Posts tagged fun

Easy Ghostly Chocolate “Cookies”


Every Halloween, my mom would break out the white chocolate so we could make these ghost treats. They’re fast and easy to make–you can have them prepped and ready to go in under 10 minutes. You can even turn them into “ghost pops” to give to friends or teachers.

Here’s what you need:

•White candy bark (white chocolate chips can work too, but it’s much harder to melt them)
•Sprinkles or chocolate chips to make eyes, mouth
•Wax paper

Optional:
•Sprinkles

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. I use two squares in a 4 or 8-ounce ramekin for each person. I usually melt them in 30 to 45 second rounds at full power and stir them after each time. White chocolate burns easily so be careful not to over do it. If the chocolate seems soft, take it out of the microwave and stir it to melt completely. If you do happen to burn the chocolate, don’t try to keep using it. Clean it out and start again.

Once the chocolate is melted,give each person a large piece of waxed paper, a spoon and decorations. Paint the ghost on the wax paper using the spoon to spread the chocolate into a ghost shape. Add a popsicle stick, if using them. Decorate with chocolate chips or sprinkle eyes and mouth. Let your ghosts sit for about 3 to 5 minutes then remove it carefully from the waxed paper. Now you’re ready to bite your ghost’s head off!

My kids loved making these ghosts. Even if the ghosts didn’t quite look right, that just made them look more…ghostly.

Coming soon: Freaky meatball mice.

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Fast, Light Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rollsMy mom never made a pan of cinnamon rolls–she’d make 4 or 5. There would be a couple pans draped with cotton kitchen towels on every counter and the table would disappear underneath a cinnamon roll shroud. The whole house would be bathed in the aroma of yeast, cinnamon, butter. Mom’s rolls were always about 2 inches across, golden on all sides and peppered with dark raisins and bits of walnuts and topped with a powdered sugar frosting. It seems every baker has a slant on how to craft rolls. Some like to use the buttery, rich brioche roll for the dough. Some swear by melting butter for the gooey interior, others don’t use butter at all—just cinnamon and sugar. And raisins—that’s a matter of debate at our house. I’m not a fan of raisins in my rolls—in cookies, yes, cinnamon rolls, big chunks of walnuts please. And as far as cinnamon roll construction—well, I loved my mom’s rolls, truly, but I like a bigger roll. I don’t use a cookie sheet like my mom, I use a casserole dish so that I can have tall, thick rolls that push together as they rise and bake.

Now maybe my cinnamon roll philosophy differs because I don’t have leftovers. I make two pans, 18 rolls and that’s it. My mom would make enough rolls to feed my brothers and sisters (all six of us!) for a couple breakfasts and then she’d fill the freezer with leftovers.

My rolls differ from my mom’s in another way too. They’re fast and foolproof. I borrowed my no-fail bread recipe to craft these rolls. The recipe goes together quickly and isn’t as heavy as a standard roll. I save the butter for the filling—there’s none in the dough making this a lighter, but still good-sized, breakfast treat.

Recipe

Servings: 16 LARGE rolls

Prep time: 45 minutes + 1 ½ hours rising + 30 minutes baking

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons butter, softened, divided

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

dash of salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting ingredients

5 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 ½-3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 batch of easy-to-make bread

Directions

  1. Prepare the bread recipe above, substituting one of the cups of warm water with warm milk (for a total of 2 ½ cups liquid—so 1 ½ cups water, 1 cup milk). Proceed to the step where you divide the dough into two equal parts. Instead of making loaves of bread, roll out each piece of dough into a 9 x 13” rectangle.
  2. In a small dish blend the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. With a kitchen knife gently spread the 2 tablespoons of the butter over the dough. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar blend over the first dough rectangle. Going from one long side to the other, roll up the dough, careful to make the dough tight enough so that the filling will stay in but not so tight that it can’t rise.
  3. Cut the rolled dough into 8 equal pieces—dividing it first in half, then in half again and each piece in half. Place the pieces onto a 9 x 13” casserole pan that has been lightly greased.
  4. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  5. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the rolls are lightly browned. Let the rolls cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before frosting.
  6. In a small bowl whip together the frosting ingredients, adding more powdered sugar until the glaze has a slightly thicker consistency than corn syrup. Drizzle over rolls and let the frosting set before removing from the pan.
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Calzones take two–dessert raspberry ricotta

What to do with a little extra dough?

