Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making Radish Chips with our First Harvest

I have some posts composed in my mind, but have not gotten myself to write them down and hit publish lately. Look, there are auctions of American Girl doll clothes to monitor on ebay, episodes of the Real Housewives of New Jersey to watch, and my latest favorite thing, to read (which scares the pants off me's a horrifying world).

We did something fun today though, and worthy of sharing. We picked our first harvest of the season, a bunch of very pretty and spicy radishes. This variety is called Easter Egg for the lovely scarlett, pink, and ivory colors of the radishes. I like the way radishes taste, but the really fun thing about growing them with the girls is how quickly they go from seed to pretty round radish. We planted this square foot of them a month ago!
While Josephine would need to be medicated to put one of these delicate little things to her lips, she really enjoys picking them with me. She and Tess came out this morning and we pulled them. They grew much better than they did last year, which I attribute to my actually reading the square foot gardening book, rather than just having it around for looks. I only planted sixteen seeds in the square foot so I didn't have to do any thinning, which I think really messed up the roots last year. We still had a few long skinny radishes, but most of them got nice and round and plump. They are really spicy! I wanted to try something different with them, so we made radish chips, using this recipe (essentially you steam the radish for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the sliced radish with paprika, a little cayenne, and salt, and bake for 20 minutes).  Pretty yummy! They were small, but very tasty. They would be good sprinkled on a baked potato, or anything else that could benefit from a small, salty, crunchy condiment. I cannot wait to watch our tomatoes, peppers, borage, cucumbers, and squash (among a few other things) grow this year. 

A few of our radish chips

Friday, May 4, 2012

Some Flubbery Dough and Cake

I haven't meant to let so much time pass between posts! We've had a few things go on in the past few weeks, in particular Jo's birthday celebrations (yes, plural celebrations, multiple cakes...actually seven butterfly cakes and one Chuck E. Cheese cake and sixteen rainbow cupcakes, but who's counting!). In between some of these things Tess and I had a few mornings together, just the two of us, and one morning we made something called, "Rubbery Flubbery Dough." The recipe is from the book "First Art," by MaryAnn Kohl, which is a wonderful book full of inspiring art especially for toddlers and twos.

I'm not sure I loved this recipe! Tess did have fun with it though. The downside to it is that the dough isn't as long lasting as regular play dough (or play clay as Kohl calls her recipe in this book) and it is stickier. But it does have an interesting texture that is pliable and soft and definitely more rubbery than regular dough. I was going to dye it, but Tess requested white, so I didn't add food coloring.

There are three ingredients in the dough; salt, cold water, and corn starch. To make the dough we poured 1 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of cold water into a mixing bowl and stirred that up and set it aside. We put one cup of salt and 1 cup of hot water in a saucepan and brought it to a boil. I think I should have stirred this up better, or gotten the water even hotter, to help dissolve the salt. Anyway after the salt water comes to a boil, pour the water/cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and turn the heat down to low. Stir until the mix is dry and thick. The mixture was significantly stickier when I first removed it from the pan than after it cooled, so if it feels sticky but looks thick and dry I suggest taking it out of the pan and letting it cool. If it's still sticky let your little one knead in more cornstarch. Tess loved that part! Cornstarch has such a cool texture. Actually the cornstarch and water mixture is pretty cool by itself.

Anyway Tess first enjoyed mixing in the cornstarch to make the dough a little less sticky, and then she took our colored popsicle sticks and spent a long time poking the dough with them, I'm sorry, making a cake. Who knows where she got the inspiration to make cake?!