It’s birthday season at our house and the girls get to choose what they want for dinner. My oldest daughter wanted all her favorite foods that could be dipped in butter. Not great for my diet but we obliged.
We started out with fresh artichokes that were trimmed and simmered. To trim an artichoke, you want to cut the stalk right to the very bottom of the bulb. Next cut off the thorny thistle leaf ends so nobody gets hurt.
To cook, bring the water to a boil, add the artichokes, cover and lower the heat to a simmer. It could take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size and number of artichokes you are preparing. You’ll know they are ready to eat when one of the leaves comes off easily with a tug.
The kids love pulling off the leaves and dipping them into butter. Lucky for my wife and I, they are not thrilled with the hairy choke protecting the artichoke heart so we get to feast on them.
My wife told me this was an impulse buy. I usually make my own crab cakes but she saw them at our local gourmet supermarket, Food Source, and knows how much our oldest daughter loves them. My youngest won’t even look at them.
The crab cakes fell apart when cooking so we just put the broken pieces on our plates for dipping into some heated butter.
Who knew 6 & 8 year olds would love steamers? Our girls have been eating them ever since we started vacationing at the Jersey shore. We started out buying a couple of dozen for my wife and I but now have to order 50 or more because the kids love them so much.
Steamers are easy to prepare. I like to give them a bath in cold water to wash out any sand that may still be in their shells. You do this a couple of times with fresh water and they will purge most of their sand. Some people like to add salt water to the water but I’m not sure why.
In the house that we rent in the summer they have a large aluminum pot that looks like it is just for steaming clams and boiling lobsters. We just add ½ inch of water to the bottom of the pan, season with a little salt and add the clams. If you have a steamer basket, that works fine too.
Steam the clams for about 8 to 10 minutes until all the shells open. You don’t want to eat any clams that don’t open. It means they are dead and can make you sick. There are times when a clam needs a little extra time but don’t mess around with partially open clams. Not worth it!
When serving, be sure to have an extra bowl for the shells and plenty of that melted butter. A little fresh squeezed lemon juice doesn’t hurt either.
Nell enjoyed her first lobster this summer while dining out at a seafood restaurant in Sea Isle, New Jersey. They actually had a small lobster tail on the children’s menu. After that she was hooked.
So we picked up a couple of tails at Costco. These were cold-water tails from New Zealand that had sweet, delicious meat. If you want to learn more about buying lobster tails, read my article, How to Buy Lobster Tails & Not Get Ripped Off.
My wife baked them in the oven while the steamers were steaming. After they were cooked, she cut each of the two tails in half and there was plenty for everyone.
My daughter’s real favorite food that she can eat breakfast, noon and night is the rice pilaf from the company Near East. They don’t sell this at our Costco so my buddy buys me cases of it at BJs. It’s a real staple in our household and you see it in a lot of my food photos.
It was a fun meal; everyone was covered in butter and seafood.