Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Little Chef: Cheddar Cheese Soup and a Spice Rub

For his next meal, Max decided to try another recipe from the "Feed Your Small World" cookbook, the somewhat ridiculously named "Cheddar Cheese-tastic Soup."  He was not convinced that soup would be enough of a meal, so he also wanted to make salad with grilled chicken. He's been talking about "inventing" his own spice rub for awhile now, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for him to give that a try.  And, being Max, he also wanted another shot at making baguettes.

I made the mistake of showing Max my previous blog entries about his cooking endeavors.  In typical  Max fashion, he was very critical.  Mostly of my photography.  It's not that I think he's wrong, per se, but, I mean, COME ON.  I'm barely remembering to TAKE photos, and when I do, they're with my iPhone, in a poorly lit, very cluttered and outdated kitchen.  They're not going to look good, no matter how much I deploy the tilt-shift feature on my photo editor.

Nevertheless, he decided I needed to get a little more artistic with my photos.  He styled this one of the prepped soup ingredients for me:

Photo by Max, budding food stylist.

The cheddar cheese soup recipe was really simple.  The ingredients you see, above (in the white bowl is some carrot, celery and onion, run through the food processor because Max dislikes "chunky" food, and his knife skills are not quite up to mincing) plus some shredded cheese and a bit of Worcestershire. I hesitated over the Worcestershire, and I wish I'd listened to my gut....because it turned out that he didn't particularly care for the flavor of it.  I think we could have left it out and the soup would have been good. That being said....Adrian and I thought the soup WITH Worcestershire was delicious.

Unbaked baguettes

I neglected to get any photos of the bread-making in progress, AGAIN.  One of these days.....It really amazes me how much patience he has for the mixing and the kneading and the rising and the kneading.....SO not my thing, at all.  He ends up covered in flour, I kinda think he does it on purpose, like it's a badge of honor or something.  Anyway, these loaves were just as good as the ones he made a couple of weeks ago.  Look at the color!

I need this bread in the house like I need a hole in my head.

On to the spice rub.  Years ago, when my father-in-law was still alive and living in southern Virginia, he always took us to the same restaurant when we visited.  This restaurant, Perky's, is somewhat indescribable.  It looks like a dive, really it does, but the food is excellent and the place is always packed.  Like, seriously, you have to make a reservation, and you make the reservation and then you show up there and you're all, "Whut?"  And then your dinner knocks your socks off.  Perky's has their own spice rub that you can buy by the jar, and one glorious trip Adrian bought me a case of the stuff.  For the last couple of months we've been bemoaning the fact that we are on our last jar of Perky's, with no real reason to visit Altavista, Virginia and restock (wait, maybe restocking IS the reason to visit Altavista???? Hmmmmm.....)  So Max has been determined to create something that would fill our impending Perky's void.  He was very sure of what he wanted to start out with, ingredient-wise.  Salt, fresh black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley....I think maybe there was something else.  A little cayenne, maybe? He wrote it all down and tucked it inside his cookbook, it was very adorable.  "This way, I can make it again, and I'll know it's an awesome basic recipe for experimenting with."  It was tasty, if slightly unoriginal.  Does that sound too critical? I don't mean it to be.  It was very good, I was impressed that he chose flavors that went well together, and didn't try to get all fancy or add something crazy.  I look forward to his future experiments with it.

Posing with his little jar of spice rub.

Okay, so time to plate, you know he takes that part very seriously:

See that?  I totally deployed the tilt-shift to camouflage  the
chaos and clutter of my counters...and the secret shame of the
giant box of Cocoa Pebbles hiding in plain sight.
Max has recently discovered the Shirley Temple.
He was very proud to mix up a cocktail with his dinner.

So, I'm continuing to enjoy these Thursday night cooking lessons with Max.  I'm several weeks behind in blogging about them, and I may skip ahead to share our Pi Day extravaganza....but I'll probably completely forget to take photos of it and just do Empanadas instead.  Ooooh, that kinda works for Pi Day, too.  Forget I said anything.

Max is having fun, too:

Kitchen Rock Star.

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1 comment:

  1. I'd love your baguette recipe :-)
    Also, kudos to Max. He really has embraced learning cookery, something that will serve him well all his life. His spice rub sounds great!


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