06/8/17

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

teaching kids to cook

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

Excerpt from: “The Home Chef’s Guide to Cooking with Kids.”
Coming Soon.

teaching kids to cookLearning to cook from a father who’s also a professional chef, isn’t always…fun.

I’m not talking about these television “stand and stir” celebrity chefs who smile, and make jokes, and have a team of cooking-college pukes doing all their mize off camera, either. I’m talkin’ about OLD SCHOOL chefs, the kind who viewed an 8oz steel ladle as a “tool of instruction”, if you know what I mean.

If you’ve ever cooked with me (and I apologize) try to imagine a guy who looks a lot like me, but with a hair-trigger temper, even less patience, and a MUCH more relaxed attitude toward profanity and volume.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my dad was a GREAT dad, he just wasn’t a very congenial teacher. I struggle with this myself (ask my wife about her one and only cooking lesson some time…) but I try to do a better job of keeping my emotions, and expectations, in check when working with my own daughter in the kitchen.

This morning was a good example…

The Pickle decided, as a celebration of the first day of summer vacation, that she was going to cook me breakfast. A lovely thing that happens more and more often these days. (Woo-Hoo!)

This morning she decided to make French-style scrambled eggs, a specialty of hers, but she got a little…exuberant…with the spices. WAY too much salt and pepper and, even on a burger roll, it was almost inedible.

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Now, while my father would likely have just tossed the whole thing in the trash and told me to “do it right this time”, I paused, took a breath, and thought about the opportunities in the situation.

First (and it’s important that this be first) what was GOOD about the dish? Well, the eggs were cooked perfectly, exactly the light and fluffy consistency that I like. Likewise, the toast with exactly the right shade. Looking in the kitchen I could see that the ingredients had been put away, and the cookware, if not washed, had at least been moved to the sink, and the eggs were still hot when she served it.

These are all simple, but very important, elements of a finished dish, and I made sure to let her know that she’d done that right.

teaching kids to cook

1. Inspiration will always produce better results than fear.

teaching kids to cookWorking closely with at-risk kids, many of whom have never (literally) boiled water before, has taught me that fear and anxiety, which most of these kids are already dealing with, will do nothing but increase the likelihood of an injury or mistake. My personal philosophy is that the younger the child, the more praise and encouragement is required. Are they holding the spoon right?

Praise them!

Did they crack that egg without getting any (or very little) shell in it?

Praise them!

Do they just generally seem to have a good attitude and are willing to listen?

PRAISE THEM!

Basically, go watch a few episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, and do exactly the opposite!

You see, no one is born knowing how to cook, or enjoying the tasks required to do so. When we’re praised for something, the brain creates new neural pathways and releases endorphins and dopamine to the pleasure centers of the brain, increasing the likelihood that we will remember to do it THAT WAY again, because doing it THAT WAY makes us feel good.

teaching kids to cook

Negative feedback also creates these pathways, but as a warning NOT to do it that way, which may seem like a good thing, but it’s not. Negative feelings (or lack of dopamine reception) triggers the human flight response, because, on an instinctive level, it’s easier to just NOT do it again (run away), than to risk doing it wrong.

This is why a lot of people don’t “like” to cook…their brain tells them it’s going to make them feel bad, and so they should avoid it.

And, before you start asking, “If YOUR dad was so tough, why do YOU love to cook?” it’s because as much as Chef Frank could rant, and rail, and slam frying pans, he also knew how to PRAISE.

When I did something right, he made a big deal out of it, he bragged to others about it in front of me. I guess you could say he made me feel good MORE than he made me feel bad, and though (at least in my case) that might sometimes work, it’s a risky way to do things.

teaching kids to cook
Also, it’s important to remember that any time a child brings you something they’ve made, even a bowl of mashed bananas covered in powdered sugar, they’re offering you a part of themselves, they’re giving you a precious gift and trusting you with it, and their goofy little brains can’t always distinguish between you rejecting a SANDWICH, and you rejecting THEM.

