Tasty Tuesday–Cooking with “A Trip Around the World”

As part of Chickadee’s geography lessons this year, we’ve added some cooking and baking to our school days. We just finished A Trip Around the World…Before we start Another Trip Around the World, here’s a look at the recipes we’ve made so far, either found in or inspired by the first book:

Here’s the full list:

  • Brigadeiro (chocolate truffles) from Brazil
  • Palace Bread from Egypt
  • Tapioca Pudding with Pineapple from Kenya
  • Dutch Egg and Cheese from The Netherlands
  • Pflaumenkuchen (plum cake) from Germany
  • Cucumber Salad from China
  • Hummus from Saudi Arabia
  • Damper Bread from Australia
  • Meat Pie from Australia
  • Blueberry Crumble with “snowballs” (vanilla ice cream) from Canada

I can’t wait to start the next book and try even more new recipes!

Tasty Tuesday–Jäger Sauce

I don’t always make Jäger sauce to go with schnitzel, but when I do, this is the recipe I love!

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 8 oz. can sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube or 1 tsp. bouillon granules
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 oz. sour cream

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes until onions are soft. Add water and bouillon and simmer for about 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch and sour cream and stir into sauce. Cook over low heat until sauce thickens, taking care not to boil. Serve with schnitzel.

Oktoberfest 2021

For the second year in a row, we didn’t get to go to the inaugural Great North American Oktoberfest in St. Louis (and at this point, I’m kind of thinking that the event will never happen), but we did have a happy Markel Family Oktoberfest at home! I started last week by assembling all of our favorite German foods from Aldi’s Deutsche Küche:

For lunch, we had cheddar and beer fondue with homemade pretzels, German pickles, and Nürnberger Bratwurst, plus more pretzels with beer mustard and nacho cheese sauce for those who don’t like fondue:

Dinner was schnitzel with optional Jäger sauce, spaetzle, sauerkraut, artichoke and cheese strudel, and red cabbage with apples:

And dessert was, of course, Black Forest cherry torte:

I also had a fun Oktoberfest celebration with my neighbors in Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

It wasn’t quite the Oktoberfest I had hoped for (again), especially after I derailed our pretzel-making to go to Urgent Care to have a splinter removed (that was unpleasant!), but it was a fun day of celebrating our German heritage!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee has been busy cooking and baking new recipes with me to go along with her geography studies!

To wrap up the lesson on The Netherlands, yesterday she helped make Dutch egg and cheese for dinner. It was really delicious!

The next country on our list is Germany, so this morning, we baked a Pflaumenkuchen:

This is one of the most delicious classes I have ever taught!

Summer School 2021

It seemed like the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics would never get here, and now they’ve already come and gone. Here’s a look back at our Japan-themed summer school.

We visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical several times over the summer. The large-scale art installation was the perfect field trip to coincide with Tokyo 2020 (and was also postponed from last summer).

We also visited the Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis at Francis Field, home of the 1904 Summer Games:

I made a few fun treats for the Olympics…Olympics torches (white chocolate covered pretzels) and Team USA CHEERios treats.

We did a lot of cooking and tried a lot of Japanese foods. I worked really hard to find things we hadn’t had before, and used a variety of cooking methods and unfamiliar ingredients. We tried:

  • Spicy Ramen/Udon
  • Pork Gyoza
  • Coffee Jelly
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Matcha Mochi Cake
  • Vegetable Tempura
  • Potato Korokke
  • Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake
  • Kani Cream Korokke
  • Chicken Katsu Sandwich
  • Matcha Green Tea Cookies
  • Oyakodon

We were supposed to go out to a Japanese restaurant this summer, but COVID-19, so we got a party platter of sushi instead:

I’ve been holding on to the Lego Architecture Tokyo skyline since last year, and we finally got to build it!

Our American Girl dolls got into the Olympic spirit:

In between watching as much of the Olympics as we could, we also did some more traditional school work. We learned about Japanese history and culture, as well as the history of the Olympics. We read a lot of books…some I read out loud, and some were book basket choices. We also watched a selection of Olympic documentaries:

  • FirstLondon 2012
  • The Everlasting FlameBeijing 2008
  • Atlanta’s Olympic GloryAtlanta 1996
  • 16 Days of GloryLos Angeles 1984
  • Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
  • Seoul 1988

And we also did several crafts, including origami, paper lanterns, Koinobori (Japanese carp windsocks), pipe cleaner and tissue paper cherry blossom branches, and medals (of course!):

I’ve been holding on to Ticket to Ride: Japan since last year, and we finally had a chance to play! I really enjoyed the new game mechanics introduced in this edition, and it was fun to get to know the geography of the area a little bit better.

