Recipes from a Teenage Chef by Christian Kelly [pdf, epub | 8,17 Mb] ISBN: B00RNIKJ2Q

  • Full Title: Recipes from a Teenage Chef: Easy meals for independent young adults
  • Autor: Christian Kelly
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Kelly
  • Publication Date: January 15, 2015
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B00RNIKJ2Q
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf, epub | 8,17 Mb
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Hey there – my name is Christian Kelly. I’m 19 years old, and if you haven’t figured it out by now, I have a thing for cooking. I love food. Food makes me happy, it’s my passion. I enjoy being funny and making people laugh. It’s a part of my personality I really like. I just love seeing people happy. And cooking does just that for me. It allows me to make people happy by making something that appeals to their taste buds, therefore putting a smile on their face. I enjoy helping people. I get satisfaction knowing that somewhere out there, in this world of over 7 billion people, someone was able to benefit from what I love doing.

Ever since I was about 5 years old, I’ve had an interest in food, other than eating it. I guess it was due to the fact that I’ve been exposed to cooking for as long as I can remember. Whenever my Grandmother or Aunts were cooking, I would always find myself in the kitchen either helping or simply watching. They were like my “Rachel Ray” of the day. One other thing I can remember to this day was, when my brother, sister, parents and I moved into our new home in Jersey, those first couple years, we ALWAYS cooked. I mean, on a nightly basis. My Dad was pretty much the chef of the house, he was the one to do most of the Sunday cooking, the fancy dinners, and there have been plenty of times when I had to ask him “where did you learn to cook” because everything he made, I was impressed with, I kid you not. But what stuck with me the most was when we used to all be in the kitchen together, as a family, all preparing dinner. My Mom and Dad were the “Head chefs”, my brother and sister like the “Prep cooks”, making salad and whatnot. And me? I was the audience. Just standing by, watching, observing. Gradually, I went from being the audience, to “Prep cook”, to “Sous Chef” to one of the “Head Chefs” (of the kitchen).

Now, this book addresses a couple of topics like obesity, healthy eating habits, how to save money while in the kitchen, and exercise, even a chapter based on some of Dr. Oz’s powerful tips for leading a healthier lifestyle, and his “Power Foods.” I’ve also included the first twenty-one recipes I tried: some I created and some are original recipes I simply made my own by adding my own twist and changing things up. These are recipes I’ve been working on since my early teens.

I want you to enjoy this book, and my biggest hope is that it will bless you in many ways. I thank you in advance for all of your support.

 

Editorial Reviews

 

Keywords

les is an award-winning food writer as well as a dedicated home cook. He writes a weekly column for the Mail on Sunday and is Food Editor of Esquire. He is also author of Full English (2009), which won The Guild of Food Writers’ Award for Work on British Food, as well as The Year of Eating Dangerously (2007) and E is for Eating – An Alphabet of Greed (2004). He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Tireless in the pursuit of a good dinner, award-winning food writer and broadcaster Tom Parker Bowles has concentrated a life spent in thrall to his appetite into one cookbook, Let’s Eat. The recipes range from the resolutely traditional and British (My mother’s roast chicken or the classic Sticky toffee pudding) through the speediest of quick fixes (Steak or Spiced grilled mackerel) to the truly global (Ceviche, Thai beef salad and Mexican beef stew). But all can be easily cooked in the most everyday of kitchens. This is a book about flavour, succour and good cheer. Real food, for people who live to cook and eat.

‘Few food writers enjoy eating with gusto quite as much as does Tom. Now, with this deeply scrumptious book, he reveals how talented he is at the first bit: the cooking.’

Simon Hopkinson

For Freddy

First published in the United Kingdom in 2012 by

PAVILION BOOKS

10 Southcombe Street

London

W14 0RA

An imprint of Anova Books Company Ltd

Text © Tom Parker Bowles 2012

Design and layout © Anova Books 2012

Photography © Cristian Barnett 2012

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Commissioning editor: Becca Spry

Design concept & cover: Georgina Hewitt

Photographer: Cristian Barnett

Home economist: Justine Pattison

Layout: Allan Sommerville

Copy editor: Maggie Ramsay

Stylist: Pene Parker

Production: Laura Brodie

Proofreader: Jamie Ambrose

Indexer: John Noble

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-90910-807-3

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

First Ebook publication 2012

Also available in hardback ISBN: 978-1-86205-930-6

{ Contents }

Introduction

Comfort food

Quick fixes

Slow & low

From far-flung shores

Cooking for children

Index

Introduction

I have a battered old leather recipe book, dark blue and stained with fat, ketchup and chilli sauce. And this book provides most of the recipes for Let’s Eat. Entry into this shabby journal is every bit as exacting as a stage with Thomas Keller or Marco Pierre White. Each recipe has to earn its place. The process goes as follows: I travel to Mexico City, Bangkok, Palermo, Bolton or Vientiane. And eat. Everywhere and everything, my belly swelling as the days go past.

