Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: April 20, 2011

Matzo pizza.

It's time for my annual effort to adhere to some kind of religious tradition.  On Passover week, I always try to omit leavened foods (with varying degrees of success).  I appreciate the tangible way, every time I think about what to eat, that it reminds me to consider freedom and slavery and ancestry.   Eating matzo is almost literally the least I can do.  I'm very interested in making my own, like Eli's friend Asher did with his mom, but that will have to wait for another time.

Matzo, it turns out, is an excellent base for pizza.  When topped with tomato sauce and cheese, then baked on a sheet pan at 400 for about seven minutes, it takes on the approximate texture of St. Louis-style cracker crust.  Not half bad.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I Baked: April 16-17, 2011

Water park cake.

Make that, completely insane water park cake.  I have so much work to do right now.  Instead, I spent the weekend making this cake for Alex's birthday party:

Thoroughly ridiculous, especially because I have no cake-decorating skills.  I was inspired by this cake, but obviously I have no ability to make it as shown. 

First, I made a base of a sheet cake, then put a round layer on top.  I froze the round layer and then cut an oval out of it and scraped out the cake, creating a depression about an inch and a half thick.

That's blue Jello in the middle.  Blue Jello!  How disgusting!

Then I made cute little people out of fondant.  That was pretty fun.  

Again, I have no skills.  But I like the flowers on the girl's swimsuit, and I like how they are muppet-colored.  Multiculturalism!


Assembly:  I covered all remaining surfaces with large amounts of blue frosting.  The slide, the ladder, and the orange person's raft are all made of Airheads candies.  The slide platform is two ice cream cones frosted blue with spray-on food coloring.  Here's one more view of the finished product in all its artificially-colored glory, which is considerable if I do say so myself.

I thought eating-wise, the cake was nauseating.  But Alex thought it was really cool and the kids seemed to enjoy it.  I must remember to apologize to their parents for any unpleasant or surprising after-effects of so much blue food tint.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: April 13, 2011

Chicken quesadillas and chocolate-cherry cake.

Alex is eight today!  This was the dinner he requested.  He was born eight years ago this morning, just two weeks after we moved into this house.  He waited ten days past his due date, which gave me a chance to unpack.   He is thoughtful like that.

This boy.  It's hard to describe your children.  I watched him play soccer last weekend and I spent the whole time wondering:  How did he get so tall for his age?  Where did that come from, the drive to run and be aggressive and get to the ball?  (Italics because to me, those are foreign-language words.)  When did he start calling his friends "Dude"?

About Alexander at age eight:  He gets vastly pissed off when he screws up, or when things don't go right.  He usually gets over it quickly.  He can be a real grouch.  He gets presents for his brothers.  He likes digging in the dirt.  He spends a few minutes of special quiet time with our dog every morning.  He has been unreasonably enthusiastic about his corrective orthodontia.  I suspect--based on hearsay--he has a spectacularly foul mouth for an eight-year-old, but he hides it well from me and Chuck.

He is the very best person in the whole world to give gifts to.


Happy birthday to my middle monkey.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: April 5, 2011

Penne with bacon and brussels sprouts.

Listen:  When you get home from work late and you're all flustered and you have fifteen minutes before everyone gets home from soccer and they're going to be starving and you really want to have dinner ready for them when they get home?

Don't make this.