Monday, March 21, 2011

Making Hot Sauce With my Baby Boy.

For at least a few hours of every day I encourage the little man to create something or do something creative or imaginative with me.  Usually, we either build with his blocks, draw on some paper, dance, act out the stories of his favorite books, or we play with his train set and make new set ups.  The possibilities are virtually endless.  There is always something that we can do.  Today the little mighty mite chose cooking as the daily activity. 

I knew that he really wanted to cook something today because he kept running to the pots and pulling them out and then he would run and grab some cans out of the cupboard.  Without realizing it, he ended up compiling most of the necessary ingredients I use to make a low salt/salt free hot sauce it all depends on how you like it. 

Anyway, I noticed that he had my last six Poblana Chiles, a can of diced tomatoes, lime juice, my crushed red pepper, and he managed to grab an onion from somewhere.  After looking at all this, I asked, “Are you trying to tell me that you would like to cook something with me today?”  His reply was a shrieking laugh, which I understood as a yes.  So, I grabbed the last of my cherished Habaneros and a 7 or 8 cloves of garlic.

Now it was time for the hard part of our cooking experiment.   We had to somehow prepare his ingredients and mine without letting him get hurt.  I decided that he wasn’t allowed to handle the peppers at all because they were too hot for a one year old to touch.  I was afraid that he would rub his eyes or something.  He was also banned from using the knives for obvious reasons and the stove.  Well, to include him I ended up striping the little man down to his knickers.  Then I pulled out a huge mixing bowl and threw in the olive oil, lime juice, tomatoes, and sautéed onions and garlic once they had cooled.  Then I placed the bowl on the floor and told him that I needed help mixing it all together if he wanted to help.  Of course, he wanted to help.  He started to immediately splash around and mix the ingredients.  Luckily the bowl was just big enough that he didn’t make a huge mess or anything, and as he did that I charred the peppers.

After that was all done, I asked the little man to go a grab me two pots, one for the un-peppered sauce and one for the hot sauce.  Well, he ended up bringing me all the pots and pans that we own.  It was quite cute really.   Well, I ladled out about a cup of the liquid into one pot and the rest went into the other.  At this point, I added the scorched peppers to the one pot and started cooking down the mixture, letting the little man carefully stir both pots once every 2 minutes.  Once both mixtures were cooked down and cooled I let him watch as I poured his sauce into the blender.  Then I asked him to push the button on the blender, which was a mistake because our blender was too loud and scared him.  He ended up watching me blend his sauce from a safe distance in the next room.  Then I poured his sauce into a bowl while I blended and canned the hot sauce. 

It was at this point that the little mighty mite started getting really excited.  He just couldn’t wait to try his creation, and neither could I.  I had originally meant to make some fish and rice to put the sauce on for him, but that didn’t happen.  I let him taste a bit of the sauce on some white bread and that was the end of it.  There was going to be no more waiting.  So, for his second breakfast my baby had bread with his very own red sauce.  I had meant to save some for his lunch, but he ended up eating it all at that one sitting.  I couldn’t believe it! 

You know, the entire time that the little man and I were cooking and playing in the kitchen I couldn’t think of a time when I ever had more fun.  And you know what?  The sauce we made was probably the best tasting sauce that I had ever had a part in making!  But, what made the whole experience most satisfying was seeing how proud my baby boy was afterwards.  His little eyes were sparkling while he giggled and smiled, eating his very first culinary creation.  It’s times like that that make me eager to see what the next day will bring.  I can’t wait for our next cooking adventure!         

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