I take copious, scrawled notes and jot down recipes on scraps of paper, everything from ticket stubs to napkins (and as anyone who has ever spent any time eating Asian street food knows, their napkins make loo roll seem like canvas). Once back at my desk in London I attempt to decipher the name of a dish hiding beneath an errant scrap of noodle. Or a local ingredient blurred by a dousing of beer.

Yet this is not simply a traveller’s tome, but a collection of very British recipes, too. The food I grew up eating, and still adore. The shepherd’s pies and grilled sole, fresh asparagus and roasted grouse that never cease to thrill and delight.

At home, I cook each recipe at least three times, endlessly amending until it works (and gets the seal of approval from my wife; seriously, when she nods, the whole world agrees). Then, and only then, is it transcribed into the book. As the years pass, comments and additions find their way onto the pages. I love this leather volume, as much as I love my much-abused wok. Both have the patina of time and constant use, dirty and ragged to the outsider, but utterly beautiful to me. This book, like the wok, tells the story of my love of food. The scribbled additions, the infantile representations of the perfect-sized meatball and the scrawled notes, illegible to anyone but myself.

Let’s Eat doesn’t set out to sharpen your knife skills, nor redefine the way you view food. Taste takes precedence over pretty presentation and I’ve little time for pious finger-wagging. Buy the best you can afford. Good free-range meat does cost more. The animals take longer to grow, are killed later, and are hung (in the case of beef) often for longer than a month. This means extra cash, sure. As well as extra flavour. And an immeasurably happier life for those beasts, too. But having promised I wouldn’t, I’m starting to lecture from the lofty heights of my food writer’s ivory tower.

The sa
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½ tsp. of thyme, chopped

Dash of salt and black pepper

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of wild rice

2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth

4 cups of roasted chicken, cut into pieces

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In a saucepan set over medium heat, add in the butter. Once melted, add in the chopped celery, carrot pieces, onion, minced garlic and chopped thyme. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper. Stir well to mix. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.

Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the top and stir well until coated. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add in the wild rice and low sodium chicken broth. Add in 2 cups of water and stir well to incorporate. Allow to come to a boil. Lower the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft.

Add in the chicken pieces. Continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Add in the heavy whipping cream. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Braised Green and Clam Spaghetti

This is a delicious spaghetti dish that every seafood lover will fall in love with. It is made with a spicy broth that helps to give this dish an amazing flavor.

Makes: 4 servings

Total Prep Time: 45 minutes

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients:

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

48 littleneck clams

2 cups of dried white wine

2 jars of roasted red peppers, drained

1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound of Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped

Dash of salt and black pepper

½ pound of spaghetti

2 Tbsp. of butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 tsp. of grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp. of lemon juice

½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, extra for garnish

Directions:

In a pot set over medium heat, add in ¼ cup of olive oil. Add in the crushed garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the littleneck clams. Add in the dried white wine. Allow to come to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to low. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the clams begin to open by themselves.

Transfer the clams onto a baking sheet. Toss out any clams that do not open.

Strain the clam broth through a sieve into a bowl. Add in the roasted pepper into the broth. Pour into a food processor. Pulse on the highest setting until smooth in consistency.

Clean out the pot and place back over medium heat. Add in the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Add in the crushed garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the crushed pepper flakes and Swiss chard. Continue to cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.

Add in the roasted pepper broth. Stir well to incorporate. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper.

In a pot filled with salted water. Heat over high heat. Allow to come to a boil. Add in the spaghetti. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and add into the pot with the clam mix. Toss well to mix.

Add in the butter, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and ½ cup of grated cheese. Add in the clams and toss well to mix.

Remove from heat. Serve with a garnish of the remaining grated cheese.

Gouda and Ham Souffles

While making a souffle may seem like a daunting prospect, with the help of this delicious dish it will seem like the easiest process in the world.

