LittleJudeonFood

One kid's adventures in gastronomy


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Cuckoo for Kale Chips

A little more than 2 years ago, I wrote about my love for kale chips. I’m happy to report that—unlike, say, pâté, beets, and orange foods—it’s a love I still embrace. Only now, because I’m such a big boy, I get to help make them. And clever Mama has upped the ante by introducing nutritional yeast into the mix.

What I can tell you about nutritional yeast can fit on a kale chip. Suffice it to say that it is different from the yeast we’ve used to make bread and is most definitely not brewer’s yeast (even though the label might tell you otherwise).

One of these is nutritional yeast, and one is not. Psss... its the one on the right.)

One of these is nutritional yeast, and one is not. (Psst… it’s the one on the right.)

Nutritional yeast (often called “nooch” by those in the know) has a cheesy/nutty flavor (think: Parmesan), and what’s not to like about that? In addition to adding oomph to vegetarian dishes, it has a dose of B-vitamins as well as all the amino acids. Mama likes putting it on her eggs, but it’s similarly stellar in a tofu scramble or on popcorn.

But don’t let my 4-year-old limitations hold you back from experimenting with nooch. If you make something yummy with it, let me know!

Love, Jude

Supercheesy Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
Olive oil
Sea or kosher salt
Nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or just commit to cleaning your baking sheet when you’re done and go without. Rinse kale and rip the leaves from the center stalk. Mama suggested I pull the upward-growing leaves downward, so they tear off more easily, and it works! Try to make them of similar size because remember that the larger pieces won’t crisp up as much as the smaller ones.

Tear the leaves downward away from the stalk.

Tear the leaves downward away from the stalk.

Scatter kale on baking sheet, then toss with about 1 Tbsp oil. You really don’t need a lot—it’s just so the salt and nutritional yeast has something to adhere to.

We used kosher salt on our kale, but feel free to use sea salt, if thats what you like.

We used kosher salt on our kale, but feel free to use sea salt, if that’s what you like.

Sprinkle with salt and as much nutritional yeast as you want—the more, the cheesier. Who am I to tell you how much you like? Experiment by spreading the kale leaves around the baking sheet then sprinkling different sections with different amounts. (After my little experiment here, I think we learned that “avalanche” is a little too much.)

Maybe don’t let your kid pour on the nooch.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until desired crispness. You could toss them once during baking, but you don’t have to. Enjoy immediately!

Thats a big plate of kale chips and a little bowl of soup.

That’s a big plate of kale chips and a little bowl of soup.

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Vesuvius!

This morning, I showed Papa how to make a smoothie with honey-vanilla Greek yogurt and a few apricot slices that Mama froze last summer specifically for this purpose. (It was delicious.) Then Papa showed me how to make a Vesuvius Bagel.

It’s much like the bird’s nest/toad-in-a-hole we’ve made before, except with a bagel!

I'm giving these eggs from a friend's farm bagel nests.

I’m giving these eggs from a friend’s farm bagel nests.

Papa calls it a Vesuvius bagel because it erupts, something like this volcano did a long, long time ago:

Mt. Vesuvius

First, Papa made the bagel hole a little larger, so there’s enough room for the egg to fit.

You can eat the part of the bagel you pull from the center.

You can eat the part of the bagel you pull from the center.

Then he buttered the top part of the bagel (so that when he flips it in the skillet, it’s all ready to go.) He melted butter in the skillet, set the bagels in it, and cracked the eggs. I was upset that I wasn’t allowed to do it, because I’m very good at cracking eggs without breaking the yolks (as you know), but Papa explained that the skillet is hot, and that it wasn’t a safe thing for me to do. (Thanks for looking out for me, Papa.)

The eggs fit perfectly in those bagel holes.

The eggs fit perfectly in those bagel holes.

The Vesuvius part is coming up!

The Vesuvius part is coming up!

Once he flipped over the bagels, he fried them just until set. (He cooked Mama’s longer because she likes her yolks “stepped on.” Silly Mama. She shouldn’t step on her food!)

And now comes the best part:

I had to hunt around a little bit to find where the yolk was.

I had to hunt around a little bit to find where the yolk was.

If you poke it just right, the egg will run all over the place, just like lava.

If you poke it just right, the yolk will run all over the place, just like lava.

I like the runny yolks.

“I want to use a big plate because I’m a big boy.”

Once I let all the lava flow from the bagel, Papa cut it up for me so that I could smear the bagel through the yolk. The bagel was toasty and buttery, and I love the creaminess of a farm-fresh egg. I wish all meals could be like this.

Love, Jude

I was really little when I visited Pompeii.

I was really little when I visited Pompeii.

 


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Breakfast in Bed

Some folks call this “toad in a hole.” Others, like my GeeGee, call it a “bird’s nest.” Either way, I think it’s a funny name for “egg in toast.” Mama keeps my yolk a little runny, so it perfectly soaks into the surrounding toast. Complete with a smoothie and some sausage, this was a terrific way to start the day.