BUT (and there’s always a big butt) as much as patience, and praise, and making it “feel good” are important, there are still absolutes in the kitchen, there are rules, and reasons for those rules, and it’s far easier to establish those from the beginning, than to try to add them in later.

We observe the safety rules: proper knife handling, bar mops in place for handling hot pans, appropriate clothing for cooking (protective of heat and splatters, not slip, foot-protecting shoes, nothing too loose or baggy that might catch fire, long hair pinned back, or under a cap, keeping our station free of clutter and dirty cookware to avoid accidents, etc.

o-MESSY-SINK-facebook
We understand that, outside of the professional kitchen, clean-up is part of the cook’s job.

Cookware is rinsed, dishwasher is filled, and counters and stove-tops are wiped down BEFORE we eat. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them to clean-up as they go. This is a habit that will make their whole life easier, inside and outside the kitchen.

Oh, and a modern-day tip on praise? Take pictures of your kids cooking and/or their finished dishes, and post them for your friends and family to see. To a 9y/o having another adult come up to them and say, “Wow, that omelet you made last week looked SO good!” is a really, really big deal.

2. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

First of all, EVERYBODY makes a bad dish now and then. I’ve been cooking, personally and professionally for more than 4 decades, and I will still, on occasion, put out a stinker.

An important truth to remember is that, if you really want to master a craft, cooking or anything else, and you’re NOT making the occasional mistake…you’re not trying hard enough, and you’re not growing your skills. It’s been said, and I believe it, that “Good cooking comes from experience, and experience comes from bad cooking. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

This morning’s eggs were an opportunity to reinforce three important cooking principles to my daughter:

a. Sometimes, less is more. Great cooking isn’t about a laundry list of spices and ingredients, it’s about knowing what to DO with them, and when. If the main ingredient is egg, you want that to be the dominate flavor, and not buried under a bunch of spices.

b. A smart chef under-seasons while cooking, and re-seasons before plating. Or, as my dad used to say, “It’s a hell of a lot easier to add more salt, than to take it back out!” Which leads to…

teaching kids to cookc. Always, always, ALWAYS taste your food as you go! First of all, it’s educational. If you’ve ever tasted a spoonful of beef bourguignon just on the heat, it’s a nasty, depressing thing.

But when you taste is again after hours of simmering and reducing, allowing the flavors to marry and the alcohol to cook off, you realize that there’s something transformative, almost magical, that you can do to raw ingredients when you understand certain techniques and when to use them.

No dish should ever be plated without a final tasting, and any adjustments required (if any) at that point.

Here are a couple of more tips:

1. Have a plan, and work the plan

Even when you’re having them start a dish from scratch, YOU, as the teacher, should already know exactly what needs to be done. Make sure you have all of the ingredients, the proper cookware, and anything else needed for the dish.

Make sure it’s something YOU know how to make, so you’re ready to step in with advice and guidance if things start to go off plan. Nothing is more discouraging to the learner than having to scrap a dish because they weren’t supplied with the right ingredients and tools. It’s like the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to!”

teaching kids to cook
2. Never teach in a rush, or under pressure

Trying to teach an 8y/o how to make turkey gravy when you’re cooking six other dishes and have a dozen family members showing up in two hours for Thanksgiving dinner is…bad. (And half those dishes should have been cooked days in advance…what were you thinking?”)

I kid, I kid…sorta.

Teaching, well…anything requires a calm, focused head, and getting frustrated and demonstrating that cooking is stressful and no fun, is the last thing you want to do. Teach when you have the energy, the positivity, and the TIME to do so. A smart chef knows when to order a pizza, too.

3. Then, always have a Plan B.

Speaking of pizza…what’s for dinner if that casserole catches fire, or a cup of salt is mistaken for a cup of sugar? Don’t make your child feel guilty for “ruining dinner, and NOW what are we going to eat???”