Makes: 8 servings

Total Prep Time: 35 minutes

Wine Pairing: Rosé

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp. of butter, soft and extra for greasing

¼ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 leeks, thinly sliced

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups of whole milk

¾ tsp. of salt

¼ tsp. of cayenne pepper

6 eggs, separated

5 ounces of gouda cheese, shredded

6 ounces of ham, chopped

½ tsp. of cream of tartar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush 8 ramekins with butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano into the bottom of the ramekins. Place onto a baking sheet.

In a saucepan, add in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add in the sliced leeks. Cook for 5 minutes or until wilted. Transfer onto a plate and set aside. Clean the skillet.

Add in 4 tablespoons of butter into the saucepan. Add in the all-purpose flour. Whisk until mixed. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the whole milk and continue to cook for 2 minutes or until smooth in consistency.

Season with a dash of salt and cayenne pepper. Remove from heat.

Add in the egg yolks. Whisk to mix. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add in the shredded Gouda cheese, chopped ham and leeks. Stir well to mix.

In a bowl, add in the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer until frothy. Increase the speed of the mixer to high. Continue to beat until peaks begin to form on the surface. Add into the souffle mix. Stir well to incorporate.

Pour the souffle mix into the ramekins. Sprinkle the remaining grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.

Place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Remove and cool for 5 minute
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re we would go through bags of flour or bushels of potatoes or tomatoes in search of the best way to prepare a dish.

Finally, there are recipes in this book that mark the course of our friendship and collaboration. The turtle soup recipe in the second chapter is perhaps the most personally significant: it was the dish that Miss Lewis prepared the first time I ever met her, at a gala celebration of great Southern cooks in Atlanta in 1988. I was chef at the Georgia governor’s mansion at the time, attending the dinner as a guest. I was not particularly interested in Southern food then—I was just twenty-five years old and wanted to live and cook in Italy. But I was so struck by Miss Lewis’s integrity and the ethereal, almost indescribable complexity and delicacy of her turtle soup that I knew I had to go to New York, where she was the executive chef at the historic Brooklyn restaurant Gage & Tollner, and to cook with her. Right away Miss Lewis had some strong words of advice for me. “Some good cooks have to stay in the South,” she said, and she admonished me to stay where I was and learn about my own culinary heritage.

So I did, and I continued to learn from Miss Lewis. I visited her in New York and she shared with me stories from Freetown—as well as damson plum preserves and sugared raspberries. When she returned to Atlanta in 1989 for another dinner event, I helped her prepare pies and cobblers. And a few months later she visited Atlanta again; this time we had our first cooking “retreat”—an entire week of talking about food and cooking together, culminating in a great dinner for some lucky friends of mine. The star dish, at my insistence, was turtle soup. And it gave me a glimpse into a Southern world that’s long gone: a vision of the spring rains that washed big turtles up on the riverbanks near Freetown, to be captured, put into an open wooden barrel and purged with cornmeal and milk before Miss Lewis’s mother would slaughter and cook them slowly to bring out their extraordinary flavor. The week was a defining moment in my professional life and in our friendship. That turtle soup recipe as we refined it together several times since is now in our soup chapter.

In many ways this entire book embodies the personal and professional closeness that Miss Lewis and I have enjoyed. In the nineties we began to work more directly and steadily together. Together we founded the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, an organization devoted to promoting Southern foodways; we taught together and ran workshops. We researched and traveled, always gathering material for the book. In 1992, Miss Lewis moved to Atlanta and four years later, she came to live with me. Today we cook and eat together regularly, so you will find among these recipes many that reflect our daily life—a love for pancakes for supper, for instance, some great sandwiches, and shrimp paste stirred into a bowl of creamy grits.

A word about why this book is written in my voice: Miss Lewis and I both felt that a first-person-plural voice speaking for both of us was awkward, not allowing us to differentiate between her tastes and experiences and memories and mine. So I took on the writing, and I trust that it reflects both her passion for exploring what it means to be Southern, what the Southern experience is, and how it is reflected in food. In fact, that is why we really started writing this book. Our hope now is that it will help readers who share that curiosity. But above all, we hope it will move you to make the dishes we describe. Real Southern cooking is home cooking and to understand it—to taste it—you have to make it yourself.