Even better, Mama served it to me in bed. But just so you know, if you give a kid breakfast in bed, he’s going to ask for it the next day. And the day after that.

I was able to keep watching a show on the iPad AND eat my breakfast. Win-win.

I was able to keep watching a show on the iPad AND eat my breakfast. Win-win.

Love, Jude

Toad in a Hole/Bird’s Nest

Slices of bread
1 egg per slice of bread
Butter, room temperature
Salt and pepper

Tear out a piece of bread from the center of the slice. (The larger the hole, the more the egg will spread.) Butter the bread, on both sides if desired. Heat a skillet over medium heat. (Mama used a nonstick, just because.) When hot, lay the bread in the skillet, butter-side down, and then crack an egg into the center hole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or other seasonings, if desired.

The eggs fit nicely in their little bread nests.

The eggs fit nicely in their little bread nests.

Cook until egg is of desired doneness—break the yolk if you like yours over hard, or “stepped on,” as Mama calls it. Carefully turn over and  finish cooking on the other side. Enjoy!

The buttery bread gets good and toasty.

The buttery bread gets good and toasty.


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A recipe for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

First, Happy New Year! (Mama told me it’s a nice thing to say to people.)

We started today’s breakfast last night by making challah bread. We’ve made it before when Mama made angel food cake and used the leftover egg yolks for challah. Last night, we made the challah so that this morning we could have it as egg nog French toast! Mama knows only a little bit about challah’s origin, and she says it’s fitting to make the bread one night and eat it the next day.

When making bread, it’s important to gather all the ingredients first. It’s also helpful to use a scale. Mama’s made bread with standard measures, but if you’re looking to have consistent results every time, then weighing your ingredients is the “weigh” to go. (I don’t know why that’s supposed to be funny.)

The flour, salt, milk, yolks, and oil are in the mixing bowl, and the yeast and water are getting cozy in the measuring cup.

The flour, salt, milk, yolks, and oil are in the mixing bowl, and the yeast and water are getting cozy in the measuring cup.

After you’ve mixed your dough, there’s nothing much to do except wait. And as I wasn’t allowed to stay up to ring in the new year, Mama took the waiting shift as I went off to bed.

But for breakfast, I was all-hands-on-deck. Choose any French toast recipe you like (we usually wing it) and simply substitute the milk or cream for egg nog. (I call it “donut milk” because it’s so yummy.)

I cracked this egg by myself, and I didn't even break the yolk!

I cracked this egg by myself, and I didn’t even break the yolk!

I insisted on mixing the egg and egg nog.

I insisted on mixing the egg and egg nog.

I used my hands to dip and turn the sliced bread to get it coated in nog mixture. Mama likes to use a fork.

I used my hands to dip and turn the sliced bread to get it coated in nog mixture. Mama likes to use a fork.

The French toast is super golden, which makes it extra yummy.

The French toast is super golden, which makes it extra yummy.

I didn't even need syrup with my egg nog French toast.

I didn’t even need syrup with my egg nog French toast.

I have to say this was a good start to 2014. I look forward to many more surprises like this one.

Love, Jude

Challah Bread

11 fluid oz warm water, 105–110°F (or, just hot enough so you can hold your finger in it without too much discomfort)
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
20 oz bread flour (Mama replaced about 4 oz. with regular whole-wheat flour)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dry milk powder
1 Tbsp oil (canola works fine)
6 large egg yolks
1 egg + splash of milk for egg wash

In a glass measure or bowl, whisk together the water and the yeast until foamy. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining ingredients (except egg wash) in the order listed. Pour yeast mixture on top. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for a minute or two to bring everything together, then increase speed to #2 for about 5 more minutes. Test the dough by stretching a small bit between your fingers. If it gives a good stretch before breaking, then you’re set.

Remove the dough to a greased sheet tray, cover with a clean towel, and allow to rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, anywhere from 1-2 hours. (You can shape the dough in to a lovely ball first, but it’ll still proof without the beauty treatment.)

Here's the dough after it's doubled in size. It's smooth and puffy.

Here’s the dough after it’s proofed, or doubled in size. It’s smooth and puffy.

And here’s why Mama loves to make challah: you get to braid it! First, give the dough ball a few good kneads to get out all the air. Divide it into 3 equal pieces, then channel your inner 3-year-old and roll them into ropes (or snakes!).

Roll these out like ropes.

Roll out each piece of dough into a rope, however long you like–just not too skinny. You’ll know when the dough has had enough.

Set the ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pinch together 3 ends.

Pinch together the top of the braid.

Pinch together the top of the braid. This isn’t prom, so there’s no need to make it pretty just yet.

Mama’s left-handed, so she starts the braid with the left strand. Start it with the right if that is more comfortable for you. Gently cross the left strand over the center strand.

Left goes over center.

Left goes over center.

Then the right strand goes over the “new” center strand (the one that was just the left strand).

