Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby's First Dish

As you all know, it's always been my goal to engage my child in cooking, food and nutrition.  As soon as she was old enough, I've had her in the kitchen.  Starting at things like pushing the buttons on the food processor, to measuring ingredients, mixing stuff up and even some beginner knife work.  But, tonight was the culmination of it baby COOKED!

She's ready to roll!

 That's right.  She cooked an entire dish all by herself.  Of course I was standing right there overseeing, and I did all the prep work (chopping) but she cooked all by herself!  We decided to go with a Chinese flair tonight, so I worked on beef with broccoli while Viv worked on the veggie fried rice.  

So, this is onion, carrot, broccoli and ginger (which I think is nectar of the gods!)
I was so proud of her.  One: because she actually listened to and followed all of my directions.  Two: because she was talking constantly about her observations and her technique of stir-frying the veggies.  Three:  she sloped the rice up the sides of the wok like I told her and scrambled the egg down in the center. She did it all and we ended up with a great batch of fried rice. The real joy of it all was, of course, her pride in her creation and the excitement of being allowed to work with the stove and just do it.  Like all cooks though, at the table she kept insisting that my dish was better than hers while Neil and I insisted that the rice was the best.  

The beef with broccoli did turn out well too.  I used a flatiron steak, sliced really thin. Marinated in soy sauce, a little flour, a tiny bit of sugar and sherry cooking wine.  Stir-fried broccoli then cooked the steak with its marinade, which creates the sauce. 

I can't ever give Viv the plate that was chipped by the dishwasher. Ever.

  I may have said this to you all before, but I'm going to say it again. The beauty of Chinese cuisine is quantities.  Over dinner, we talked about this.  People walk into a place like Longhorn and order a 12 oz. steak.  That's a hell of a lot of meat.  That's more meat than a person is supposed to eat at any given sitting. Our dinner tonight was made with 8 oz. of steak and it was more than enough for the three of us.  What the Chinese know and have known for thousands of years is that you can take a little bit of a lot of things and make a satisfying meal.  

Think about this for a minute.  Fried rice is loaded with vegetables and tiny cubes of pork, chicken, tofu, or shrimp, right?  But, it's plenty for you.  MooGooGaiPan is thin slices of beautiful white chicken surrounded by tons of veggies.  Sweet and sour pork uses about 8 oz. of meat and the rest is all veggie.  And for those people who always say after eating Chinese food, they are hungry an hour later...all I can say is vary your selections.  You can't eat a wheelbarrow-load of fried rice, fried wontons or egg rolls and escape the carbohydrate coma and hunger that comes quickly.  You simply must treat this cuisine like any other.  Incorporate a salad, a main dish with protein, a veggie side and yes, carbs too.  But don't lump all Chinese in with your starch/MSG stupor and subsequent hunger.  Don't do it, I say!

My happiness tonight isn't stemming from the fact that I made beef and broccoli that Neil, the Vivver and I loved, but rather from the fact that my baby got in the kitchen tonight and OWNED  it!  I've waited for this day. Having her cooking alongside me, not having to worry about her getting hurt or spilling some hot something all over herself.  It was wonderful! If you have kids, bring them into the kitchen.  It will prepare them, in many ways, for their future life but also will bring so much joy to the here and now.  For you both.

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