My sister came for a visit yesterday.
This is fun on so many levels. The most obvious thing is that I get to have a visit with my sister and her four awesome kids. That’s right. She has four kids. The oldest is 9 and the youngest is 2. I have only three kids. My oldest is 18 and my youngest is 11. Notice the gap. This is why my sister is referred to as the fertile one. If we were a herd of cows, she would be the favorite and I would have been culled about 13 years ago….because I’m less fertile, and possibly also because I’m mean when I’m cornered and I’ve been known to jump fences.
But that’s just silly because we can’t possibly be a herd of cows. There are only two of us. We are merely a pair of cows.
During her visit yesterday, it was decided that we should feed the mouths that were gathering at our table. My sister was there with her kids, along with my family, and three extra 19 year olds who my son had brought home with him. All together, there were 13 people milling around the kitchen, eating cookies and throwing glances toward the refrigerator and the pantry.
Having extra people stop by at meal times is not unusual or unwelcome at our house. I quite enjoy having an ‘our door is always open’ policy. However, my Grandpas’ superstitions kick in at unfortunate times, and having 13 people at the table is one of those times. I am so surprised that the things he told me about our ancestry have slipped right out of my grasp, but I remember the time he jokingly said to Grandma that it was bad luck to have 13 at a table.
Looking around, I couldn’t conjure up one more person to feed, and it seemed rude to tell someone they would have to leave, so we set about making food for *gasp* 13 people.
Here’s what we made:
Oven Fried Chicken It’s very simple, I won’t even write a recipe because there isn’t one. Cut up your chicken into serving sizes (drumstick, ½ breast, thigh, etc).
In a bowl mix together some flour, salt, pepper, poultry spice and whatever else you like to have on your chicken.
Coat the chicken in the flour and place onto a greased 9×13 baking pan in a single layer. (I had four baking pans for 13 people).
Bake this at 350 F for around 15 to 20 minutes until the juices run clear. The time really depends on how thick your chicken is.
Garden Beans Steam them in a double boiler over a bit of water for around 8 minutes. Add butter.
PEI Potato Fries
This is the fun bit of what we had for supper.
Cut your potatoes into thin slices.
Let them soak in salted water for around 20 minutes.
Dry the potato slices well. Our daughter told me that they won’t crisp up if you don’t let them dry.
Fry them in oil for about 15 minutes. Let them cool down a bit in a dish…..
…and now for the fun part. Double bag some brown lunch bags. Put the potatoes in the lunch bags with around 1 teaspoon of salt. Not a heaping teaspoon of salt. Level is better.
Shake these potatoes in the salt until you don’t want to anymore. Then serve.
This is a fun way to get kids of all ages involved in cooking dinner. There are a few precautions though, like make sure the potatoes are not cold, but cooled down enough that they don’t burn fingers through the bag.
An equally important precaution is to make sure that you double bag your brown lunch bags. I didn’t know this the first time that I tried making PEI potato fries, and when I shook the potatoes they went flying out the bottom. They were still hot. They were also very greasy. This made the floor very greasy. This made me fall down later when cleaning up the dishes…..this made everyone else laugh hysterically.
Another precaution is to limit your salt. They’ve already soaked in salty water, and have been spiced, and now we’re adding salt to the bag. Salt is one of my favorite things. It’s probably why every time I make these potato fries they are overly salty. The kind of salty that is reminiscent of your last trip to KFC, sending you running for the water cooler repeatedly for days afterward. It doesn’t have to be this way. When Taylor was here from PEI he taught our daughter to make these fries and they were delicious. Just watch the salt.
We love peach pie. Well, who am I kidding, we love any dessert but peach pie is very definitely a favorite.
For the crust, I just follow the instructions on the back of the tenderflake box. The recipe makes 6 balls of pastry, which when you roll it out thin enough can be trimmed off of your pie plate to make 8 balls of pastry.
My sister uses a different recipe for pastry. It’s called go to the store and buy frozen tenderflake pastry. This is because she has four little kids….and because her genetic code leans more towards our English/Protestant side and mine leans more towards our German/Catholic side. She lets some of the less important things slide so she can have tea and crumpets, and I enjoy setting unreasonably high goals as a way to punish myself for my sins….but I have better teeth. Having said all of that, the pie crust that you buy in the store is also a good and quick way to have pastry ready for whenever you are struck with the need to bake pies.
The peach filling is very easy as well.
Peel 5 cups of peaches. If they are ripe this is easily done by just starting at the top of the peel and gently pulling it off towards the bottom. If they are a bit unripe, drop them in boiling water for about 2 minutes and run the peels off under cool running water.
Dice the peaches and add ½ cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of flour. Stir this together and pour into your pie shell. Cover with a top layer of pastry.
Bake at 425F for 10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake for approximately another 40 minutes until the crust is a nice golden brown.
Serve with ice-cream….delicious! Sometimes I add a bit of chocolate sauce, but only when no one else will see.
Our quick little meal went off without a hitch. The kids ate and still had time to go exploring and rock picking. The older ones hurried off to attend an event in town, so there was no need to worry about the potential for bad luck resulting from 13 at the table. I believe they said something about attending a study session at the library….or maybe it was at the local Tavern, I can’t be sure.
I hope you try making PEI Potato Fries. Thanks again to Taylor, our visitor from the Maritimes for introducing us to this yummy new recipe and for giving us another way to keep the little ones involved in preparing their meals.
“If you have enough butter anything is good.” -Julia child