Friday, June 8, 2012

Let the children play... in the kitchen!

Food and cooking have been such an integral part of my life. I was surrounded by fabulous food and aromas in my childhood kitchen. I ate what my parents ate and was exposed to all sorts of cuisines from a young age. Nothing was held back. There was no "kid food" in my house. I ate what my parents ate. Right down to the liver and the onions. And even though I hated liver and onions I still had to try them! I encourage the same with my children. The more flavors and spices and textures the better. They may not like everything they taste but they are always willing to give new things a try. And I love this.

As I grew into my teens I began to experiment more and more in the kitchen. Food was not only meant to be eaten, but I saw it as art... It was something I could create to be visually satisfying and it was something I could create to delight my taste buds. There was nothing about cooking I didn't love. I rarely followed recipes. I'd use  cookbooks as guidelines, but then I would stray here and there... tweak here and there... add more of this, less of that, eventually creating my own dish. I was at home, happy and comfortable in the kitchen.

I cook when I am happy. I cook to entertain and to please others. Unlike many I do not cook and cannot cook when I am unhappy. And that's probably why this blog has been so badly neglected over the past year or so. Now I cook but am so busy with all the other aspects of life that I rarely have time to document... I vow to get better about this, because I do enjoy it so.

And now my children enjoy it so as well. Especially my boys.

The other day I decided to use some chicken to make sandwiches for lunch. I tossed the breasts into a pan that was coated with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt, paprika and garlic powder onto the breasts as they cooked away.

Meanwhile my boys were getting busy as well pulling from the fridge some Parmesan, lemons, garlic and basil. They were determined to make some pesto. They had no recipe. They didn't need one. They had the proper ingredients. And they added, blended, added some more, tweaked here and there, added some more, blended and and tweaked until they got their pesto just the way they wanted it!

The Entertaining Kitchen

The Entertaining Kitchen

And they came and found me with a spoonful of it and I have to say it could very well have been the best pesto I have ever had! This one was nut-free. No pine nuts - no nuts of any type. Alexander even told me that he'd added a secret ingredient. I took another taste and couldn't put my finger on it. I thought maybe he was kidding, but then he said that he had added some "Papa-rika"! And that "Papa-rika" was a perfect touch! There was indeed a lingering kick to the pesto.

My kitchen looked very much like a science laboratory when they were done. My work was cut out for me, indeed, in terms of cleaning out their mess... but I'll do it all over again. I certainly won't stop my boys from playing in the kitchen!

I'm not sure of their exact measurements or ingredients, but I can guestimate by what I tasted and what was left for me to clean up!

Please note measurements are estimated here and not at all acurate. I encourage you all to do as they did and play with your food!

2 cups packed basil - stems removed
2 lemons, juiced
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea salt to taste
Paprika to taste
Place the above ingredients in a blender or mini chopper and puree until desired consistency is reached!

1 comment:

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