What started as a food blog has morphed into more or less a personal journal. My marriage, my parenting, my life journey is as likely to appear now as my kitchen work... but there's more than one way to feed a family.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
"Kids Cook" Fridays
There is a loose tradition in our house that the kids will choose menus and do the cooking on Fridays. During the school year schedules can be hectic enough that it doesn't always happen, but in the summer it is as regular and revered as the Sabbath. There is a recurring theme in my parenting that our job is to make sure the kids are qualififed to leave the house when the time comes. They've always participated in cracking the eggs, kneading the dough and using the mixer under my direction, but I think it's good to have experience choosing the recipe, checking the ingredient list and following the directions.
We had a Kids Cook Friday last week and Sophia was in charge of the main dish. Let me digress a moment. We went with extended family to Walt Disney World last fall. Grandma gave each of the children an amount of money to spend on trinkets. My kids really showed something about themselves in their spending. Six-year-old Ava would have spent it all in the first five minutes upon entering the hotel gift shop. Thirteen-year-old Brooks scoped out the situation quickly and decided he wanted a series of books about the parks, which could only be gotten individually and in that particular park. He spent the week completing his collection by getting the Epcot book at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom book in the MK, etc. Sophia kept most of her money until the end of the week and labored over her purchases, fearing she may see something she would prefer later on. Ultimately, she chose a "Cooking with the Disney Chefs" cookbook. For Kids Cook Friday, she chose a recipe from that collection.
The recipe(s) for this meal Took Up Six Pages of the cookbook! It was a grilled pork tenderloin that is served in the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort. We started by frying 25 sage leaves to be used as a garnish later. Then we browned the tenderloins in the sage-flavored olive oil. We followed a recipe for a Mustard Butter with which we basted the pork over a reduced heat.
Another recipe for the meal was for Garlic and Herb Polenta. It turned out great and included much garlic and onion, sage, thyme and parsley, with goat cheese stirred in at the end. We served the pork over the polenta.
A Balsamic Mushroom Glaze was added at the end. We had to follow ANOTHER recipe for a Zinfandel Glaze to be used as an ingredient in the mushroom glaze and, man, was it delicious.
After all those recipes, the assembly was as follows: A serving of polenta, followed by a tenderloin, the mushroom glaze and five fried sage leaves as garnish. It was very fancy, and very good! Alongside, I served a broccoli slaw salad with dried cranberries and green onions. I wish the picture did justice to the meal. It seems to all look very beige and uninteresting. Anyway, it gave Soph a real sense of accomplishment to do something so involved. And it sure made her proud when it got rave reviews from the rest of us. We all felt very elegant, indeed.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find the source of a very funky smell coming from the kitchen.