Thursday, October 28, 2010

kids in the kitchen -- worms and eyeballs (WHAT!?)

Just so none of you think I've completely lost it, the worms are really pasta and the eyeballs are really Chinese meatballs.

This meal was a PAIN IN THE BUTT to make. It required skills a bit beyond my fledgling chefs' ability, so I was involved a lot more with the hands-on stuff than I find ideal (which means we're lacking in photos of some of the key steps), and Zoo Boy had some massive sensory issues with the ingredients, which left me short a set of hands frequently. BUT. It was so ridiculously outrageously delicious, and actually GOOD for us, that I'm bound to make it again. Without the kids involved. Or the disgusting name.

Anyway, here's how we did it -- the kids mixed together ground chicken, onion (supposed to be garlic but somehow that got left off the shopping list), scallions, salt, pepper, and hoisin sauce (which I had never even heard of, and which spellcheck apparently does not recognize). Note: there's supposed to be diced red pepper in there too, but we all hate red pepper so we left it out. Then they formed little meatballs and placed them on a cookie sheet. Zoo Boy's not in the photo because he was in the bathroom gagging after having touched the raw ground chicken. Yup, my life, it's a carnival ride! But J stuck in there even though he probably thought it was equally disgusting. He's not so much about the drama anymore.

Then the meatballs went into the oven at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.

One of those great learning opportunities I mentioned the other day (learning from mistakes) came as Zoo Boy was reading the recipe steps. He read, "Form the mixture into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet," which we did. I said "Ok, ready for next step!" and he read, " with a light coating of vegetable oil." Huh? I looked over his shoulder and saw that the actual step was "Form the mixture into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet, with a light coating of vegetable oil." Uh oh. I showed him the comma and explained that he needs to read the ENTIRE SENTENCE. J and I did our best to add a bit of oil under each meatball, but we had some stickage after baking that I assume would not have happened if we'd prepared the cookie sheet properly. (That's one of the things I don't like about the cookbook we're using. by the way -- it's written in a "friendly format" so that it's fun for the kids, but honestly, numbered steps are a blessing when cooking with children!)

While the meatballs cooked, we got the pasta cooking, and we prepared and stir-fried the vegetables. We used shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and snow pea pods. We were supposed to have used red peppers also, but, as I stated above, we hate them, so that didn't happen. I've actually never stir-fried before, I've always preferred my veggies raw, but I loved the result, so my guess is this might be the start of a big stir-fry addiction for me.

When the pasta was done, we tossed the veggies with the pasta and some tamari sauce. Then we put the whole thing on a serving dish and topped with the meatballs (which did not look nearly enough like eyeballs to make Zoo Boy happy).

And here it is! OH MY GOSH, this was SOOOOO delicious!!! I could eat Chinese food every day anyway, but this was like the best Chinese food EVER.

Of course, the kids hated it. Zoo Boy even made a big dramatic production out of gagging and threatening to vomit, and wound up trying his meatball while leaning over the bathtub in case it caused some horrid unwanted result. Once he tasted it, he realized it wasn't as horrible as he was making it out to be. Seriously, I think most of his problem is that he THINKS about it too much. I just know he was remembering the feel of the raw meat rather than concentrating on the fact that the darned thing actually smelled good.

But we survived another week of cooking and trying new foods! And, thanks to the boys' pickiness, we've got leftovers to eat today! Yum!!

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