Monday, June 15, 2009

Teaching My Granddaughter To Cook

I have been teaching my granddaughter to cook for the last 2 years. She is now 6 years old. She really loves to help.

She started off just stirring the soup and mixing things. It was easy to open a can of soup. She can now use the mixer. She knows how to use the mixer with much reverence. I have started teaching her how to chop things and mix and prepare things.

She told her mother that she wanted cooking lessons. She wanted me to give her cooking lessons. So now we have actually started with specific recipes.
  • She learned to make gravies, she knows everything that goes into making gravy.
  • She knows how to make turkey burgers with all the spices in them.
  • She knows how to make no-sugar cheesecakes. Both kinds; the kind that you cook and the kind that you refrigerate.
  • She has learned about food design. She knows the difference between slopping the food on the plate and putting it there so that it looks pretty.
She loves her little creations. When it is dessert time she has to individually serve each person their dessert plate that she has created. She loves to serve that which she has created.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cheesy Rice

Now that you know a little of my cooking background I will be posting some of my adventures in the kitchen and some of my recipes.

The first and most important recipe is...Cheesy Rice (I picked this one because everyone asks for cheesy rice.)
  • Organic jasmine brown rice is the best rice to use (Trader Joe's) or basic brown rice.
  • Make rice. I usually make huge quantities and I don't measure anything.
  • Heat some chicken broth
  • Parmesan and medium cheddar cheese grated
  • Dump rice into casserole dish and stir in the Parmesan cheese
  • Cover the dish with the cheddar cheese and pour in the hot chicken broth and stir it all up. With the rice hot it melts the cheese.
  • It's ready. Cover the casserole dish and put it in oven on warm to keep it warm and it bakes a little bit.
So easy. I can't make enough of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Cook by Sight, Smell and Taste

My mom was a great cook. That's because, when my Dad and Mom were first married, they lived with my Nonni. That was not unusual, it was during the depression and times were tough. Families did that. She learned to cook Italian from Nonni.

My mom was Irish and grew up in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. She knew how to do a lot of great Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch food. And Irish is very similar to Pennsylvania Dutch...a lot of chicken, potatoes, noodles. Very starchy food.

My mother always did Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas dinner (despite what we did at Nonni's).

My favorite thing was staying up until 1-2 o'clock in the morning preparing everything for the next day. Sometimes we would start 3 or 4 days ahead of time. I was always be her helper along with my older sister, right at her elbow.

My sisters and I tried for the longest time to get our mother to do a cookbook. She didn't use measuring cups for the most part. And if she did it was very loosey goosey. And the spices were never measured. She would say, “I don't know how I'm ever going to do a cookbook because I cook from the gut, I don't measure stuff. I eyeball everything. It's a pinch of this, a handful of that, a tablespoon to this. I cook by taste, I cook by sight, I cook by smell.”

And I just sort of picked that knack up.