Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 64 - Caleb Takes the Challenge with a Fresh Fruit Platter

Recipe from Jamie's Food Revolution

Fresh Fruit Platter

With Jared out to a last minute dinner with his friend, Drew, and Sophie at her friend Karissa's birthday party, Caleb stepped into the kitchen as pinch hitter.  He tackled a fresh fruit platter all by himself.  

Here's an exclusive interview with the star hitter himself...

AKCC (A Kid's Cooking Challenge):

Why did you step into the kitchen tonight?


The first thing is why my brother and sister couldn't cook.  My sister is at a birthday party and my brother is at a friend's house eating dinner.  So me and my mom, who is typing, cooked the recipe.  I stepped into the challenge.

It was really fun trying to cut, but I didn't do the banana because my mom ripped it and said, "Ew, this is not a very good banana."


What was the first thing you did?


First I washed my hands, then I washed the cutting board.  And I washed the fruit.  I washed the fruit because it's all dry and it wouldn't taste good if it was dry.  I washed it with cold water.


What did you do next?


I started cutting strawberries.  

When I was cutting the strawberries I had to cut the green part off.  My mom said, "Save as much of the fruit as you can."  

The next thing is we grabbed a plate, we put a cup in the middle and we put the strawberries on the side.

And then, as you know, I started cutting the plum.

My mom said to cut around the seed. That was kind of hard to cut around the seed because I had to tilt the kid's knife to cut around it.  For me, at least, because I'm a kid.  

But I did it.

Next I did the cantaloupe.  The cantaloupe was easy as possible.  It was easy because I cut straight, straight, straight, then cut on the bottom of it, but not on the green part. It came off it in little crooked cubes.

The next thing we did--my mom kind of did this since it was a soft banana--there were two big pieces of banana.


What was the most fun fruit to cut?


The cantaloupe was fun to cut because I got to cut straight, and then across the bottom.  It made me feel good 'cause it was easy.


What went in the center cup on the plate?


In the center cup, I put some plain yogurt.  I tasted it and I didn't like it.  We dumped it out and put in vanilla yogurt and I liked that.



What did you think of your fruit platter?


I loved the fruit with the yogurt, especially the cantaloupe with the yogurt 'cause it tasted great.  GGGGRRRREEEEAAATTTT!


Is this something you want to have again?


I definitely want to have it all the time, especially with the cantaloupe.  I want to have it for tomorrow's breakfast.  I just can't take it, it's sooooooooooo, soooooooooo, so good.

Ten thousand and hundred sixty-two THUMBS UP!!!


Do you like cooking?


I LOVE cooking.  I love cooking because it is fun to cut food.  That's what I like best. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 63 - Mama, the Guest Blogger

Howdy Dowdy!

Today is not dinosaurs like I promised. Today we decided to do an informational post on beef, the meat of the wild. My mother attended a Texas Beef Council lunch. She learned a bunch of stuff about beef and cooking and so she is our guest post lady. She will tell you all about it. So give it up for... Melissa Ramirez!!!!


*     *     *

Wow. That was quite an introduction. Most of it is true, although I'm not sure about beef being the meat of the wild. I'll let it slide, though.

What is true is that I was invited to a blogger event called Appetite for Inspiration by June Cleaver Nirvana and Burb Mom blogger extraordinaire, Texas Holly, along with the Texas Beef Council.


The event was held at Milestone Culinary Arts Center in Dallas, a really, REALLY fabulous facility.

I'm stepping in to write this post today for a couple of reasons. First, I'm so incredibly proud of Jared and Sophie. They've prepared something in the kitchen every single day for 62 days. They've done it with enthusiasm and commitment I didn't know they had in them! Today, day 63, is their first break from this and I think they deserve it.

Second, I had this unique opportunity today to be part of the Appetite for Inspiration. Since it so perfectly fits with Jared and Sophie's challenge and commitment to healthy eating, I wanted to share with them, and whatever readers they have, to broaden all of our knowledge of cooking.

The third reason is that, well, Jared's all talk with the dinosaurs. He needs another 24 hours to figure out just how he's going to relate a post to those extinct creatures.

Now, onto the day.

It began at 10:00 am with an informative talk by Angela Lemond, a local nutritionist and blogger at Mommy Dietician. I came away feeling really confident that we're doing great as a family. We're focused on healthy eating and choices, have exposed and empowered our kids to be part of the cooking process, and this challenge is a big part of that.

Angela gave a lot of great tips, many of which I'll implement, but the very first one will be repurposing my refrigerator crisper. She made a great point about making healthy foods visible. We usually hide these things in the crisper. She suggests putting staples in the crisper (things like eggs, butter, etc) and moving the fruits and veggies up to the shelves where they're visible.

