the brownies. The rolls were leftover from yesterday and the kids didn't help make them, but it would be a good one to try with them one of these days. I'll fine tune the pesto recipe and share it at a later time.

Mary Ann's 90-minute rolls 
Mary Ann is my mom, and this is actually a recipe from her mother, so it's well-established in the family. This is a good one to try if you're not an experienced bread baker because it's relatively quick as yeasted breads go, and rather forgiving.

  • 1 c. milk, scalded
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2T. butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 c. flour (I used 1 c. whole wheat and 2 c. white)

  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter and salt.
  2. Dissolve yeast in water, then add to milk mixture.
  3. Sitr in flour but don't knead.
  4. Cover and let rise for 50 minutes.
  5. Form into rolls (15-18 total, depending on how big you make them).
  6. Let rise 20 minutes or so until puffy.
  7. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

I got this recipe years ago from my friend Rachel. I have to tell you, I am very particular about brownies. Most people like them all gooey and fudgy, but I don't. In fact, I can't stand sticky brownies. These are nice and cake-like and quite simple to make. 

  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
  • 3 oz. bitter/unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • generous dash of cinnamon (if you like cinnamon with chocolate, which I do very much)

  1. Melt butter and chocolate together over low heat.
  2. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add butter-chocolate mixture.
  4. Mix in flour and cinnamon.
  5. Pour into a small square pan (8x8) and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Pros: This meal went together quickly, which we needed, since we had a late start. With so many components, there was something for everyone. The pesto was soupy (too much oil, I'm guessing) but it turned out to be an excellent salad dressing and sauce for the scrambled eggs. Anya's not crazy about pesto, so she left it off her salad and used bottled dressing instead. Also, it was fun coming up with green things to eat for St. Patrick's Day.

Cons: Cooking was a little chaotic. With nothing to bake for 30 minutes, there was no break between cooking with the kids and sitting down to eat. This wouldn't have mattered if we hadn't felt rushed in the first place. Also, scrambled eggs and little bowls of side dishes means we don't have leftovers for tomorrow, but all in all, these are very small complaints.

Next time: Well, there are probably 101 Ways To Cook Eggs, if not more, so we'll be trying out different methods in the future.


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