Monday, March 5, 2007

In The Kitchen With Zane

Saturday afternoon found me in Central Market deciding what to prepare for our overnight guests, Zephra, Karen and 8 yr old Zane. Since San Antonio has been experiencing blue skies, bright sunshine and nippy air, grilling chicken seemed a good choice. The yellow squash was bountiful so I bagged a few of those. Then it struck me to make kabobs. This would give me an opportunity to spend some time one on one with Zane. I would get to share an interest of mine and find out what was interesting to him right now.

Zane was immediately agreeable to my request for his help. When I dressed him in a Mickey Mouse apron, he was really in the cooking spirit! Our first task was to assemble the kabobs:

Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

3 split boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
3 yellow squash, sliced into half moons
3 zucchini, sliced into half moons
1/2 red onion, quartered
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 thick slice white onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbs canola oil
1 lemon juiced
salt and pepper

Place chicken, garlic and white onion in resealable plastic bag. Add 3 tbsp oil, lemon juice, garlic and seasoning. Marinate in fridge for several hours. toss vegetables in remaining oil and salt and pepper to taste. Thread marinated meat and vegetables on skewers (if using wood skewers, soak for 30 min). Grill for approximately 20 min at 325 degrees or until chicken is done.

Zane used his creativity to set the table and proudly announced dinner for the adults.

Our meal also included a caesar salad, blueberry crisp and homemade lemonade. Zane reluctantly gave up his apron shortly before bedtime. However, he didn't know about tomorrow's brunch!

Zane was definitely up hours before the rest of us. For brunch, we donned our aprons and got down to the business of making baking eggs in ham cups. The first few cracking of eggs were touch and go, but by the last one, Zane was a skilled sous chef cracking eggs.

For our egg dish, we sauteed red bell pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil. In a muffin pan, we lined the cup with a slice of deli ham (canadian bacon or proscuitto would also work). A spoon of the aromatics was added along with feta or parmasean cheese and one egg. We sprinkled thyme, salt and pepper on the top. These were baked in a 400 degree over for 15-20 min.

The baked egg cups were served with a bowl of cantaloupe and
strawberries, an oven baked pancake and real maple syrup.

When you don't have children at home, a visiting family's child or children can feel left out. Inviting Zane into the kitchen was my way of ensuring he had fun too. The meals were made memorable by the spontaneous antics of Zane as he worked on his tasks in the kitchen. Follow the Food Network's advice and "cook with your kids." If you don't have any of your own, do as I did - make use of the ones that belong to your friends!

For recipe inspiration, I used these as a guideline:

Peach and Raspberry Crisp - Ina Garten
Baked Eggs In Canadian Bacon Cups - South Beach Diet Online

1 comment:

Suzan Zaner said...

Hi, Carolyn. Enjoyed reading your blog. Zane is a really cute guy! Thought you might like a new twist on lemonade (and in the spirit of giving credit, Giada from Everyday Italian is the inspiration). Juice 12 large lemons. Bring to the boil 2 cups water with 1 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup fresh basil and let steep 10 mins. Add to lemon juice with one bottle sparkling mineral water. Serve over ice. Of course, the proportions are up to you. These are just beginning guidelines. Basil is supereasy to grow in the ground or in a pot and there are many interesting and beautiful varieties. See you soon. Suzan