We invite you to begin…

Scott Peacock

Decatur, Georgia, 2002

I. WELCOME TO THE SOUTHERN TABLE

Relishes, Condiments, and Drinks

Shrimp Paste

Pimento Cheese

A Note on Roasting and Peeling Peppers

Spicy Eggplant Relish

Candied Bacon

Red Pepper Catsup

Dried Fig Relish

A Note on About Ceylon Cinnamon

Cranberries with Orange Zest and Port

Green Tomato Preserves

Cucumber Pickles

Chowchow

Hot Pepper Vinegar

Candied Kumquats

Apple Chutney

Old-Fashioned Fig Preserves

Pear Relish

Strawberry Preserves

Sugared Raspberries

Hot Chocolate

Eggnog

Homemade Lemonade

Iced Tea

Mulberry Acid

Agua de Sandia (or Watermelon Punch)

Blackberry Cordial

In this chapter, we welcome you to the Southern table with an unusual assortment of recipes. They don’t really fit into any one category, but they provide both a useful introduction to the flavors Southerners particularly like and to the ways in which relishes and condiments and drinks are served—usually everything is put on the table at once.

There’s not a big tradition of hors d’oeuvre in the South, but our first two recipes happen to make very good appetizers. Shrimp Paste has long been enjoyed by Charlestonians as a savory accompaniment to whiskey
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lity apply to broccoli and even meat. It makes sense when you think about it. Isn’t the quality of every product ultimately determined by the quality of its starting materials? What’s amazing is that this fact transforms healthy food from something unappealing into something delicious. Fortunately for me and my grad-student budget, I could get the same ingredients used by fancy San Francisco restaurants at the local farmers market for a fraction of the price. Once I made this discovery, I could never go back to mediocre food.

It is difficult to quantify the impact of loving food instead of fighting it. Eating healthy becomes a joy, so weight loss comes naturally. Friends look at your meals with envy instead of pity. Your goals transform from burdens into fun new projects. Psychologically, one of the most important aspects of your life—the food you eat three times a day and the meals you share with friends and family—pulls a complete one-eighty and changes from stressful and difficult to joyful and delicious. The old way of dieting, and the suffering it brings, suddenly seem so unnecessary.

Foodists do not diet. Modern weight-loss diets are temporary eating plans that emphasize single nutrients and restriction over real food and lifelong habits. Foodists, in contrast, focus on real, high-quality foods in order to optimize our quality of life. We understand that how you look and feel about your body is important, but that true happiness also comes from excellent health, a fulfilling social life, rich cultural experiences, and physical enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong, my goal is to help you lose weight. But I want to make sure your success is permanent and that you don’t suffer in the process. Popular weight-loss diets sacrifice all the other aspects of life and happiness for the sake of dropping weight rapidly. But foodists know that being thinner does not solve all your problems, and if you neglect the rest of your life to get there, the weight will find its way back. As a foodist, I want more than a perfect body; I want an amazing life.

For these reasons my philosophy on food has nothing to do fat, carbs, or calories. I approach food and health with only one unshakable belief: that life should be awesome. What you eat should always enhance, and never detract from, your quality of life. You should be able to look and feel your best not just while starving yourself for a few weeks or months, but for as long as you care enough to try. Your food should taste delicious, whether it’s healthy or not, and you should never feel guilty for what you choose.

Foodist is a training manual to make real food, and therefore real, lasting weight control, a permanent part of your life. Knowing what to eat isn’t the toughest part of losing weight. There are thin, healthy people everywhere along the diet spectrum, and most of us already know that broccoli is a better choice than cheesecake. What’s difficult is navigating a world that constantly steers us away from better food and better health. The challenge is actually doing what we know is best.

Foodist will teach you how to overcome the daily obstacles and ingrained habits that prevent you from reaching your goals. Since we all face different challenges, it will also help you tailor your strategies for your own lifestyle and preferences, making sure the path you choose will work for you in the long term. You’ll learn the basics of both nutrition and psychology, so you understand not just what to eat, but also when, where, why, and how to choose foods that optimize your health and happiness. Our goal isn’t just weight loss. We want to make sure the effort you put in now gets you where you want to be, but more important is that it helps you stay there.

This book is divided into three parts. In Part I, I aim to convince you once and for all that dieting is a fool’s mission that in the long run does more harm than good. This is not bad news, though, because I then present a more effective (and vastly more enjoyable) alternative: building rewarding habits. Habits make eating healthy even easier than eating unhealthy, since they are automatic behaviors that do not require willpower. Built into this approach are joy and pleasure, since it is impossible for new habits to form without an associated reward. If healthy eating isn’t fun, it isn’t going to work.

