Rocking it in the Kitchen- Jerk Chicken

Today’s post was not cooked by me at all. I am so proud to say that my 14 yr old son, Jake, was the chef for this one. He’s been on this blog before and I love to brag he can cook scallops that Chef Gordon Ramsay would be thrilled to eat.

My days off from work tend to be in the middle of the week and on those days I pick up Jake from school. We usually hit the mall, go for coffees or something. Well last week we decided to hit the local book store that had the “secret” Starbucks menu posted and give something new a try.  We walked around the bookstore looking , when Jake remembered there was a book he wanted.  I was thrilled he wanted a book but the fact it was a cookbook thrilled me more.  The cookbook Jake wanted was the perfect blend of what he loves, music and food. How can a mom who loves to cook and is a cookbook junkie say no?

The book is “Mosh Potatoes”



This book is filled with recipes from all sorts of heavy metal heavyweights and lots of cool stories too. I asked Jake a few questions since he didn’t want to actually write the post for this one.  He tells me that he heard about the cookbook from one of his friends. He likes cooking because he likes to eat and he likes this kind of music because it’s “just good”.  There you have it.   One of Jake’s favorite bands is Suicide Silence, the late Mitch Lucker being the chef behind this recipe.


Jerk Chicken- Mitch Lucker, Suicide Silence .  Pg 109 of Mosh Potatoes

Serves 4

Spice Rub

  • 2 tsp habanero chili sauce
  • 3 tblsp chopped onion
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 6 tblsp sugar
  • 3 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 4 or 5 skinless boneless breast halves (we used tenderloins instead)
  • 1 tblsp butter
  • photo 1
  1. Mix together all the spice rub ingredients in a big bowl. Poke a lot of holes in the chicken pieces with a fork or use a bundle of skewers and go at it. Make sure there are plenty of holes on both sides of the chicken.  Put them in the spice rub and turn to completely coat the chicken breasts. Marinate for 1 hr in the fridge.
  2. Put the butter in a large skillet and place over medium to high heat. Place the chicken breasts (and onions) in the skillet and cook for 6 or 7 mins per side. Make sure all the onions are carmelized.

photo 2

This is made good and spicy. We doubled the recipe with no problem at all and served it as suggested with rice and green beans.




When you teach a kid to cook…

Food is a passion for me. Cooking is a pleasure for me. I love to share everything from recipes to helping teach someone to cook. If you have read my “About” page than you know I didn’t always know how to. I grew up loving the idea of cooking and watching Julia Child on PBS. When I was really young I had a play kitchen set up in my closet and can remember spending hours in there pretending to cook. Junior High School I was forced to take Home Ec. The sewing part was ok but we sewed an apron to use in the cooking unit. My first dish was Ratataouille. I remember my teacher saying mine was perfect. I did a little cooking off and on before I got married but not enough, First night I had my father-in-law over for dinner I had to call and ask him how to cook what I was making. He laughed but was great to tell me how and would teach me a thing or two in the kitchen.


So I have wanted to teach my kids to cook. I’m in the process of teaching my fifth child to cook. I can’t say it always goes smoothly. I have had kids who clearly didn’t want to be in the kitchen with me and were doing a half ass job. No other way to put it. I end up yelling and they end up walking out of the kitchen. It wasn’t pretty.  Then I have those moments where they were loving every bit of it.  All I needed to do was be there and guide. I have learned what the secret is to this. Actually there’s three.

#1- The student has to want to learn. If they have no interest and your just trying to teach them it’s going to go down hill before it even starts. Especially if they are teens. If they don’t care to learn, so be it. They will learn one day. I did. I know others who did, some of them being my own adult kids.

#2-Strike while the pot is hot! It doesn’t matter the age, every child can do something in the kitchen. I might not allow a 3 yr old to slice up onions but I would allow them to wash the veggies or stir something or help plate. There’s always something age appropriate a child can do. Don’t say “oh your to young for that”. It’s squashes a desire.

#3- Get them involved from planning to plating.  Having been down this road a few times I noticed when one of my kids might say they want to cook. I go over the recipe, shop for the ingredients and plan it out. Then when it comes time to cook they say they will pass. Well if you go back up to #1 you see where that is going to lead. Somehow the magic of it asking them what they want to cook. Plan out the menu. Have them do the shopping and teach them about picking out great ingredients and then have fun with it.

When you teach a kid to cook, you teach them about how to feed their body, you teach them math, geography, science and most important how to take care of themselves. When you teach a kid to cook you give them the tools they need as an adult.

My 13 yr old seems to have the cooking bug right now. It’s lasted longer than any of my other children. He actually has said that when he grows up he wants to either be a Marine or a Chef. Though he thinks he can do both and just might do it that.  I take him to farmer’s markets and he has met our fishmongers and has been invited up to the docks (which we need to do) to see the boats come in and how they prepare the fish for selling. He also loves watching a couple of cooking shows. Most of them, I admit, are Chef Gordon Ramsay shows. Right now he’s loving Chef Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course which is on the BBC channel. I’ve since discovered it’s also a new cookbook he has put out. I see a purchase in the near future.

