Sunday, October 28, 2012

A very Harry dinner

We found this cookbook at Joann's today and after Katie read approximately 1/2 of the recipes to me as I shopped, I gave in.

It's actually very cute. The book is broken down by (and this will mean nothing to you if you aren't an HP fan) meals mentioned while at the Dursley's ("Good Food with Bad Relatives"), meals from Diagon Alley ("Delights down the Alley"), meals eaten at Hogwarts ("Breakfast before class"; "Lunch and Dinner in the Dining Hall"; "Desserts and Snacks at school"), meals or snacks on the train ("Treats from the Train"), meals from Hagrid or Dobby ("Recipes from a Giant and an Elf"), meals from the Weasley household ("The favorite cook's dishes"), treats from Hogsmeade (Treats in the village") and "Holiday Fare".

Each recipe has a few lines identifying where it is referenced in the books, usually with a specific chapter of a specific book unless it's something fairly common throughout the entire series. Also on each page is an inset talking about the history of foods in Europe such as: the potato was brought to Ireland by the Spanish in the 1500's but didn't catch on for ages because it was thought to be poisonous.

There are over 150 recipes. Granted some of them will never ever ever happen in our house (haggis, veal pie, home-made sausage, steak and kidney anything, black pudding, and tripe to name a few) but the kids and I picked out a handful for dinner tonight and flagged a few dozen more for future meals or treats and ended up with an unbelievably delicious meal.

Dinner tonight:
The house elves who did all the work.
  • Tender Roast Loin of Pork (traditional) -- inspired by book 2 chapter 1 when Aunt Petunia serves roast pork loin to the visiting business guy. (Page 10 of cookbook)
  • Boiled Potatoes with Herb Vinaigrette -- inspired by the list of foods at Harry's first feast at school (book 1 chapter 7) (page 123 of cookbook)
  • Buttered Peas -- inspired by the same scene (page 128 in cookbook)
  • Kreacher's French Onion Soup -- inspired by chapter 12 of book 7. (page 63 of cookbook)
  • Pumpkin Pasties -- a Hogwarts Express staple, first discussed in Chapter 6 of the first book. (page 39 of cookbook; we used store-bought crust and home-made pumpkin puree)

And for extra giggles, we made ourselves some butter beer following a recipe online.

 Everything was exceptionally delicious. Katie and Jorge had thirds of everything except the soup (Jorge couldn't have it because we used real butter; Katie had some broth and declared it amazing but didn't request a bowl). Jorge had to be carried up to bed he was so full and tired. I've seen Katie eat less than that over the course of an entire week! And both kids are anxious for the next night of Potter Kitchen.  Seriously, the food was insanely good.  I can't think of a restaurant where I've had better.  Everything was rich and well seasoned.  The pork had salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and a dash of cayenne in the herb rub; the potatoes were coated in an oil and balsamic vinegar blend with lots of dill and salt and pepper; the peas had butter and sugar and salt and pepper, and the onion soup was a great blend of savory, sweet, creamy, and rich.  We skipped the toasted bread with butter and cheese because, y'know, wheat, but it didn't need it.  So very good.

What's that?  All the pie?  Sure.
I should note, too, that the kids did about 60% of the cooking. I handled the roast completely by myself, but Katie did everything on the potatoes with just minor supervision except for draining the boiling water. Jorge did the buttered peas almost entirely alone except, again, draining out the boiling water. Rob chopped the onions but Jorge actually cooked the soup for us. And each kid cut, filled, brushed, folded, and pricked their own pastie. I did August's, Rob doesn't like pumpkin much and passed, and without a gluten-free crust option readily available, I just had a bowl of pumpkin pastie filling as if it were pudding. We have one more pie crust and enough pumpkin for another round tomorrow.  The kids have let me know that if I forget I may find myself reported to Filch.