I like the idea of vegetables…

Squash Savers

Not only was it a delightful day in all ways save for infant temperaments, but one packed full of smug superiority, my second favorite vice. BK and I got an invigoratingly early jump start on the day, giving a friend a lift to work at eight, then we slowed down by the house as Mr. P chucked in the girls, and off we traipsed to our local farm where we fed goats and bunnies and picked a pound of nice fat blueberries. I’ve learned to bring Wet Ones along on our pickings, as Billy the Kid brazenly over-samples to the point of facial evidence, and I dislike receiving cool looks from any sort of help. Back home, we picked our first summer squash, and I created the following recipe to render the yellow vegetable adequately palatable, mostly by masking the crap out of it with ingredients I like, such as eggs and crackers. The resulting side dish was victoriously satisfying, but even more delicious was the nap I unintentionally took with the girls after lunch.

I have a generous but firm quiet-time policy to ensure my babies get at least twenty minutes of sleep during the day, and BK can either nap with me on the couch or play quietly in the office or his room with a variety of toy options, including (and I will not apologize) the iPad. But even the ultimate attention magnet only buys a half hour at most of distraction for a three-year-old, and I usually get just a short lie-down before I have to engage El Torito in something far away from my napping time-bombs. So I awoke disoriented and suspicious two hours later, and followed a trail of strewn berries into the kitchen to find my little man closing the fridge door, hands clawed and straining to transport many more blueberries than they were able to hold. Evidently, BK had quite a little afternoon for himself. After ditching his pants in the bathroom, he based himself on the office recliner with the iPad, making routine trips to the fridge to reload, while watching some sort of ridiculous anime in Japanese he found on the hulu app.

12 1/4″ slices from the widest part of a summer squash
1 C finely crushed butter crackers
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C grated mozzarella
1/4 C grated Parmesan
Canola oil

Combine the cracker crumbs with the spices and salt and spread them out on a plate. Heat about a quarter cup of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once it’s hot, dip a squash slice into the egg, coating completely, then lay it on the crumbs and turn/pack to coat. Put it in the hot oil and repeat with the remaining slices. After all have been in for 1 minute, start flipping the slices over with tongs, beginning with the first one that went in. Once flipped, let them cook for another minute or until they’re crisp and golden-brown – no amateur pale spots!

Transfer the slices to a plate lined with paper towel to blot the excess oil, then arrange them on a rack placed over a cookie sheet. Top each with a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella, and broil them on high at the second-highest rack level for a minute or two until the cheese just starts to brown. Serve them scalding hot to avoid any trace of actual vegetable, and don’t forget to hide your berries!

The Wingman of Sides

Yorkshire Pudding

It’s shaping up to be a terrific day. Billy the Kid is officially two years old, and Mr. Smith is back with his recipe for Yorkshire pudding, “great for having with roast beef and gravy Kriegel au vin, and impressing the hell out of girlfriends’ parents.” I should add that my parents are happily married, but my dad likes to keep his tools sharp. As should we all. Bubbly, airy, crispy on top and soft at the center, this rustic starch is so simple that you “get extra credit for cooking expertise by mnemonically remembering all ingredients with “EMFS” (eggs, milk, flour, salt) starting with 2 and dropping 1/2 for each measurement. No open recipe book or laptop needed!”

2 eggs
1 1/2 C whole milk
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt

Let all ingredients get to room temperature before starting. Set your oven to 450. Once it arrives, pop in a roasting pan with 1/4 C Crisco, or “use the beef pan if you have a place to park the beef for half an hour and back up the drippings with enough Crisco [for a] grease layer about 3/16″ over the bottom.”

Using a whisk, beat the eggs well in a medium bowl. Blend in the milk, then beat in the flour and salt. “Go for air retention.”

Pour the batter into the hot roasting pan. The pan will deform on contact with the cool batter, so tip it from side to side to coat the bottom. Bake it for about half an hour, until it transforms into “a brown, foothill-like landscape…if it looks delicious, it’s done.”

Slice the sheet into sixths or eighths, and don’t even think about serving this without the aforementioned gravy. Mr. Smith reminds us never to try out a new recipe on guests, lest we jeopardize our own as well as our family’s honor.

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