I may eat this whole jar today 

I went to the Asian market this weekend, hoping to find some of the good brands of tamari, curry paste, and fish sauce that I learned about in that cooking class I took the other week. I only found the “right” brand of curry paste, but I did find a great, made-in-Tacoma kim chi that I’m loving as a snack. It’s from Woori Asian Foods, in case the label isn’t very legible.

I love umami-rich, fermented foods, so this jar might not last long with me in the house all day on my own.

My new cookbook, and reflections on Make Your Own Dinner night

I bought myself a little something.  IMG_5421
I have just about cooked Time for Dinner — of which Jenny Rosenstrach was one of three authors — into oblivion. It’s my most-recommended cookbook to anyone with kids. Things needed freshening up on the meal plan around here, so I picked up one of Jenny’s newer books. If you don’t already read her blog, Dinner A Love Story, I suggest you add it to your food blog rotation, pronto.

I’ve cooked two recipes this week from Dinner: The Playbook, and they’ve been very well-received! The Slow-Cooker Korean Short Ribs were a huge hit, and the whole house smelled amazesauce all day because of the crockpot. I made sesame broccoli to go alongside, and served it over the Goya-infused rice I made for beans-and-rice night the day before. Yumtastic! Amelia had thirds. It makes a lot of meat, so I froze the leftovers to use later in Lettuce Hand Rolls (also known as “make your own dinner”) next week. I do like a flexible prepared protein!

Then on Wednesday night I made the chorizo tacos. I used a really mild Longaniza for the chorizo, actually, since my kids are horrified by anything spicy ( and it was the only link style chorizo I could find at the grocery store).

This was a minefield of “I don’t like that” for the kids — avocado, raw cabbage, and yogurt sauces are all highly suspect among my littles — but I tried something new and it was brilliantly successful. I assembled a taco with all the ingredients (made them watch), took a bite, made appropriate yummy noises, and then offered them each a bite of my taco. They both liked the bite they took, and when I offered to make them a taco just like mine (with all the “icky” components!), they eagerly said yes. They both ate the whole taco I made for them, and then they started making their own combinations. Did those combinations include avocado, raw cabbage, and yogurt sauce? No. But they got to taste how all of the ingredients work together, and I think that’s a win. 🙂

 The concept of “make your own dinner” is one I adopted from Time for Dinner.  I put a bunch of bowls of ingredients on the table, and everyone can assemble their own perfect meal — is a huge hit with my family. It exposes the kids to lots of flavors but reduces the amount of New Food left on their plates. We do multiple versions of this now: lettuce hand rolls, as mentioned, tostadas (which we had last night), baked potato bar, sesame noodles… and I think I’ll add the chorizo tacos to our rotation with a few edits (I’m the only one in my house who likes corn tortillas, put a bowl of cheese out and maybe some refried beans). If you have a table full of picky eaters at your house, I highly recommend “make your own dinner” night in all its many guises. It does produce more dishes than simply plating the kids’ food in the kitchen, and that is a total drawback, but I think it’s worth it.

Morning snuggle and breakfast negotiation 

Baxter, cuddling on my lap after just waking up: Is it a school day or a stay at home day?

Me: It’s a school day. And we’re having oatmeal for breakfast. 

Baxter: Do you mean, oatmeal cookies? 

Me: No, just oatmeal. 

Baxter: Just PLAIN oatmeal. 

Me: Well, we can put things in it, like blueberries or cranberries…

Baxter: …or strawberries! But of course not MILK. 

Dinner was a triumph

Yay for the return of grilling weather! Pictured: grilled “steak strips” (don’t ask me what this cut really is; they didn’t have skirt steak at Fred Meyers so I improvised) with blender chimichurri, rice, grilled spring onions, and grilled asparagus. Everyone in our family had seconds, and there were zero leftovers. (I mean, the kids didn’t have the chimichurri, and I made them grilled broccoli instead of asparagus, but still.) Chimichurri is basically the best thing that ever happened to meat. 

Meal Planning with Amelia

Enjoying her breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham this morning, Amelia suggested we have breakfast burritos for dinner tonight. I told her I had planned to make salmon for dinner.

Her eyes lit up (she loves salmon), and she asked, “Can we roast it?” I said, “Yes, I think we can roast it in the oven.” She replied, “Do we have soy sauce and sesame seeds?” I told her we did, and she explained, “I was looking through a book with recipes, and I saw a picture of that recipe, and I thought it looked so yummy.”

Teriyaki salmon with rice
photo credit: https://corianderandgarlic.wordpress.com/

I love this child. Sometimes it freaks me out that she is getting so big and responsible and independent, but it’s fun when we like the same things. 🙂 And tonight, we’re having teriyaki salmon.

Opening day at the Milwaukie Farmers Market

We went to the Milwaukie Farmer’s Market yesterday — it was the first market of the year, and they were packed! Only 2-3 actual farm stands were there, but I got some spring onions, rainbow chard, asparagus, radishes, strawberries, and small “Russian gold” potatoes. Not sure who’s going to eat all these radishes — I’m the only one who really likes them, so I guess me! — and I have NO idea what I’m going to do with these spring onions, but it’s nice to have the fresh produce back! Next weekend we’ll try to bike down.