Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mini gardening

I gave the Chef a few packets of seeds early this spring and pointed out an open spot in our front-yard flower beds that gets great sun. I might have taken the sowing business more seriously if I’d actually expected we’d get vegetables. Our container plants usually die a quick and dry death, and I figured the bunnies would nibble anything that made it past the two-leaf stage. So instead of spacing the seeds in rows, I let the Chef do it his way and pour a bunch of seeds all over the ground. And whadayaknow, we’ve got peas, radishes and swiss chard thriving in a 3-foot-by-2-foot space, all randomly growing and tightly packed together.

It looks lovely. The pea vines are curling into piggy ringlets with delicate pink blossoms. The radish leaves are rough and dull, which help set off the ruby red root beneath. Baby swiss chard looks so tender, red veins trimming dark green leaves. It’s the prettiest spring garden I’ve ever had.

Elmo Antidote? Almost

Still feeling guilty about using TV as my nanny while I made dinner, I planned for the two Zi’s to help with tonight’s side dish: Breaded eggplant and zucchini. Baby Zi is too young to handle raw eggs without licking his hands, so he sat in the sink and played with the faucet and a plate of bread crumb while the Chef dipped the vegetables in the breading. The flaw in the plan was that I still needed to fry the veggies without the little guy grabbing at the stove, and once again everyone was hungry and not capable of productive distraction. So Elmo went on again! Oh well. At least we had a tasty dinner, along with leftover chicken pieces, leftover sweet potatoes and sliced melon.

To make Fried Eggplant and Zucchini, Zi-Style:

Slice 1 eggplant and 1 zucchini into ½ inch pieces. Salt both sides and let sit in a colander for about an hour. Rinse.

Beat 2 eggs with milk in a bowl (The Chef could’ve handled this step, but he was busy).

This is where the kids have fun: Oooey, gooey egg and bread crumbs, everywhere. Dip each vegetable piece in egg, then seasoned bread crumb, and set on a plate. (Next time we’ll dip in flour first, then egg and bread crumb because a lot of the egg/crumb mixture fell off during cooking.)

Fry the veggies in olive oil on low heat until soft.

Serve with ketchup!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TV sedation allows harried mother to cook dinner

My big aim in involving my kids in the kitchen is to avoid what happened tonight – I did a Bad Mommy and stuck my children in front of mindless TV in order to get dinner done. I’d had chicken drumsticks and thighs marinating all day, but hadn’t done a darn anything else. The kids were hungry, tired, Baby Zi was hanging onto my legs, Chef Zi was zipping around the house -- careful not to actually run and get in trouble, but moving fast and in a frenzy. And it was raining. But I needed to get out to the deck to grill our meat. So I turned on an Elmo video, and the two of them sat down, still and quiet for 25 minutes. Blessed television.

P.S. What the thinks-he’s-too-old-for-Elmo Chef would want me to say is, he only watched Elmo because his little brother was watching it.