Sunday, March 1, 2009

Routine/Pommes Anna, Date Nut Squares:

I've always always admired people whose lives revolved around some sort of orderly routine; spaghetti Wednesday, pizza on Friday, Sunday dinner...

Me, I can't set up or maintain a routine if my life depended on it, despite my best intentions, as if the reigning chaos of possibility (which usually means we do NOTHING, truth be told) is preferrable to the predictability of SOMETHING, even if it's familiar.
But the lure of the familiar continues to pull, making me yearn for a life where just a little bit is already decided:

That being said, if I had to set up a basic routine for the winter months, this is (loosely) what it would look like:

  1. Saturday: swimming with Jacob in the morning; cleaning the house with the kids/starting laundry; skating in the evening (or not if we decide to go out somewhere else)

  2. Sunday: big Sunday breakfast, church maybe and/or skiing (winter), visiting with family, planning menus and grocery shopping

  3. Monday: Spin class for me 3:30 or 5:30; Grace, Youth Group 6:30-8

  4. Tuesday: Spin class for me 4:30 and/or $2 skating 6-8pm with Jacob and Grace

  5. Wednesday: work until 7; Jacob, Youth Group 6:30-8; maybe skating for Jake and I from 8-10 (over 21 skate)

  6. Thursday: Spin class for me 4:30; Jake has archery

  7. Friday: Spin class for me 5:15; pizza and gym/swim night, Family time from 5:30-8

This works, and has plenty of wiggle room to cram extra things in there, novel stuff I always like to do but have difficulty dragging anyone to (my children are hopeless homebodies).

I'm hoping to broaden my horizons by checking out a Roller Derby game (show?) on March 14 if anyone wants to go; in my crazy scheming mind I picture myself joining a team someday but realize that I am probably too non confrontational to have any success with it;-)

On the food front, made some truly fantastic potatoes this morning to go with our Sunday breakfast (see? the schedule is already a rousing success!). Loosely fashioned after "pommes Anna", I just improvised it on the spot and it was pretty tasty:

3 large red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8 thick: layer slices in a single concentric layer, on microwave safe plate, sprinkle with kosher salt, and microwave for 3 minutes

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat 12 inch cast iron skillet to barely smoking; when pan is ready, pour 2-3 tb olive oil and 1 large chopped clove garlic into pan, and slide potatoes on top, maintaining concentric, single layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary and pepper, more salt if desired. Place plate on top and cover with heavy lid (to weight potatoes down) and put in oven. Bake for 25 minutes until potatoes are browned.

Here's a REAL pommes Anna recipe, one I was too lazy to look up, if you want to do it up right:

1 1/2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Peel the potatoes and, using a food processor fitted with the slicing blade or a mandoline, slice them very thin, transferring them as they are sliced to a large bowl of cold water. Drain the slices and pat them dry between paper towels. Generously brush the bottom and side of a 9-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably non-stick, with some of the butter and in the skillet arrange the slices, overlapping them slightly, in layers, brushing each layer with some of the remaining butter and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Cover the layered potato slices with a buttered round foil, tamp down the assembled potato cake firmly, and bake it in the middle of a preheated 425°F. oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the potato cake for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the slices are tender and golden. Invert the potato cake onto a cutting board and cut it into 8 wedges.

Also made some date nut squares, mostly due to the fact that I somehow ended up with a 5# box of chopped dates (Sam's Club, but why exactly did I buy it? No clue...)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pulse in food processor until it has a sandy texture:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 +/- pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter

Press into bottom of 8 inch square pan and bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned

Soften 2 cups chopped dates in enough boiling water to cover for 10 minutes, drain well. Mix with 2 eggs and 1/4 cup agave nectar (or brown sugar). Spread over crust and bake 20-30 minutes until center is set. So yummy and sweet, and somewhat good for you...

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