Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years' Resolutions

We cut our New Years’ cake and went around the table.

“I’m going to get better at making things from wood. You know, like the picnic table in the backyard. And, I want to get better at cooking dishes from all over the world,” Andrew said.

I have to admit that his resolution was not entirely expected by me. But, we do try to allow them to set their own goals. Knowing that my childrens’ resolutions generally require my assistance on some level, I kept mine pretty simple.

“I’m going to find a new vegetable dish that this whole family likes every month.”

My children did not seem very excited. I reassured them.

“Yes, I know. You don’t love vegetables. But, we don’t try new things with vegetables very much. You LOVE smoked pork. If I bought a frozen pork chop and microwaved it, you wouldn’t like pork either. You’ve never tried really GOOD vegetables. You’ll see.”

That’s what I said. I hoped I said it convincingly. It is true. We always have vegetables around, but they are rarely very inspired. I went on to say that we could cook vegetables from all over the world, so we could do both our resolutions at the same time. We talked about options.

Jump a few hours. I’m making a grocery list.

“Andrew, what do you want in your school lunch this week, Honey?”

“Spinach tortellini and pumpkin bread, from scratch.”

“Spinach tortellini from scratch?”

“Yes, that is one way that I like vegetables. That’s the plan, right? You know, to cook vegetables that we all like? Remember, I tried a free sample at the store.”

Sigh. Spinach tortellini? Really?

On Saturday, Andrew and I made spinach tortellini from scratch. I could have said ‘no’ but somewhere deep inside I felt that I was setting a precedent for the year. And, that somehow a failure in this realm was better than giving up entirely. It wouldn’t hurt to fail once. So we waste a few eggs and a few cups of flour. It would be a funny memory. We went to the grocery store. We started cooking.

The filling was easy: chop, dump, stir. No cooking. I played ‘sous chef’ and chopped the spinach, but the kids did the rest. (Even Emeril has a ‘sous chef.’)

The first batch of pasta was in the mixer looking like a bunch of rough pebbles. All of the ingredients had been added, but it needed more moisture. So, we added more egg and oil and mixed some more. We kneaded it and put it in the bowl to rest. Skeptical, I thought we should make one more batch. Disaster waited. We would need several tries.

This time, I gave Andrew all of the ingredients and set off to find a diet Coke.

“You can do it,” I encouraged. “Just add the eggs and oil until it looks right,” I said not really sure what it meant to ‘look right.’

When I returned, Andrew was using his entire strength to knead the dough. When the first batch was fully rested, I cut it in half and gave it to him, along with the pasta machine. We talked briefly about how to use it. I told him to run it through three times on the first setting, folding it each time. We looked again at the recipe and decided that setting 5 or 6 would work just fine.

“I can do it, Mom. Okay?”

When my husband walked through, Andrew was cranking the machine and easing out the dough all by himself. My husband offered to help. He began to make a suggestion. But, quickly saw that Andrew had it under control, probably more than we could ever imagine.

With each strip of dough, Andrew cut out circles and gave them to me.

I filled and wrapped the best tortellini I have ever had. The kids gobbled them up.

Today, Andrew has spinach tortellini and pumpkin bread (we made that Sunday) in his lunchbox.

Once again, I have a newfound respect for my son and the additional resolution to remember to ‘let them fail’ just a little more often.

So, what was Gladys’ resolution? She wants to learn how to clean better.

I’m hoping she figures it out.

Maybe she’ll teach me someday.


Rachel said...

How great is this!!! Sometimes we don't want to do it but we have to for our kids; Bravo to you! And the tortellini looks yummy!

Flea said...

What a great mom you are! Spinach tortellini sounds really good right now, too. Does squash count as a vegetable? Not much better in the winter than acorn or butternut squash with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Next to pork chops. Mmmm.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Very impressive! Even I'm afraid to make my own pasta.

The photos of his hands working away are great...but the cheeky-chops at the end says it all really.

OHmommy said...

Puts the pot roast I have in my oven to shame.

So sweet... all of it.

BTW. Playgroup at my house on Wednesday. Can you bring some pumpkin bread.

enthalpymama said...

Rachel - Yes, it was sooo yummie!

Flea - Squash is a supreme veggie. We had pumpkin cream pasta tonight. Okay, not exactly low-fat and healthy, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying vegetables!

Splodge - Can't recommend making your own pasta, unless you have a sassy 6-year old who doesn't know its hard.

Ohmommy - Will bring the pumpkin bread on Wednesday. Thanks for hosting. I'm probably up after you, but I can't remember anymore. Seems like forever since I saw anyone in real life =).

Indy said...

I am exhausted just reading this. Homemade tortellini?

Lola said...

NICE! What a great thing to do together. Making pasta is not easy, so you might just have a little Emeril on your hands. How great would that be?

Badass Geek said...

I'm impressed! It's good to try to do things that would otherwise seem impossible... Like me, trying to get my wife to clean the catbox more than once a week.

enthalpymama said...

Indy - I'm still back on your scooping a frog out of the toilet.

Lola - Hey, if I have dinner cooked for me someday when I finally go back to work, that is enough! The rest is icing on the cake.

Badass - Good thing I'm not your wife! I wouldn't clean the cat box either, but that might be why I don't have a cat, huh.

Anonymous said...

Tell me I brought day-old store bought pastries to your house today for coffee and the whole time you had homemade spinach tortellini. You are freakin amazing.....

SLOWDOG said...

Tell me I brought day-old store bought pastries to your house today for coffee and the whole time you had homemade spinach tortellini. You are freakin amazing.....