Sunday, July 27, 2008

Japanese Croquettes

Japanese Croquettes
I was a bit afraid to try this recipe, since it looked quite a bit harder than the cakes, cookies, and slushes of previous months, but the taste adventurer in me won out. Yes this recipe is work, it took about an hour to prep and another hour to form the croquettes and cook them. That was with a house full of neighborhood kids though. Then there was the clean-up, one more hour. When I was done, I tested the croquettes out on the large assembly of kids close at hand and they were a hit! My first dozen looked horrible as I have never been able to properly put breading on anything in my life. I don't have a deep fryer, so, not knowing what I was doing I quickly burned my oil. At that point I started changing the recipe. I scooped out the rest in nice circles with a cookie scoop. I made a batter to dip the croquettes in and then pressed buttered bread crumbs into that. I then baked them at 350 for the rest of the afternoon...yes it was about two or three hours because the power kept going out (too many people running AC I guess), but the oven kept them warm and eventually they got brown. What an adventure. Thanks for the challenge it was fun! By the way, we didn't dip them in sauce, because we didn't have the Asian sauce and ketchup didn't sound good either, any other suggestions for a good croquette dip?

July Meal of the Month

Each family has its own unique food culture. Since my family is spread out all over the country, my sister gives us a meal of the month for every month of the year and a little explanation of why it is meaningful to her family. It gives us an idea of what her family is enjoying at different times of the year. When we try out the meals, it is a little like visiting her house and enjoying her excellent cooking--minus the good company of course.

JULY Meal of the Month

My sister says:
My friend, AW, made this recipe for a neighborhood potluck and it was a huge hit with children and adults. In July it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, so prep the potatoes and meat in the morning then fry at dinnertime.

Japanese Croquettes
5-6 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1-2lbs. ground meat (beef or whatever)
1 can corn
2 cups flour
2 eggs
~ 3 cups of panko (or any bread crumbs)
salt and pepper
~ 1 cup of Oil (to fry your croquettes)

Boil potatoes until soft enough to mash (10-12 min), drain and mash them up in the pot. Brown and drain your ground meat. Mix it in mash potatoes and corn. Season to taste. Set up bowls in the following order 2c. flour, egg dip (be sure to scramble your eggs a bit), then bread crumbs (season your crumbs with salt and pepper). Form palm sized patties of the mashed potato/meat mixture and dip them in the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Shake off excess and deep fry. Once your bread crumbs are browned, they are ready to eat!! Yummmm! Serve with Tonkatsu sauce (found in the Asian section), or with your favorite sauce, maybe even ketchup.
Serves 12.

My silly 4 year old

Uncle J was visiting the other day and went outside for a smoke break. J went rushing out the door behind him and we called him to come back in the house. "Don't worry he yelled back, I won't breathe in!", now where have I heard that line before???

J was coughing during AP's birthday party and we asked him to cover his mouth, "okay" he said smearing a large scoop of frosting across his mouth, "is that better?"

J with a little help from me made dinner last night with an all new J-recipe. Sister gave it absolutely rave reviews. He was beaming with the praise and said, okay, I am ready for my own cooking show, lets call the tv station. Not surprisingly, we had a special recipe made by sister for dinner tonight. Bowtie pasta with white sauce...

J's Noodle Soup
1 Tbs butter (I add butter to kid foods and take it out of adult foods)
2 Cups cold water
1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1 packet chicken flavored ramen seasoning OR 2 tsp chicken boullion powder

