Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16: Beads

Milledge doesn't have preschool today, but instead of doing something productive, we're just hanging out. Making bead necklaces is more fun than doing laundry.

Day 15: Asleep

 Milledge rests. Good Night.

Day 14: Turtle

That's Milledge and his sponge, Turtle. Turtle is a talking sponge, or at least, that's what Milledge has told me. I can't hear Turtle's voice, but I've heard he's an interesting guy. I'll have to take Milledge's word for that.

Day 13: Cheese Enchiladas

When I moved from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, I anticipated that I would experience many changes, but I never really considered the consequences of losing access to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants. Sure, there are a few decent Mexican restaurants in the area, and with Southern Chester County's growing Mexican population, I'm sure there will be more. But Mexican isn't Tex-Mex. There are no cheese enchiladas.

Today, my mom and I set out to recreate genuine, restaurant-style Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas, with their savory chili sauce and mounds of gooey cheese. These enchiladas would not contain goat cheese or swim in a pool of tomatillo salsa. The cheese must be yellow, and the sauce brown.

We started in the most logical place: searching out recipes from friends or bloggers who live in cheese enchilada country. It soon became clear that these people have no need to recreate cheese enchiladas in their kitchen; they just go out to eat. Many did express sympathy at our plight and disbelief that there are parts of the world in which children grow up without access to Tex-Mex. Undettered, I turned to the most logical source of restaurant-style Tex-Mex recipes: Homesick Texan. Texans stuck in New York can't go out to eat and order a competent enchilada, after all.

There I found a recipe that called for all of the essentials. Lots of yellow cheese, onions, and a savory, simple chili sauce. Nothing fancy. No goat cheese. Overall, her recipe is good, although I made a few tweaks. I included a half tablespoon tomato paste to give the sauce a little depth the juice of half a lime to brighten things up.

Chili Gravy

1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder (I used a hot chili powder, but I wanted a hotter sauce)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
Juice of half a lime
2 cups beef stocl

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

Add the black pepper, salt, powdered garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano and chili powder and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add beef stock and tomato paste, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and simmer for another minute or two. Add water to adjust the thickness.

Cheese Enchiladas

1/2 cup lard or vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chili gravy

Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking dish.

Melt the lard in a small skillet, and heat the tortillas one at a time. Keep them wrapped in a cloth until all 8 are heated. Pour 1/2 cup of chili gravy in a baking pan.

Take a tortilla, put 1/4 cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon of onion in the center and roll it. Place rolled tortilla in baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining tortillas.

Take remaining chili gravy, and pour it over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese and onions on top. Bake for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Day 12: Shout!

No explanation needed. Milledge has something to say!

Day 11: Take Out and a Movie

After a long day for every one, we skipped the wholesome, home cooked meal around the dinner table for take out and a movie. Many thanks to the people of Muse for offering the first edible take out option in Oxford!

Day 10: Resting Up

After a tough day at school, a little guy needs some rest. A little Curious George provides Milledge with a chance to recharge.

Day 9: Little Froggy!

After dinner, Milledge had a lot of energy to burn, so rather than allow him to run laps around the coffee table (a favorite activity), we laid some pillows on the ground and let him jump. Here he is, a little frog.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 8: Dinner with Uncle Alex

We had a lazy Sunday, but Milledge was excited this afternoon when he joined Grammy on a trip to pick up Uncle Alex at the train station. After they returned, we joined Grammy and Uncle Alex for dinner.

Day Seven: Goodnight Story

For Christmas, Milledge's Grammy gave him a few new books, but only one has captured his attention. Milledge loves the book Bad Kitty. Its about a kitty who, after finding that her owners forgot to buy her favorite foods, wrecks havoc on the house, only to attempt to redeem herself after her favorite foods reappear. It has everything Milledge loves: repetition, lists, poor behavior, and animals. We've read it about a dozen times a day since Christmas.

