One of my goals for 2012 is to help Solomon and Celia become more confident in the kitchen, not just making smoothies and baking cookies, but preparing a whole meal, like this Chicken Tricolore. When the kids were younger, they were glad to work or play by my side in the kitchen. Now that theyre 14 and 12, they often have other priorities.
I want to be absolutely certain that when the kids leave our nest, they know how to plan, shop for, prepare and clean up from a meal so they can keep themselves nourished. Lately, Ive been asking Solomon or Celia to be my kitchen assistant once a week (the other one gets to help me with the laundry instead.) Actually, I try to be their assistant, letting them choose the recipe, help me decide what to serve with it and when to start the side dish, and give their opinion on which ingredients to add along the way.
One thing I find when I cook with them is not only do they gain cooking confidence, but they are so much more eager to eat what weve prepared, as they take a lot of pride in their work. When I cook with kids, I ask them to smell and taste the ingredients along the way and I solicit their feedback on the flavors, making sure to ask them if we should ask more or less of a certain herb, and if the dish needs any sugar or honey, salt or an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar to round out or boost the flavor.
It often amazes the kids how easy it actually is to make a delicious dinner. This chicken recipe is a terrific one to make with your kids because it is so easy, and it looks pretty and tastes delicious. Theyll be very proud of their accomplishment.
For a traditional Italian dessert, try this gorgeous crostata allUva (grape jam tart) from my friend Domenica Marchetti. Domenica is a journalist and talented cook, and the renowned author of several Italian cookbooks, including her most recent, The Glorious Pasta of Italy (Chronicle Books, 2011).
Do you like to cook with your kids? What would make you do it more often?
Making Chicken Tricolore