Somethin’s Cookin’

This post was supposed to come out last week, but, well, didn’t.

As our daughter gets older, and matures enough to be able to handle more responsibility (as well as gaining more coordination with her hands), we’ve tried to get her more involved in cooking. It allows both me and Ms. Kaz to cook (which we enjoy), and still be involved with our daughter at the same time.

By this I mean… well… our daughter can entertain herself. However, it often times turns into, “Daddy! Come play with meeeeeeeee!!” or “Mommy! Come play with meeeeee!!” If we can get her involved in cooking, we can spend this time with her, and also teach her valuable lessons, like, uh… responsibility, and uhn, don’t let daddy cut your finger off, and… I dunno, how many quarts in a teaspoon?

Anyway, it is a lot of fun for all of us. A couple weeks ago, we had her help out with a couple meals…


Friday Night

pizza_beforeBecause our daughter is a big fan of Sally’s Apizza, here in New Haven, we got her the book Pizza at Sally’s from the library last month. Every time we read about Sally making her pizzas, my daughter chimed in, “I wanna do that at home!” She’s getting better at helping out with the cooking, and seems to enjoy it, so we thought, “Why not?”

So, we bought some little pizza shells, and a small pizza pan, and let her have a go at it. I think the best idea we had was to put some sauce and some cheese into little bowls. This helped control portions. Otherwise, I think she would have put way too much of both on her pizza.

For the most part, we let her put the sauce on and cheese on and spread it herself. Her pizza was looking good. That is, until Ms. Kaz ruined it by allowing our daughter to put mushrooms on it. Fortunately, we had an egg slicer, since my daughter insisted on helping to slice the mushrooms. Ms. Kaz saved the day by remembering this little device, which allowed our daughter to put the whole mushroom in there, and press the top down to slice the mushrooms.

pizza_afterI think our daughter had a lot of fun eating the pizza she helped make.

The only problem is, since this time, we have made a frozen pizza and gotten take-out pizza. Both times, my daughter insisted she wanted to “make the pizza!”

It isn’t easy explaining to her how someone else made the pizza already and it is too late for her to “help”. Then again, at 2 1/2, it isn’t easy explaining anything to her.

Sunday Night

This one was a little tougher for our daughter to help out with, but we found ways. We let her measure the TVP and stir it, once the water was added. I would chop the peppers and onions, and she would put them in a bowl for us. She really enjoyed sampling the peppers and onions (yes, she eats raw onions… and raw garlic, too), so it was a good way to get some good veggies into her.

She is still a little young to really handle a taco, but I think she still enjoyed eating the filling.

I’ve received permission to post our recipe, which we’ve been working on for quite some time. This time, we decided to actually measure the spices. Fortuntely, we nailed the amounts this time – the recipe turned out the best it’s ever been (I think it was the ancho chili powder). Hopefully, someone will try it and enjoy it!

Vegetarian Tacos

2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 peppers (we use green and red), finely chopped
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained (we use fire-roasted organic by Muir Glen)
3 1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of ancho chili powder (could use cayenne, but this adds a better flavor)
5 tsp of chili powder
2 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein – use this instead of beef)
2 1/2 cups of broth
salt & pepper to taste

Soak TVP in boiling water (use the broth for more taste) until soft; drain. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil (heat oil first) until translucent; add green peppers and saute (about 3 min). Add tomatoes, cumin, ancho chili powder (or cayenne), and chili powder. Add TVP to vegetables; add salt & pepper to taste. Saute until liquid is absorbed. Serve in warmed taco shells with shredded lettuce and cheese.

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2 Responses to Somethin’s Cookin’

  1. L.A. Daddy says:

    I think I will have to try that recipe. We’ve been talking about “make your own taco” night and this could give me the excuse!

    On Saturday night, we had LA Toddler help make pizza. We bought the Boboli pizza kits and added our own additional toppings. We cut every thing up for her and had her apply them. She was really excited to be a part of the whole process.

    Of course, we had to secretly spread out all of her mis-placed toppings as we carried the pizza over to the oven. She actually ate more than she normally does which might be a sign that being involved really helps. Or it could be that she was just hungry.

    I’ll let you know how the recipe turns out!

    [Kaz: Cool! Definitely let me know!]

  2. planet3rry says:

    How is TVP and Tofu different? Is it that TVP is more like V8 (combo of veggies) and Tofu is just soy??

    I think that I will try that recipe too…

    what type of broth, chicken or beef (just kidding!)

    [Kaz: TVP (sometimes also called TSP) is, like Tofu, made from soybeans, but is a defatted soy flour which is then made into (usually) small pieces which, unlike Tofu, have a spongy texture more akin to meat. If you are used to meat in certain recipes (like Tacos, Chili, etc.) than TVP may be a more suitable meat substitute for that dish.]

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