bring to a boil, and add
1/4 bag egg noodles

cook 8 minutes. Then add
1 Cup frozen veggies

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our Pearle of Great Price

Here she is! One year old.
What she says: dad, dog, duck, deer, diaper, hi, uh-oh, no, mama, tickle-tickle, and ball.
What she signs: bye-bye/hi, fan, light/star, milk/water, fish, flower, potty (I use the word sign loosely because she is a verrrry sloppy signer...)
What makes her laugh: Hold her up and rub her tummy with your head, she giggles every time!
What she likes: dogs & cats, balloons, peek-a-boo, patty-cake, hugs & kisses, clapping, Daddy, sling rides, toys that play songs, and stuffed animals.
What makes her mad: if we don’t share our candy, of course!
No fear: she isn’t scared of anything--vacuum (she chases it down), mixer/blender/wheat grinder, fireworks, baths, showers, darkness, huge trucks, large bald, bearded men with hats, or scary music.
Toys she likes: stuffed animals make her giggle and toys that play songs entertain her
Things she hates: the baby saucer and crib (she sleeps in a Pack n Play instead)
Favorite mischief: unrolling toilet paper, fishing in toilet, pulling every diaper wipe or tissue out of the box all at once, unloading mommy’s nightstand or daddy’s bookshelf.
Things she’s eaten: Dirt, paper, sequin, pencil eraser, popcorn kernel, stickers, tape, poster tacky, BBs, beads (I do try to prevent this believe it or not)
Gross motor skills: goes up and down stairs, crawls on knees or toes, can pull herself up to standing, not able to stand alone yet.
Number of teeth: 4 upper, 3 lower

Favorite comfort item: She was totally a pacifier baby until 10 months, then after we took it away for 24 hours she would never touch one again, if we gave it to her she would launch it into the air, instead she fell in love with a fleece Eyore blanket with fringe. She likes to chew on the fringe and twiddle it with her fingers. Yesterday she pinched her fingers and while I was trying to calm her down, she crawled off my lap, crawled over to where her blanket was, collapsed in a heap on top, sighed in relief, and didn’t make another sound.
Favorite songs: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Patty Cake.
Books: Doesn’t really have one unless perhaps it has real cat and dog pictures. She spends a large amount of time each day pulling books off the shelf and practicing opening and closing them though.
Favorite foods: buttered saltines, pasta, frozen peas and corn,artichoke hearts, chili, fruit snacks, raisins, chocolate chip cookies (birthday dinner chili-macaroni).
Disliked foods: she’s a bit burnt out on cheerios and graham cracker type foods.

How she celebrated her first birthday: A Merry-Go-Round ride, Pizza Factory for dinner with Mom and brother and sister, we bought her a giant breadstick twist on a stick. It was cute watching her try to eat it, but she really preferred the artichoke hearts from mom’s pasta, there were a lot and she ate almost every single one! Calls and love from Grandparents and Daddy. Her homemade birthday dinner last night was Chili-Macaroni, what a mess! She’s getting a chocolate cake with pink, purple, and orange polka dots and rainbow sherbet for dessert (the cake matches the sherbet, lol). She got a Jammin’ Piano Band toy and she loved it. She also got a giant squishy ball, but it couldn't compete with the noisy toy.

Interesting to note: Colic lasted for FIVE months, currently she is still pretty bald on top-just baby fuzz, her hair is about an inch long in the back. She’s never been left with a babysitter except in the church nursery a few times during choir and enrichment, maybe that is why she is so fearless (the colic and poor sleeping habits are why we gave up on leaving her). She is a horrible sleeper, she finally started sleeping ten hours (instead of 2 hours or less) a few weeks ago, but she still cries a lot during the night and wakes up multiple times during the last two hours before morning (aargh, I probably caused that), also, she didn’t start solid foods for real until nine months old. I started pottying her at 4 1/2 months, and we use cloth diapers. She actually stops when you say "no" and will remember "no-no's" still the next day. Middle name is Pearle after great grandma.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A few snapshots from this summer...

Art projects. What can you make with a small paper plate, brown string, and 3 squares of tissue paper? (a nature scene and a model hot-air balloon.)

I made this sling and its really nice. I don't use it much except at the library and days in the park like this one though.
Army crawlin' through the grass, but won't let go of the baby food!
My work of art, "treasure chest cake" for J's fourth birthday