Kids’ Cooking Class

As someone who likes to start things (but not always finish them) each summer I create grand goals for family life (last year it was Family Rehab), only to see them wither within weeks, if not days.  Some failures include:

  • Bible Study every morning
  • Kids cleaning up every night
  • One beach towel/kid/week
  • An hour of reading/kid every day
  • Kids learning how to cook
This summer, I’m renewing my last goal.  I feel the need to pass on my best skill to my kids.  To live healthy adult lives in our fast food/everything processed world, they MUST learn to cook healthy food!  And frankly, I’d like to share cooking responsibilities.
At this point, I have one kid who loves to cook and bake, one kid who hates to cook, and one kid who’s interested but has no skill.  Sunday night, I declared that each one needs to cook one day/week this summer–with the caveat that their food has to be healthy and something I (in my pre-diabetic state) and Scott (in his mid-life state) can eat.
Yesterday was the first day of the experiment.  Ren, after finding 11 recipes from some diabetic website and scheduling out his whole summer menu, wanted to make Rachel Ray’s Baked Samosas.  (I’m pretty sure those didn’t come from any diabetic website)  
He was so enthusiastic, we started around 3 p.m.  Good thing because it took the rest of the afternoon to teach him how to chop onions and potatoes, measure out spices, grate ginger, saute everything.  The eew moment came when we lifted the flour lid to find lots of little tiny bugs crawling madly away in our white flour.
I realized that my grand goals usually fail because I need to manage and train the kids throughout the process and I lose steam.  Those little bugs made me lose a lot of steam.
But the samosas came out great!  Ren was so enthusiastic that he invited our friends across the street for dinner, and although the samosas were about 1/4 of the final meal, they were the most popular part and sure took the longest to prepare. 
As I write, the kid who doesn’t like to cook is making vichyssoise–cold leek and potato soup.  I’ve had to re-teach her how to chop an onion, how to clean and chop leeks, and the most efficient way to dice potatoes.  She’s grumpy because I’m making her cook today rather than tomorrow so the soup has time to cool.  But if you choose to cook a cold soup, you’ve got to plan ahead so the soup is actually cold when you want to serve it.  Also, tomorrow’s supposed to be 95 degrees and there’s no way anyone’s going to want to slave over a hot stove in the upcoming heat wave.  
Least of all me.
Rachel Ray’s Oven-Baked Samosas with Mint-Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato (about 1/2 a pound, use 2 if needed), peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and stem removed, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (about a half-inch piece), grated
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock, a little more or a little less to loosen filling
  • 2 tablespoons (about a palmful) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 package (2 9-inch rounds) store-bought, raw pie dough
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
  • For the Mint-Cilantro Dipping Sauce:
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 one-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Yields: 4 servings of 4 samosas each

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and reserve in the same pot you cooked them in.
Step
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add EVOO. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes, then add jalapeño, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, curry powder, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the drained potatoes, tomato, peas, and cilantro and cook another minute. If the filling seems too thick, add a splash or two of vegetable stock. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Step
On a lightly floured surface, unroll both doughs. Cut each dough round into 8 equal wedges, like a pizza so you have 16 long wedges.
Step
Spoon 1 teaspoon of the potato filling onto the middle of each wedge. Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash and fold up, bringing the three points up to each other, then pinching at the seams to form a small pyramid. Brush the outside of each samosa with egg wash and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Step
While the samosas are in the oven, prepare the dipping sauce: Place garlic and ginger in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mint, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, salt and lime juice, and puree until ground. Add water and EVOO, pulse to combine.
Serve up the samosas with the dipping sauce alongside.

About Kathy Tuan-MacLean

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