Readers, we (gratfeully) acknowledge that you pop by here from all over the world, but we must report that 4Mothers is located physically in Toronto, Canada, and that January here is very cold. This year, we’ve had one of the coldest winters in memory, so we can notch our meteorological descriptor up to frigid. It was so cold over the holidays that I ignored my basic rule of going outside for some period everyday – without the requirement of taking the kids to school, I gamely avoided leaving the house. What are dry goods for, anyway, if not to see a family over a difficult climatic spell?
And if we had to eat, why not warm ourselves and the house while we’re doing it? Yes friends, I am speaking of the miracle called an oven. Baking, roasting, whenever I could find a reason, I’d light that baby up. And now I have one more excuse, because we’ve added cooking en papillote to the mix with big success.
En papillote is cooking food in a pouch, usually made of parchment paper, which holds in moisture that steams the food. It’s a cinch to fold the packets – there’s a brief instruction here (don’t bother cutting the parchment paper into a heart). I assume most people would remove the food from the pouch before eating, but if you have children, there’s some drama to opening a steaming pocket of food and eating straight out of the parchment paper, and personally I’d recommend it.
I made this Farfalle with Artichokes recipe from Vegetarian Times, and my boys could not get enough of it (the adults thought it was delicious too). Bonus for a deep freeze: it hardly requires any perishable ingredients, and of course you can use any kind of pasta shapes. If you have a soft cheese in the house (and probably even a mozzarella), you can make this. One of my sons won’t touch a tomato with a ten foot pole, so I’ve never made it with tomatoes (the other perishable item), and it’s still really good.
It’s just a pasta, but it’s more interesting and tasty in a little parchment pocket, and sounds a lot grander when it’s called en papillote. I recommend saying en papillote frequently in the presence of your kids while cooking. Keep the oven door open for a few minutes in January after you turn it off, and the dish has got a lot going for it.