When we made calzones the other day, I had that thought. Usually, I just roll out the leftover dough, throw on a little butter, cheese and garlic and have breadsticks for the kids. The breadsticks are tasty, for sure, but I was in the mood for something different.

Something sweet.

I rummaged through the refrigerator for ideas, here’s what I came up with–raspberry ricotta calzones. I mixed about 1/4 cup ricotta, a teaspoon or two of sugar, 1/8-1/4 cup of fresh raspberries and then stuffed the one calzone just as you would with the savory variety. Next time I’d also either add a few chocolate chunks or a healthy helping of fresh lemon zest. You can also brush the filled calzone with a little milk or heavy cream and a sprinkling of raw sugar before baking. Serve warm, leftovers will get soggy.

We split one calzone among the five of us to sample. If I were to make this for guests, I would make small, mini-calzones instead of large ones. I’d say a successful experiment!

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Calzones done right

CalzonePizza gets old. Trust me, I’m a pizza fan, but sometimes I like to tweak the ingredients into something just a little bit different. Hey, I’m not the only one–calzones certainly seem like an excuse to reinvent pizza.

Calzones, with their pizza-like dough that’s folded over yummy ingredients like Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, do seem an awful lot like a handheld pizza. But what I like about calzones is the excuse to dive into the fridge and uncover fun ingredients to toss in. Roasted veggies on hand? Make a roasted veggie and cheddar cheese calzone. Pesto and leftover chicken? Throw in some Parmesan and mozzarella, even a little baby spinach, and you have a tasty pesto calzone. (This time we made sausage and veggie calzones and the veggie variety were my husband’s favorite!)

You can cut down the prep time for calzones and buy pizza dough from the grocery store, but where’s the fun in that? Yes, calzones do take some time to make, but if you use your food processor, it goes pretty quick.

Hint #1 I always, always double the recipe and freeze some of the extra calzones to use for lunches or a quick dinner later. Making a big batch of dough also means that I have to get creative—who wants 12 calzones all with the same filling? I let my kids come up with whatever cheese and meat or cheese and veggie—or more likely cheese, meat and veggie–combo for their calzones.

Hint #2 Only put a couple tablespoons of sauce—tops—into the calzone! Putting in too much sauce makes for a soggy calzone. Serve heated up spaghetti sauce, alfredo or pesto sauce along with the calzones and let your kids dip instead of trying to tuck the sauce inside.

Hint #3 Let the calzones rest after they’ve baked for at least 15 minutes. These come out hot. Your kids will like them a lot better if the calzones have had time to cool down.

Hint #4 Calzones make for easy breakfasts. You can even eat them cold!

Recipe

Inspired by a recipe that first appeared in Cuisine at Home.

Prep Time: 30 minutes + rising time of 1 ½ hours

Servings: 4-6

1 cup warm water

1 yeast packet

¼ teaspoon sugar or honey

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups bread flour (optional, or just use more all-purpose flour)

1 Tablespoon sugar or honey

2 teaspoons salt

Filling ingredients (mix and match a meat and cheese—or 2!)

1 pound Cooked Italian sausage

1-2 cups Mozzarella cheese

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ to 1 cup Ricotta Cheese

Dash of salt and pepper

Other possible ingredients

Diced ham

Roasted veggies

Prepared spaghetti sauce (for dipping and to include with the filling)

Directions

In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, put the first 3 ingredients into the bowl and whisk vigorously. Let this mixture sit for around 6 to 10 minutes or until you see bubbles forming (the bubbles show that the yeast is active and that your dough will rise, yeah!). After the mixture has stood and bubbled, go ahead and add in the oil.

In a food processor (you could do this with a standing mixer or a handheld mixer, but it’s easiest in the processor), pulse together your flours, 1 Tablespoon sugar and salt. Just a note on the flours, bread flour will make the dough stiffer and the finished calzone crispier. I’ve found that using all bread flour makes the dough too hard to roll out. The 50/50 combo works perfectly. Once these ingredients are blended, run the machine as you pour in the yeast mixture. The batter should come together to form a ball (this should only take a few seconds).

