Monday, March 20, 2006

The time has come....

Part of being a mom is teaching your children the skills needed to live life outside the four walls they grew up in. From toilet training to social skills, it seems we work on a daily basis to prepare our offspring to function without us. Some things come more naturally than others, some things have to be forced upon them, and others are just plain necessary. One such item is cooking. I realize that all adult children can open a cereal box, bake a pizza, and microwave a frozen meal. But having them be able to cook well enough to sustain themselves without relying on fast food and macaroni and cheese is an important thing for a person like me.

My daughter is a fairly accomplished cook. She can follow a recipe, modifying and adjusting based on her whereabouts in the world and the ingredients she can procure. She has no fear in the kitchen and she considers baking to be a relaxing activity. My eldest son is a very healthy eater. He grills or poaches his chicken for dinner and for lunch salads. He likes to make pasta and is good on the grill. (Kind of sounds like a dating profile, doesn’t it?) My youngest son just turned 21 and will, in all probability, be moving out within the next year or so. While he is king of the kitchen when it comes to breakfast, he is not very adept at dinner menu items. Hence, I have instituted a new rule. He will cook dinner once a week.

I’m not going to just throw him in the kitchen with some ingredients. I intend to start off slowly, working with him on easy items. Then I am hoping he will delve into the large number of cookbooks I collect and start making some choices for himself. First off this week is a Lebanese lamb pilaf. I started making this about 15 years ago. My father-in-law’s family is Lebanese, and many of the items I have learned to cook over the years are more involved and are not for everyday use. This recipe takes 45 minutes and minimal effort. It is one of my son’s favorite meals, so there is impetus to learn to cook it. Tune in to find out how he does….

Lamb Pilaf

1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package rice pilaf mix
1 c plain yogurt
1/4 chopped parsley
2 T chopped fresh mint
1 T lemon juice
2 t olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
seasoning salt

Mix yogurt and all seasonings. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Brown ground lamb and onion in 2 Tbs. olive oil, stirring often – about 15 minutes. Discard any fat. Return to heat and add 1/4 water and stir to release brown bits on bottom of pan. Add pilaf mix, including seasoning packet. Add water, in amount specified on package. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid evaporated – 20-25 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce.


Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that you bought veal rather than lamb, it was pretty damn good. If you work on teaching G1 to cook, I will work on G2. One day soon we may not have to cook......

Tea said...

Go G2, go! I'm rooting for you:-)

Great idea, Mrs. B!

lee said...

I found you through Tea. I love your food philosophy and I am incredibly jealous of your Meyer lemons. I just made Limoncello for the first time and used the whole lemon! Doh! I hope it is not bitter and undrinkable.

Mrs. B said...

I have to say that Grant did an admirable job. He whipped up the lamb pilaf and sauce and when I put the salad bowl out for him, he asked what it was for. I had assumed he would want the easy route and opt for a salad as a side dish, but no...he wanted to make fresh green beans, and with no help from me. One of his friends has been working for a local grower in Half Moon Bay and apparently has taught Grant how to cook them. Sauteed in a bit of garlic/basil olive oil with some shopped garlic, they were wonderfully tasty and a great accompaniment to the pilaf. One meal down...