When the Pickle’s in charge of dinner, I know in advance that if the spaghetti turns into a solid ball of gluten, or the chicken gets immolated, there’s sandwich fixin’s, or omelet ingredients, or the phone number for the local delivery place, close at hand. Praise what went right, discuss what went wrong, and then laugh it off and go eat dinner.

How about you? Any nuggets of wisdom to add, either as the learner or the teacher, for encouraging a little chef?

Have FUN,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

11/4/16

What is a MY KITCHEN “SupperClub” Party?

MY KITCHEN SupperClub

One method of getting the word out for our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, is to throw “SupperClub Parties” with families, friends, and supporters of our non-profit charity.

It’s all about fun, highlighting the things that the MK chefs do best: teaching hands-on cooking skills, and serving amazing food!

MY KITCHEN SupperClub

Prepping kale slaw for our “Farmers Market” SupperClub

 

MY KITCHEN SupperClub

Fun, Food, & Friends!

How it works:

Each host invites 10-15 friends over to their house, and we share a little bit about what we do, give some hands-on cooking demos of several recipes that follow a specific theme chosen by the host, maybe drink a little wine (at the host’s discretion), and then enjoy the fruits of our labors with a multi-course tapas-style meal of the dishes we’ve just learned to prepare.

Attendees are welcome to participate in the prep and cooking, or not, no pressure.

It’s a casual, low-stress, lots-of-laughs night with friends and family, that helps us help kids…

How’s THAT for a win-win?

See you there!

Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
www.joinmykitchen.com

PS – Here are a couple of sample themes:

Kale Slaw

Theme: Farmer’s Market

Synopsis: Three simple vegetable dishes that highlight seasonally fresh produce

Meal: Copper Pennies, Kale Slaw, Italian Green Beans

 Pork Shoulders in Smoker

Theme: Creating Your Signature BBQ Sauce

Synopsis: Attendees will learn the basic elements of a BBQ sauce, then create their own from a wide variety of ingredients.

Meal: Pulled Pork Sliders, Cilantro-Sesame Slaw

Mushroom Pan Sauce

Theme: Perfect Pan Sauces

Synopsis: Instruction on three of the basic “Mother Sauces” of French cooking: Mornay (cheese), Tomato, and Mushroom Beurre Blanc.

Meal: Chicken Marsala, Pasta Rustica, Vegetable Trio with Mornay

  • If you would like to consider hosting your own SupperClub, and would like a full list of available themes, please contact us at mykitchenoutreach@gmail.com; Subject line: “SupperClub”

MY KITCHEN SupperClub

The Fine Print

Host pays for the cost of ingredients and materials only. All shopping, prep, delivery, and service are provided at no additional fee by the MY KITCHEN Program. Travel expenses outside of the Portland/Metro area will be considered a material expense. An invoice for food/material costs will be provided by MY KITCHEN. Payment in full must be received at least 1 week prior to the event date. Due to shopping requirements, cancellations within the last 72 hours will be non-refundable.

Host will provide space for a MY KITCHEN information and donation table (which we provide), as well as 10-15 minutes for our chefs to present the outreach to guests (typically just prior to the class).

Additional sides, beverages, and desserts may be added to the base menu for an additional fee. MY KITCHEN is not licensed to provide or serve alcohol, but you are certainly welcome to do so yourselves. Plating and serving-ware are provided by the host, or by us for an additional fee.

10 Guest minimum.*

Per our “Personal Chef” status, the States of Oregon/Washington require that there must be a residential kitchen onsite, and that we use that facility to prepare food.

Gratuities are not included in ingredient/materials pricing, nor required, but if you love the class (and you will) we never turn down a tip! All gratuities will be considered a donation to the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, and used soley for the outreach. Tax-deductible receipts for tips and donations are can be provided.

*Obviously, our goal in these SupperClubs is to raise funds and support for the MY KITCHEN Program. Please keep this is mind when inviting attendees to your event, and consider those with the ability, means, and desire to partner with charities like ours to help mentor kids and feed the hungry.

Thank you for helping us help kids!


MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

10/17/16

This week’s dinner recipes are up!

