How to cook. How to cook. How to cook for little ones who may not like my cooking . . .
Part of me felt like the character in No Reservations played by Catherine Zeta Jones, who was accustomed to satisfying finicky eaters by scrounging for ever more obscure ingredients, and faced with the dilemma of feeding a small child who did not feel like eating at all.
And part of me felt like just doing my thing and if there was a problem, they would eat once they got hungry. That part of me won out.
The children had expressed curiosity when we were shopping. I selected mushrooms, and they had not ever noticed raw ones before so asked what they were. When I told them, they made faces.
For supper, I fixed the best marinara I could imagine and used some of those mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil, along with a large clove of wild garlic from our field, also sliced. We still have tiny onions left from our overheated garden, and I included a few of them, sliced. As all these paper-thin slices were beginning to brown, I added small chunks of a bell pepper a friend had brought me, along with one of her jalapenos, whole.
While some of the oil in the pan was still available, I tossed in freshly-crushed basil and oregano, and stripped a few leaves off a fresh stem of rosemary. All was sizzling along nicely when I remembered the soup base. I actually made soup base this year, which is merely whole tomatoes, washed and cored, and tossed into a blender, skins, seeds, and all, to be liquefied for a thicker sauce than we can obtain from just juice. I prefer the muskier taste the seeds lend and the redder coloring the skins contribute. It is the only way I will deal with only a gallon of tomatoes. Cleaning out my Victorio tomato strainer just kills me, if it’s for only a few quarts of juice.
Once the fresh rosemary had softened a bit, I tossed in a quart of the soup base. It sizzled just a bit, as it landed in the pan. Perfect. Since one of us cannot eat many foods without some Worcestershire sauce, I dolloped some of that in, too. And a bit of catsup for sweetening.
I slowly brought it to a boil.
Lastly, I added a whole bag of Great Value frozen 5-cheese ravioli. Yep. You may cringe at that, but I have read labels, and it has nothing in it but foodstuffs, all pronounceable. Probably not very organic, though.
Once it returned to simmering, I turned down the heat and covered it. Then I prepared a small lettuce, tomato, and carrot salad. The children had been impressed that the grape tomatoes I had bought had come “all the way from MISSOURI!” That seemed so exotic to them. I figured they’d at least eat the tomatoes.
After all was dished out and cut to bite-size, the littlest one sampled the ravioli and looked up at me so sweetly to comment:
“It tastes just like b’sketti.”
Kudos to the cook, I suppose.