Friday, February 01, 2008

Elsie's Birthday!

Elsie wanted Chinese food for her birthday dinner. Mary made a nice Garden Medley and a pretty good, but not spicey, General Tso's chicken. Elsie, Louisa, and I wrapped up 2 dozen egg rolls in rice paper.

The rice paper is either rice and tapioca flour, or just tapioca flour. But the sheets of it look like translucent or transparent tortillas. First, you have to get your filling ingredients all ready. We used Bokchoi, carrot, bacon bits, celery, celery leaf, bean sprouts, and shrimp. I put a little fish oil and soy sauce on the shrimp. I'd like to have had some sesame oil, but Mary used the last of that very nicely in the stir-fry dishes.

The rice paper is tricky. What we do is lay out a dish towel with three damp paper towels on top. I put warm water on a plate. The rice paper is immersed in the warm water on the plate so that both sides get wet. Then we placed the rice paper tortillas on the damp dish towels and let them sit for a little less than a minute. Then we put the fillings on the bottom edge of the rice paper so that we would get about 4 inches wide. After putting the fillings in we rolled up the bottom edge so that it adhered to the center of the circle of rice paper. Then fold the sides in so that the roll will have a straight edge. Then we roll it up the rest of the way and put it on a plate without touching the other egg rolls.

Of course, they weren't really "egg" rolls because there was no egg in them.

The next thing to do was to deep fry them. Well, we didn't deep fry. I sprayed them with palm oil and broiled them, turning once, when the first side was starting to brown, and removing them when the second side browned. Deep frying would be better because the moisture in the filling tends to make the egg roll stick to the pan after they've been turned.

But they were good.

Elsie had deep dark chocolate cake with off-the-shelf Betty Crocker frosting. I couldn't have the cake because it was wheat flour. But I just had some more of Mary's General Tso's chicken. It was great. Then I had some more of her Garden Medley. It was great.

Elsie is a talker. And she had enough wind to blow out all the candles. But the last candle was a bit stubborn. So, Steve and Sarah, make sure one of your boys is stubborn enough to not be blown out!

Each of my children have very expressive faces. Their beautiful features all come from their mother. Their ability to contort their faces mostly comes from me. Almost all of that ability, that is. But there is one thing that most of my kids can do that doesn't come from me, but from their mom. They can move their lips upward, like Elsie in this photo, so that they can seal off their nostrils.

I suppose this is some kind of talent or gift. Perhaps it allows them to clear a stuffy nose without using fingers.

But I think it's funny.

After Dinner we had the gift opening ceremony. Elsie says "Thank you" to all her siblings, parents, grand parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and Godparents for their kind consideration and wonderful gifts.

Of the more unusual gifts she got "Horrible Science, Bood, Bones, and Body Bits," the game "Clue," and on Thursday-when we went to visit our friends, Jaime and Laura and their family, their daughter, Clara, gave Elsie the game "Horseopoly."

I suppose the best gift of all is just to be able to say, "I love you." But I had a special gift to test that.

Louisa took this picture. Yes, my special--love testing--gift was pickled pigs feet.

At first, Elsie took a small bit and hid it in her applesauce. But then she discovered that she liked the flavor of the pigs feet.

Most of the kids didn't want to look at the feet. But they did like them. I thought they were too vinigary. I could use a bit more flavor. But Elsie liked them.

And I wanted her to have fun on the celebration of her first decade with us.

We pray on each birthday: "Thank you, God, for giving us our child and allowing us to be together for these years. Please, if it is Your will, grant that we may enjoy many years together. Bless our child with faith in Christ so that this life will be only a foretaste of the joy that we will share together with You in heaven."

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