Nothing embodies the earthy flavours of autumn more that mushrooms. The Japanese word ‘umame’ means a taste sensation produced by glutamates. It’s sometimes considered a 5th basic taste along with bitter, sweet, salty and sour. And mushrooms dish this out in spades.
When you are cooking with kids, there is such a huge feeling of accomplishment when they learn how to do things from scratch. Even better? When they can get super-dirty doing it! Rolling meatballs by hand is one of life’s greatest thrills. There is so much control over what happens too – tiny, huge. Bake them. Fry them in a pan. A touch of Worcestershire, a dash of spice. Teaching kids to cook creatively are lessons that will last them a lifetime. Meatballs and the creation of a homemade ruby red sauce are great places to begin.
This is the perfect intro to making pasta with your kids. Known as ‘little ear’ pasta, orecchiette looks like cute little cups. Or pig’s ears. It’s mind-boggling to watch children’s faces as you turn a heap of flour on the counter into handmade pasta without the use of a machine! It’s also such a rush to make a water-filled well out of the flour and carefully incorporate the sides without letting the water escape. Making orecchiette and Alfredo sauce with kids is both satisfying and delicious.
Most people hear ‘butter chicken’ and want to head to the store to purchase and over-priced sauce that lacks flavour and contains a ton of additives. This doesn’t have to happen. I actually ran a ‘pandemic virtual cooking club’ with a ton of kids, and they created this in less than 30 minutes! If you are looking for an authentic, but easy weeknight butter chicken, this is one to try.
This fresh and healthy recipe for lemony lentils with kale packs a punch of nutrients and stays warm in a dutch oven while you pry the kids off to a fun activity! It’s filled with iron in the kale, and the lentils aren’t their normal chalky, flavourless selves because of the lemon punch. It’s a great side to roast chicken or fish. Delicious.
Taco Tuesday? Fajita Friday? Or simply an excuse-for-a-fiesta-Saturday. All summer long I’ve been tending to the garden as the kids help me water and weed. We’ve tried our hand at growing vegetables and have been thrilled with the results. In addition, my family and I have the good fortune of owning a crab trap. So…. when I mastered the summer challenge of catching crab in the Pacific Ocean, I was very proud. The only obstacle is when I catch too many. Seriously. Listen to myself! Feeling inspired and using my new pastimes to source fresh ingredients, I got our family and friends out of a serious dinner rut with crab tacos.
One of my big pandemic activities (like everyone else!) has been developing a sourdough starter, and playing around with bread making. With little yeast or flour in the stores, I went directly to a local flour mill, then spent hours learning how to develop a good sourdough starter out of simple flour and water.
Kids adore chicken fingers and nuggets, but the deep-fried versions are terribly unhealthy. The pre-made options that you grab in the grocery store may be easy, but the expense and lack of nutrition in most brands makes this quick dinner a poor choice. Why not make a huge, heart-healthy batch yourself and freeze half, ensuring that you always have a quick and healthy option available?
This holiday table centrepiece, sweet on the outside and savoury on the inside, makes a memorable main course. Encourage guests to eat the sliced oranges along with the ham since the roasting makes their peels tender and sweet.
Too many bones and no dog to feed? A turkey carcass that looks butchered? Waste not, my dear. Practice the secret of gourmet chefs everywhere. Making stock or bone broth is an ideal way to extract nutrients and flavour from asparagus roots, beef bones and the parts of broccoli that people just don’t want to eat. You can do stocks of vegetables, with meat or fish, and they are very simple.