Spray a large mixing bowl with oil. What I do is let the dough rest in the food processor while I clean out the mixing bowl. I towel dry it and then spray it with oil. Not only does taking a minute to clean out the bowl make for less mess, but the bowl is also slightly warm when I put the dough in it, making it rise that much more.

Remove the dough ball from the food processor and onto a lightly floured cutting board. Gently knead the dough a few times until it’s no longer sticky and feels smooth.

Place the kneaded dough ball into the oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap that you’ve also lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Let rise for 1 hour.

After rising, punch down once and then place the dough ball onto a lightly floured cutting board. Divide the dough with a sharp knife or pastry cutter into 6 pieces. Form the 6 pieces into balls and then place them on a lightly oiled baking pan. Cover the pieces with a slightly damp cooking towel. Let them rise for 30 more minutes while you prep the filling ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (yup, that’s hot!).

Lightly spray a 9 x 13” baking pan with cooking oil and then sprinkle with cornmeal to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.

In a bowl, mix a combination of your selected ingredients. For example, 1 pound Italian sausage plus 1 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Parmesan, ¼ pound diced ham or replace the sausage with diced, roasted veggies. I also like to add ½ to 1 cup ricotta cheese and 1 tablespoon of prepared spaghetti sauce. So get creative with the calzone fillings!

One at a time, take one of the dough pieces and using a rolling pin make a circle ¼” thick on a floured cutting board. Move the dough onto another floured cutting board for filling. Place about ½ to ¾ of a cup filling into the center of the dough circle. Pull one end of the dough over to meet the other side. With your finger, place a little bit of water onto the inside edge of the dough circle to seal.

Use the edge of a fork to make indents into the sealed end of the dough. (So now that your circle is a half circle, the curved side.) Place the filled calzone onto the prepared baking dish and prepare the rest of the dough pieces using the same process.

Lightly brush the calzones with olive oil before placing them in the oven.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the calzone are lightly browned at the edges. Let the calzones rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Heat spaghetti sauce to serve with the calzones.

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Banana dessert mini-eggrolls

Banana mini-eggrollsMy kids raved about a dessert we tried at Peppermint, a nearby Thai restaurant (actually, they devoured everything they had, but the dessert was the easiest one to figure out all the ingredients:).

We decided to recreate it at home. Truth be told, my oldest had to bring in a food to share in one of her classes, so we thought it was a good excuse to give it a try.

These were simple to put together and really tasty. If I were making this to serve, I’d pair it with some vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce and pop these along the side.

Recipe

Servings: Lots!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 Bananas

Nutella

1 package small square wonton wrappers (3-inch squares)

Oil for frying

Heat your oil to medium-high heat while you prepare your eggrolls.

Cut the bananas into 1-1 1/2 inch sticks–cut the banana into a 1-inch piece, then divide lengthwise into fours.

Put out the wonton wrappers on either a cutting board or cooking sheet. Place a cut piece of banana in the center of each wrapper. Add a teaspoon sized dollop on each banana piece.

Have a shallow bowl of water handy. Using your finger add a little water to the edge of the wrappers to help them stick. Fold on corner of the wrapper in toward the filling. With the other two sides remaining fold them in toward the first folded side and press down to make sure the dough sticks. Finally, fold over the top side. The packets should not contain any air, just filling.

Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers or until you’re ready to stop making little banana packets:)

Fry the packets for about 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve warm. We discovered cold banana eggrolls weren’t so tasty.

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Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Restaurants

Lemon grass chicken. That’s what my oldest ordered the last week at Peppermint, a Thai restaurant we went to as a family. When her dish came everyone, my husband included, couldn’t wait to try her dish–it was stunning. Thin slices of charbroiled chicken topped with veggies, a light brown sauce that was wafting citrusy scents in all directions and on top a batch of fried, crispy spinach. I didn’t even know you could fry spinach!

Beef Satay--from the Kids' Menu

So how did my daughter end up with the enviable entree? She asked. There’s several strategies we’ve tried to get our kids to try new foods (and shun the ever-present chicken fingers offered on the kids menu). Here’s what’s worked for us.

