Note: Mary Ann Doyle is on vacation this week but will return to write this column in our next issue.
When my oldest daughter was barely two years old, we got in the habit of watching the Emeril Lagase show on the Food Network like many people did back in that time.
As a novice chef myself, the show was a great place to get ideas and learn the tricks of the trade. My daughter had a lot of fun with all the “Bams” and “Kicking it up a notch” that Emeril would through out there. As time went on and she grew older, the show became less and less a part of our nightly routine and soon we stopped watching it all together. I continued to cook, she moved on to painting and drawing and other things that kids do.
In the meantime, she also developed a habit of becoming a picky eater. As a baby, she would eat just about any food you put in front of her but as a child, she became more finicky about what she ate.
Much to my dismay as I tried new recipes and worked to provide different taste experiences, she wasn’t having any of that.
Fast forward to the present day and my pre-teen has suddenly made a switch and now will eat different types of food, no matter how green, how breaded or of what plant type. What provoked this switch? She started cooking.
She is now the one in the kitchen many nights making food and trying new things and as she has, she has learned to enjoy the experience of trying new flavors and different dishes.
It all started a couple of months ago when she started watching a different Food Network show, Pioneer Woman. I don’t know if it is the combination of the animals (the host lives on a ranch) and being outdoors and the food or what, but she has taken to cooking with zeal. Everything she makes is from scratch and prepared by her and only her.
One weekend night, recently, my wife and I were working on our yard late in the evening to prepare for some guest we had coming the next week. As the clock neared 9 p.m., we realized we had not had supper. We went in to find that my daughter had prepared Shrimp Primavera for us to eat along with dessert. What a treat.
I like to think that this new television show sparked the memories in her mind of watching Emeril with me when she was a baby and that renewed her love in cooking. It is plausible if not just the wishful thinking of a dad. But it is fun to watch her do something she is so passionate about and also fun to eat what she comes up with.
So with fall quickly approaching, no matter what the thermometer might say, I thought I would share with you her recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. She recently made them for us one Sunday morning and no one could stop eating them.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
1/4 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pan. Mix sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In a separate bowl mix together the baking soda, baking powder, flour, spices and salt. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.