A couple of weeks ago, Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green asked me to contribute to a virtual cookbook in honor of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day, the mission of which, according to Jamie, is to help every child «understand where food comes from, how to cook it, and how it affects their body. This is about setting kids up with the knowledge they need to make better food choices for life.»
I was thrilled to participate—especially because the emphasis was on cooking with kids. The Food Revolution 2014: Cooking with Kids Cookbook features recipes, photos and stories chronicling a full day’s worth of healthy meals and snacks, all cooked by or with children. Featured contributors include bloggers Bettina Siegel from The Lunch Tray; Brianne DeRosa from Red, Round, or Green; Grace Freedman of EatDinner.org; Mia Moran of Stay Basic; Caron Gremont, founder of First Bites; and Sally Kuzemchak, blogger at Real Mom Nutrition.
For our Food Revolution meal, I asked my boys to each come up with a side dish they wanted to prepare. Tano, 13, wanted to roast some potatoes, and Luca, 11, went for roasted asparagus. We rounded out the meal with simple burgers, topped with a super-ripe avocado. We’re lucky in that we were able to buy all the veggies and the ground beef from our local farm, five minutes from our house. This is not always the case, but we love to shop there whenever we can.
Roasted potatoes are really a staple in our house, but we’ll mix it up a bit by sometimes leaving the skins on, and sometimes using fingerlings instead of Yukon golds. A bit of fresh chopped rosemary or chopped thyme is also delicious, sprinkled over the top. Typically these potatoes are more of a winter or fall dish, mostly because we try to avoid heating up the kitchen with our stove in the warmer months. But Tano was in the mood for some crunchy goodness, and the rest of us were happy to comply.
Luca’s preparation of roasted asparagus with shaved parmesan is one we came up with years ago. We used to have to top our greens (asparagus, spinach, escarole) with all kinds of things to entice our boys. We’d try toasted almonds or Parmesan or garlic or sometimes all three—anything to get them to eat green veggies. Somewhere along the line, they stopped caring about the toppings as much and now they’ll eat the greens with or without. During the summer months, we’ll often grill the asparagus, which is equally delicious.
These dishes are as simple as they sound. Tano and Luca were able to manage the dishes all on their own. A little music in the background helped, which is why Tano’s mouth is open in every picture (he’s singing). And of course there was some clean up involved (Luca is pretty enthusiastic chopper, I have to say – some asparagus got airborne). But in spite of the volume and mess, as usual cooking was a lot more fun with all of us in the kitchen together!
Check out the Food Revolution Day 2014: Cooking with Kids Cookbook for our asparagus and roasted potato recipes as well as easy and tasty recipes for: Zesty Lemon Waffles; Roasted Tomato Bruschetta; Sticky Maple Chicken Wings; Chef P’s Salad; «Formula Salad»; Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken; and No-fry Sweet Potato Nests!
For more easy recipes (complete with activity suggestions and conversation starters) visit out Food section.