Day Six: Best Friends!

This is Milledge and Lily. Lily must be the best cat ever. No matter how many times Milledge picks her up, carts her around the house, and places her in a cardboard box, she snuggles up with him for more. Each morning when Milledge comes down stairs, he greets her with a sweet, "Hello, Miss Lily! Mama, say hello to Miss Lily." Such good friends.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

No snouts on the table!

That's a hungry Tula Belle. The great thing about having a dog who's as tall as the table is that occassionally you look up from your plate to see this. With a face like that, are you surprised we can't resist giving her table scraps? So why was she hungry tonight? Lamb Riblets! That's why.

Tula Belle has great taste, and who wouldn't beg for their own riblit? Lamb riblets are bone-in lamb breast.  You'll find them by the following names: breast, rib, riblets, short ribs, and spareribs. If you see any of those names, just confirm with your butcher or farmer that they're bone-in lamb breast. They're one of the few lamb cuts that one can get for a reasonable price, and until the foodies discover them (and I'm sure they will), its a great cut to snap up. You can sub them in for pork spareribs in recipes, just make sure that the recipe calls for cooking at a low temperature over a long time. These were done in a 325 oven for a little over 4 hours. Lamb spareribs are rich, so grab a bottle of red wine and enjoy!

Slow Roasted Lamb Spareribs

2 pounds (about 2 racks) Lamb Spareribs
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons Ponzu
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 minced garlic cloves
Juice of half a lime
a few squirts of Sriracha (or to taste)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 325.

Whisk together the soy sauce, Ponzu, mustard, ginger, garlic, Sriracha, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust.  Generously slather over the spareribs. Any extra can be thinned and used as a dipping sauce.

Place the spareribs in a large baking dish. It's ok if they overlap a little; they'll shrink as they cook. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan, and cover the pan with a lid or foil.  Bake for about 4 hours, turning the ribs every 45 minutes. If the water evaporates, add more. They're ready when the meat pulls off the bone and is tender. If you think they're done, pull off a little meat and taste. Is it tender? If so, the ribs are ready!

Linked to:
Healthy Home Economist
Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter
GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday
Real Food's Fresh Bites Friday

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Caught jumping in bed!

Before bed tonight, Milledge needed to burn off a little energy.  It was his first day back to school after Christmas break, and he was wound up when he got home. As soon as the jammies were zipped up, he dove for my bed, bouncing around like a frog. He was kind enough to pause for a picture. He's pretty cute, huh?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day three: Transfusion Complete!

It was tranfusion day for the little guy, so we packed our animal friends (pictured) and headed to Philly for a day of fun at CHOP.  Milledge has had a hard time during his transfusion recently. With the type and cross, the waiting, the day hospital junk food overload, and the three hour transfusion, he's a tantrummy mess at the end. Today was different, though.

Milledge brought his charm, and he spent most of the day playing quietly, giving hugs to the nurses and me, and requesting freezer pops (found in the Milledge's favorite Flavor-Ice freezer-containing nothing but unlimited freezer pops!). From start to finish, he was a trooper. It was a nice day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day Two: Dinner with Grammy

The plan was a picture of our dinner: Red Wine Braised Salmon Filets with Bacon and Mushrooms. That cutie up there is obviously not a salmon filet. After deciding on dinner, we realized we didn't have the necessary mushrooms, and the plan was to grab them at the store. Given that we were shopping in Kennett Square, MUSHROOM CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, one would assume that mushrooms would be readily available. They weren't, and Milledge and I had had enough of shopping to stop at a better stocked store. So here we are, with Grammy, eating hamburgers and having such a good time. Milledge is smiling, having just opened and distributed every one's silverware, a favorite activity.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day One: All Tucked In

It's a New Year (not that Milledge really understands what that means), and today ended just like any other day: droopy eyed and tucked in.

Milledge and I are attempting one picture a day for the next year. We'll see how that works out for us!