Wednesday, January 21, 2009

toad in the hole, sort of

I know this isn't the most appetizing looking dish, but this is my spin on the English recipe for Yorkshire Pudding or Toad in the Hole. It's essentially what we call German pancakes. We Americans call this a number of things. German pancakes, Dutch pancakes, Puffy Oven pancakes, or Hootenanny pancakes to name a few. I think I prefer Hootenanny. That sounds American, donit.

We've been eating this breakfast dish for years, and then I received a British magazine in a package one day and saw that a traditional and popular dish in England was Yorkshire pudding which is the same recipe as this "pancake" recipe, except it is usually made with beef drippings from a roast instead of butter, and it uses less eggs. It is a savory dish, usually eaten for dinner along with a roast and potatoes and an onion gravy. Toad in the Hole is when you add the sausages, or bangers, before placing it in the oven. They are called bangers because they split or "bang" open when cooked.

For Brinner (breakfast for dinner) tonight, I decided to make Toad in the Hole minis for the kids. I guess technically I can't call them that because I'm not using beef drippings or onion gravy, but this is my spin, right? Here's a typical recipe for Yorkshire pudding and a recipe for Toad in the Hole. Here is my Hootenanny Pancake recipe:

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt (i always leave it out. I'm bland like that)
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 a cube)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in 9x13 pan (i distributed the butter evenly throughout the muffin pan) and place in oven to melt. Take out before it browns. Blend remaining ingredients until smooth and pour into pan (I filled each cup about 3/4 full) and bake 20-25 minutes. I cooked the breakfast sausages in a frying pan and then put one in each muffin cup after the butter was melted. If you want to eat it American style, serve immediately with syrup, jams, powdered sugar, or honey.

Once these were done cooking, I served them immediately with maple syrup, since we Americans pour syrup over our entire breakfast. Eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, you name it. It tastes better with maple syrup! British people everywhere are rolling their eyes or reaching for the nearest garbage bin. From what I've seen online, the English see our version of this dish as the equivalent of putting whipped cream and sugar and strawberries on top of a pot roast. But I'm not brave enough to make this dish using meat drippings. It would totally change the flavor, and I'm used to it tasting sweet. So if any British people read this, I dare you to try it sweet. Maybe someday I'll try it with the gravy. I am of mostly English descent after all. Daisy called this, "Toads on a log".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

edible igloos and tacky penguins

Okay. I'll admit it. I am NOT a fan of winter. I do not like the snow. I do not like the cold. I do not like the ice. I do not like months of gray. I am STILL not used to it after all these years. Eight to be precise. There. I said it.

Having said that, I am always trying to come up with wintertime fun. Since we are not outside for very long periods of time, I am trying to keep things creative inside so it doesn't turn into the Shining around here. One of the ways I do this, is with books and food. I like taking a book the kids like and relating it to the activities we do throughout the day, even with our food.

Today we read Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. She is one of my favorite children's authors. I found a book called Princess Penelope's Parrot, which is hilarious. Another well-known book of hers is Hooway For Wodney the Wat. The books are very funny and Lynn Munsinger's illustrations are darling. Anyway, here's what we did after reading Tacky the Penguin: We made edible igloos.

All you need to make these is small apples (we used gala), miniature marshmallows, peanut butter, or honey. When looking online, I saw that most people were making their igloos entirely out of marshmallows and using frosting or marshmallow cream to stick them together. I wanted this to be mostly healthy, so we are using natural peanut butter, or honey.
To make our igloo shape, you cut an apple in half and core it. Place it flat side down on a plate. See, there's even a hole for the igloo's entrance.
Then the fun part for the kids. Smearing on the goo of choice to cover the entire surface of the apple. Daisy used peanut butter. Luke had honey because of a minor peanut allergy. The honey worked great. We just used our finger to spread it evenly around the apple. That worked great.

Press the marshmallows on in a design of your liking to make your igloo. Consume.
I think it turned out pretty cute. What do you think?

Luke refused to make his igloo, but he loved the apple, which I cut into pieces. The added honey made it taste extra sweet and he happily stuffed his mouth full of marshmallows.

This was definitely a fun activity. It helped pass the time, the kids got to be creative, and it was a mostly healthy snack/treat to tide them over until dinnertime. Tomorrow we will learn about real igloos and the people that built them and lived in them. Do people still build them and live in them? I guess we'll find out tomorrow.