Kids in the kitchen + a deluxe Caesar salad recipe

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With all the research out there, it’s no secret that getting your kids involved in cooking will increase their likeliness to both eat and enjoy good food.  Grace was a huge help making one of our favorite salads a few days ago (pictured above; recipe below) so I thought I’d share this running list of what we’ve had luck with in terms of her kitchen jobs. I try for easy-to-follow tasks that she can do totally on her own.  There are so many things they can do other than help bake cookies! Would love to know what tasks you give your kids in the kitchen.

Things your toddler can totally do in the kitchen:

  • Peeling: boiled eggs, fresh corn, bananas, citrus fruits
  • Squeezing: oranges, lemons, limes
  • Crumbling: blocks of soft cheese
  • Tearing: bread for croutons, greens for salads
  • Pounding: nuts and spices with a mortar and pestle
  • Layering: ingredients for lasagna, pizza, sandwich assembly etc.
  • Shaking: spices
  • Mixing/tossing/dumping: endless ideas!

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Onto the recipe. Typically, I am all about traditions and authenticity when it comes to food, but not with Caesar salad. I like my salads with all sorts of goodness in them and while I love the tangy dressing and crispy croutons that Caesar salads are known for, I can’t quite get behind a salad whose main item is Romaine lettuce. Enter this deluxe version that my friends and family are recently huge fans of.  It’s super hearty and serves well as a main course. My favorite part is the crispy anchovies, which are definitely worth the extra step! Most of the prep can be done in advance so all there is to do is toss it all together at the last minute. Grace loved tearing the greens and bread for the croutons which inspired the list above.

Deluxe Caesar Salad:

For the dressing:

  • 2 gloves garlic, roasted in oven until soft and fragrant, and mashed
  • 3 anchovies, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping large spoonful of full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 heaping large spoonful of mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • A few splashes of apple cider vinegar

Method: Combine all in a mason jar, give a good shake and let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the croutons:

  • 1/2 loaf of French bread, torn into pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  • Heat olive oil on medium high heat in your largest skillet.
  • Add bread pieces and cook until crispy and golden, turning occasionally for about 20 minutes. This may need to be done in batches.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For the anchovies:

  • shallow plate with flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • shallow plate with cornmeal
  • 6-8 anchovies
  • Canola oil for frying

Method:

  • Toss anchovies in flour dusting the excess.
  • Dredge in whisked egg then toss in cornmeal.
  • Fry in canola oil on medium high heat until firm and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. It doesn’t take long at all!
  • Drain on paper towels.

For the salad:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 can hearts of palm, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese

Assembly:

  • On a large shallow serving platter, layer the lettuce, hearts of palm, artichokes, chickpeas, cucumbers and green onions.
  • Shave Parmesan cheese over the salad then add anchovies and croutons.
  • Drizzle the entire thing with dressing, then serve.
  • Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Hearts of palm, artichokes and chickpeas are great finger foods for older babies and, with a bit of dressing, a hit with toddlers. Just make sure to chop everything up finely so they don’t have trouble using their fork.
  • We often serve this with chopped chicken and have as a main course, but it doesn’t need it.
  • The dressing will keep in the fridge for a week or so and is a great marinade for chicken or vegetables.

 

 

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