The Kids Cook Monday – December 20, 2010

My name is Loren Crannell, and along with my wife Karen, we raise a beautiful 3-year-old daughter. This is my first submission to The Kids Cook Monday, and I am looking forward to sharing my adventures of cooking for and with my daughter, Alessandra. My wife and I both grew up with a mother who cooked at home, and doing her best to give us proper nutrition. When are daughter was born, we wanted to do the same as our parents.

One of my personal passions is cooking, and ever since Alessandra was able to sit in her high chair, she has spent time with me in the kitchen. Playing with fake pots and pans and now she is also directly helping me with dinner. I am happy to say that she has a love for cooking and I couldn’t be happier to have her next to me.

Unfortunately, my daughter was sick this weekend with a fever of 102 degrees so she wasn’t able to assist me in cooking the cassoulet. Never the less, she still has to eat and we prefer a healthy meal even when she doesn’t feel like eating. One of the ways I get her to eat well is to take her shopping with me. I let her touch and smell the fruits and vegetables and using this experience to give her the knowledge of what to pick. Today she eagerly picked out the type of pasta she wanted to eat, plus some frozen organic peas. When the store clerk took her pasta and placed it on the counter while we shopped, she thought they took her pasta away. It was very cute to see her really “own” that pasta. Later that day, she didn’t fight eating, and was actually excited to try out her new pasta. I have never seen this type of unusually large pasta hoops so I was also curious to give it a try. Giving Alessandra this “privilege and responsibility” is always exciting for her, and it creates a fun environment.

Empowering children is fun, and to watch Alessandra to take control of her food choices will hopefully pay dividends in the future. Along with some guidance we are pointing her toward 100% organic fruits and vegetables plus farm fresh meats.

Cooking Summary:

I cook her pasta a little differently, but it turns out very well. This pasta said it required 12 minutes in boiling water, but I let it cook for 10 minutes and drained the water except for a couple of tablespoons. With the heat on medium-high put the pasta back into pot along with the two tablespoons of pasta water and stir in a little parmesan, or Alessandra’s favorite, parmesan-reggiano until the water is gone from the pan. The water will have the starch from the pasta and when it’s mixed with the cheese it will melt evenly among the pasta. Parmesan-reggiano cheese has a natural salty taste so you don’t have to add anything else to it. Plate the pasta along with some vegetables and in 15 minutes the meal is complete.

Since Alessandra is still very young, I don’t let her near the stove top but she still has the opportunity to help. Using a plastic knife, I let her cut up the cheese into very little pieces, while the pasta is cooking. I am happy to say that Alessandra is feeling better and she ate all of her food.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I look forward to many more stories in the future.

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