Hello friends and foodies!

Our free weekly dinnerplans have posted…and some of my favorites are on the menu!        

This week we focus on Ground Beef (menu 1) and Whole Chicken (menu 2).

Here are my favorites from each…    

Chef Perry’s Picks of the Week:

Week 37 Free Dinner Plans

Click here for this week’s Dinner Plans!

Password: SimplySmart




MY KITCHEN CookbookDid you know…that every one of our students receive, as their graduation gift, their own free copy of the MY KITCHEN Cookbook, which contains all of the lessons and recipes they’ve learned over the last four weeks, as well as many more using the same basic techniques.

Speaking of which…

Have you picked up YOUR copies?

100% of sales goes to support MY KITCHEN  classes, and for each copy you buy, you’re providing two free copies for future students!

Pick up your copies (they make great Christmas presents for kids, teens, or anyone who wants to learn their way around the kitchen) at our secure sales page.

New classes start soon, can’t wait!

Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program

Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family. If they would like to receive their own free weekly meal plans and newsletters, they can sign up by clicking right here!

04/11/16

Sparks of Hope 2016 Gala & Auction!

Sparks of Hope 2016

Hey Friends,

Teaching Kids to CookAs most of you know, Sparks of Hope has been a MAJOR supporter of our outreach program, and they basically outfitted us with all of our gear to get our classes started three years ago.

Their summer and winter survivor camps (for kids coming out of a history of sexual abuse) are two of our major teaching events every year, allowing us to touch the lived of dozens of amazing children, teaching them valuable life skills, and helping restore their self-worth.

For all they have done for us, and continue to do for the kids, we would like to show our love and support for Sparks of Hope by filling two MY KITCHEN Outreach tables at their annual Dinner Auction Lee Ann Mead Sparks of Hopecoming up this May 21st at 5:30 p.m, at the historic Sentinel Hotel in Portland.

The annual auction is the #1 fund-raising tool for the kid’s camps. (Be sure to watch the video, below!)

The night will start with a walk down the red carpet to hosted hors d’oeuvres and wine during Portland’s premiere silent auction. Next you will be seated at your table for a plated dinner, with wine, catered by Jake’s Famous Crawfish as the multimedia/ live auction starts with KGW’s own Cathy Marshal. The evening will conclude with dancing provided by Patrick Lamb.

Couple’s tickets (2 included) are only $150.00 for a night you’ll never forget!

Please join us for an evening that will change the lives of Oregon’s abused children.

Sparks of Hope Gala 2016Reserve your seats here and be sure to add to the notes section that you would like to be seated at one of the MY KITCHEN tables!

(Please let me know when you reserve your seats so I know when our tables are full.)

Only space for 20 couples, so sign up now!

Thank you for helping us help kids!

Chef Perry

12/28/15
Traditional Filipino Recipes

Cook the World Project – Recipe 4: The Philippines

Filipino Adobo Chicken Recipe

This is our fourth post, as my eight-year old daughter and I continue our journey to cook our way around the world.

Approximately once a week, Grace will pick a country and we’ll research the food of that nation and pick a traditional dish that we want to try. We’ll shop and cook together, and maybe even work in a side trip to an ethnic market or food-truck, once in a while.

We’ll post our processes, notes, and maybe a brief anecdote, but mostly it’s going to be about the recipes.

Last time, we visited Russia and tried the amazing (and amazingly filling) Chicken Kotletki.

6This week, Gracie stayed on the east side of the map and chose… The Philippines! Now, I have a lot of friends, and even a few family members who are Filipino, so I was pretty excited about this week.

A mixed cuisine of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, and American, Philippine cuisine has many outside influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate.

In 3200 BCE, Austronesians from the southern China Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and Taiwan settled in the region that is now called the Philippines. They brought with them knowledge of rice cultivation and other farming practices which increased the number and variety of edible dish ingredients available for cooking.

