Monday, May 25, 2009

Summing Up the Weekend

This photo was taken of the garden next door

Friday with my son was mellow compared to Thursday at the pond, but we still had our share of excitement. It's called Grocery Shopping with a Toddler. It could be a reality show, I swear. Ordinarily I shop alone, and that's the way I like it. I take my time, double check my list, and truly differentiate the fresh produce from the pieces that are bruised or going bad. But when Grocery Shopping with a Toddler it is all too easy to make careless mistakes such as forgetting the one important ingredient you were after in the first place or accidentally throwing a quart of 0.1% milk into the cart when what you really wanted was 0.5%. (You can see my earlier post on the milk labeling system in Denmark.) No, when Grocery Shopping with a Toddler it's all about getting in and getting out as quickly as possible--preferably with a minimum number of meltdowns. And I'm not only referring to my son.

Anatole and I first went to the discount market Rema 1000 to buy all our staples. He was okay for the first five minutes but after that it was whiny city, and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I loaded the groceries in the car and then pushed the cart with Anatole inside to the cart return area. In order to use a shopping cart in Denmark one must deposit either a 10 or 20 kroner coin into a slot on the cart, refundable upon returning the cart. Along with rocks, new bars of soap, and keys, Anatole is absolutely obsessed with coins. It drives me crazy. First, my mom always taught me that coins are dirty, and second, although he doesn't ever put them in his mouth, there's still the potential that he could try to swallow one and end up choking. But anyway, what I didn't know is that at some point during my frantic trip through Rema, Anatole pushed a tiny coin into the slot opposite the coin deposit slot. This meant that when I tried to retrieve my 20 kroner, I couldn't because the tiny coin was stuck and prevented me from getting my 20. I'm sorry, but that's the equivalent of $4, which, to my unemployed self, is no chump change. I tried to explain what happened to my son, but he gave me this blank stare and muttered a soft "no, no." My point exactly.

Then it was on to Fotex market to get the rest of the food. I don't mind taking Anatole to Fotex because they have a great in-store bakery where we exclusively buy baguettes and where I get him a roison boller (raisin roll) that he nibbles on while I shop. I learned this trick from watching the Danish mothers, and the best part is that the store gives them to kids for free. A $1 value, I'll have you know. So, the shopping trip was relatively calm, relaxed, and I managed to remember everything on my list and get the right kind of milk.

On Saturday we had our friends Jean Damien, Maj, and their three beautiful children to lunch. Jean Damien is French if you couldn't tell by his name and Maj is Danish. They live in a wonderful old school house that they've spent years renovating. Maj brought us a jar of her splendid looking red current jelly. I can't wait to try it. She is quite the gardener and cook and gave me some great ideas on what to do with the three heads of cabbage in my fridge (courtesy of several weeks of CSA deliveries). We ate lunch in a modified French fashion: an aperitif with drinks and snacks, a main course of beef kebabs, green salad, and slices of fresh baguette, a cheese course, and finally, a free-form strawberry tart for dessert. Maj also gave me some insight on our oven diagrams and suggested that I use one of several fans. This particular fan is plain with nothing above or below it and she said it's the most universal setting as well as the one she uses for all her baking. Good to know.

For dinner Sunday I made asparagus stir fry with brown rice, chick peas, and lemon-tahini dressing. I thought it was fantastic. My family on the other hand, well, Anatole ate the rice and chick peas and, because he has a strict, self-imposed no-wasting-food policy, Alan choked down his serving. He said it was a little too healthy tasting, as in bland and dry. But then he wasn't fond of the lemon-tahini dressing, which totally made the dish! Too bad, so sad. I would make this dish again and not change a single thing. Alan on the other hand said he would add chopped cherry tomatoes and serve it with a vinaigrette dressing instead of the tahini dressing. Oh, I forgot, I did take liberty with the dressing recipe in one small way. I thought it would benefit from a tiny bit of sweetness so I added a 1/4 teaspoon of honey. Also, I didn't have any sliced almonds in the house so I had to omit them as the topping. I found this recipe on Dinner with Julie who adapted it from 101 Cookbooks. By the way, the photo does not do it justice!

Realizing that we were out of bread for Monday morning and because I had a reserve of extra energy, I made a batch of cream currant scones before bed last night. They were a huge hit at the breakfast table this morning. They taste even better with a mug of milky black tea.

Cream Scones with Currants (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

2c flour (I used 1c whole wheat and 1c white flour)
3T sugar
1T baking powder
1/2t salt
5T unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2c currants
1c heavy cream

1. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Scatter the butter pieces evenly over the dry mix and mix together until it looks like coarse cornmeal (or chunkier is fine...I use my fingers to mix in the butter).

2. Fold in the currants and stir in the cream with a rubber spatula until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

3. Turn dough onto a floured counter and knead until it forms a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.

4. Press dough into a 9" cake pan, unmold, and cut into 8 wedges. (I love this step - it makes such nice, even slices.) Place wedges on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until the tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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