Wednesday, August 20, 2008

La Cuisine

My kids love food. (Actually, me too, which would explain a lot...but I digress). They enjoy watching the movie Ratatouille and yell out the names of the foods, and both A and K like to help me in the kitchen when I'm preparing various things.

On Saturday, I had a cooking marathon: I pulled some of my best recipes and made (after 6 p.m.) three batches of scones, a batch of biscotti, an Italian cream cake (from Polly's recipe, yum!), and a batch of zucchini lasagna. All for Sunday afternoon. K helped me somewhat, and watched me until she went to bed.

She's been carrying around her plastic food for days now, and she and A both have been pretending to eat it and put it on plates, and in pans. I should have known what was coming.

So ~ while I ran out of the kitchen last night to get to the phone, my daughter decided that she was going to help me make dinner. With real food. But, being the creative little tyke that she is, she must have decided that food prep in the kitchen was too mundane and decided to hone her blossoming culinary skills elsewhere.

She hasn't completely learned the rules of real food vs. plastic food as they pertain to the living room floor, but I don't think she'll make the same mistake with eggs again. And no, egg does not come completely out of the carpet. Today it's mildly crunchy if you're barefoot. Eschk.

I almost hated to swat her booty because she was so darned cute. "Oh no! Eggs on the floor, oh my! Eww yucky!" But K knows the rule about pulling eggs out of the refrigerator, so she did get swatted for it anyway. A remembers from his egg-loving stint of a couple of years ago what the ramifications were and apparently hid when he saw his sister getting the eggs. He came out after she had her post-spanking meltdown. I guess he wanted to make sure he was in no way associated with the egg incident.

Both kids are also fascinated by the veggies I have grown in the backyard. Nothing much, just 5 tomato plants, 5 bell pepper plants, and 4 celeries. No chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers; the only fertilizer is filling a newly emptied milk jug with water, shaking it up a bit, and pouring it out at ground level around the plants. I read somewhere that tomatoes need calcium but sometimes have issues absorbing it ~ which can lead to a problem called "blossom end rot". Your fruits grow beautifully, and just when you think they might be getting ready they rot from the base up. I figure there's enough traces of calcium and other minerals left coating the milk jugs that it gave them a boost or something. I plan to try it again next year to see if this year's tomato patch is a fluke or not.

They survived the spring bug invasion and have grown like crazy, with huge beautiful fruit that is (so far) bug-free. The first tomatoes finally decided to ripen, I picked these beauties a couple of days ago:

Since then I've picked four more, and I see a few others that are nearly there. My plants are covered in green tomatoes, so I forsee a lot of spaghetti sauce in my future. : ) I can also freeze them whole, and use them in any recipe calling for fresh tomatoes (except for salads). Good to know, I have a bunch coming!

Once those first tomatoes started to ripen, it must have sent the signal to the other fruit on the...trees? Three of the plants are huge, way beyond bushes ~ they came down from the house gutters and started growing back towards the ground at the 6-ft fence mark ~ meaning that the plants are 6 ft high, and have reached back down to the ground again where they're starting to turn back up. They should keep producing until it frosts, which is fantastic. K especially is fascinated by the "tornados" and makes a beeline to inspect the plants whenever we venture out back. A likes the plants, but I'm not sure if he knows what's on them. He hates eating tomatoes and peppers, whereas his sister adores both.

I am so going to enjoy cooking with these! I haven't grown veggies for years and am extremely pleased with this year's experiment.

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