My wish for this Mother’s Day was to try out a Slow Foodish idea that I’d had and luckily, my friend Annie and her family were into it, too. We had a lovely meal on Sunday that was as much about process as product, but oh boy, was the product good!
Here’s what we did: on Saturday, my girls and I met Annie at the Farmer’s Market with one of her sons and we shopped as a group. Annie and I had researched possible recipes a bit, but we wanted the kids’ choices and what we all thought looked good to be the “deciders” of the menu. We were drawn to: cherries, strawberries, artichokes, potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes (which, curiously, have nothing to do with either Jerusalem or Artichokes, instead they are tubers related to sunflowers!). After shopping we taled recipes while the kids played, divvied up the additional shopping and planned to meet at our house the next afternoon to cook. I made a rough cooking plan, and on Sunday we gathered the kids in the kitchen and explained that we wanted them involved in the cooking as much as they’d like to be, but they could take breaks to play and do as much or as little as they wanted. The older kids, Morgan and Alexander (who came up with the name Family Cooking Academy) were really into being given tasks and problem-solving their way through. For instance, we needed breadcrumbs, and I told them I hadn’t been happy with how mine had been coming out using the food processor. I suggested that they try the blender, and they worked together, experimenting, to determine the optimal number of bread slices and how to run the blender to create the finest crumbs. They also loved sautéing, creating the sauce, scrubbing potatoes, grating cheese, pitting cherries (with a device, of course) and most of all, layering the gratin (which they did beautifully). Audrey and Ryan, the younger two, were in and out of the process, but they all owned it and were amazing about trying new things. Audrey actually ate more of the stuffed artichokes than I did!
It was truly a beautiful Mother’s Day, the most relaxed hostessing experience I’ve had, and so fun to share a passion with my kids.
Here’s the menu:
CHERRY AND ALMOND SALAD
POTATO AND ARTICHOKE GRATIN
GRILLED ROSEMARY RACK OF LAMB
ORANGE FLAVORED SHORTCAKES WITH STRAWBERRIES
I’m not including recipes for the Artichokes and the Lamb because James improvised his way through those, but I am including a recipe for HOMEMADE BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS because I made them the other night and Audrey said, “These are good. You should put them in your blog.” How could I refuse?