Thursday, April 7, 2011

Impressions from the Petits Chefs

My kids have grown up in bookstores, and our family is mourning the closing of a couple in our area.  Our sorrow was tempered, however, by the awesome sales.  Yesterday we picked up a copy of Emeril's There's a Chef in my World: Recipes that Take You Places for 70% off.  Today, Ariana and Joel went through the book and picked out a couple of recipes.  Then Joel checked to see which ingredients we had already and which ones we needed to buy, and Ariana made a shopping list.  We headed to the store to purchase a few items, then they got to work on their menu: a sweet and smoky Chipotle Chili (our own recipe), cheesy Mexican Cornbread, and a fresh and cool Mango Lassi.

They diced peppers and sauteed veggies for the cornbread, and grated cheese.  Then Joel measured all the ingredients and added them to the cast iron skillet.  While it was baking, Ariana cooked the sausage for the chili (maple sausage is our secret ingredient--it adds a subtle sweet taste that matches well with the smokiness of the chipotles), added the beans and tomatoes and seasonings.  While it simmered, she prepared the lassi.  I was impressed by the timing.  The chili and lassi were finished just as the cornbread came out of the oven.  The only things I did were chop the jalapeño, since we didn't have gloves, and remove the cornbread from the oven. 

We have used kids' cookbooks in the past that were a disappointment--no real cooking at all, just arranging prepackaged ingredients.  I love Emeril's cookbooks for kids because they are real recipes that the whole family would eat, but the recipes are detailed enough for the kids to follow with minimal input from me and learn a lot about cooking.

The kids had a blast and are looking forward to cooking for us again.  Here are their impressions of the meal:

Ariana (7):
The cornbread was pretty good, but spicy.  I liked the way it looked.  The texture was good and it tasted yummy.  I love the flavor.  My favorite part of cooking it was chopping the sweet red pepper.

The chili was a little too saucy, but still good.  I liked the tomatoes and beans.  Opening the cans was fun.

The mango lassi was good.  The orange slice for the garnish made it look pretty.  The lassi helped me because the chili was spicy.  It cooled off my mouth.  I enjoyed running the blender.  The flavor of the lassi was like mangoes and really good.

Joel (5):
I didn't eat the cornbread.  The veggies smelled really yummy when I was cooking them.  It didn't smell good when it came out of the oven, though. It smelled like jalapeños and the flavor was yucky.  Making it was fun.  The part where I got to spread the butter and grating the cheese was my favorite part. 

I liked making the meat brown for the chili.  It was good.  I like cheese on it sometimes.  It was a little spicy, but not too spicy.  It was just right. 

The mango lassi was too lemony. [It did not contain any lemon.  Maybe he meant the orange?]

Elena was disappointed at not being allowed to chop, but she stirred and added ingredients.  She was not a huge fan of the cornbread, but enjoyed the chili and said that the lassi tasted like a smoothie.  She wants to do it all by herself next time. ;)

They all said that they really want to cook some more next time.  There is a recipe for an Oreo Peanut Butter Banana Pie that they were drooling over.  They also like the sound of his Old Fashioned Apple Pie.  Or maybe the Cinnamon-Walnut Scottish Shortbread.  Ariana wants to make edamame and a Croque Monsieur, and Joel likes the idea of smashing chicken for the Chicken Piccata.  They all sound good to me!


Young Mom said...

So cute! My kids love to get messy in the kitchen. So far they mix things and cook pancakes, it will be interesting to see their skills grow as they get older.

dulce de leche said...

:) It is so much fun watching them, isn't it? I need to work on having mine clean up the messes...

Maria said...

Nummy! I love kids in the kitchen! :)

dulce de leche said...

Thanks, Maria! We live it, too, and consider it especially important in light of their food allergies. :)