Here’s a great recipe that is perfect for those days when I come home from work with no ideas for dinner, some random ingredients in the fridge, and a Ruby who wants to spend time with Papa.
The recipe is simple: just put a carton off chicken broth in a pot, turn on the heat, and then take turns adding ingredients. Anything goes. Yes, anything.
The last time we played it turned out something like this:
Me: leftover chicken meat and bones.
Me: A handful of cooked rice
Ruby: Apple juice!
Me: Some chopped up onions
Me: Chinese five-spice powder
You’ll notice that all of Ruby’s ingredients end in an exclamation mark, because she’s having tons of fun. As a parent, it’s a good exercise of your ability to deal with the randomness of toddlerhood. It’s actually hard to think of any ingredients I would veto — especially since, as the person who is dealing with the bubbling pot, I get to control the amount of each ingredient and when it is added. So (for example) in our previous round, the Cheerios were sprinkled on top, as a garnish, after the soup had been served.
This recipe is also a good challenge to aspiring chefs to learn to roll with what’s available, and find common flavor threads to unite the random bits bubbling in the pot.
My advice if you try this (and I hope you do!):
* Put healthy basics in at the beginning — stock, meat, rice, barley, potatoes, that kind of thing.
* Save the spices for the end, when you know what kinds of flavors you’re dealing with.
* Keep an open mind!