So, this is the girl's "cow bathroom" and this is their bathroom library purposefully placed next to the potty so as to inspire long periods of uninterrupted pooping.
But look a little closer....
One of them has tired of Eric Carle and has taken to reading Strunk & White's Elements of Style. When I saw this yesterday, while giving them a bath, my writer's heart lept with jubilation. One of them chose this book from the big library and stashed it here. Fantastic.
I mean, if they are already breezing through the Elements, which is probably the most boring book on the planet, then have mercy on me, these kids are going to be playing concertos by next year and performing brain surgery between naps.
I am the mother of geniuses.
Just wanted to share that with you, you know, in case your kids haven't quite started on Strunk yet. Don't fret too much. We can't all have birthed exceptional children. I mean, my womb was pretty special. Lots of blood pumping through those vessels. And there's nothing wrong with Eric Carle. That shit is good. There's the one about the caterpillar who eats everything and gets obese and, you know, then becomes a butterfly, which is cool because it sends the message that eating a lot of cupcakes can make you beautiful, which it can, and there's the spider who spends the whole book silently building a web until on the last page and she suddenly gobbles up the poor fly, all smug like, teaching us that lying in wait and snapping someone's head off without warning is, like, a good thing. And really, kids love death in their books. It's good family fun. You just keep reading to them and they'll get the hang of it one of these days. You know, because you have to meet them where they are, when your kids aren't geniuses.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system...
I beg you - yes, I beg you - to make this seafood chowder. It is fantastic. It's from Gordon Ramsay's book, Healthy Appetite, which I impulsively picked up at Borders because I needed some cooking inspiration. I love Ramsey's recipes which I find are always spot on and simple, plus he offers me the perfect combination of sexy and mean. Sexy and mean is hot.
You won't be able to throw this chowder all together last minute, but if you do all the chopping and dicing ahead of time and stow it in the fridge, dinner will only take about 15 minutes from stove to table.
And it tastes great. Lucy was concerned about "the sauce" aspect of it, since it is a very thick chowder-y broth and we are still hovering in a place where we are suspicious of sauce, or anything remotely sauce-like, pertaining to sauce or created from the sauce. But Edie gobbled it up and picked all the shrimp out by hand and finished it off by drinking the broth out of the bowl.
Gordon's recipe - I like to call him Gordon now - calls just for Cod, which was about $6 for a pound and a half. Great for these troubled financial times. But I had a pound of shrimp in the freezer and so, I added it and the dish was divine. Try it either way and you'll love it. I promise.
The Genius Kids Mother's Cod, Shrimp & Tomato Chowder
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Cod and Tomato Chowder
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 good size hunk of butter
* 1 medium tomato, diced
* 2 medium onions, peeled & roughly chopped
* Sea salt & black pepper
* 2 large carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
* 2 large waxy potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped
* 1 sweet yellow pepper, cored, seeded & roughly chopped
* Few thyme sprigs
* 1 bay leaf
* 14oz can chopped tomatoes
* 3 ½ cups fish or chicken stock (I used half shrimp stock/half chicken)
* 5 oz green beans, cut into short lengths (I used pre-cut frozen ones)
* 1 zucchini, roughly chopped
* Few dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional - I omitted this)
* 1 1/3 cod fillets, skinned & pin-boned
* 1 pound of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined.
* Bunch of Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy pan. Add the onions, celery, and some seasoning, and cook, stirring over medium heat for six to eight minutes to soften. Add the carrots, potatoes, sweet yellow pepper, and herbs and sauté for five minutes until the vegetables are lightly golden.
Add the canned tomatoes and the chopped tomato to the pan and pour in the stock. Cover and simmer for about seven to nine minutes until the vegetables are tender. Now tip in the green beans and zucchini, give the mixture a stir, and simmer for another three minutes. Check the seasoning, adding a few dashes of Tabasco to spice up the chowder, if you like.
Lightly season the cod fillets and lay them on the vegetables in the pan. Add the shrimp. Cover the pan again and simmer for three minutes until the fish is opaque and just cooked through. (Don't over-cook the fish. It will cook just sitting in the broth after you turn the heat off.)
Using a spoon, gently break the fish into large flakes. Lade the hot soup into warm bowls and scatter a handful of chopped parsley over each serving.