Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chef Alex

My friend Anne keeps a beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring blog: Mom, What's For Dinner? She's a good cook and a caring person, so her family is lucky to have her in the kitchen. And in the blogosphere, we are fortunate to have a thoughtful woman sharing her dining table... the food, the recipes, the ideas and aspirations... even the pitfalls, and the timely conversations that we hope to find at a family table. She doesn't preach, or pretend to have all the answers. I think she enjoys being thoughtful and recognizing the value and significance of dinner time.

Alex is taking a class he calls, "Food," and he says it reverently, with a grin. He's doing very well in this class, and all the others too (w00ts), and recently he's been bringing home recipes and new menu ideas. Cooking at home is not a requirement, but he enjoys applying what he's learning and logging some bonus points. Last week he brought cranberry-chocolate chip cookies to class, and tonight he made dinner. He dreamt up a dinner he thought would be extra scrumptious. He's supposed to consider nutrition, making good tasting meals healthy too... which is as it should be, yeah?

Alex's dream dinner: Pork chops, apple sauce, and corn on the cob. He would have added ice cream and berries, but I sort of vetoed that. He points out that our dinner was missing dairy and grains. Is corn on the cob a grain? If we dried it, ground it and made tortillas, I would think those were whole grain... hmmm... I am not going to worry about the dairy omission. We were going to make salad, but the last of the lettuce went to their school lunches.

Alex let Maria help him peel, core and slice 8 organic Gala apples. He put them in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of organic apple cider and simmered them until they were soft. Once the apples were cooked, he put them in our blender and added a dash of cinnamon. He let them blend until they were free of chunks and bits... he likes a smooth apple sauce. The corn was steamed. The pork chops were seasoned with salt, pepper, lots of garlic and some dried Rosemary. He seared these on the stove top and then let them finish cooking in a hot oven. They came out juicy and flavorful. The applesauce was heavenly... not too sweet, but with the pleasant, complex flavors of fresh fruit. The chicas get corn cobs tomorrow... what's left after they were happily gnawed by 4 hungry children.

William set the table. Max was able to finish his homework, so he joined us in a relaxed mood. Geoff is working, and we missed him. He'll read this post and be glad his children are well, that I am getting help. Whatever is for dinner, I think I like it best when it is shared... either in thought or action, with as many gathered together as possible, feeling at ease, welcome, with gratitude and recognition.


Jennifer said...

Oh Natalie, what a wonderful post, what a wonderful vision -- a ktichen filled with delicious smells and thoroughly engaged and happy children, and sitting down to share a meal that Alex orchestrated -- this is the best stuff. See? You are living your dream life -- it's right there!

Anna Banana said...

Way to go, V family! Wish I could have been there. Last night I spent $42 ($12 on parking) for a dinner I couldn't finish because I could no longer tolerate not being able to figure out what tasted so weird. Oh well, a long-time friend and I had lots of laughs, which was priceless.

Janece said...

This is heavenly -- I smiled the reading entire post. I've been plotting to make homemade applesauce. Now that Alex has blazed a trail, I'm thinking I'll do just that! :)

Happy Friday!

calamity kim said...

That's wonderful!
My dream dinner is spaghetti and meatballs with Texas Toast Garlic Bread and Flan or maybe apple pie with Gruyere cheese and caramel ice cream!!!! It's almost lunch time and you made me hungry!
Yesterday I made butternut squash (roasted first with carrots and vidalia onions then blended with chicken stock and cream)soup and grilled burgers and something new- swiss chard with goat cheese and capicolla ham and sun dried tomatoes rolled up inside (after parboiling leaves)and then grilled- new tastes and really still not sure if I enjoyed it but Fred liked it! I miss you chica! I will pop back here and catch up soon! I need to finish some sewing!
love to family,

trisha too said...

Hi, Natalie! What a great post--sounds like a wonderful dinner.

Had to add you to my sites list; I've been by to see you before, but blogs just slip through my brain if they're not on the list!


Tarie said...


Natalie, your kids never fail to amaze us all. Alex can cook? Gee, he probably cooks better than me! His dream dinner sounds amazing. Why did you veto the ice cream and berries? :o(

Sam I Am said...

yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm homemade applesauce is the best!!!!!
you're making me reallllll homesick for my mom and my mother in laws cookin!!!
Great Job Alex!