Focusing on real food instead of those specialty, highly processed diet foods is the secret to making healthy food enjoyable. My recipe for how to make cauliflower taste as good as french fries has convinced hundreds of skeptics that vegetables aren’t just palatable, but can be insanely delicious. There will always be excuses to eat unhealthy foods (and these are never off-limits), but as a foodist you’ll have just as many delicious reasons to eat real, healthy foods. Not only do they make your taste buds happy, but unlike processed foods they’ll make you feel great and fit into your clothes after eating them.
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°C).

2 Cut the pumpkin in half using a serrated knife.

3 Put the pumpkin halves into a clean roasting pan. Cover the pan with foil and roast for about 90 minutes or until the flesh of the pumpkin is soft and juicy but not burnt. Once cooked, the pan will have juice at the bottom, so save that and set it aside.

4 Take some of the pumpkin flesh and wrap it in some cheesecloth–you will probably have to do this a little at a time. Over a large bowl, squeeze the flesh through the cheesecloth so that the juice goes into the bowl. Get as much juice as you can–you should get about a half a quart or more from the whole pumpkin. I also recommend saving the leftover pumpkin pulp as it works great in baked goods and smoothies.

5 When you have as much juice as you’re going to get from the pumpkin, combine it and the other ingredients in a blender and blend. You may want to use half the ginger, though. It will be frothy, but don’t worry, it will eventually settle. Add ice to serve right away or set in the fridge for an hour or so until cool.

KITCHEN NERD NOTES

Warning: The juice, when obtained via the blender/strainer method, does not keep long. It tends to solidify into a gelatin-like texture after 24 hours. It can still be used for a brilliant pumpkin milkshake, though!

◁ RAKTAJINO

INSPIRED BY STAR TREK

Raktajino is Klingon coffee. While Raktajino is sometimes enjoyed in other Star Trek series, it’s no secret that every character in Deep Space Nine is hopelessly addicted to it. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, DS9 crew. Honestly, I would bet that the word “Raktajino” is said more often in Deep Space Nine than the words “Deep Space Nine” in tandem. They may as well have named the series Star Trek: Raktajino.

There are no specifics about how exactly this Klingon coffee differs from Earth coffee, but we can guess that it’s probably about twice as strong as a standard human coffee. After all, it’s made for Klingons, who are about twice as strong as a standard human. For this recipe I combined the method of Vietnamese coffee with the spices in Moroccan-style coffees.

SERVES 1

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons ground (medium-coarse) medium-dark roast coffee with chicory

Pinch ground cardamom

Pinch ground black pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

Pinch ground ginger

Pinch ground clove

1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons (140 ml) boiling filtered water

1 Vietnamese coffee filter*

* These can be purchased cheaply at any Asian grocery store or on online.

1 Add the sweetened condensed milk to a mug.

2 Add the coffee grounds to the base of the coffee press, then add the spices on top of the grounds. Wet these with the 4 teaspoons (20 ml) hot water.

3 Screw the press on tight, making sure the coffee is well-packed down. If you don’t have the kind that screws, don’t worry. Place the filter on top of the mug.

4 Pour the remaining boiling water into the coffee press and cover with the lid. Wait for the coffee to drip into the cup until all the water is gone.

5 Remove the filter, stir the coffee into the milk and enjoy!

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Doctor Who: BANANA DAIQUIRI

Twin Peaks: BLACK YUKON SUCKER PUNCH

Fallout: DIRTY WASTELANDER

Dark Souls: ESTUS

Star Wars: JAWA JUICE

Star Trek: BLOODWINE

◁ BANANA DAIQUIRI

INSPIRED BY DOCTOR WHO

Doctor Who fans in the UK, you guys would not believe the number of requests I get to make recipes for Jammie Dodgers and Jelly Babies. Attention all Doctor Who fans outside the UK, this is a public service announcement: this is not a test, Jammie Dodgers and Jelly Babies are real! They’re a bit difficult to find outside the UK, but you can purchase them online and have them shipped. You’re welcome!

