It being winter in a foggy clime, all of Frida’s little buddies are sick. We usually meet up with some other kids at least a few times per week; this week and last, all of our playdates have been cancelled due to viruses. This leaves me a little more time than usual in the kitchen, which has put an astonishing dent in my white chocolate supply. I’ve been making some easy holiday candies, I have six kinds of cookie dough stashed in the freezer, and I’ve been getting a little crazy with the complexity of Frida’s lunches. We have a great little Beaba-brand food cooker that is a combination baby-sized steamer/processor, so it’s easy to make purees out of whatever’s on hand. This means that Sunday’s roast vegetables get easily turned into Monday’s lunch with the addition of a little cheese and rice, but sometimes things get a little… busier:
The scene: a haggard-looking woman scowls into a refrigerator crammed with Korean dinner party leftovers while a baby toddles into the room.
Betsy: Frida! You’re up!
Frida: (waves with both hands)
Betsy: Are you hungry? Do you want some food? (exaggeratedly points to her mouth over and over)
Frida: (pushes the kitchen stools around, opens the under-oven drawer, pulls out hot pads, bangs on the dishwasher, picks up a pair of shoes from the hall…)
Betsy: OK, I’ll make you some food.
Muttering to herself, the woman takes various bowls from the fridge and empties them into the steamer.
Frida: (walks over to her high chair and puts her arms up for a pick up)
Betsy: Smells good, right? (gagging slightly) It’s roast lamb with apple! And steamed broccoli and pineapple on the side! And I added a half a persimmon to the lamb mixture, too! And some crunchy old rice! And a little bit of kale from that big bag in the freezer! And some sweet potato and spicy tofu from yesterday’s banchan! And about two bites of dry-looking brown avocado from God knows when! The lamb is special because it was marinated. Can you say mar-in-a-ted? No? Can you say mama? You know what? Don’t say mama right now; I don’t think I want credit for this meal. Nutritious, yes, but it smells like a freaking barnyard.
The lesson learned here? Don’t add persimmon to lamb, especially if you’re going to blend that beautiful sesame-and-soy-marinated, roasted, thinly-sliced, pink-in-the-center, succulent lamb into steamed mush. It will turn it into slightly sweet, slightly lamb-y mush. Ick.
Also, keep track of your avocados.
I have given myself license to stop labeling the kid-food leftovers as I stash them in the freezer. Beaba makes a smart little silicone mold for freezing individual portions. Once the leftovers are frozen, they’re easy to pop out of the mold into a larger storage bag for defrosting as needed. I used to painstakingly label each bag with the full list of ingredients, but now I just tumble them all together. We tend to defrost a meal’s worth by just grabbing a couple of portions from different places on the color wheel: green and orange, or beet-red and lentil-yellow. The persimmon-lamb mess is freezing into an unappetizing grayish-pink-ish taupe, although I think it will look very chic matched with something in a blueberry…
Good work slogging through that mess. Here’s your reward! A couple of quick, three-ingredient candy recipes! I’m on my second batch of each already, and I have yet to share: they’re both delicious.
Melt 1 pound white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.
Mix in 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil and
4-7 crushed candy canes*
Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When hardened (this takes about an hour in a warm room,) break into pieces and eat!
*I think that the easiest way to do this is to bash them repeatedly with the back of a heavy knife while they’re still in their wrappers.
Spanish Turron de Yema (Almond Nougat)
- 300 grams (3 cups) ground almonds or hazelnuts
- 375 grams (1 and 7/8 cups) sugar plus some for topping
- 4 egg yolks
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) water