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!

Tasty Tuesday–C and C Food for Your Soul

I always love trying out a local restaurant. Way back before the pandemic hit (can you remember a time pre-pandemic?!?), I read about C and C Food for Your Soul in our local paper, and I knew that a restaurant that advertised fresh-made comfort food was a place I wanted to try. And then time lost all meaning, and for a while, I forgot that there were places outside of our house. But Ryan recently happened upon the restaurant’s Facebook page, and I finally remembered that I really wanted to try it out, so on Sunday, he picked up lunch. I got the mojo burger and fries and he had the meatloaf with mac & cheese and deep-fried corn on the cob (yes, you read that right).

The burger was excellent. It had the best qualities of both a smash burger and a thick burger…crispy edges, but still pink inside. It was served on Texas toast, which was different for me, and I really liked the pairing. I also enjoyed that the burger was topped with different lettuces, which was a nice change from the usual piece of iceberg (not my favorite member of the lettuce family). Ryan equally enjoyed his meal…he said the meatloaf was wonderfully BBQ-y, and the piece was big enough for two meals (helpful information when we place an order for a meal for the whole family in the future!). He also loved the sides, especially the corn on the cob. I’ve been told the staff at the restaurant is also excellent, and very friendly…I’m looking forward to going in there myself eventually!

I’m really glad that this relatively new place is hanging on through the pandemic, and I’m looking forward to trying out more items on the menu (I’m really interested in their desserts!), and seeing what other specials they have in the future!

The Farewell to Summer Feast

Tonight, we had our “Farewell to Summer” dinner, which was also a Beast Feast, because we wanted to celebrate the awesome job David Sandusky of Beast Craft BBQ did on Food Network’s BBQ Brawl this summer!

In keeping with the St. Louis theme, I made a gooey butter cake for dessert, only I overbaked it, rendering it not gooey. It still tasted good, though, so that was something.

The 2021-22 school year begins Monday morning!

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!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Fried Onions

It’s been a while since I tried something new at Beast Craft BBQ, but I’m back with one of my favorite items on the menu yet!

I am a sucker for fried, or tobacco, onions. Not onion rings (although I do like those, too), or the gross ones in the can, but fresh, fried onions that are thinly sliced and breaded and hot and get tangled together when you try to pull one out of the pile. Pretty much anytime I go anywhere that has good fried onions on a sandwich, I comment that I would buy a box of just those, and Beast made my dreams come true. Perfect as a starter or a side dish to share (I mean, if you can…I can’t!), their fried onions are topped with cotija cheese, cilantro, and their awesome fry sauce. They’re crunchy and salty and have just a bit of a kick from the sauce. It’s seriously the perfect side dish! (Or lunch, as the case may be.)

In case you’ve missed it, David Sandusky, the genius behind Beast Craft BBQ, has been competing on BBQ Brawl on the Food Network. Next week is the final episode, which means he’s in the final four, and I can’t wait to see what happens, and what kind of amazing dish he comes up with next!

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!

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!