Chef Richard Chamberlain of Addison's Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House, gave a cooking demonstration: Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup and Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy.

Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup

Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy
*     *     *
Things I learned from Chef Chamberlain:

  • There are 29, yes, 29 lean cuts of beef.

  • Heirloom tomatoes (and anything with the heirloom moniker) means that years and years ago (100+) the best of the best fruit or veggie from a crop was selected, the seeds dried and planted the next year, etc.

  • Marbling in beef is actually a great source of monosaturated fat.

  • The marbling is where the moisture is held, as well as the flavor. When cooking with leaner cuts of beef, you need to make sure to add moisture.

  • Slicing onions into perfectly sized pieces is really easy! Jared will demonstrate very soon.

  • "We're only as good as our ingredients," Chef Chamberlain says. You can use a lesser cut of beef, but compliment it with other quality ingredients.

  • Thyme is an evergreen herb that everyone should have in their garden! It's subtle, versatile, and adds depth of flavor to dishes.

  • Use a meat thermometer to gauge whether a piece of meat is cooked. You have to find your own 'done' temperature. Once you do, stick with it no matter the cut of beef.

  • Cut against the grain for maximum tenderness.

The next part of the day was spent in the practice kitchen. All the bloggers were broken into teams. Each team prepared a beef recipe. My group made Mojo Beef Kabobs.

 Mojo Beef Kabobs with my team

Very tasty and one I will definitely teach Jared and Sophie so they can feature it here for you (along with a Jamie Oliver recipe, of course!).

I have so much to teach Jared and Sophie from my day with Chef Chamberlain and the Texas Beef Council. I realized that, while I'm a good cook, there's a lot I don't know. It's interesting and fun to cook in a facility like this and I hope to have Jared and Sophie take some sort of cooking class at some point so they can learn more, too. They're getting a great foundation from their challenge, from Jamie's new Home Cooking Skills site for kids, and from simply DOING.

They'll be back tomorrow, hopefully putting into practice some of what I learned today, and telling you more about how their skills are growing. This is a labor of love for all of us. They (and me) want to know who's out there reading about their challenge, so if you are, let them know with a comment!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 62 - Pasta and Meatballs


Ok, today's theme is...Dinosaurs! I love dinosaurs. They are the coolest things in the world. If you don't agree, then you're a quite weird.

Anyway, I got a request to talk less about the ingredients in my recipes and more about the skills that I learn. I think thats a bit too much about me, but of course I will acquiesce to the request.

The skills I've learned since I've started this blog contribute often to things I make.
The first time we used dried herbs, I learned that with dried herbs you crush them. I did that tonight with dried rosemary. My knife skillage is mammothly amazing and I now know how to smash stuff with a pan, but tonight I used a tenderizer to smash the crackers for the meatballs.

I also now know how to improvise, like tonight when I printed off this recipe, I didn't print all of it so I make my own sauce. I know I can do that, now.

Now to make this beastin' recipe of meatballs, you put beef and pork in a bowl. Next you crush crackers and add it to the bowl and add dijon mustard and rosemary and oregano. Then you mix with your hands.

You roll them into balls and cook them in a frying pan.

Then you cook pasta. Quinoa, of course.

For the sauce, you put in chopped onion and garlic, then add it to the small sauce pan. After it's golden, add diced tomato and cook it. After a couple minutes you add a bunch leaves of basil to it. Next, you plate it--or bowl it--in this case.

489 thumbs up

Now, today I typed my own post (no dictating, but mom did edit) so BE PROUD--or no. I am. Now, since I just realized I didn't talk about dinosaurs tonight, I will save the dinosaur theme for tomorrow. Exciting...

Thank you and good night.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 61 - Mango Cooler

Hi everyone! Hello? Hello? Hello?

My mom, she gets a food co-op, which means you get organic fruit and vegetables, a whole big bucketful, every other week. She got it yesterday and there were mangos in it. Now my family doesn't like mangos all that much so we were all debating what we should do with those.

We were struggling with what to do, but then my mom was looking up recipes and she found this one called Mango Coolers. It was super duper easy and it looked very good. It had this orangish look and since it's still really hot here in Texas, I wanted to make something not hot, but not freezing, freezing cold. And so I made this.

Before we could start, my mom had to look up how to cut a mango. You cut it in sections around the seed, then cut little squares and slice it off the skin.

After that, I put 1/3 cup of milk, the mango, one cup of ice, lime juice, and honey or brown sugar. Then you blend that all together in a blender and then after it's all blended, you put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. You can add a little more brown sugar or honey if it's not sweet enough.

And that's it.

I think it's okay. The first taste you get is a little overpowering with mango flavor. It's strong. But once you get use to it, it gets a little sweeter.

