November 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Thanksgiving!  OK, a few days early, but for all intents and purposes, we’ve made it to the break.  The Big U takes the whole week off, and I’ve taken the kids out of school for all of it.  We’ll head to my folks’ place in Virginia on Sunday, with plans to compete in their town’s annual Turkey Trot and then to nom turducken (+ vegetarian version) on the day.  Right on cue, my Dad has pulled both of his quads and C has announced that he has a sore throat.  It would not be a holiday if someone wasn’t sick/injured.  A few Christmases ago, a combination of stomach flu and an ice storm meant that my parents actually bailed, catching a plane a day early and (in the somewhat fictionalized re-telling) leaving a phone message saying, essentially, “send us the bill, we’re getting the hell out of here.”  It was as close to a genuine Chevy Chase holiday moment as I’m ever hoping to get.

I realized halfway through the afternoon that this was the last studio day.  The kids have been coming to studio after school three days a week.  My students were amazingly generous, putting a desk together for them and lending them pencils, help with math homework, and advice on good study music.  Their arrival has become a running gag–they just walk up to me, hands out, and I wordlessly pull out three dollars for snacks.  It’s been fun having them be part of my work routine, and I’ll miss having them around in class.

Tomorrow will be fridge night–leftover chili/lentil soup/whatever’s in the freezer.  So tonight was their last big dad dinner before the break.  O wanted chicken thighs, which I’ve found are completely bulletproof, and mashed potatoes, which I’ve never made on my own.  L bought me a smasher a couple of weeks ago, so I figured I’d put it to use.  But I didn’t want to make the butter-and-cream heavy standard version.  Bon Appetit had a recipe a few months back for basil and spinach mashed potatoes, and this sounded like it was more up our alley.  No butter–chicken stock and olive oil, instead, plus some sauteed greens.  I loved it, the kids were not fooled for a moment.  “This is spinach, isn’t it,” O said.  I didn’t lie, and she very carefully ate around every piece of green on her plate.  The chicken thighs were a bigger hit.  I threw some peeled garlic into the skillet when it went into the oven, and they came out juicy, flavorful, and crispy–though not as bacon-like as the smaller, organic thighs I’ve been buying.

Anyhoo.  Laundry and cleaning tomorrow after riding, then packing and a good night’s sleep.  Mom has threatened to let me help with Thursday’s dinner, and these potatoes might be my proposal.  Or pie.  What do you think, Mom?


brunch–spinach and eggs

January 24, 2011 Comments Off on brunch–spinach and eggs

So my first issue of Bon Appetit came last week, and I have to say I tore into it like my teenage self used to tear into the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  Most of it is clearly over my head, but the girl and I found a complex but doable brownie recipe, and I think I’ll work my way through a good winter salad article–though I won’t tell the kids what most of the ingredients are.

One quick meal caught my eye, though, and sounded simple enough.  Spinach and eggs made up one of my late evening meals last year in Chicago, and there was a version of it that added some mustard and vinaigrette bread crumbs.  The recipe I’d used called for steaming the spinach and then at the last minute cracking a couple of eggs into the pot–effiicient, but tough to dig out without losing half the yolks.  This one called for frying the eggs and sauteeing the  spinach separately, so one more pan to wash, but a much easier assembly.  The key ingredient here, though, is fresh bread crumbs mixed with a mustard vinaigrette.  I just used some store bought crumbs, but they worked well and mushed up nicely.

This was perfect today–I had a lunch meeting with one of last semester’s students at the cafe in campustown, and I knew all I could really have there was a salad.  Anything else and I would have shot my day completely.  So my morning snack became brunch, and I figured I could use the extra protein to get through the afternoon.  Worked a treat, and of course the spinach is full of potassium, which I need by the ton, apparently.  And it took all of three minutes to throw together.  The mustard bread crumbs were awesome, and may show up again in something like baked chicken–big flava and not much in the way of carbs.

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