It makes almost every child alive beg for a random dinner invitation to anywhere but your house. I don't like to throw things away, and I HATE to heat food up and have the kids look at me like yesterday's dinner is rat poison.
You know the look I'm talking about.
It's that "I'm-not-going-to-eat-this-and-you're-not-going-to-make-me" look.
And they're right. Food is one power struggle really not worth having. In this house, you eat what I make. If you hate it, absolutely hate it, then it's fruit, baby carrots, peanut butter and jelly and no sweets for the night.
So I try to avoid the look to begin with. And tonight's dinner started two days ago, with a pasty craving. If you've never heard of a pasty, I'm sorry. It's a yummy meat pie with a whole day's worth of calories in one sitting, a perfect end to an active day of outside play.
Ah, pasties. The restaurant my grandma on my dad's side used to love and take us to served them, piping hot with a dish of brown gravy. Five years ago we moved into the WORST APARTMENT EVER, right next to that restaurant. That apartment was hell-the roof leaked if the sky spit, the downstairs neighbors smoked strange smelling substances and played guitar hero till four or five AM on odd and random days, I spent days scraping peeling paint, and there was a squirrel living in the hole in the roof. The landlord promised for years that the roof was going to be fixed. It was SO BAD that I never once had company in the four years we lived there, waiting for the day that the roof would be repaired so that we could fix the place up. And the landlord was so nice, so incredibly sweet, and just a few bales short of stack, so it was really difficult to be mean about the whole thing.
The sole saving grace of the whole situation was that restaurant, where I would drag two children up the driveway and wax nostalgic about the time my Uncle visited from Michigan and fed me teaberry milkshakes until I puked. Strangely, my children are less amused by that story than I am.
The restaurant has since closed, and the area has lost an icon, and I have lost my pasty supply.
We moved three miles away. To a house with a roof. It's nice to have a roof.
But now I have to make my own pasties. I settled in to do it, gladly. I like to cook, and I like to use my rolling pin. This being my first attempt, I found a recipe that looked correct.
This recipe said it made four pasties. And here's where it went bad. Following the recipe exactly, but making my own dough, I had made six large pasties, with a cup of filling in each, and still had half the dough and a third of the meat leftover. There are five of us. I had to shut the production down or risk a year long pasty strike by the offspring.
Extra pie crust is never bad- I rolled it in a ball and tucked it into the fridge. The meat mixture got pressed into a loaf pan and became the basis for tonight's strange feast, which was a barbecued meatloaf salad with sweet corn.
It was YUMMY.
I had a bag of salad mix that needed to be used. That got pulled, along with a rogue red pepper and some shredded cheddar cheese. The pasty filling made a nice meatloaf, topped with barbecue sauce and baked until done. I tossed together the salad and heated the leftover corn with a bit of water and butter, and for some reason decided to layer it all, which was NOT my original intention.
And surprisingly, it was VERY good. Any time little kids willingly down salad, I pay attention. The bits of veggies in the pasty mix caramelized nicely in the loaf pan, there were crunchy bits of potatoes and yummy bits of onions.
I will definitely do this one again.