Alright, now that’s sorted, what better way to enjoy your new giant hoard of Jammie Dodgers and Jelly Babies than to wash it all down with a nice Banana Daiquiri? In the Season 2 episode “The Girl in the Fireplace,” the Tenth Doctor, after partying hard with Madame de Pompadour, shows up fashionably late to save Rose and Mickey from dismemberment at the hands of clockwork robots. While doing so, the Doctor revels in the night’s activities and claims to have invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries too early. So, here’s what a banana daiquiri would be if you Frenched it up a bit and added Madame de Pompadour’s favorite food: champagne. I tried to use only ingredients that would be available in Le Potager du Roi of Versailles in eighteenth-century France.… Well, aside from the banana, which, of course, you should always bring with you to a party.

SERVES 2

1/2 cup (140 g) crushed ice

1/2 cup (120 ml) water

2 shots rum

2 frozen bananas

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Simple Syrup (shown here)

1 cup (235 ml) champagne, chilled

1 Combine all the ingredients except the champagne in a blender,
brown sugar

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

1½ teaspoons mayonnaise

1 heaping tablespoon grated Cheddar

salt and pepper, to season

5 tablespoons unseasoned dried bread crumbs

2 tablespoons flour

1 egg

2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil, for frying

buns, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, to serve (for burgers)

Ever met a vegetable-hating vegetarian? Well, I have met quite a few. These tasty veggie bites or burgers are a good way to encourage children to eat more vegetables, as here the veggies are mashed up—and not being visible, they can’t be picked out.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan and sauté all the vegetables except the garlic for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the soy sauce and sugar, and cook for 1 minute more. Spread out on a plate and let cool.

For small veggie bites, you need to chop the cooked and cooled veggies, either in a food processor (scraping down the sides frequently) or with a large knife.

Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the fresh bread crumbs, mayonnaise, Cheddar, and pepper to taste (the soy sauce should give enough salt). For bites, roll teaspoonfuls into balls. For burgers, take tablespoonfuls and squish into a patty shape. You can use a cookie cutter on the patties to create star-shaped burgers. If you have time, put them on a plate and chill for 1 hour or preferably overnight. However, they can be coated and cooked without chilling.

Mix together the dried bread crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan on a large plate, along with salt and pepper to taste. Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a small bowl.

Dust the bites/burgers in the seasoned flour, then dip in the egg and roll in the bread crumbs. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan and cook the bites/burgers for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve warm—with buns, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise for burgers.

Nachos

Preparation 10 minutes

Cook 2 minutes

Makes 2 portions

Not suitable for freezing or reheating

For the mild salsa

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (or to taste)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

salt and pepper, to season

For the nachos

12 plain tortilla chips

¼ cup grated Cheddar

1 tablespoon sour cream (optional)

I find that I have to make little individual portions of nachos, as my children always end up arguing over who is eating the most and this is the only way I can guarantee they all get the same! However, you can just pile the tortilla chips together in the center of the foil and sprinkle with the salsa and cheese, then broil and let the children help themselves. It is also really easy to make double quantities (or more) if you need to please a crowd. I like to make my own fresh salsa, but you can always use a quarter cup of your favorite store-bought one instead.

To make the salsa, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, seasoning to taste with the salt and pepper. Cover and chill until needed—it will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

To make the nachos, preheat the broiler and line a broiler pan with foil. Spread the tortilla chips on the foil and top each one with half a teaspoon of salsa and a little of the cheese. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese has just melted. Watch carefully, as the edges of the tortilla chips can burn easily.

Transfer the nachos to two plates and top each with a small blob of sour cream, if using. Serve immediately, with more salsa.

Tortilla Pizza Margherita

Preparation 5 minutes

Cook 9 minutes

Makes 1 portion

Not suitable for freezing or reheating

one 7-inch flour tortilla

2 generous tablespoons tomato sauce

1/3 cup grated Cheddar or mozzarella

Toppings Menu (I would suggest no more than 2 toppings per pizza, if using)

2 or 3 pitted black olives, cut into rings

1 cherry or grape tomato, cut into rings

fresh basil leaves

2 cubes drained canned pineapple, cut into small dice

1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon drained canned corn

1 scallion, sliced

2 mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in a little oil

3 or 4 very thin slices zucchini, brushed with a little oil before putting on pizza

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan

1 oil-packed sun-dried tomato, drained and finely chopped

I love thin-crust pizzas, and flour tortillas make an ideal “instant” base—turning deliciously crisp in the oven. They are also perfect for smaller children, who find the slimmer base easier to eat. Sometimes the air bubbles in the tortilla puff up a bit as the pizza bakes—but they deflate as soon as it comes out of the oven, so don’t

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