Talk to the server. Your server knows the menu better than anyone else. Ask away to find out what she recommends. Try specific questions, “I like noodles and spicy dishes, but not something with a lot of meat, what do you suggest?” We’ve found that general questions, “What do you suggest?” yield general answers and aren’t nearly as helpful. My daughter was the only one from our table who talked to the server about her meal–the rest of us had already picked our favorites. And wouldn’t you know it, she tried something new and we were all vying for the last nibbles of her food.

Split a dish. Forget the kids’ menu, encourage your kids to share an adult meal or split one with her. My younger two love shrimp so often they just get whatever shrimp entree is available and we ask for two plates.

Eat family style. We won’t win any awards for best etiquette–when we eat at a restaurant we always try each other’s dishes, or one of my daughter’s decides she doesn’t like part of her meal so we put it on her sister’s plate. The other day we tried a new Polish restaurant, Babushka’s Kitchen after a hike in the woods. Everyone ordered a different flavor of pierogie or entree. Once the food arrived we were swapping bites of all sorts of things. My oldest downed her dad’s kraut with noodles, while I swiped bites of his swiss cheese and mushroom pierogie (heavenly!). It was so much fun to try all the new flavors. My middle child took a bit of her chicken paprikash and said, “Oh, mom, this is soooo good. You gotta try this.”

Try an appetizer. When I was a kid we never ordered appetizers. Ditto on desserts. But we’ve found that appetizers are perfect for sampling something new. First, your kids are already hungry. Second, they’re small bites–kid-sized–if she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to eat more. At the Thai restaurant we ordered spinach potstickers. I was sure that the spinach-infused rice dumplings stuffed with tofu wouldn’t appeal to my crew (I was sorta counting on it because I really like them). But in the end I only got one pot sticker and then I had to split the last one with my youngest.

Come hungry. Kids with empty tummies seem much more willing to try something new–and eat it–then kids who’ve been snacking all afternoon.

Pierogie time!

Pick an interesting restaurant. You can’t really expect your kid to go beyond chicken fingers if you’re at a burger place (unless of course they serve a creative assortment!) But the child’s plate at the Polish restaurant either had pierogies or chickcen paprikash. At the Thai place, the kid’s menu included chicken or beef satay. You don’t have to go for a restaurant steeped in culture, but we’ve found family-owned, non-chain restaurants are more likely to have options that intrigue the kids.

Order dessert. Okay, this one is optional. But coconut ice cream or apricot-filled handmade kolcachky–yum! Dessert can be part of the fun of trying new flavors. (We came up with this recipe for banana mini-eggrolls after visiting the Thai restaurant.)

Now your turn, how do you get your kids to sample something new at a restaurant?

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Raspberry + Cream Cheese = Decadent Brownies

The other day I made chocolate raspberry brownies for a get-together with friends. Here’s the problem: with the dark color of the brownie batter and the equally dark color of the raspberry jam swirled into the batter these looked like your standard brownies. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a regular brownie—I could eat them all day (I shouldn’t, of course, but if you forced me—or asked–I’d be happy to).

But part of the experience of eating dessert should be a bit of visual appeal, right? So I set out to find a brownie that would show off the raspberry punch without adding too much extra work. While I wanted to stick strictly with raspberry jam, there’s just no way to lighten the color without a little help…enter cream cheese. My oldest daughter loves cream cheese swirled brownies, why not raspberry cream cheese? I used my standard brownie recipe and added a cream cheese swirl that I spiked with raspberry yumminess.

The finished brownies didn’t necessarily scream—“Hey there’s raspberry in here!,” but with baked on swirls the brownies did hint there’s more than just chocolate inside. I will say, the cream cheese does take out a bit of the tart flavor and fruitiness of the raspberry jam but in return it gives a richness and creaminess it didn’t have before. The recipe also passed the “asking-for-seconds” test. Of course, where chocolate is concerned I haven’t had my kids not ask for seconds, but hey, they still passed.

If raspberry’s not your favorite flavor you can use just about any jam to perk up the cream cheese (although grape wouldn’t be my top choice). Apricot, strawberry, mixed berry, any would make for a tasty brownie.

