November 10, 2010

Shake that boodie | tomatillo salsa

Last weekend I attended a rock concert for kids that was held at the architecturally incredible downtown Seattle Public Library. Let me tell you, things have changed since the mellow days of Raffi and Mr. Rogers. There were five hip bands (yes, real bands) playing on two stages. Our party, which consisted of three adults and one 2-1/2-year old, listened to two of the bands before said 2-1/2-half-year-old reached her personal limit.

Caspar Babypants rocks the crowd.

The first band to rock us was Caspar Babypants, and it’s a great group. They play music that appeals to kids and adults, with intelligence and humor that both entertains the kids and often goes over their heads. And you can hear the singers’ voices and understand the words. Yay for that.

Miss E enjoys a little rock time.

The lead singer, Chris Ballew, is a member of the band The Presidents of the United States of America. Get that.

The second set was The Not-Its. The girl-singers wear pink tutus and the guys wear pink ties, and they play LOUD. A lot of the small audience members also wear tutus to better get with the vibe.

Miss E chills to The Not-Its.

Along with her tutu, Miss E had to don her sound-dampening headphones so she could enjoy the music without freaking out. I, on the other hand, had no idea a kiddie band would be so loud, and didn’t have my ear plugs with me. I have to say, I prefer The Not-Its CD over their live performance; I can hear the words and control the decibel level.

After the concert, I was hoping to get some cool photographs of the library but it was so crowded, and I was kind of busy, so I only got a couple of shots of the childrens room.

Miss E and her mom admire a panda pair.

When I returned home after a long afternoon of music, the subject of what to have for dinner came up, as it always does. My son, who's been totally into cooking this week, wanted to make salsa with the tomatillos he’d found at the farmers market the day before. I suggested a bean dish to go with it, and we settled on me cooking kidney beans and him making chili and salsa.

Feeling really tired of canned beans, I wanted to cook the beans from scratch for the richer taste that comes from home-cooked beans. I didn’t have a lot of time so I used the quick-cooking method that I learned years ago from my friend Claudia. I put the beans and water in the pressure cooker and bring the pressure up. Then I bring the pressure down, drain the beans, and start again with fresh water. When the pressure comes up the second time, the beans are cooked. The whole process takes about one hour, with no soaking time. I cooked the beans a little extra because they're kind of old, and old beans take longer to cook.

The chili was served over brown rice and topped with fresh tomatillo salsa, and it tasted great. Here's a link to a recipe for the salsa, and some information about tomatillos.

And here's a completely gratuitous photo of some gorgeous roasted peppers that we bought at the farmers market, roasted on the spot and still warm. Although our farmers market runs all year, treats like this sure won't stick around. Is it spring, yet?


  1. I was around 8 when I went to my first concert, which was the Spice Girls (the 90s were so cool, weren't they?). Before that it was all Raffey and Barney sing-a-longs. Miss E is such a cutie! I am glad she had fun.

  2. What a fabulous rock concert! That picture of Miss E with her chocolate milk and her sound-dampening headphones is too cute! I'm not a big fan of too-loud music either.

    I made your orange-chocolate chip mini bundts (as mini cakes) and they were the bomb! I love the gingery hint! They will be the tasty subject of my MoFo post of the day! :)

  3. I've never heard of those bands before. I'm gonna check 'em out, my 3.5 year old might like them!

  4. I love the pic of Miss E. sipping her milk in a tutu!

    I'm bummed that pepper/tomato season is coming to an end. I try not to buy out of season, but I'm weak...those roasted peppers do look gorgeous.

  5. Miss E is styling with the pink earphones and the tutu. Cutie.

    I love the children's room of the new library. It's my favorite area.

    I need to get a pressure cooker. I am wanting more beans these days and don't always plan ahead. I will look into it.

  6. Miss E is such a cutie! I have never heard of those bands, but that could be because I don't have any kids.

    Those roasted red peppers look delish! Yay for your son being into cooking lately! :o)

  7. Kiersten,
    It must have been incredibly exciting for you to hear the Spice Girls at that age!

    Miss E knows how to chill. I can't wait to see what is sure to be a great photo of the minis. Thanks for trying one of my recipes!

    Miss E knows all the words to the CDs she has of these bands. Caspar Babypants is my favorite, but she likes them both.

    I'm weak, too, when it comes to grape tomatoes in the dead of winter. That little bit of red can be so uplifting when you haven't seen the sun in weeks. (months) :(

    Her Papa and I found the tutu at a garage sale for a quarter, and I think we've gotten our money's worth. If you cook beans often, a pressure cooker is a good investment. I also use it to quickly cook vegetables for soups. It might be less useful for a mostly raw diet.

  8. Michelle,
    Some of the members of these bands are in rock bands that play adult concerts, and they have branched out into kids music when they had kids of their own. If it weren't for Miss E (who is my granddaughter), I wouldn't know about them either.

  9. Miss E is adorable! I'm astounded that anyone can successfully cook beans in a pressure cooker. Bean *soup*, sure. Every single time. Even in the slow cooker there seems to be that magic moment between "perfect" and "mush." But yours look perfect. I will try your method. Maybe it's my pressure cooker. Yeah, that's it. Your dish looks awesome altogether, tomatillo salsa included. I like cooking with tomatillos but have never made salsa.

  10. Awww...I love(ed) Raffi! And I actually got to meet Mr Rogers when I was in elementary school--he was just as sweet and kind as he was on TV :-)

    Your dinner looks delish!


  11. Miss E looks like she's having a great time. And such cute photos too! Great tip on cooking beans in a pressure cooker. :-)

  12. Miss E is so cute - and it looks like she had a good time! It sounded funny when my sister said she was taking my nephew (who just turned 2) to a concert like this, but apparently today's toddlers are just starting this 'hobby' earlier than my generation did. :)

    The roasted peppers look really good!

  13. Zoa,
    Your pressure cooker is probably fine. Most likely you prefer your beans firmer than I do. I don't want them mushy, but I do like them on the soft side. The pressure cooker is so fast, you have to be careful not to overcook, which I agree, is hard.

    Raffi was definitely in a different category (and decibel level) than the bands I just heard. I like him, too.

    Chow vegan,
    Miss E enjoyed herself very much. Look at Zoa's comment for a different opinion about pressure cookers. She has a point.

    I think today's toddlers are getting to hear kid's bands that are a little more hip than the ones their parents heard. I'm not sure it's such a good idea for them to be hearing loud music at such a young age considering all we now know about hearing loss.

  14. I went to high school with Chris Ballew - how small world is that? He was always very funny and clever. I'm not surprised by his success one bit (except that I don't think they even played instruments till college). So glad you got to see Caspar Babypants!

  15. Can I borrow those heapphones next time I go to a concert?

    Wow, you can buy roasted peppers at the farmer's market? That's awesome!

  16. Carbzilla,
    Really! Was that in Seattle? His PUSA band is quite famous, from what I hear, but I only know him as Caspar Babypants, and I think he's way cool.

    If you come to Seattle, I'll arrange it. :)
    The roasted peppers ARE awesome, and I'm sad to see pepper season end.

  17. Funny, when I first glanced at the paragraph, I thought you were going to say you went to SEE Raffi, and I was thinking I was jealous.

    Miss E could be a model.

    Bean dish looks really good.

  18. Miss E is absolutely adorable and now I want some tomatillo salsa!

  19. Jenny,
    I always liked Raffi, too, and I have seen him in concert. Miss E thanks you!

    Thanks! That salsa was amazing. I wonder if I buy more tomatillos if the "cook" will make more salsa.


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