Sunday, August 23, 2009

Camp d'Evegnee World Tour

As summer snaps shut we've turned up the volume on Camp d'Evegnee (sounds like a new hit album--rock on!). We've taken a whirlwind world tour through four different countries, selecting the destinations that had the most foreign familial significance for us : Belgium, Ireland, Thailand, and France.

(Oh yeah. You probably could see through my little ruse. It was mostly about the food. We don't exactly have any Thai blood in our veins, but with the amount of Thai food we ingest, we should! The kids learned just as many culinary tidbits as they did facts about each country. Am I weird if my kids' ability to neatly separate eggs is as important as any geographical giftedness?)

And, of course I posted the World Tour Recipes directly following this post! We want to share the JOY!


Belgium

We adored the look of pride on the kids' faces when we showed them the town of Evegnee on the map and taught them about the linguistic reasoning behind that cute little d' in our name. Jean d'Arc ain't got nothin' on us when it comes to snobby French surnames!

Ethan had been craving his great grandma d'Evegnee's gaufrettes (waffles) for weeks, so we taught the kids Babonnes recipe, filling the house with that yeasty, sugary scent that surrounded Eric's childhood. We felt warm and watched over as we honored her culinary greatness and bit into hot waffles with large grains of crystallized sugar adorning each mouthful like the ones they serve up on the streets of Liege.




Ireland

Our tour of Ireland was absolutely Devine! The kids each painted their own green Blarney stone, but the way we have to fight to fit in a sentence at the dinner table proves they didn't really need it. We concocted green Shamrock Sugar Cookies and individual potato au gratins.





Thailand



France

We're still in a cheesy, chocolatey stupor after our Fondu Extravaganza. Bon appetit to all of us. . . again and again and again! Let them eat cake (and cookies and fruit and veggies and meat and anything that could be dunked and dipped and smeared all over our greedy faces)!




World Tour Recipes



Babonne's Belgian Waffles
2 and 1/4 ounces of yeast (9 1/4 ounce packages OR 20 and 1/4 teaspoons) (It sounds like a lot, but that's how much you use!)
41/2 cups warm water
1 t. sugar
6 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1 pound melted butter
3 cups sugar
2 pounds flour (about 9 cups)
Raw sugar (You can find this in the baking section--sometimes it's called kosher sugar and it looks like giant sugar crystals)

Dissolve yeast in warm water and mix in 1 teaspoon sugar. Let mixture rise in 200 degree oven for 15 minutes.
In large mixing bowl, mix egg yolks with melted butter. Add flour and yeast mixture and mix well. Put moistened towel over bowl and let rise for 30 minutes. Just before dough is done rising, beat egg whites until peaks form. Fold egg whites into risen dough. Add 3 cups sugar.

Cook dough in Belgian waffle iron right away--don't let it sit for too long. As soon as each waffle comes out of the waffle iron, sprinkle each side with raw sugar. Cut each small square in half so that each batch makes 8 triangular pieces. They're best while they're still hot.


Individual Potato Gratins
Vegetable spray
2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced (or you can use red potatoes with the peel still on)
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese, or if your kids aren't into Swiss, use Italian blend or mozarella
Minced onions (either fresh or dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream (or we just use skim milk, which works fine and adds less fat)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees .

Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. (We let the kids do their own.) Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Tops each gratin with extra cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.


Mussaman Curry
1-2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks with crinkle cutter.
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into slices with crinkle cutter.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 chicken breasts, cut in thin slices horizontally and then cut into 2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemon grass (You can find this in a tube at Albertson's in the produce section)
2 teaspoons cumin or coriander (whichever one you have)
1-2 teaspoons red chili paste (I use 2 or 3)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons red curry paste or more if you like it spicier (I used 3 or 4)
8 ounces chicken broth
2 -3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon white sugar
2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup cashews or peanuts

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and carrots. Boil until almost cooked through—about 7-9 minutes.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes
Stir in garlic, lemon grass, cumin, chili paste, and ginger; cook and stir until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the curry paste, and cook 30 seconds more. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, and stir until the curry paste has dissolved, then pour in the remaining chicken stock along with the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugars. Add potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk and lime juice. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer about 5 minutes. Serve over jasmin rice.


