Update: cooking lessons
I'm not a kid person. I taught English for a year to little Korean children, and it was incredibly rewarding. But, I'm much more of an adult person. I hate "kid" food, in all its processed and artificial glory. That said, I'm having a ball with my "little sister" from Big Brothers Big Sisters. But when you're dealing with a kid that's not your own, you have to build good eating habits step by step.
Last night we cooked together. She tried broccoli and mushrooms for the first time, and we made tarragon chicken (for her -- leftover sauteed tofu for me) with mushroom sauce and steamed broccoli. I loosely based it on a Rachael Ray recipe. I was rushed last night, and I didn't have time to get kids cookbooks from the library as I'd planned.
(Many of you wrote about your dislike for Rachael Ray. I agree with you, but hers was the simplest cookbook I had. Plus, my little sister has seen her on TV. Let's talk another day about our mutual dislike for RRay. I used to be a fan, but I'm slowly joining the anti-RRay camp!)
Here's the recipe we made, with modifications in parentheses to make it (the sauce) vegetarian. (I also simplified a few things for Tabitha and substituted unsweetened soymilk for the red wine. And, I ran out of rosemary, so I used tarragon, which is my favorite herb.)
Tarragon chicken breasts with mushroom sauce
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 teaspoons tarragon
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 package mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle chicken breasts with oil, season with salt, pepper and tarragon. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side and remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes.
In a separate, medium skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, saute crushed garlic and chopped onion over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until dark and tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Add stock and soymilk to the pan and reduce by 1/2, about 5-7 minutes. Slice chicken breast Ladle thick mushroom sauce down over sliced chicken (or tofu) and serve.
My little sister knows I don't eat meat, but I'm OK with cooking it for other people. Maybe some day she'll be vegetarian, but I am not pushing her that way. I just want her to try new foods, whether they're meat, seafood or vegetables. My boyfriend, who happily eats tofu and veggies alongside me, was happy to eat the leftover chicken.
We also baked chocolate-chip cookies, but I substituted a banana for the butter. (Oops. I thought I had bought some.) I reduced the eggs to one, and they turned out great! My sister took two dozen to her family, and my boyfriend shared the rest with his co-workers. Not a cookie remains. (I've also substituted equal amounts of silken tofu for butter and eggs. The texture changes a bit, but the flavor is good.)