Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bye-Bye, Dexter

Cooking With Dexter”, the darling column by Pete Wells in the New York Times Magazine, has sadly come to an end. Wells writes about his precocious chef of a son, Dexter, age 6, and a family food culture that involves preparing Korean-style beef for the grill on a summer night, and making their own charcoal. Wells ended the column’s 2-year run Sunday on a depressing note, concluding that cooking for a family when you work full-time-plus hours is next to impossible. He’s right, of course. I liked to believe, though, he was finding a way to do it.

The “Dexter” column inspired our blog here. Dexter and the Chef not only have their ages and cooking in common, but both also have food allergies. Thank you, Dexter and Pete, for sharing your story.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Raw meat is fun

My kid loves handling raw meat. It’s cold, slimy, and fascinatingly dead. There was an age – maybe 3? – when I let the Chef make hamburgers and he tried to eat the uncooked ground beef off of his hands. So we stopped that for a while. But at 6.5, he is definitely up to the task, and so is his friend A. This chicken fingers recipe involves one prep step – dipping the chicken into seasoned cornmeal. The two of them got it done faster than I could say “no finger-lickin!”

Recipe adapted from Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken in the American Heart Association’s “Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook: Heart-healthy, easy-to-make recipes that taste great” (Clarkson Potter 1997)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
Corn meal
Dried ginger
Crushed garlic clove
Salt, pepper
Cooking spray

Mix seasonings and corn meal in a wide shallow bowl. Drag chicken pieces through the mixture until coated. Spray with cooking spray and place on cookie sheet that also has been sprayed. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow tricks

This post isn't technically about cooking. But it is about how to keep a bored, indoors weary 6-year-old busy while I clean up the kitchen so I can prepare dinner. It was very very cold -- in the teens -- so the Chef didn't last long outside. But while we were out there, I filled a toy tool chest with snow and ice pieces of different shapes and thicknesses, and brought it inside with us. The inspired snow study involved cookie sheet, measuring cup, different temperatures of water at the sink, and a straw to see if snow water can make bubbles (strangely, it can).

The next day, the Chef came up with the idea that sponges soaked in hot water would melt ice. So we filled a dish tub with hot water and attached a sponge and dust mitt to his boots with rubber bands. He stepped in the tub, then right out the door onto our snow covered deck. The sponge extensions did indeed melt the snow. Always thinking about cooking, the Chef stomped a path to the grill.

I think I remember reading in one of the "Little House on the Prairie" books that Laura and her Grandmother would scoop snow and add maple syrup. Maybe we'll try that tomorrow.