I am not by any stretch a gourmet. I am not great in the kitchen, and the things I know how to make are simple things, or things that my mother and Grandmom Fee or Grandmom Bilbrough made for years. As she gets older, I think my mother does more experimenting in the kitchen than I do. But having three kids, all with different palates, can make adventurous cooking a dangerous – and wasteful – thing.
With Jim in Milwaukee and only the three palate princesses to cook for, our weekly menu had become a bit of a rut. One night we did hot dogs. One night we did grilled cheese sandwiches. One night I did something in a crockpot or roasted something in the oven. And the first night Jim is gone usually consists of left overs from our weekends eating out. I was determined this week to find things that the kids would mostly like – or at least TRY. I scoured my own personal cookbook – which, when I first got it nearly 20 years ago was filled with things that sounded good at the time (of course, that was before kids, dogs, husbands, and the limits those things put on your time), but are not practical right now. David Rappaport’s Lamb Stew, a page I ripped out of the book this week and threw away, was an event like Hanukah, multiple nights long, which seemed to require an intimate relationship with a butcher to get the right cut of meat and access to a vegetable co-op to have enough of the various vegetables to make this dish a success. I also yanked some ambitious pasta dishes, anything that required me stuffing various fruits and vegetables into a cornish game hen, and everything that contained quail eggs (people with 3 children do not need recipes that require quail eggs). I was left with a few recipes that looked easy enough to try, and the family favorites we just cannot live without.
As a result, we tried two new recipes this week. The first one was Pasta Pronto – fettucine in an Alfredo type sauce with asparagus, onion, and Canadian bacon. The kids LOVED this recipe (and I’ll post it on the recipe page). They scarfed down a good bit of it for dinner, and the rest of it was easily devoured for lunch the next day. It is definitely a keeper recipe for us, and the fact that it’s easy, has only a few ingredients, and was eaten by all 3 kids without complaint makes it a regular in the dinner rotation.
The other recipe we tried this week was a Scallop and Bacon chowder. Since my surgery, I eat a lot of soup, and I find that scallops are very easy for me to eat most of the time. This seemed like the perfect meal to me. I didn’t factor in the fact that since it’s a chowder, it is made with heavy cream, which made it thick and rich, but I could barely eat any of it, so I know I didn’t get the full benefit of the protein in the scallops. Brighid really liked it and wants me to make it again. Eilis thought it smelled bad, but she doesn’t typically eat scallops. I thought I could cleverly disguise them in this dish and she wouldn’t realize she was eating scallops. She does eat a lot of other seafood, so who knew she’d be aware enough to know this wasn’t in her normal seafood diet. Granuaile ate it without complaint, but it’s hard to give her a bowl of soup – even as thick as this one. It’s more work to feed her than it was to make the chowder. This will become a once in a while, maybe on a cold winter’s night type dish.
I’ll post both recipes on the recipe part of our family website. As soon as I remember how to get there.