Prep time!

Prep time!

In the first episode called ” Getting Started” had a recipe for pan-fried scallops with crunchy apple salad. My son decided he wanted to make that after seeing it. We picked a night, watched the show a couple of times and well, last night, he cooked the most perfectly cooked scallops I have ever eaten.

He only asked me to show him how to cut the apple into match sticks. Then told me he was going to do the rest. A little help to show how to zest a lemon and that was it. He cracked me up when he said “Take that Rachel Ray…I cooked dinner in 25 mins!”  Truth be told that really was how long it took him to cook the following. He bragged a little online but the real payoff for him was that smile, that taller stance that he cooked and did so with confidence. That is what I wanted to see.

On the cookery course show there were no measurements. In the following recipe Ramsay called for Lamb’s Lettuce. Our store didn’t carry that so we used a nice organic spring mix.

Voila! Dinner is ready.

Voila! Dinner is ready.

Pan-fried scallops with crunchy apple salad

  • olive oil for the pan
  • scallops (3-4 per person)
  • 2 lemons for juice and zest (one for scallops one for salad)
  • lrg granny smith apple(s)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a pan. When hot pour in oil. Put scallops in clockwise so you know which one to turn first. Turn scallops when golden brown and cooking on other side. Just before they are done add zest and juice of lemon.
  2. Chop apples into matchsticks and add to lettuce.  Add zest and juice of one lemon and drizzle some olive oil and mix salad. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Plate salad and serve scallops on top and enjoy!

Cooking with Kids-Chef Jake

Back in October I posted about Food Day and had my two sons, ages 12 and 17, featured as they cooked a meal from mostly local foods. It was a great time.

This week I thought I would turn my attention back to getting kids in the kitchen and excited about what they are eating. I’ve said it before that my kids do tend to eat a large variety of things I know most kids wont eat. I’d say I am lucky but hoenstly the truth is I have exposed and involved them in new foods and not just served them the new foods. This makes all the difference.

How do I do this? I often ask my kids what they would like to see on on the menu as I plan it out for the week. I take them with me to farmer’s markets, we read lables, we cook together and often if we see something in the grocery store that is new or we have never seen before, we try it. Well minus that Buddha Hand Lemon at Christmas this past year. I wasn’t sure what to do with and it was $5 a pound. Ouch.

Last week while I was menu planning and my youngest son, Jake, was working on some math at the table, I asked if he would like to help cook. He said yeah sure. I found a soup recipe that was geared to kids and asked what he thought. He said great let’s do it. Of course this week when it came time to cook, he had forgotten. He actually seemed a little put off he agreed to make soup. It was like “Really mom? Soup? How boring is that?” But if given the opportunity to step away from his math assignment he’ll do anything. Maybe that is why he agreed in the first place. It was math time.

Stiring and smelling his soup

So there we were, chopping an onion, talking about why we soaked the beans over night, why we were going to brown the onion, what deglazing meant, smelling the aromas and discussing what add ins we would be putting in later along with what seasoning. He discovered he loves the smell of bay leaves and that there was a bit more to making soup than he thought. He then confessed that he loves to cook about as much as he loves to eat. He even said he thinks he might like to be a chef someday, if he decides against enlisting in the Marines. That’s a huge thing to say from a kid who’s room is decorated in military posters and his favorite color is camoflauge.

Making toasts

The soup turned out incredible. He was so excited for his dad to come home so he could share that he cooked dinner (cheesy toasts included) and see what he thought of his culinary adventure.

Dinner cooked by my son. Yay!

I was thankful at that moment I had not let this moment slide and let him get out of cooking after his math lesson and get on Xbox Live or something. Not only did we make memories but he is learning not only the skill of cooking for himself, but about how to cook healthy meals. Can I ask for more?

Kombucha brewing fun

Well it continued on. I had a batch of Kombucha brewing and it was getting close to time to bottle and flavor it. I had mentioned this to my son and he asks if he can help pick a flavor and help bottle. I said sure why not. So there we were in the kitchen again, talking about kombucha, looking the SCOBY over and talking aabout what it is, flavoring and bottling kombucha and then brewing up another batch. I wonder how many twelve year olds brew kombucha and are willing to step away from xbox, computer or legos to do it and say it was fun after. No, no math this time.

There’s a Chinese Prover that says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I am hoping I am teaching my kids skills they will use over their lifetime and teaching them to do so in a healthy and fun way. So get your kids invovled in cooking no matter what the age. Even a little one can help pick out and wash veggies for you.

Till next time,
Blessings & Love!
Shelly & Jake