Chicken or Shrimp Pad Tai
8 oz rice noodles
¼ cup finely chopped peanuts
½ tsp grated lime peel
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs packed brown sugar
4 ½ tsp rice vinegar 1 tsp (or to taste)chili paste
3 Tbs cooking oil 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized strips
1 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh sprouts
1/3 cup sliced green onion
2 Tbs snipped fresh cilantro

Place noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot tap water to cover: let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until pliable but not soft. Drain well.
Meanwhile, for peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel; set aside. In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile paste; stir until smooth. Set aside
In a 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and garlic: cook and stir for 6 minutes until chicken is tender and no pink remains. (Or you can do the same thing with shrimp--we just use the pre-cooked, frozen kind and heat them through.) Transfer to a bowl.
Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, just until set. Remove and chop egg: set aside.
In the same skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and sprouts: stir fry for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; cook 1to 2 minutes more until heated through. Divide noodle mixture among four plates. Sprinkle each serving with egg and peanut topping. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.


Cheese Fondue
1 pound Swiss cheese (or shredded parmesan if Swiss is too strong for your kids or Gruyere if you like a more European taste--YUM))

2 cloves of Garlic

3 T. All-Purpose Flour

2 T. Butter

1 1/2 cups Milk

½ T. Lemon Juice

1/8 tsp. ground Nutmeg

Salt and Pepper to taste



Peel garlic and slice the cloves in half the long way so the most inner surface is showing. Rub a heavy saucepan with two halves of the garlic for flavoring. Rub the fondue pot with the other two garlic halves.
Grate the cheese and mix with 1 T. of the flour.
Melt the butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add rest of flour. Stir well till smooth. Add about ½ cup of milk and stir till smooth. Slowly add the rest of the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to about the consistency of light cream. Add a handful of cheese and keep stirring. Let the cheese melt and then add another handful and stir until it melts. Repeat the process until all the cheese is melted.
Once all the cheese has been added and the mixture is smooth, you can stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Finally, add the lemon juice. Stir well till the mixture is smooth once again.

Light the sterno and add cheese mixture to the fondue pot or to a crock pot on a low setting. Eat immediately! If it gets to thick, just add more milk. Spear bread and dunk in fondue and enjoy. Scrape the bottom of the pot with whatever you’re dipping from time to time to keep it from burning. When reheating leftovers, just add more milk until you get the consistency you like.

Serve with chunks of bread and steamed potatoes, broccolli, cauliflower, and zucchini


Parmesan Fondue (This is a much more Americanized version)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cubed

In a large saucepan, cook and stir the milk and cream cheese over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and garlic salt; cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to a fondue pot or mini slow cooker; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Marinated Beef for Fondue
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
OR 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes

Marinate meat in a freezer bag for at least 4 hours. We cook the meat at 450 on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil for about 7-9 minutes and then let the kids eat it on their skewers. If you're having a more adult-ish party, you can put boiling broth or stock in your fondue pot or crock pot on high and let people cook their own meat.

We also serve cubes of marinated chicken breasts as well, which we cook in advance the same way for the kids. Eric and I like to do the same thing with mushrooms that have been marinated.

Chocolate Fondue

1 pound semisweet chocolate chips (if your kids aren't used to darker chocolate, use milk chocolate)

1 1/2 cups of organic heavy cream

Pour the cream into a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan (or double boiler if you have one) over low heat. Bring the cream to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Transfer the chocolate to a fondue pot or crock pot on low heat and enjoy. You can also do this in a microwave, stirring after each thirty seconds. Be careful that you don't burn it--you only need to cook it for about three thirty second intervals and then stir well. To reheat, just add extra milk for a smoother texture.

Serve with chunks of pound cake, fruit, cookies--anything you want to swim in chocolate!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondue
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 large firm bananas, cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 pint whole strawberries
In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the chocolate chips, sugar, milk and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with bananas and strawberries. (Again, you can do this in the microwave, stirring after each thirty second interval. It only takes about three intervals of thirty seconds.)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Holden's Scout Contest Entry

Aunt Noelle gave Holden a subscription to Boys' Life for his birthday (I know! Fabulous aunt!), and he pours over each page with relish. He found a video contest and decided to enter it. Here's his entry. We just gave the boys my camera and let them do their thing--very d'Evegnee-esque, don't you think?

If you'd like to vote for his video, go to boyslife.com and look under contests then find the Join Scouting video contest and look under Cub Scouts. The voting starts on September 16th.


video

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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