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes baking

Servings: 14-16 brownies

Brownie Batter

1 stick (4 ounces) butter or margarine

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar

2/3 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cream Cheese swirl

2 tablespoons butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (or at room temperature)

¼ scant cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 to ½ cup raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium- to large-sized mixing bowl, melt the butter and the ½ cup of chocolate chips for 1 to 2 minutes at half power in the microwave. Once the chips just begin to melt, stir vigorously with a fork until they are fully incorporated into the butter. Set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and butter using an electric hand mixer set on high. Add in the sugar and then the egg. Turning the hand mixer to low power mix in the raspberry jam (or whatever jam you choose to use). Set aside.

Using the same beaters (hey, why clean ‘em if you don’t have to), mix the sugar into the chocolate and butter at medium-high speed. Add the eggs, mix. If you’re using it, add the almond extract and mix thoroughly. Measure and add the flour and salt, but stir the batter instead of mixing it just until the flour streaks disappear. Add additional chocolate chips, if you’re using them.

Lightly coat a 8×8” baking pan with cooking spray (mine is more like 10×6”, but whatever smaller baking pan is your favorite). Pour the brownie batter into the pan. Next, pour the cream cheese swirl batter on top of the brownie batter—don’t worry if the batter seems thin. Take a fork and swirl the cream cheese into the brownie batter.

Bake the brownies for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While these brownies are really good the day you make them. I like to cut them into neat squares and refrigerate them for a day before taking any big bites—the flavors are richer and the brownie moister after a little time to chill.

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MKES in Ladies’ Home Journal, KIWI and more

THE best snack on a hike--one kid-sized Pink Lady apple.

Thanks readers! Crawling around the web you might be surprised where you’ll find MKES featured. Here’s some recent cross-postings. Enjoy!

Tales from the Mothering Trenches

Ladies’ Home Journal featured 12 mommy bloggers–and MKES was included! Check it out.

Fun Afterschool Snacks

For great ideas on finding and using organic products, I open the pages of KIWI magazine. I wrote a guest post for them on fun, creative after school snacks for kids. My youngest was all for being my ‘official tester’ on this one.

13 Communication Tips from Writers

Popular marriage blogger Alisa Bowman, whose book, Project: Happily Ever After comes out this December shares tips from a pool of writers on how to get your point across to your spouse. I was able to share one suggestion–and it didn’t even have to do with food! Truth be told, some of my biggest disagreements with my hubby have been over food prep. I figure if we’re getting heated over whether to add chicken broth or water to refried beans–not disagreeing over discipline techniques, money–we’re doing okay.

Road Trip: Take the Kids to Michigan

At A Traveler’s Library, authored by traveler and avid reader Vera Marie Badertscher, I was able to share a few books that helped us get to know Michigan a little better. Surprisingly, I didn’t even talk about food in the post–shocker!

Four cheese grilled cheese

Martha and Me takes a closer look at the recipes from Martha–yes, THAT Martha’s magazines and cookbooks. Believe it or not, some of Martha’s recipes don’t always end up as tasty as they look in pictures. Mother, writer and food fan, Brette Sember gives you the goods on the best recipes and offers some of her own. I passed along one of our family’s variations on grilled cheese–first off, you can’t just use one cheese!

Bad Mommy Moments

We all have them and mine just happens to do with, you guessed it, food. Click over to Mothering to read more about moments in mommyhood that we’d rather forget.

There’s more to come!

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“Eww. I don’t like squid!”

The kid who doesn't like squid two months ago--and yes, that's squid.

Halfway through a bite of chicken, my middle daughter perked up to the dinner conversation–”Squid. I don’t like eating squid!” My husband and I had been discussing how to come up with some new recipes–grilled squid came to mind. He hunted down an Asian market in our area that sells fresh seafood–no more packets of 20 squid frozen in a large block of ice. He wanted to try marinating and then grilling the little critters.

My middle daughter would have none of it. “There’s no way I’d eat octopus!” (I’ll save the finer points between distinguishing an octopus from a squid for another time…)

My oldest piped in, “Yes you do. It’s calamari and we have it all the time. Plus, it’s the title of mom’s blog so you have to like it.”

“I don’t eat squid,” she repeated as only a younger sister can with a bit of whine on each consonant.

“Don’t you remember on vacation when we had it and you were eating the rings?”

“Yeah, but those were onion rings,” she insisted.

“No, those were squid,” my oldest gleefully informed her.