Trade with the various neighboring kingdoms brought with it foods and cooking methods which are still commonly used in the Philippines today, such as Bagoong, Patis, Rendang, and the infusion of coconut milk in condiments. Through this trade, cuisine from as far away as India and Arabia enriched the palettes of the local Austronesians.

Spanish colonizers and friars in the 16th century brought with them produce from the Americas like chili peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and the method of sauteing with garlic and onions. Spanish and Mexican dishes were eventually incorporated into Philippine cuisine with the more complex dishes usually being prepared for special occasions.

Today, Philippine cuisine continues to evolve as new techniques, styles of cooking, and ingredients find their way into the country. [Wikipedia] Another common feature in Philippine cuisine comes in the a pairing of something sweet with something salty (such as our chicken and rice dishes, below), and results in surprisingly pleasing combinations. Vinegar is a common ingredient, as well.

MapThings we learned about The Philippines:

  • Cooking and eating in the Philippines has traditionally been an informal and communal affair centered around the family kitchen.
  • Filipinos traditionally eat three main meals a day: agahan (breakfast), tanghalían (lunch), and hapunan (dinner) plus an afternoon snack called meriénda.
  • Food tends to be served all at once and not in courses.
  • Unlike many of their Asian counterparts Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks. Due to Western influence, food is often eaten using flatware—forks, & knives.

8

After much deliberation, we settled on Filipino Adobo Chicken, Biko (sweet coconut rice), and Ginisang Sitaw (savory green beans) for dinner. Let me tell you, it was a HUGE hit!

Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and is considered unofficially by many as the national dish. It usually consists of pork or chicken, sometimes both, stewed or braised in a sauce usually made from vinegar, cooking oil, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce. Adobo is popular not solely for its simplicity and ease of preparation, but also for its ability to be stored for days without spoiling, and even improve in flavor with a day or two of storage.

Chicken Adobo Recipe

PREP TIME : 15 minutes (+ 8 hours to marinade)
TOTAL TIME : 60 minutes

2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
3 dried bay leaves
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 cups water
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
salt and whole peppercorn

Filipino Adobo Chicken Recipe

In a large container, combine the soy sauce and garlic then marinade the chicken for 5-8 hours

Place the cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the marinated chicken (drained), and cook it on all the sides for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned.

Pour-in the remaining marinade, add water, and bring to a boil

Add the bay leaves and peppercorns, and simmer until the chicken is tender (about 30 minutes). Add the vinegar, stir, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and salt. De-bone and chop the chicken (optional).

Stir and serve.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

Biko

PREP TIME : 5 minutes TOTAL TIME : 45 minutes

  • 2 cups sticky rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups brown sugar

Wash the rice, set in a pot and add the water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer until the liquid is fully absorbed by the rice (it should be a little under-cooked). In another pan over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the coconut milk.

Filipino Biko Recipe

Let it simmer until thick, then add the cooked rice and mix until it all reaches a very thick consistency.

Filipino Biko Recipe

Spread the sticky sweet rice and flatten evenly. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Cut in squares and serve.

Filipino Biko Recipe

Ginisang Sitaw RecipeGinisang Sitaw Recipe

PREP TIME : 5 minutes TOTAL TIME : 30 minutes

  • 1 bunch string beans; trimmed
  • 1 medium tomato, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the garlic, onion, and tomato. Add the fish sauce, sprinkle the ground black pepper, and stir.

Add the string beans and stir gently. Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.

Stir to distribute the ingredients, and serve.

Ginisang Sitaw Recipe

 

10/30/15

Cook the World Project – Recipe 1: Uzbekistan

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Two years ago, my (then) six-year old daughter and I begin a journey to cook our way around the world.

Approximately once a month, Grace picks a country from the big wall map. We research the food, the people, and the history of that nation and pick a traditional dish that we want to try. Next we shop and cook together, and maybe even work in a side trip to an ethnic market or food-truck, once in a while.

With about 15 of these under our belt (literally, for me) I’m going to start posting our processes, notes, and maybe a brief anecdote, but mostly it’s going to be about the recipes.

