Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The One With the Kids in the Kitchen

Something you might not know about me is that even though I like being in the kitchen and I like kids, putting the two together is hard for me. Does that make me a terrible mother? The kitchen is just kind of my zone... and having children underfoot or climbing up and trying to measure and stir things is just... not my favorite thing ever. But, I really want my kids to learn to cook and (hopefully) to love it, because it's a basic survival skill and all that. My mom taught me and I'm grateful that she did. And the least I can do is pass it on. Even though it's hard for me to get up the mental strength to do so.

Well the solution to this problem came to me a few months ago when Ellie got a wonderful birthday present from my sister-in-law, Emily. Ellie has the American Girl doll Kit and she loves to read her stories and dress her up. Emily gave her Kit's Cooking Studio and Ellie was so excited to try it out. Right away she picked out the recipes that she wanted to make. Ellie has gotten to be kind of a picky eater lately, so I thought the best way to get her to eat was probably to let her make the meal. She decided she wanted to make Cincinnati Chili with Sour Cream Biscuits. And she did a great job.

It turns out that if I am prepared ahead of time to help her make dinner, instead of her help me, everything goes much better. She and Olivia pulled up some chairs from their bedroom and did a great job stirring and mixing and cutting out the biscuits. And now that Ellie is so excited about cooking and feels more in control, she does a much better job stirring things slowly so they don't spill, mixing thoroughly so everything is the same color, etc. We make this meal every other week or so and she knows she gets to make it. (We've also made a lot of other recipes from that cookbook and they were all great. Except for some kind of fried banana donut things that tasted disgusting. Because they were made with bananas. Should've known.)

We made Apple Kuchen when it was still more fall than winter and all the apples were fresh. It was a lovely little apple coffee cake thing. It was fun to see how excited she was about it. Anyone who came through our door those days was immediately offered a piece of her Apple Kuchen. All of this was kind of a breakthrough for us and now working together in the kitchen is much more enjoyable. So I thought I'd pass along this Sour Cream Biscuits recipe because it is a great place to start together. And it's really delicious and I could eat all these biscuits by myself. But I won't.

Sour Cream Biscuits 
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Extra flour for coating cutting board and rolling pin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remind kids to wash hands very thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Cut the cold butter into small, pea-size cubes and mix into the flour, using a fork to coat the pieces of butter with flour every time you add a few chunks. Use a pastry cutter to blend together the butter and flour mixture until the mixture forms a crumbly dough.

Use a wooden spoon to mix in the sour cream and shredded cheese. Stir thoroughly until all liquid is incorporated.

Put a little flour on your hands and on a cutting board. Turn the dough over onto the floured surface and knead it slightly to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Do not over knead. Use a flour-covered rolling pin  to roll the dough until it is even and about a centimeter thick. Use cookie or biscuit cutters to cut shapes from the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 6-8 minutes if you use a small cookie cutter (more fun for kids!) or 12-14 minutes if you use a regular size biscuit cutter.

Line a pretty basket with a cloth napkin or a clean tea towel and place the warm biscuits inside, covering them up with one side of the towel to keep them warm. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Kit's Cooking Studio. 

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