Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thai Peanut Sauce and Whatnot

I made up a peanut sauce this evening that I will forget the recipe for if I don't put it down somewhere.

1.5c natural peanut butter (the kind that's just peanuts and salt)
1 can light coconut milk
3T fish sauce
3T soy sauce
2T lime juice
2t kaffir lime leaves
2t minced garlic
2t minced galangal (thai ginger)
2T "man ketchup" (Sriracha hot chili sauce-comes in a squeeze bottle) (blame SNG for the nickname)
2T "man salsa" (Sriracha chili-garlic sauce-comes in a jar)

Mix everything in a bowl. You can leave out the Sriracha or double the Sriracha, or only use one kind, depending on how hot you like it, or use fresh finely chopped serrano peppers instead.
I had to use a mixture of kinds of Sriracha because I ran out of man ketchup before it was hot enough for my taste.This was crazy-good over Shiratake noodles and broccoli. 

I took a half day off today to go see the Normal Rockwell exhibit at the NCMA. I've never been a Rockwell fan; he stopped doing Saturday Eve Post covers long before I was born, and his art always seemed corny to me. But seeing all the covers of the SEP in sequence, and having the chance to really look at the details was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. I also really appreciated some of his art commissioned for Look in the 1960s. The exhibit ends Monday, and even on a rainy Wednesday, it was pretty busy in there.

The kids-- I haven't had an update on them in a long time. Next week is Jambuca's birthday, so I should save some news for a birthday blog post, but I'll tell you he's making us laugh all the time. He talks about everything (and we understand about 1/4 of it) and he is getting a little easier to redirect verbally.

E-baby has really taken off with reading and writing. Something just clicked finally, and she's getting it more and more. The other day she wrote her first name from memory without any help from me. And that's a lot of letters to remember! :-) She's reading 2- and 3-letter and some 4- letter words, but what's funny is that half the time she can guess what the bigger words are because of the rhythm and rhyme of the story. She also memorizes most books after the first or 2nd time they're read to her, so it's hard to always know whether she's reading or reciting. She's got a storytelling streak a mile wide.

I'm starting to suspect that Jambuca has as well. He loves playing out little narratives with the doll house residents, making little parties and dinners, driving the little mice to and from different doll houses, and I wish so badly that I could understand what he's saying when he's there for an hour at a time making the little village come to life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recipe!

For the past couple of months, Sunday mornings have mostly been a time for cooking. Since I've been on my New Year's Resolution diet*, we've mostly been cooking healthier things like veggies and meats for the next week's meals. Having quick meals ready to heat and eat keeps me from snacking like a fiend when I get home from work while trying to make something for dinner.

This morning, I also cleared out the fridge (which I do every 2 weeks or so-- it's shameful how much I throw out each time-- I'm looking at you, 2 week old slice of leftover meatloaf). There in the back were 6 Del Monte Fruit Naturals blackberry and blueberry fruit cups. I bought these because I had a BJ's coupon. Which means, of course, that I bought a case of them. They're fruit in juice with no added sugar and my kids LOVE fruit cups, and they LOVE berries, so I thought, what a perfect match!

Not so much. After repeated attempts, neither of the kids would eat these blackberries and blueberries in a fruit cup. I think that to preserve shape, they have to do something weird to the texture. The flavor is great! But the texture is just... not quite right. I've given up on trying to get anyone to eat them, and I pulled them out of the fridge and thought, "What can I do with these?" So I present to you:

Two Recipes from One Surplus of DMFN Fruit Cups!!!

Gelatin blocks:
Juice from 6 DelMonte Fruit Naturals fruit cups (not the berries)
Enough of any other juice to make a total of 4 cups liquid
2 Stevia packets
4 Knox gelatin packets
Put 1 c juice in a bowl and sprinkle the Knox on top. Boil the rest of the juice. Add to the gelatin mixture and stir in the stevia. Stir well, and pour into a rectangular or square dish (I used a 2Qt Corning Ware). Fridge until set. Cut into squares.

Berry Sorbet (based on this recipe)
berries from 6 Del Monte Fruit Naturals cups (not the juice) (should make about 4c)
20 Splenda packets
2 c buttermilk
Freeze the bowl of your ie cream maker at least 8 hours
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and puree with an immersion blender until super-super smooth.
Fridge until ready to eat.
Put in ice cream maker according to your instructions (mine went 15 minutes)
(The kids wanted a little extra sugar, SNG and I thought it was perffect as-is.)

Both of these were so good we all 4 ate until our bellies hurt. And there were hardly any calories in there. So New Year's Resolution is still holding strong.

* the New Year's Resolution: NO NEW CLOTHES in 2011! Shoes, hats, scarves, gloves, and socks do not count. Just no new clothes to fit a bigger posterior.