Here’s the first country my favorite sous chef picked…

Here we go!

-Chef Perry

January 29th, 2014

Wall Map

Okay, the map it up on the wall! (I had to go buy a second poster-board, it was a lot bigger than I thought!) This shot is pre-pinning. We have about 5 pins ready to go…Uzbekistan, France, Italy, and a couple of others.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI figure it’ll take at least a good 5-6 years to get through the list of 257 countries, not including regional pins for larger countries, and countries where we just choose to cook more than one recipe. I’ll be posting each pin (recipe, notes, and anecdotes) here, and then maybe compile all of those into a cookbook for the kiddo, when we’re all done.

If you’re wondering why I’m doing this, beyond loving to cook, loving to hang out with our awesome daughter, and best of all, combining the two…you can read these two posts on my other blog:

The Problem with Farm to Table

Tips for Raising an International Gourmet

This week, it’s Uzbekistan, and this dish is…

OshMap

Uzbek Cuisine is influenced by local agriculture, as in most nations. There is a great deal of grain farming in Uzbekistan, so breads and noodles are of importance and Uzbek cuisine has been characterized as noodle rich. Mutton and lamb are a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country and it is part of various Uzbek dishes.

Osh, also called “Palov” or “Plov”, is a classical main dish of Central Asian countries including Uzbekistan. It is rich, filling and very tasty if prepared right. They are a number of optional ingredients, but base is onions, rice, carrots, oil and meat…typically lamb or mutton.

Oshi nahor, or “morning plov”, is served in the early morning (between 6 and 9 am) to large gatherings of guests, typically as part of an ongoing wedding celebration.

Things we learned about Uzbekistan:

  1. The Uzbeks believe that turning bread upside down will bring you bad fortune.
  2. According to an ancient tradition, a member of the family who is set to go on a journey has to take a bite from a small piece of Uzbek bread. The remaining bread is then kept buried or hidden until the traveler comes home.
  3. The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough osh (plov) to serve a thousand men.
  4. Traditionally, osh is a dish that is specifically prepared by men.

Uzbek Osh

  • 2 lbs fresh lamb leg steaks, bone in
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 3 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1 head of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 cup of grapeseed oil
  • 3 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

Clean, wash and matchstick the carrots.

Cut the onion in half, then into thin slices. Cut the lamb into 2 inch cubes and pat dry with paper towels, leaving the bones in the center cuts. Season the meat but tossing with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Start water boiling in a large pot.

Heat a non-stick pan (or cassoulet put, as pictured) on medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until you see a shimmer.

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.

 

Using a skimmer, metal slotted spoon, carefully lower the lamb cubes meat in to the oil. Fry about 30 seconds per side until well browned. Cook in batches (you don’t want to crowd the pan, or your lamb will steam, instead of brown), then add all of the meat back into the pan when browned.

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Once the meat has a nice brown crust, drop the onions on top. Add pinch of the cumin half of the listed salt and the black pepper.

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Mix it all up to prevent the onions from sticking. Cook until the onions reach a deep golden brown, and then add the carrots to the pan. Add remaining salt and cumin. Stir it all up and fry until carrots start to soften. (Stir at least every 30 seconds to prevent sticking.)

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

When the carrots are done, lower the heat to medium, and pour in the 8 cups of boiling water. Bring the whole thing to a simmer, but don’t let it boil. Add the garlic bulb, pushing it down beneath the surface. Let the whole thing simmer on medium heat for an hour.

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Meanwhile, put your dry rice in a large pot, and rinse it (draining through the colander) four or five times to get the starch out of the rice.

When done rinsing, mix in the chopped dates, and set aside.

Uzbek Palov Osh RecipeAfter an hour, remove the garlic bulb (set it aside, you ain’t done with it), stir the meat and veggies, and then evenly distribute the rice over the top. If there’s not enough water on top of the meat and veggies, add enough to maintain and inch of water above the rice. DO NOT STIR…you want to cook the rice ON TOP of everything else.

