July is a great time of year for kids to get involved in meal preparation:
- The little darlings are off from school, so they have a lot more free time than the rest of the year (and are more likely to be bored and amenable to your suggestions to help out in the kitchen).
- The produce at the Farmers’ Market, and the grocery store is becoming more varied and plentiful, and also harvested closer to home, so it tastes fresher and more flavorful, making it more appealing to sometimes-picky youngsters.
- If you grow your own veggies, fruits and herbs (whether it’s a couple of flowerpots of basil and oregano on the kitchen windowsill or a full-fledged garden in the yard), letting the children harvest some of the ingredients themselves increases the likelihood that they’ll give unfamiliar new dishes at least an interested taste.
We were hard at work on this week’s SpicyBytes Newsletter and our resident twelve year-old was (as always) ravenously hungry. To get her out of our hair, we told her to go rummage in the garden and the fridge, and to come and get us if she needed help with anything. About fifteen minutes later, she borrowed the iPhone to take the picture, above, of her creations.
The cool summer lunch menu:
- Salad greens with sliced tomatoes, Kalamata olives (from Gateway Market) and mild pickled peppers (from Graziano Brothers), sprinkled with a little dried oregano and drizzled with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champagne White Wine Vinegar.
- A seventh-grader’s version of a Salad Caprese: slices of fresh mozzarella layered with slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves, topped with a pinch or two of coarse Sea Salt and a grind of Black Pepper. (You could snazz it up with a drizzle of Saba Grape Must Reduction, or of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar).
- Chunks of leftover melon (cantaloupe and green “Lemon Drop” melon, which we recently discovered at the grocery store), from last night’s supper, dressed with a few teaspoons of Apricot White Balsamic Vinegar (but any fruity white balsamic – or Champagne vinegar – will work well).
It was great that the twelve year-old thought to take a photo before she sat down to eat. Typical of many kids that age, her entire lunch was reduced to empty plates ten minutes later.
What summertime foods do the children in your life like to eat? Let us know in the comments — or share your favorite kid-friendly recipes at this link. — Thanks!