Funny enough it was my middle child who inspired my blog’s title. When we lived in New York we had a nearby fresh seafood market where we’d pick out shrimp, squid, clams. Occasionally, you’d see a crab scampering down an aisle. My middle daughter at 3 was faster at de-veining the shrimp and prepping the squid than even my husband. See you have remove the head, then carefully take out the cartilage (and guts, my husband reminds me) before you start prepping it for cooking. My middle daughter’s tiny fingers were perfect for the job. I still remember bringing in a foot stool to the sink so she could work.

Our calamari appetizer--yup, that's squid

Along with bringing back memories, the conversation reminded me that even if you think you have your kids hooked on a particular food they won’t always love it a second time–but then they’ll love it the third–turn up their noses the fourth… Kids tastes can be unpredictable, that’s part of the fun of parenting (and cooking!).

And if you haven’t had a certain food in awhile your kids may have forgotten that they actually like it. The experience also reminded me of something I try to do when my kids are sampling new foods–I tell them exactly what they’re eating. Sure, calamari is probably a more palatable term than squid, but kids are little adventurers. I try to tap into that–”Hey, look at the tentacles, what do those taste like?” “Purple peppers–those sound cool.” “Why don’t we try making zucchini into noodles instead of regular ones.” Promise, it doesn’t always work, but I like making meals more of an adventure than a battle. Sure, we have our share of plain grilled cheese dinners, but we also have our smoked gouda garlic sourdough grilled cheese nights too.

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Why aren’t you eating…purple potatoes?

Photo credit: kthread

Looking over my neighbor Dave’s garden, you can’t help but expect a little blue bird to start chirping in your ear then land on your finger wanting to share a tune. Small, white picket fences separate the butter lettuce from the spinach, romaine and mustard greens, vines of green beans flank both ends of the 15′ by 6′ plot, onion stalks shoot up in perfect rows. And while there’s no bluebirds nearby, he does have a baby bunny living in the garden.

“Aren’t you worried the bunny is going to eat everything?” I asked him one day.

“No, there’s enough to share,” he patiently explained. He’d found the little bunny alone somewhere in his yard and plopped him in the middle of the garden to enjoy the summer. Dave was right. There was plenty of lettuce for the bunny, Dave, and still baskets full of goodies to bring over to our family.

Dave took pity on me. See, I’m no gardener. I think he was a bit worried that my kids would grow up without knowing how to grow anything. He volunteered to till our garden spot (I accepted). Then he came over to show us how to plant seeds. That night he even snuck over and planted potatoes beneath the cucumbers. He told me later, “I wanted you to have a surprise.”

We did end up having a few sweet peas. We managed one salad before a bunny took over our garden and ate the rest (I’ve since decided bunnies are akin to rats and that I don’t like them anymore). Seriously, I would have to loudly clap my hands then flail my arms to get the bunny to leave our garden. Even then, he’d leisurely hop about five feet away and then as soon as I went back inside he’d hop right back into my spinach.

Sadly, when it came to digging up our “surprise,” well, we never did find them. Dave again took pity on us and brought over a large bags of Peruvian purple potatoes. I was hooked. For dinner that night I made whipped, mashed purple potatoes. When my youngest spied the bowl of purple goodness, she couldn’t resist and used her finger to try a big dollop of what she thought was frosting–nope, mashed potatoes. Come dinner time, my youngest just couldn’t get over the idea that her mashed potatoes looked more like Play-doh or frosting than potatoes. She didn’t like them. I did and so did my other two girls.

We’ve since moved away and Dave is sadly no longer our purple potato supplier, but I’ve been happy to find them at our local produce grocers.

There’s a few things to keep in mind when cooking purple potatoes–they’re much softer than regular potatoes so they won’t hold their shape–or have the same cooking time as heartier varieties. The outside skin is a deep purple, then there’s an edge of white and lighter purple flesh. So if you whip them, removing the skin, you’ll end up with a batch of beautiful, lavendar-colored mashed potatoes. For roasting, leave as much of the skin on as possible so they hold their purple color–the inside will lighten with cooking. I roasted them with a medley of red potatoes, yellow carrots and onions and they turned out the mushiest of the batch. Still, the novelty of the color overshadowed any failings with the firmness.

Have you tried purple potatoes yet?

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