Archive for the ‘with the kids’ Category

Tastes Like Broccoli

That’s what Richard said to me when I asked him if he liked the food we made in class last week.  It tastes like broccoli.  Not such a problem if you’re making broccoli…we made Brussels sprouts.

So I know Brussels sprouts are a pretty big thing to start cooking with kids.  All I heard about growing up is how gross they are…how you’re supposed to try to feed them to the dog or sneak them into your napkin so you don’t have to eat them.  I never actually tasted a Brussels sprout until I was in my 20s.  Kind of weird, huh?  My first Brussels sprouts were bought on a whim a few years ago as I was walking through Publix looking for something to cook.  I bought them, found an easy recipe (roll them in olive oil, and season with mustard powder, garlic salt and pepper, then microwave for about a minute to soften.  Stick them on a skewer and place on a grill for a few minutes, turning once), and I’ve been in love ever since.

My thoughts last week as I planned the meal were about that first Brussels sprout experience.  All I wanted to do was share it with the kids, show them they don’t have to feed their sprouts to the dog, they can eat and enjoy them.  I tried to make them tasty, they had a million spices on them, they were just the right degree of doneness, and were surrounded by whole wheat pasta and fresh grape tomatoes, parmesan and basil.  No luck. Turns out they had a lot more fun preparing the food than eating it.  But I guess that’s ok too.

Not going to share this recipe…it was merely mediocre, and not how I’d like the world to see my lovely Brussels sprouts showcased.  There’s another recipe coming up that does them justice.

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So I’m back to my cooking class…back to worrying about middle-schoolers cutting themselves with sharp knives, slipping in water on the floor of the kitchen, keeping their hands clean while they handle the food, fighting with each other, running with scissors, or much worse than all of that: being completely bored and hating the food and me.  Turns out as always I had nothing to worry or be nervous about.  Well, the knife thing keeps me on my toes, especially with certain kids.  But like with any adventure, the nervousness beforehand is instantly replaced with the pleasure of doing something you love once you get into it.  We started out hand-picking some items from the garden that the kids tend with the help of my dear friend Wendy.  We washed and shredded carrots and sweet potatoes, wrung the moisture out of the potatoes (PS – my white bar towels are now orange), chopped green onions, rosemary and fennel, and mixed all of it together to form flat little cakes…all in the space of about an hour.

Here’s what I learned…always test the recipe before you teach the kids to cook it.  The Rosti never really got crispy in the oven like it was supposed to.  Also, try not to cook something that you have to leave for any length of time because the kids are going to completely lose interest and head outside to play with their friends.  By the time the Rosti was done, I had maybe one or two kids interested in coming back inside to taste it.  Though this was probably a good thing as I don’t think they would have liked it.  I thought it was pretty tasty, but I’m definitely going to tweak the recipe before serving it to others.

Here’s the tweaked recipe, in case you’re curious…

2 peeled sweet potatoes, shredded thin in a box grater or something similar (once these are peeled, put them in a towel and wring them out over the sink to get rid of the water in them)

1 peeled red potato, shredded (this is a tweak…I think it would add some needed starch to the recipe, and help the Rosti stay together)

2-3 shredded carrots

2-3 finely chopped green onions

2 small fennel bulbs, chopped and sauteed for about a minute in olive oil

1 teaspoon or so chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and loosely form small flat cakes (about the size of a silver-dollar pancake).  Spray on both sides with olive oil spray and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until they’re crispy.  You can also put them in a fry pan, but that kinds of makes them unhealthy, which is what I’m trying to avoid.

And for my next adventure…jeez I’m not sure yet.  I’m still recovering from Tuesday.

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