Friday, February 27, 2009

I Love Kid Food

Anyone who loves to cook knows that cooking for children can sometimes be frustrating. Kids can be very finicky and they go through phases- what they liked last week, they may turn thier nose up to today.
I think that cooking for kids can be a great opportunity to get a little creative in the kitchen; a chance to hone your culinary presentation skills. As many of you know, sometimes this can mean all the difference in whether or not a child will even try a dish.

My take on this has always been to deny our foremother's convention: Go ahead...play with that food!

My son, Jake, gladly devoured just about anything I would put before him when he was little.
He is much more picky today. He doesn't like fish, but he loves clam chowder, salmon cakes and (amazingly) calimari. He isn't a fan of spaghetti, but he likes lasagna. He doesn't like corn or asparagus, but he will eat greenbeans, broccoli & zucchini. He is definately weary of new foods (breaks my heart) but we have always had a rule in our home that everything on our plates must have a bite out of it- try it before you deny it!

There was a span of time where a cheese and mayonnaise sandwich was a staple in our home and I will never forget the time that Simon introduced Jake to "Beans on Toast" (this is an English breakfast staple, using Heinz baked beans- these aren't at all as sweet as our American version) Jake (age 7) looked at me, incredulously, and when Simon's back was turned he mouthed the words "do I HAVE to eat this?" I nodded yes in reply. Heinz Baked Beans have been a favorite in our home ever since that fateful day.

There is a lot of fun to be had when it comes to creatively preparing kid food. But Jake is 18 now and his busy schedule means that he is not often home for dinner. No longer do I cut hot dogs into octopi and prop them on a sea of mac and cheese, and gone are the days of forming little pig shaped biscuits on top of a cup of soup. I could still make meatloaf with roasted veggie faces, but I am certain that both my husband and son would find that just a little odd.

There are some "kid friendly" foods that we still enjoy though.
Ebelskivers - swedish pancake balls- are a good example of this. I would make these for breakfast when my son had friends spend the night. Often a plate of ebelskivers was met with a look of confusion, but I would encourage them to pop a whole on in their mouth and then instructed them on the correct pronunciation "ebelskivers". When they repeated the word (mouth full of swedish pancake) I would tell them "exactly" often followed by "and don't talk with your mouth full!"

Jake's favorite prep for ebelskivers is a sprinkling (okay, a coating) of cinnamon and sugar. I always preferred real maple syrup. When we had these earlier this week we made them per the The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook which suggested a filling of marscapone cheese and berry jam. I don't think I will have them any other way now. They were pretty darn good that way!

You can prepare these with any condiments that you would consider using for a pancake- a dollup of fruit or chocolate can also be added to each ball as it cooks. I have not tried any savory types, but I would think that these also could be very good.


You will need a special ebelskiver pan to accomplish these - but feel free to share if you have a tip for making these without one.

EBELSKIVERS**
Ingredients

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1tsp. baking powder
½tsp. baking soda
¼tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sour cream (You may also use 1 cup of sour cream with good results)
½ cup milk or buttermilk
~
Butter or canola oil for greasing the pan
~
Jam, maple syrup, and powdered sugar for serving

Steps

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth.

Heat a cast-iron ebelskiver pan over medium-low heat. Place a tiny bit of butter or canola in each mold and spread it evenly around the molds before filling each mold with a spoonful of batter. Cook until light brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Turn gently with a fork or skewer and brown the other side. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

**Adapted to the book The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne.

2 comments:

K-Falls Farmgirl Cheryl said...

Ya know..he was a damm cute kiddie.. and look at him now all growd up.. Must have eaten lots of KID FOOD..

Nancy Cook said...

Yep- he is now 6 foot and 190lbs and he eats a lot!