I think the mango wasn't quite ready. Jamie Oliver's recipe says to have it as ripe as possible, and ours weren't that ripe.

I'm definitely going to do a take 2 on this when the mangos are more ripe.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 60 - Hardly Any Prep Shrimp Stir-Fry

Whoooooooo!!!! It's day 60!!!

Which is pretty darn awesome!!!

Now, if you're like me, and if you're like me you're cool, and even if you're not like me, you're cool, you probably liked my Gandolf post from yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it because Gandolf is pretty cool, although Lord of the Rings is like my brother, Sam's, movie series since he watches it with all his friends.

The thing that I like to watch with my friends is Star Wars and Talladega Nights which I am watching with friends Saturday.

Anyway, I made Hardly Any Prep Shrimp Stir-Fry, which you can tell from the title. And in Star Wars they should eat shrimp stir-fry because Jedi's need to keep their energy up, you know, so they can use their minds and the force and their light sabors to fight Sith.

Back to the stir fry. As you might have guessed, there was not very much prep. You just cut up some cilantro stalks, 2 cloves of garlic, and ginger.

Chopping Ginger

You add it to a hot wok with oil. Along with it, you put some shrimp in. You let that cook then add a mixture of five spice powder, soy sauce (gluten free, of course), sesame oil, and let that cook. While that's cooking, you cook rice noodles.

When it's all done you drain the noodles, then put them in your bowl and top them with the shrimp stuff.

I'm thinking of some Gandolf type of thing for tomorrow's post. I do know what I'm going to write about but I'm disinclined to acquiesce to any requests about tomorrow's topic. That's from Pirates of the Caribbean, by the way.


Ask me a question on email or in the comments! We want to hear from you!!! Even if the questions are about dinosaurs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 59 - Consistently Good Gravy

So you may think that my posts come in a little bit late. But let me tell you something I learned from a very wise man. A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives exactly when he needs to. That's from Lord of the Rings. Gandolf says it.

My posts are never early, and never late. They are exactly on time.

On that topic of Gandolf, I made some gravy today, because Gandolf quite enjoyed his gravy. Gandolf told me how to make it (did you know Gandolf's secret identity is Jamie Oliver?). One of his spell books is disguised as a cookbook.

The recipe says to use drippings of a newt's eye, aka roasted chicken. However we didn't actually roast a newt's eye (chicken) so we used chicken broth.

I used one tablespoon of fresh dirt, aka flour, aka potato starch since I'm gluten free. Stir that together with swamp water, aka wine, and you have made a dastardly potion, aka gravy.

It is best served on top of some fresh crocodile meat, aka leftover chicken and potatoes from last night's dinner.

The verdict was 2 THUMBS UP from Sophie, and 1 3/4 THUMBS UP because I thought there was too much swamp water (wine) in it.

But it was still good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 58 - The Best Winter Veg Coleslaw

Today we went to my grandparent's house for my grandpa's birthday and I needed a recipe to make to go with the lunch which was grilled steak, chicken, and mashed potatoes. I chose cole slaw because I thought my grandparents would like it, and other people in my family like it. But I don't really like it.

We didn't do it at my house today, we did it at my grandparent's house. I got to cook with my grammy which I thought was pretty fun because I don't normally get to cook with her. She showed me how to use a new tool for lemons, but I'll tell you about that later.

Now you're probably wondering about the recipe. You have to get cabbage, radishes, a shallot, fennel, red onion, dill, mustard, plain yogurt, carrots, lemon, and I think that's all. What happens is cut the cabbage, then cut it to fit in the food processor.

You put it on the shredder.
You shred your two cabbages, which is regular cabbage and red cabbage. Then you shred the carrots, radishes, and fennel. Mix those together. Then chop the shallot.

You mix that together. We ended it up chopping some of it really fine in the food processor, because the shredding wasn't working so well with some of it.

But then the fun part was making the sauce to go with all those vegetables. What you do for the sauce is get 1 cup of plain yogurt, dill, and 1/2 of a lemon (I used this really awesome thing that my grammy showed me. It was wooden and you stab it in the cut lemon and twist it and the seeds come out, so you have strain it, but you so much juice. I had fun with that tool.).

Then add salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of mustard. And you put in a giant lug of olive oil.

You pour that over all the vegetables and mix it together.

I thought this coleslaw was okay. I give it 1 THUMB UP. My grandpa gave it 1 THUMB UP also, because it was too finely chopped for him. Next time the cabbage should be more chunky. My grammy loved it, though. She gave it 5 THUMBS UP.
Grammy's gluten free squash casserole, grilled chicken, my coleslaw, and mashed potatoes.

What I've learned is that each person has different taste buds!

That's all. Good night!