Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have Fork, Will Travel

Sadie found this giant fork while we were Christmas shopping!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Welcome to the Bahamas!

We just returned from a cruise to the Bahamas. It was a great adventure and the girls had a blast!

We chased rainbows...

build castles in the sand...

won a medal...

dressed up like pirates...

and pillaged the ship with the rest of the scallywags!

We explored Atlantis...

learned how to carve fruit into fancy art...

drank fruity drinks...

laughed at our silly waiter...

ate more food that we should have...

and then ate a little more!

The best part was trying food we've never tried before...

like fresh Bahamian conch salad with lots of salty conch, crunchy veggies and tangy lime juice. Sadie was a little nervous at first...

Our favorite were the conch fritters. Golden brown and crispy on the outside and filled with tender pieces of conch, herbs and fluffy dough. Delicious!

So long Bahamas, and thanks for all the food!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fall Harvest

Our fall garden was a little thin this year. Our watermelon, pumpkins, squash and Malibar spinach didn't make it through the hot summer. It was getting chilly and time to harvest. Sadie and I pulled all the peanuts out of the ground - I couldn't believe how many there were under all that dirt!

The sweet potatoes were the next to come out. They were petite, tender and colorful. We also harvested 12 small sunchokes. Also called Jerusalem artichokes, they are a species of sunflower with a sweet and nutty tuber with a texture similar to a potato. Delicious!

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's For Dinner? Unicorn Meat!

It's late. You lost track of time and your kids are starving. Why not open up a delicious can of Unicorn Meat - with Magic in Every Bite!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


We took a trip to Epcot on a beautiful fall day and ate some delicious Octoberfest fare in the German pavilion.

Lillie's favorite song, The Chicken Dance was being played by the band so she was in hog heaven.  The food was heavy but delicious and both girls ate more than their fair share. Prost!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pickles and Cake Logo Choices

We are so lucky to have Paula Grech from Mintygreenhouse and her artistic kids working on our new logo! Here are the design choices and I'm having trouble picking one!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We went to Epcot yesterday afternoon for a few hours to enjoy the 15th annual Food and Wine Fest. The samples are always two to four bucks and the perfect size for a sharing taste.

Lillie's favorite was the grilled beef skewer with chimichurri and boniato puree from Argentina. I loved the Asopao de Pollo from Puerto Rico - it had a really complex broth with lots of olives and chicken in the mix. Yum!

It was getting late after tasting samples from Chile, Argentina and Puerto Rico so we will go back this weekend. Looks like there is a vanilla and a butter demonstration! Bring on the butter!

Voting is now open! Project Food Blog Challenge #4

We are thrilled to be in Project Food Blog's top 100! Click the link below to vote for our entry into Challenge #4. We whipped up some Vietnamese summer rolls and provided a step by step tutorial.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vietnamese Summer Rolls for Everyone!

Vietnamese summer rolls are a light and healthy, kid-friendly meal that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Fresh and not fried, they are made at the table one at a time. 

The Vietnamese name for these fresh rolls is Goi Cuon which translates literally into "rolled mixed salad." Creating these hand-held salads is an adventure in itself and the girls love to see who can wrap together the perfect roll. 

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)

2 raw pork loin chops
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp sesame oil
2 carrots, peeled
2 small cucumbers 
2 cups bean sprouts
1 head butter or Boston bibb lettuce, washed
2 handfulls of fresh mint 
2 handfulls of fresh basil
1 package summer roll wrappers
1 package vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup roughly chopped peanuts
Kosher salt

Rinse and pat dry pork chops.  

Remove fat from pork chops and slice thin.

Heat sesame oil on medium heat in a sauté pan until shimmering. Carefully place pork slices into the pan so they lie flat and aren't touching. Sear 2 minutes on each side. Remove with tongs and place in a small bowl for serving. 

Boil salted water and place shrimp into pot once you have a rolling boil. Cook for 3 minutes and remove. 

Let the shrimp cool and then cut them in half lengthwise. 

Julienne carrots and cucumber into long skinny strips. 

Soak noodles for 5 minutes in hot water. Drain and place in serving bowl with tongs.

Now its time to make the dipping sauce. The traditional Nuoc Cham served at your local Vietnamese noodle house is a little too fishy and funky for the girls so we make a peanut sauce instead. A little Vietnamese fish sauce is added to give it a more complex flavor. 

Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp shallot, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1/2 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut butter

Warm the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. 

Add remaining ingredients, whisk well and simmer for 1 minute. If necessary, add additional water until the mixture has a thick, creamy consistency.

The last step is to roughly chop the peanuts and place in a small serving bowl.

Place every bowl and plate of yummy goodness on the table along with a large bowl of hot water. Not too hot for those little fingers! 

Time to eat! The first step in constructing a summer roll is to soften the wrapper using the bowl of hot water.

This will take a few tries to get it just right - don't worry, you have lots of wrappers in the package! Carefully rotate the wrapper until it is almost soft and place it flat on your plate. If the wrapper starts to stick to itself, just submerge it in the water for a few seconds and try again.

Now it is time to fill up the summer roll. There is no right or wrong order so stack the filling according to your taste buds. I usually put the shrimp and the herbs on the outside so you can see them through the translucent wrapper. Be careful not to overfill or you will need a fork to eat it! 

After the shrimp comes the lettuce!

Hooray for noodles!

Veggies and pork too.

Herbs and sprouts, please.

Finally some peanuts for good luck. 

Now it is time to fold. The trick here is "the tighter the better" although the girls seem to be doing fine with their loosey-goosey approach. 

The first few are always a little rough around the edges but practice makes perfect! In the end, its all about trying new things and having fun. This is a perfect meal for that. 

Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper up and over the filling and tuck it under. Fold the sides in or you can leave them open if you prefer.

Roll up and over one time.

Tuck once more and roll again! There you have it. 

Now you can slice it or just dip the whole thing into the peanut sauce. 

How many can you eat?