"taste adventures"

Taste Adventure - Eggplant

If the kid asks you what an eggplant is and in her prettiest voice ever asks you to buy it - pleeeease? - then you buy it. Then hope like hell she'll actually eat it.

Eggplant isn't something I tend to cook. Although I quite like it, Hubby hates it, so I often don't bother. But when The Monster spied it at the market a few weeks back and asked for it I jumped at the chance. Plus, Hubby was going to be out of town.

Because eggplant is not on the usual dinner repertoire in our house I stood there for a minute trying to decide what else I might need to make dinner. Along came Pierre.  Literally. He appeared and we started talking eggplant. After a few minutes we parted with promises of him sending me his recipe for ratatouille. 

Pierre's recipe is a technique more than anything. When I make ratatouille I tend to chop up all my veggies, toss them with some olive oil, herbs, and a load of fresh tomatoes. Into the oven on high heat. And done. Pierre's technique was to chop up onion, cover them with canned tomatoes in a baking dish, and bake for a 10 minutes. Then top with eggplant and our other veggies. Throw in some rosemary and a secret ingredient or two and let it all bake together. I think the term he used was Blap! it together.

It was fantastic. I loved this method of cooking, I loved the ratatouille - rich, tummy warming, and flavourful. And the girls? Not so much.

The Monster refused to eat anything but the peppers, even after her one bite and reminder that this indeed was the eggplant she asked for. And Smilosaurus took this occasion to string together her first 4 word sentence, "I don't like that!"

Any other eggplant suggestions out there? I'm not willing to give up yet.

Only in My House?

Hubby has a disgusting habit. Okay, he has more than one. Opening beer bottles with his teeth, eating knobs of butter, just butter, and eating dried macaroni by the handful. And much to my chagrin, he's passed on those habits to our youngest child. Not the beer bottle one - yet.

Yes, when we bake she steals bits of butter and I've found her with her finger in the butter dish more than once. Are you cringing just a little at that? I am.

Lately, however, the macaroni habit has become an obsession. All our dry goods are stored in glass jars on open shelves above the stove.  She literally tries to climb up the stove, yelling, "Macaroni please!"

At first I refused, fearing that she would choke. We've been down that road and I was terrified of another ambulance visit. Eventually I relented, letting her have just one. She chomped down, chewed it up, and asked for more. So now she and her Daddy sit with handfuls of dried macaroni, crunching and laughing together over the naughtiness of their habit.

Does anyone else do this? Or is my family just this special? (Sarah, don't answer that)

Upcoming Event - A True Taste Adventure

This one is not for the kids!

I'm happy to announce a new relationship and upcoming event with J. Webb Wine Merchant Ltd. Lee Hansen and I will be joining forces for a scotch and food pairing class. Actually, there will be two opportunities to enjoy the range of tastes from Scotland and the food we are pairing with it. Think sweet, salty, and meaty. Then think of the scotch!

Join us on March 17 or 18 at the Glenmore Landing location. For sign-up information visit the J. Webb site.

Taste Adventure - Pistachios

We went nut-free for such a long time in this house because The Monster was at high risk for allergies. With the risks behind us we've welcomed the gradual return to a nutty life. I still remember the first peanut butter cookies we made together and their crumbly, sweet taste. Now, without thinking about it we're back to adding toasted hazelnuts to roasted veggies, walnut oil in salad dressings, and eating classic out of hands nuts like cashews and pistachios.

A few weeks back we were helping our neighbours plan a kitchen reno.  The girls ran around, chasing the cat, banging on the piano, and scoping out some 1970s toys Poppa and Grandma B have lying around. Then it got eerily quiet. If you've got kids, or even been around them for 20 minutes you know that too quiet usually means trouble.

A quick search found the two girls huddled, not over a beaten cat or something breakable being used in a creative way, but around a container of pistachios. The Monster easily figured out how to get the meat out the shells and a little pile had already appeared. Smilosaurus was frantically begging her sister to shell more and more for her grabby little hands. Happy that nothing was being destroyed we let them be and tried to figure out just how our neighbours could fit an island in their kitchen.

Fast forward a few weeks to me packing snacks for an outing to the zoo. Remembering the girls' love of pistachios I threw some together with a handful of dried cranberries. And when we stopped for a warm-up and treat they promptly picked out all the cranberries and refused to touch the pistachios. Okay, so we need more exposure to establish a pistachio habit, fair enough. Or, so I thought.

The other day Hubby is picking up groceries and upon his return he declares that he bought a treat for the girls. As a mom, I kind of cringed, knowing that they'd already had a fair amount of sweets that day. But it wasn't red licorice or fruit gums that he pulled out, it was a container of pistachios, in their shells. And the sheer excitement of the girls' faces as they gathered around the coffee table superceded even the performance of the aerialists at the Olympics.

So, in the nut adventures in this household, apparently shells rule.