Anyone out there have a picky kid to contend with? Even though I don’t have kids of my own yet, my niece is at my house all the time. (I love it because I get to spend time with her, and she loves it because we hang out and watch classics like The Little Mermaid and make yummy snacks like Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. ;) )
And even though she isn’t a teenager yet (she’s only 7…but she’s the only 7 year old I’ve ever known who will repeatedly order fish and sautéed veggies off a menu over chicken fingers and fries without any adult persuasion), she and I were both excited when I recently received a copy of Matthew Locricchio’s Teen Cuisine.
This is a great cookbook for teens just starting to get involved in cooking. The recipes have straightforward, easy to follow instructions, fairly short ingredient lists, and are pretty healthy. Plus every recipe has its own gorgeous, full-page color picture. Looking through it with my niece, she pointed out at least 10 recipes that she wanted to try soon, including Fresh Fruit Tostados, Tomato & Cheese Lunch Pie, Green Goddess Dressing, Po-Boy Sandwich, Spaghetti and Meatballs with Fresh Tomato Sauce, Alabama Festival Shrimp, and Chocolate Fondue.
The only thing my niece wished was different about the book was that there were more vegetable side dish recipes…and she’s right, the only veggie sides in the book are Quick-Cooked Greens, Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Butter, Crisp Oven Fries, and Black Beans. (And even the salad section of this book only has four different salads.) She and I both would have liked to see a bit more veggie variety.
In addition to the recipes, there are a few other helpful resources in this book, including a section on kitchen safety, a section on kitchen essentials (basically a glossary of ingredients, including applicable substitutions, geared toward teens), a metric conversion chart, and a diagramed list of kitchen equipment and utensils. Can you see why I think this book is pretty amazing for teens? I can’t think of a better way to get kids eating healthy, thinking creatively, and becoming excited about learning things like math and chemistry.
After looking through the book, my niece and I chose to make the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies first. It was a rainy afternoon and we had a couple movies to watch and board games to play…and making cookies just felt right. The cookies ended up being delicious…flavorful and chewy, and paired with a glass of milk it really doesn’t get much better. I made a few changes to the original recipe so I’m sharing my version here.
(Yield: About 3 dozen cookies)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ground nutmeg
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (I use golden raisins)
Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
Cream together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl, then stir in egg, egg white, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Fold in oats, walnuts, and raisins.
Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon measure to scoop the dough; arrange it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake until the edges are browned and starting to crisp (if you’re cooking 2 trays double-stacked it takes about 18 minutes; check the cookies about 5 minutes earlier if you’re only cooking 1 tray at a time), flipping the trays once halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets before removing.