'Cooking with Kids' on Serious Eats

Cooking with Kids: Spiced Carrot and Walnut Bread

I promise this isn't the usual (vaguely insulting) case of "Here's how to sneak vegetables into your kids' diet!" I've actually been making this moist, fragrant quick bread for years, and not just because it's virtuous. I return to the recipe because it's so flavorful—moist and rich from the carrots and toasted walnuts, not too sweet and fantastic with a steaming mug of Earl Gray. More

Cooking with Kids: Turkey Kale Meatballs

These turkey and kale meatballs are a big hit with my kids Flannery, three-years-old, and Wyatt, 18 months. It's easy to get in a rut serving kids bland proteins (poached chicken, roasted salmon, sliced turkey...) but these meatballs are full of flavor and they're a great way to sneak a healthy green vegetable into the mix. More

Cooking with Kids: Scrambled Egg Smackdown with Tyler Florence

My daughter and I eat a lot of scrambled eggs for breakfast, and I make them over medium-high heat and get them in and out of the pan as fast as possible. But according to Food Network host Tyler Florence, whose son Hayden (19 months) is also an egg aficionado, I’m doing it wrong. “My son, he loves scrambled eggs,” said Florence when I spoke to him on the phone recently. “Farm-fresh organic eggs, a little bit of whole milk, two tablespoons of butter and a nonstick pan. Cook eggs at a low temperature, because the temperature reacts with the protein in eggs and makes them very rubbery. Light, fluffy, billowy eggs, that is achieved with a low, slow cooking... More

Cooking With Kids: Food Pyramid for Preschoolers

What should your 2- to 5-year-old eat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture? Beats me, because its website seems to have been put together by 2- to 5-year-olds, and when I tried to generate a custom pyramid for my 4-year-old daughter, all I got was “Could not download Redirect.aspx.” Maybe it will work better for you: Food Pyramid for Preschoolers I’m having a hard time understanding who this material is geared toward, other than fans of Comic Sans. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The new MyPyramid for Preschoolers is intended to help parents make better food choices for preschool children, aged 2 to 5 years—a critical time when food habits and taste preferences are established.” Really?... More

Cooking with Kids: Bacon Doughnuts

Photograph by Matthew Amster-Burton See these awesome maple-bacon doughnuts I made? I actually can’t take any credit for them. The idea came from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon, where they serve a maple bar with bacon strips on top. The idea of doing it at my house, with bacon sprinkles, came from Dana Cree, the talented pastry chef at Poppy in Seattle. The raised doughnut recipe is from Baking Illustrated, which comes from the editors at Cooks Illustrated. Making raised doughnuts at home sounds like a major undertaking, but it’s not. All you need is a lot of hungry people to eat them, because one batch of dough makes a lot of doughnuts, and you don’t want to waste... More

Cooking with Kids: Edible Cats for Halloween

Editor's Note: To continue our Halloween coverage, Matthew Amster-Burton shares this holiday cupcake idea for the kids: black cat cupcakes. "My corporate overlords at Serious Eats have demanded a Halloween post," I told my daughter, Iris, 4. "What's something we could make together to eat for Halloween?" "How about an edible cat?" she replied. "That sounds hard." "We could use cupcakes." This is her solution to everything. We wanted them to be black cats, of course, but my wife Laurie reminded me that black food coloring tastes terrible, so we decided on dark chocolate frosting. (Chocolate is my solution to everything.) For tails and whiskers, we'd use black licorice whips. For the ears, wedges of York peppermint patties. And for... More

Cooking With Kids: Different Approaches to Baby Food

Photograph from ammichaels on Flickr I was delighted this morning when I opened the New York Times and found an article entitled Momma, I’ll Have Some of Whatever You’re Having. (I was also jealous, because I didn’t write it.) Jessica had begun making meals for Gracie, our 7-month-old daughter, following the recommended pattern for carefully introducing individual puréed foods.That all changed when she called me at work one day to tell me that she’d taken the food mill to the next level: since Gracie had tried all the basic ingredients from what we’d eaten the night before—my pasta Bolognese with mint—she had milled some up and watched with delight as Gracie happily finished every bite. I had the same... More

Cooking With Kids: Amelia Bedelia Gives Advice on Baby Food

When people ask me about baby food, I always tell them the same thing: there's no such thing as baby food. With few exceptions, mashed-up adult food is perfect for babies. It's nutritious, fun, and easy, and you don't have to prepare separate meals. Sometimes I go on and on as if I invented this idea. Then something will come along to remind me that I'm about as original as a financial planner telling clients not to spend so much on lattes. This time around, it was Amelia Bedelia. The book series Amelia Bedelia, for anyone who hasn't been introduced, is for early readers and authored by Peggy Parish. The first was published in 1963. They have not aged entirely... More

Cooking With Kids: Not-So-Spicy Bento

Biggie's preschooler-friendly bento box featuring kalbi and chopped kimchi. There's no cooler lunch box, I say, than a bento box. (Although my 4-year-old, who just got a new Wizard of Oz lunch box, would probably disagree.) Check out the bentos made by Biggie of Lunch in a Box. Not only does she send her kid to school with delicious-looking food, but she has tips for adapting spicy food for the preschool palate: Regular kimchi is too spicy for my preschooler as is, so I generally rinse it off before giving it to Bug (his favorite is the sour ggakdugi daikon kimchi cubes). This post walks us through two recent bentos and reports on not only the contents (Korean galbi ribs?... More

The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants?