Now right goes over the center. Braid them loosely because they're going to need room to proof again.

Now right goes over the center. Braid them loosely because they’re going to need room to proof again.

And so on. When you get to the end, pinch the strands together and tuck them under a little bit.

The strands are tight enough to stay together but loose enough to allow the dough room to expand.

The strands are tight enough to stay together but loose enough to allow the dough room to expand.

Because Mama divided her dough a little unevenly when she first separated it into 3, she had one strand that was a bit larger than the other two. So she lopped off a hunk of that dough and made a tiny little challah with it to decorate the bigger loaf. With or without the add-on, now’s the time to make the egg wash and gently brush it on all parts of the bread–really get it in between all those twists.

Egg wash the dough first, then adorn with any embellishments. Egg wash the add-ons, too.

Egg wash the dough first, then adorn with any embellishments. Egg wash the add-ons, too.

Allow it to proof once more, about an hour or so. Have the oven preheating to 350°F.

Good thing there was space between those braided strands.

Good thing there was space between those braided strands.

Egg wash again, if desired. Bake until it reaches an internal temp of 190°F or higher, 20-25 minutes. It should be beautiful and golden.

Golden on the top and light and fluffy on the inside.

Golden on the top and light and fluffy on the inside.

Try as hard as you can to let it cool before diving in. The house will smell wonderful in the meantime.

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves.


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Back to back holidays

How can anyone keep all these holidays straight? Between my daycare’s crafts and Mama’s half-hearted window decorations, I didn’t know if a leprechaun was coming to hide eggs or a giant bunny was snoozing under a rainbow with a bunch of money. It’s all very confusing to a 2-year-old, having Easter follow so closely on the heels of St. Patrick’s day. I’ll just tell you a little bit of what I ate on both days.

For the former, I helped Mama make Irish soda bread. We’ve made this before, only this time I really helped form my own loaf. (I gave it to my teacher.)

Soda bread just out of the oven

Soda bread just out of the oven

Mama made her honey butter, too, and it was really yummy when the bread first came out of the oven and was still warm enough to melt the butter. Mmmm…

I like picking out the currants.

I like picking out the currants.

Actually, we made it the day before St. Patrick’s day, so the next morning, Mama sliced it and made French toast out of it. Even better.

Though I wanted syrup, the honey butter really was enough for this French toast.

Though I wanted syrup, the honey butter really was enough for this French toast.

Next up: Easter. Many have asked me about what I found in my eggs that fine morning. Depending on who’s doing the asking, they either empathize with Mama or feel sorry for me. I’ll just say that I loved it all! I ate what came out of those eggs so fast, I hardly had time to share any of it (but I did, because I’ve always been known as a “good sharer”). There were chocolate-graham bunny crackers and gummy bunnies (just a few) and prunes and apricots. And 2 cars. And lots of coins to add to my piggy bank. Then I ran around the house screaming and jumping on the furniture for about an hour.

Doesn't everybody get chocolate-bunny grahams and prunes for Easter?

Doesn’t everybody get chocolate-bunny grahams and prunes for Easter?

For dinner, Mama decided to treat us to something new. Since we tend to have buttermilk in the house for pancakes, Mama decided to marinate some chicken thighs in it, then fry them up. I’ve never eaten anything like it before! They were crispy, yet succulent. But I ate only a couple bites. As for the rest of the meal, I give it a “meh.” She pureed lima beans with a bit more buttermilk and some herbs. She thought I would eat this up, considering my affinity for the little bean, but I didn’t like that I couldn’t pick them up. Even the sweet potato tater tots didn’t hold my attention. I guess that’s what happens when a kid finally comes down from a sugar high.

I couldn't really focus on Easter dinner. I just wanted to play outside.

I couldn’t really focus on Easter dinner. I just wanted to play outside.

Overall, I enjoyed both holidays. I saw a parade on St. Patrick’s day, and I got to play with both Mama and Papa all day on Easter. There’s not much more that a kid can ask for. Except maybe more cars.

Love, Jude

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (preferably organic)
Salt and pepper
Buttermilk
Vegetable oil
Flour
Other spices, as desired

Rinse the thighs and set them in a shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in enough buttermilk just to cover. Cover the dish and refrigerate for a few hours. When ready to cook, heat about 1 inch oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until a few flecks of flour sizzle in it (about 365°F). Pour about 1 cup flour into a large ziptop plastic bag and season it with salt and pepper and any other spices you like (paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.). Take a thigh, shake off the excess buttermilk, and put it in the bag. Add a few more thighs (but don’t crowd the bag too much). Give it all a few hardy shakes until all the thighs are coated with flour, then take them out and either set them on a plate or gently place them in the hot oil. (Repeat with the remaining thighs–add more flour, if necessary.) Cook the thighs for 7 or 8 minutes, until golden brown, then gently turn and fry until golden on the other side and the chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel.

Makes enough for dinner + leftovers