Push the garlic bulb back into the center and continue to cook on medium heat, covered. Watch it closely, once the rice has absorbed all of the broth, things can burn pretty quickly.

Now comes the fun part…

Uzbek Palov Osh Recipe

Scoop off all of the rice onto a serving platter, and put the garlic bulb on top of the rice. Cover with foil and keep warm (a 200F oven works nicely.)

Turn up the heat under the meat and veggies and cook it down until any remaining liquid is reduced to a thick broth.

Cut up the meat into a small cubes and distribute it, and the veggies, over the rice. Sprinkle a few olives, and maybe a sprinkle of cilantro over the top, and your osh is done!

Serve with warm flatbread, butter lettuce cups, or both.

Oh, and don’t forget…no silverware required! Eat with your fingers (of the right hand!)

Enjoy!

Chef Perry & Gracie

10/29/15
Perfect Aromatic Roast Chicken recipe

The Most Amazing Roast Chicken (and a little about us…)

Perfect Aromatic Roast Chicken recipe

I wanted to share with you all our super-simple (and simply amazing) aromatic roast chicken recipe (below), inspired by Alton Brown’s famous Holiday Turkey recipe…thanks, Alton!

By popular demand, this is Christmas dinner at our house, and also one of the recipes we plan to add to future MY KITCHEN Outreach classes.

MY KITCHEN Outreach Program

A recent graduating class with their graduation gift: copies of the MY KITCHEN Cookbook, covering all of the recipes and techniques they’ve learned in class, and many more. For every copy we sell online, we can provide two for future students!

Our long-term goal is, in addition to continuing to support amazing programs like Sparks of Hope, the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation, and My Father’s House Community Shelter, is to offer 3-day cooking camps for at-risk kids, foster-teens, and young families who need to learn healthy nutrition, shopping, and cooking skills.

Would you help us do this?

Just sign up for our free weekly newsletter, which features not only the latest that’s happening in the MY KITCHEN Outreach, but also offers delicious, simple recipes, cooking how-to’s, Chef’s tips and tricks, and our Q&A…where your cooking questions are answered personally, by one of our three chefs.

Again, there’s no cost to subscribe.

Thank you for helping us, help kids!

Chef’s Perry, Terry, and Chris
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
www.joinmykitchen.com

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramPlease subscribe to our free newsletter, right here! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.

 

Perfect Aromatic Roast Chicken

The Most Amazing Roast Chicken

1 – (5-6lb) roasting chicken
3/4 of a cup of salt
1/2 cup each of sugar and honey
1 gallon distilled water (unless you have a well, or really good tap water)
1/2 small gala apple, sliced thin, skin on.
1/2 small Asian pear, sliced thin, skin on.
1/2 small naval orange, peeled and sliced
1/2 small lemon, peeled and sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced thin.
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled.

Combine salt, sugar, honey, and 1 quart of water, and bring to a boil, stirring. When all solids are dissolved, pour this mixture into you brining pot, and add 3 more quarts of very cold water.

Add your chicken, breast-side down, and brine in refrigerator 8-18 hours. The longer you brine, the more moist and flavorful the meat will be.

Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly (this is important, as you must wash away the excess salt). Pat to dry well, and set on a rack on the counter to continue to dry for up to an hour.

Add all fruit, onion, and garlic to a saucepan. Add about a cup of water and bring just to a boil, covered.

Drain, and (carefully)  stuff the bird. FYI – you’ll toss the stuffing after roasting, and truss her up. Place the chicken, breast up, on a rack into a roasting pan, add 1/2 inch of water to the pan. Brush the bird lightly with oil (do NOT salt it!)

Preheat your oven to 425F, and roast the chicken for 20 minutes (rotating once), then turn the heat down to 350F for 90 minutes.

Flip to brown the back (personal preference, I like the skin!), then remove from oven and let rest 30 minutes, breast down on a rack, before carving.

Reserve bones and scraps for making stock for Hainanese Chicken Rice the next night!

