Can I admit that, by nature, I’m one of those moms who gets a little too controlling in the kitchen when I’m cooking with my kid? That I have to work hard to relax and not freak out if a little flour gets on the floor? “It’s okay!” I tell myself. “This is a great learning experience. Rosa is picking up new skills, learning to appreciate food, and what’s more, this is good bonding time for the two of us!” With all of those benefits what’s a little flour on the floor or egg on the face (literally)?
Sometimes that internally-directed pep talk actually works.
Children's Chef Suzy Scherr
And since I started collaborating with children’s chef Suzy Scherr I’ve evolved even further. Suzy teaches Rosaberry’s kids cooking classes, and she is such a passionate advocate for bringing kids into the kitchen that even I am swayed. Cooking with kids is the best thing ever! In fact, Rosa and I have been cooking quite a bit together from this book.
I asked Suzy to tell us about her experiences with kids in the kitchen, at what age kids can start cooking, and why we should tolerate the mess and welcome kids to the counter.
I am a serious fan of grain salads. What’s not to love? They’re healthy, flavorful, and even better when made ahead.
After preparing many of these salads for both my clients and myself I realized that a recipe isn’t necessary, so much as a formula. You can mix and match ingredients based on what you have on-hand, what’s in season, or what you’re craving. Concoct a Greek-ish grain salad, or a Latin-ish one, an Asian-ish one, or a whatever-is-in-your-fridge one. They are as flexible as they are delicious.
Here is my Super Salad Formula:
Grain + Veg + Dressing + (OPTIONAL: Nuts + Herb + Cheese)
Simple right? Start with your basic components and go from there.
May and June were super-busy months… and so I posted even less than usual! I’ve finally come up for air and wanted to share some of the projects I was working on during that busy time starting with these articles I wrote for Yahoo! Shine:
I also shot a new batch of videos for Parents and wrote a couple of pieces for New York Family magazine, including one that will be on the cover next month. I’ll post a link!
I’m enjoying my summer “down time” — I went to IKEA on a weekday, which I highly recommend, and I plan on seeing a couple of afternoon movies. I’m also using some of these extra hours to organize my recipes and plan a couple of big projects I have coming up in the fall. Good stuff!
I’d love to hear feedback on the Yahoo! pieces, especially the snacking article which I suspect might be a bit controversial.
It’s hard to beat meatballs as a crowd-pleaser. I love them because they’re so versatile. You can bake them or brown them, use nearly any kind of ground meat, and tuck in all sorts of herbs, spices, and even veggies. They’re good on their own, in a soup, or in a sauce. You can make them in a half-hour or let them simmer for an afternoon. Really, it’s hard to go wrong with a meatball. And recently I’ve discovered three tricks to make my Italian-style meatballs even better.
Spinach pesto is a staple in my house (as well as one of my client’s – I make it for them nearly every week). It’s beautiful, delicious, and healthy, plus relatively quick to prepare. You could make it even more quickly than I do, but I think the two potentially “fussy” touches render the final product much tastier. Remember that tastier = more kid (and grown-up) friendly.
Pesto is delicious on pasta, obviously. I also like it spooned over roasted chicken, on steamed or roasted potatoes, and dolloped on hard-boiled eggs. Nearly any food that needs a little zing will take well to this tangy sauce.
A couple of months ago Parents Magazine asked me to shoot some cooking videos for their website. I won’t lie – on the first take, I was surprisingly, crazily nervous. But, happily, I got it out of my system and ended up really enjoying myself. We shot six videos, and a couple of them are up online now:
How To Saute
It was Rosa’s sixth birthday a couple of weeks ago. As any modern mom will tell you (at least in New York), there is no shortage of “mandatory” parties: school party, family party, and the “real” birthday party. When considering treats, I took the easy way out and ordered dozens of cupcakes at the local bakery. Obviously one reason was convenience. But the other reason was that my cupcakes just don’t look that special. Sure, they taste good. But, frankly, they’re a little boring, pretty plain-Jane.
But those days have passed my friends.
I am so behind on Thanksgiving this year. In a perfect world I would have been contemplating our menu for the past month, clipping recipes, testing new dishes, and piecing together elements to make a final, fabulous meal. That, my friends, is my idea of fun.
Alas, this is not a perfect world.
Newsflash: I have a sweet tooth. That is probably not a shocking revelation to anyone who knows me even in passing. I love me some baked goods.
I try to contain my love for all things dessert to the weekends, when I’ll try a new cake, cookie, pie, or cobbler recipe. I always aspire to give away or throw away the leftovers by Monday, and occasionally I even do it.
Two weeks ago something remarkable happened. After five years of providing three meals a day for her, my kindergarten-age daughter, Rosa, made lunch for me. And man, was it good: spicy barbecued shrimp and chicken, tangy coleslaw, and scrumptious corn muffins.
She’s a prodigy, right? A chip off the old block.