We updated our medal chart every evening…here’s a look at the final results…we were very excited that the US won the gold medal race and had the most medals overall!

And, better late than never, our Family Olympics, which was delayed due to heat. We only had four events this year (frisbee throw, broad jump, soccer kicks, and a running race), thanks to time constraints and a lack of basketball hoops on the backboards we normally use. Technically, Turkey came in first, but since we participate as a family, we all won gold!

This summer school was a long time coming. I think we all still have mixed feelings about the fact that the Olympics were held at this time, but we had to just accept that that was out of our control, and embrace the Olympics as we usually do. It’s always hard to say goodbye when they extinguish the flame, but the Winter Olympics are less than six months away, and we only have to wait three more years for Paris 2024!

A Japanese Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

It seemed at times like today would never come, but finally, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have begun! Whether or not they should be held no longer matters, because they’ve gone ahead, and as long as they Olympics are going on, I’m doing all of the things I meant to do last summer, starting with a special dinner for the Opening Ceremonies.

We started with homemade pork gyoza and rayu. I’ve made the gyoza before, but making the rayu from scratch was a new experience!

The main course was spicy ramen/udon with ajitsuke tamago (ramen eggs). The broth was made with dashi, kimchi, soy sauce, leeks, garlic, miso, gochujang, and shiitake mushrooms. It was served over spicy chicken and bacon, and topped with nori, bean sprouts, and green onions.

For dessert, I made coffee jelly:

We waited a long time to have this meal, but I think it was worth the wait!

Tasty Tuesday–Linguine with Clam Sauce

It’s been so long since I made linguine with clam sauce, I had to start from scratch on the recipe. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be making it again!

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 cloves garlic. minced
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 10 oz. cans clams, undrained, plus 1 10z. can drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or you can cheat like me and use a few Tbsp. dried)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 16 oz. linguine, cooked and drained
  • Parmesan cheese

Melt 1/2 cup butter in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until golden. Stir in salt and pepper, then deglaze the pan with white wine. Add clams and juice and cook until heated through. Add parsley, remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter, and lemon juice and cook until butter is melted. Serve over linguine and top with parmesan cheese.

Revenge of the Fifth

There are so many good recipes in The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook that we couldn’t limit our Star Wars celebration to just one day, so I bring you The Revenge of the Fifth!

Tonight’s dinner wasn’t quite involved as last night’s, but it did fit well with Cinco de Mayo as well as Star Wars Day: Part Two. I made ronto wrappers (herbed flatbread) as the foundation for ronto wraps, plus a really delicious beverage, the blurggfire, which included a homemade habanero-lime syrup:

For dessert, I made a zoochberry surprise:

I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook!

May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars Day!

I promised the Fab Five that we would do something special to celebrate this year, especially since we were so excited about the premiere of The Bad Batch, so I planned a special Star Wars themed dinner featuring recipes from The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook. I chose stuffed “puffer pig”, roasted chando peppers, fried zuchii, and for the evening’s beverage, the cliff dweller:

For dessert, I made Bespin cloud drops (and we’ll just ignore the fact the I had to ask what Bespin is):

May the Fourth be with you!

Tasty Tuesday–Breakfast for Dinner

We have always enjoyed having breakfast-for-dinner, and for the last year, I’ve tried to make it a regular item on the menu (once or twice a month), instead of just an occasional treat. But I definitely didn’t want to make the same meal over and over, so I’ve tried to expand our breakfast-for-dinner options to include things like omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, breakfast casserole, breakfast burritos, shakshuka, and French toast, in addition to the traditional bacon and eggs. I also often make smoothies to go with dinner, and that has been a huge hit…we’ve really enjoyed trying different fruit, juice, and yogurt combinations. One thing we haven’t had, though, is pancakes, which seems like a weird omission…I should probably work on that!