I’ll post THAT recipe here, tomorrow. :)

08/10/15

Cooking with your kids

Cooking with Kids

I thought I’d share one of my favorite websites today: Kids Cooking Activities.

Cooking with kids

Me with my own little chef!

You know that teaching kids to cook is a subject near and dear to our hearts, and the focus of our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, so it’s no surprise that I love this website, which is packed with great information, resources, and activities that help teach kids that cooking can be fun!

Here are 10 reasons, from Kid’s Cooking Activities, why you should do cooking activities with your children.

Learning to cook helps children to learn about nutrition and healthy eating. They are growing up with fast food and junk food at their fingertips, which is part of the reason why child obesity is on the rise! Teaching kids to cook will help instill skills to last them a lifetime.

Boost their self esteem. If your child needs a boost of self confidence, (and who doesn’t!) cooking in the kitchen will do just that. They are accomplishing a task, learning something important and contributing to the family.

Create family time and bonding. Take time to cook with your children and they will have memories that they, in turn, can pass on to their families. It may take a longer time to get the meal or snack done but the moments with your children will be priceless. (Just remember to have patience. Don’t worry about flour on the floor or spilled milk).

Kids will be more apt to eat what they make. Perhaps, it is the enthusiasm of creating something themselves, but they will be more likely to eat whatever they had a hand in making.

Read the rest of this list, and check out tons of great activities on the Kids Cooking Activities site, and be sure to join their club to receive 20 free “Kids Cooking Recipes Cards!”

And remember, make it fun!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.

 

 

06/12/15

WE DID IT!

MY KITCHEN Outreach Van

WE DID IT!

Thank you all so much! Here’s the new outreach van, suited up and ready to play!

We’re going to leave this account open, as we still need to get new tires, ongoing maintenance, and a few odds and ends. If anyone feels like contributing, well…we’ll put it to good use!

1924363_980453261989507_1223448435796426515_nEach one of you have made a HUGE influence in the lives of countless children who will learn new skills, self sufficiency, and gain important self-worth though the MY KITCHEN Program!

Also, a massive, never-ending THANK YOU to Bob Lees at The Sign Shack llc in Hillsboro, Oregon for the FANTASTIC job he did on the outreach van (at cost!!!)

If you need signage of any kind, please give Bob a call!

Thank you Bob, so much, for helping us help kids!

– Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this post, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.

 

 

05/4/15

The “ministry” of the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program

MY KITCHEN Ministry

So, I was asked the other day what I consider to be the “ministry” aspect of our MY KITCHEN Cooking Classes.

I gave the question a lot of thought, and I want to share with you the answer I came up with.

MY KITCHEN MinistryMany of the kids we work with have severe self-esteem and self-worth issues.

Many come from a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

The world, as they know it, has hurt, marginalized, or just plan abandoned them, and they live daily questioning their worth and wondering if they are “just a mistake” (as one student told me last summer.)

These kids have lived much, if not all, of their lives in “survival mode”, simply trying to make it through each day without being hurt again, and never having the time, resources, or support to develop the kind of skills, interests, or passions that many of the rest of us take for granted.

MY KITCHEN MinistryChef Chris, Chef Terry, and I, when we teach a child a cooking skill, have seen time and time again how at the end of that day, or weekend, or six-week course…when they successfully flip that omelet, or taste that delicious chicken piccata that THEY made from scratch, and hear the cheers, praise, and compliments of their peers and leaders, they begin realize that they can do something, that they can have a skill that is unique to them, and that they, alone own.

MY KITCHEN Ministry

MY KITCHEN MinistryThey begin to see that they may have something of value to offer; that they may have worth after all.

Sometimes for the first time in their lives.

And we believe that realization begins to open the door of their hearts to the possibility that they are not a “mistake”, that God knows them, He values them, He intentionally created them, and that He does have a plan and a purpose for their lives that they can achieve.

That is our ministry.

Chef Perry

If you’re not familiar with our MY KITCHEN Outreach, please visit this link to learn more!Be the change (483x391)