Cooking is one of the great joys of life and anybody can do it. You don't need to be able to play the piano, it's OK if your color sense is off, and you don't have to be a world-class chemist. All you have to do is care.
I live in California, where we mix food from every culture that we can find into our dining experience. Amazingly enough, if you raise a kid to like real flavors, they usually will. (Ahem. Eventually, so my friends tell me.)
Please bear in mind that this site was started in November of '03, so it is not finished. That said, here you go:
One of the most amusing cooking links that I've found is the (oddly formatted) Food Reference Website. Full of exceedingly odd cooking information and trivia, it's a lot of fun. Here's one that I just found and like: Activeangler.com has excellent fish recipes!
Links for kid cooking
General cooking links
I just saw a recommendation for this on the Berkeley parent's network and looked at it. It looks WONDERFUL! Check it out. Not sure where you have to live to get her to come to your kitchen, but her menus look grand.
This lady has a really nice looking praline recipe.
Alternative food sites
By alternative food I mean vegetarianism and cooking for various allergies.
Fast, Easy Spinach Risotto
My son is allergic to wheat and dairy. Feel free to add cheese to this if you want.
1 onion, sauteed until it is clear
1 C. risotto (arborio rice)
2 C. msg-free chicken broth
Sautee the onion in about 1 tbsp oil. Toss in the rice and toss to coat.
If you have wine around, put about 1/4 cup in and stir the rice as the wine
cooks out of it -- this gives a nice flavor. Toss in the chicken broth, let
it boil, and turn it down to a very little simmer when it does. Cook for 15
you can add whatever you want to this.
This is what I do:
Take about 8 C. fresh spinach, wash it, and drain it.
In a very very large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil and 2 garlic cloves,
slowly. You are flavoring the oil with the garlic. After about 6 min,
remove the garlic and add the spinach. Add some liquid -- either chicken
broth or water, and cover. Stir a bit. When it is barely done, take it out,
reserving the liquid, and chop it up finely. Stir it into the risotto and
put some of the liquid into the rice as well. You need to cook the rice for
about 5 more min to finish it.
You can add any type of meat or seafood to this. Like pounded chicken
breasts sauteed with oil and garlic and doused with a bit of fresh lemon. You can also add cubed squash, like butternut.
It's very very easy.
Sauces for kids
Yup, almost any kid likes a sauce. We serve ours in little ramekins, so food can be dipped into it. My kid's allergic to wheat and dairy, so I cook with wine for him. Maybe it's odd, but since I boil the holy heck out of everything, he certainly doesn't get any alcohol out of it, and I love wine in sauces.
Take one bag of frozen chunked mangos and put it into a skillet. Add about 1 C. of white wine and about 1/2 C. chicken broth. (broth is optional.) Simmer at low temp until it's cooked. Add water if you want. Mash with a potato masher.
I serve this with a pork tenderloin that's been seasoned with garlic-imbued oil, whatever herbs I feel like, and my good friend garlic powder. These two things cost about $8 at Trader Joes, I think. Amazing. If I even go into Whole Foods or my local market, Draegers (shudder), 1/2 of a bag of groceries is about $48 dollars!
Chicken orange sauce
This one is easy. I never buy chicken tenderloins, but I grabbed some tonight. Sauteed up some chicken tenderloins with a bit of thyme, in olive oil with garlic. Took out the chicken and put it on a plate. Put about 1 C of orange juice and about 3 tbsp of chicken broth in the frying pan on high, until it reduced to about 1/4 cup. Melted about 1/2 Tbsp butter into it and ... it was great!
Heck, you can just reduce orange juice and chicken broth. Give it a try. If you reduce anything enough and throw some butter into it ... voila! Very frenchy. (But don't quote me. They'll take away my foodie credentials.)
Ways to cook Eggplant
In answer to a question, here are three ways to cook eggplant:
You can just slice it about 3/4 of an inch and brush it with garlic-imbued oil. By THAT,I mean take about three cloves of garlic and about 6 tbsp of oil. chop the garlic or just sliver it up, put it and the oil in a very small frying or saucepan, and put it on the lowest setting of your stove for about 10 minutes. The garlic shouldn't brown or anything, just flavor the oil. Brush the oil over the eggplant as it grills.
An incredibly easy way to use eggplant is to just bake it and make dip. Here's a recipe for baba ganoush which is similar to hummus. Very nice.
As for breading, you can whip an egg up and put it in a small bowl.
In another bowl, take about 3/4 C of italian bread crumbs and some more spice, say 1/2 tsp oregano and some garlic powder.
Cut 1/2 inch pieces of eggplant, dip it in the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, and then cook it in olive oil. It will suck up a lot of oil. A lot. Serve it layered with a homemade spicy italian tomato sauce and mozzarella, with pasta on the side.
(I never bother putting salt on the eggplant and letting it sit.)