Out of the Mouths of Babes

by Cate on November 30, 2005

It never ceases to amaze me how quietly perceptive kids are. The other day, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I never said what store we were in. When we were getting in the car, Nicholas told me that he doesn’t like that store. I laughed and said, “Why not? You don’t even know what store we were in. What’s the store’s name?” He giggled and said, “Shop Rite, Mama!” with a big implied “DUH!” thrown into his tone. I asked him which food store he liked better and he responded, “A&P!” When I asked him why, he said because Shop-Rites are dirty. Now, unfortunately, with a few of them, he’s right. Funny that a three-year-old would even notice such a thing.

Tonight when we were making dinner, he told me to make sure to save some of the “special ham” that we were using for The Husband, because “it’s his favorite.” We were using Prosciutto, and it’s definitely a favorite of The Husband’s, though I don’t think we’ve ever had any great big conversations about it. They really are like sponges, soaking up every little thing.

Today he was playing around with my camera again, and got a few great shots. I think, though, to protect my camera, I might have to buy him one of those disposable digital cameras. He loves to see the picture he takes right away. Here’s a “self-portrait” he took. He hasn’t grasped the whole aiming thing, but 1 out of every 4, is a lucky shot, but a great one just the same. His self-portrait:

If I didn’t know better, I’d have a hard time recognizing him. It kinda looks like one of his baby pictures…

So yesterday I made a new Treats to Work Monday recipe for The Neighbor to take to work, and it was a no go (Caramel Apple Cake). I didn’t have any, but the feedback was that it was overly sweet and didn’t present well. These guys are turning into great food critics. Of course, the cook in me can’t bear to have the memory of a bad treat lingering in their minds, so I set to work tonight to redeem myself. I made Cinnamon Chip Applesauce Coffeecake (which we’ll have to rename because the title is just ridiculously long). The Neighbor came over to pick up the treats and we both had a quick taste and these will pass muster. We also sampled the Sour Cream Berry Bars I made last night, and those are delicious too. She’s taking half of each recipe into work, and so am I. Phew, gotta regain my standing at The Neighbor’s office! If today’s day at work is any indication of what tomorrow will be like, I’m going to need extra sugar infusions tomorrow. The end of the month is always pressure-filled, and to top it off, it’s the end of the year, AND we’re doing interviews this week. It just does not get more fun than this folks. Sugar in any form is desperately needed, IVs even better.

Dinner tonight was Toasted Penne with Gorgonzola. The recipe comes from an Italian cooking magazine and the pasta cooks very differently than you would normally prepare it. You put it in a pan with a little garlic, olive oil and a cup of chicken broth and boil until the broth disappears. Then you add another cup of broth, boil until it disappears, and again and again, 4 cups total. Very similar to risotto preparation, I really liked what it did to the pasta. It left it slightly more cooked than al dente, with a lot of flavor because it’s cooking in broth, instead of traditional water. I halved the gorgonzola it called for, and that was still way too much. I’ll definitely make this recipe again, but I’ll nix the gorgonzola completely, and take it in an entirely different direction and add spinach instead. I think the cooking method is definitely worth repeating though.

OK folks, all for tonight. Until tomorrow…

Toasted Penne with Gorgonzola
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup chopped prosciutto
1/2 lb penne
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup brandy
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley

In a large skillet, combine olive oil, garlic and prosciutto. Cook on medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes. Add the penne and pine nuts, stirring well to coat. Add 1 cup broth and bring to a boil. Stir to coat and cook until broth almost evaporates. Repeat process with remaining 3 cups of broth until broth is totally absorbed. Add lemon juice, brandy, salt and pepper; stir well to coat. Let liquid cook down. Stir in gorgonzola and parsley. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Sweetnicks Notes: Skip gorgonzola completely next time and use spinach instead, heating through until wilted. Didn’t add parsley.

Cinnamon Chip Applesauce Coffeecake
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup applesauce
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped pecans

GLAZE:
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons water

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in applesauce. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in cinnamon chips and pecans, if desired. Spread into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Easy Glaze: Stir together 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sadaf Trimarchi November 30, 2005 at 2:47 am

Why is it that I never had work colleagues like you? What a sweet thing to do!

-S

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MeBeth November 30, 2005 at 5:34 am

You’re a good neighbor! And that pasta cooking method sounds wild. I don’t think I could eliminate the gorgonzola completely though. Nope. I love it too much.

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Cate December 1, 2005 at 2:33 am

Sadaf – I’m sure there’s one like me in every office. ;)

Mebeth – We are MAJOR gorgonzola fans, believe me, but it was just too overpowering in this dish. Maybe combined with the prosciutto was just too much? Definitely try the cooking method though.

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