Parents magazine has released its list of ten best family restaurants (warning: extremely naggy, ad-ridden website). At the number one spot: Legal Sea Foods. Not bad. “The greatest thing about Legal’s kids’ menu: Even if your child insists on ordering the chicken fingers or grilled cheese, they arrive with grapes and corn on the cob,” they write. My first thought was, “Even in February? What kind of lesson does that teach?” but possibly I’m outside the target audience. The rest of the Parents list (not necessarily in order): Chili’s, Mimi’s, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes, Red Robin, Old Spaghetti Factory, Claim Jumper, P. F. Chang’s, Denny’s, and Uno. (Plus many runners-up.)... More

Cooking With Kids: School Lunch Revolution

“I am not a big fan of salad,” one student said. “I don’t really like them. But the Chinese chicken salad they had here, it had good dressing, it had crunchy noodles, it had good chicken in it and carrots, and it was just an overall pleasant experience.” This sounds better than my average lunch. More

Cooking With Kids: Eat Your Veggies

For vegetable fans and foes alike, there was a fun column in Tuesday’s New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope, the health reporter who ends up on the most-emailed list so often it makes me jealous, even though I don’t write for the New York Times. In the column, Parker-Pope looked at which cooking methods cause vegetables to retain the most nutrients. First of all, she noted, “raw and plain vegetables are not always best.” This is unlikely to be news to Serious Eaters. Personally, I can’t resist crunching a few bites of raw carrot every time I’m using one to cook with, but I would not want to be sentenced to eating raw broccoli. As the Cooking With Kids guy,... More

Cooking with Kids: Baby Food Blender

If you're into gadgets and looking to make your own baby purees, Williams-Sonoma is now selling the Beaba Babycook. Pronounced "Bay-OBB-uh," the device has been popular for several years in Europe and is now available in the US. There's a video on the Williams-Sonoma site showing how it works. It's basically a mini-chopper than can steam food before you puree it. The industrial design is tops—with chubby curves and lime-green trim, it looks like a dollhouse accessory, albeit with a sharp blade.... More

Cooking with Kids: Now You're Speaking My Lengua

What is it about taco trucks? Does anybody not love them, aside from competing Mexican restaurant owners? Do four-year-olds love taco trucks? I decided to find out. I took my four-year-old daughter, Iris, to Tacos El Asadero this week, and I think it's fair to say Tacos El Asadero is now her favorite place in the entire world. More

Cooking with Kids: Real Corny

©iStockphoto.com/hidesy Iris and I were walking home from school the other day and I suggested we watch a movie in the afternoon. "We should get some popcorn," Iris said. I agreed. We stopped at the drugstore, where I looked for the familiar bag of Jolly Time. No dice—it was all microwave bags. I managed to find one "natural" brand containing no artificial butter flavor, and it was good enough to get me through Duck Tales: The Movie. But the next day, I bought a bag of the old-fashioned stuff and popped it on the stove. Iris hung out by the edge of the kitchen, afraid of flying kernels and the clatter of the pot lid. When it was ready,... More

The Nut-Free Sandwich Solution

My daughter Iris's preschool is, like so many these days, a nut-free zone. Often Iris will come home and, after a morning of nut deprivation, eat a big bowl of toasted pecans. Before she started preschool, her standard lunch was the same as every other non-nut-allergic kid's: peanut butter and jelly. I did my best to choose a good quality jam and bread (the Innkeeper's brand multigrain bread from Costco is delicious), but it was your basic PB&J. This wouldn't fly under preschool rules. So I've fumbled with various leftovers and other sandwiches, and fallen back on deli ham more often than I'd like to admit. (I've tasted "soynut butter," recommended in the preschool handbook, and could not in good... More

Cooking with Kids: That's Entertainment

My father came over the other day to help me replace a bathroom faucet. It took four hours, two trips to the hardware store, and one trip to a French restaurant for lunch (croque-monsieur, baked eggs with gruyère). When we were done, we turned on the water and exchanged many high-fives. While washing my hands with the sparkling new faucet, I realized that the experience was a lot like cooking. I've been teaching my daughter to cook, and it's gotten me thinking about why I cook. Iris, age 4, has been working on her stirring and flipping techniques. She's poured a whole bowl of beaten eggs onto the rug and made a very odd-looking pancake. And she loves it. It... More

Cooking with Kids: "Nitrate-Free" Hot Dogs, Now With More Nitrates

At a recent playdate, the subject of hot dogs came up, and I heard one mom say that, okay, she does let her child eat hot dogs, but only the "nitrate-free" kind from Whole Foods. I didn't say anything, but the portion of my brain devoted to ruthless debunkings lit up. Last year, you'll recall, Ed Levine took Consumer Reports to task for naming Hebrew National skinless franks the top dog. I'm with Ed: franks with natural casings are better. (You can read the CR report at Consumer Reports.) But there was this tasty tidbit in the report: While the three uncured franks might boast of "no added nitrates," our testing found that Applegate Farms, Coleman Natural, and Whole Ranch... More

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