I love to cook. This is something that was instilled in me at a young age. I have extremely fond memories of being in the kitchen with my mom and both my grandmothers. I’ve even had many a lesson on the grill with my dad (even lessons about not getting your eyebrows singed, sorry, Dad). I guess that early start on fresh ingredients straight from the garden began my obsession with health. I honestly wasn’t aware of how many processed ingredients were available until I got to college and realized how many people thought hamburger helper and easy mac were “home-cooking.” I am not exaggerating when I say I did not know what those things were until college years. So you can infer, I am a foodie by design of my family. I’ve reaped the health benefits and continue to refine how I cook to create health in my family that will hopefully continue to show up through lineages to come. I am continuing this tradition with my son. He already LOVES to be in the kitchen and help in any way that he can.
Cooking with a toddler (as with any toddler activity) requires patience. With every step of parenting I am learning that Claude teaches me more than I teach him. He is a mirror and a little sage. The kitchen is a wonderful place for us both to learn about each other while having fun with food. My most recent cooking experience with my little love was making cobbler. There are few summertime desserts that take me back to the farm more than a blueberry cobbler. It takes me back to picking blueberries with Grandma Scott, an activity that leaves me with a lump in my throat just writing it because it feels so tangible, like it was yesterday. I miss that woman more than I could ever express. This particular cobbler was made from blueberries off those same vines. Picked by Claude with his “MiMi.” So the tradition continues.
When prepping the ingredients for the cobbler, Claude REALLY wanted to use some ‘pices.’ (Spices for those who don’t speak toddler.) We keep them up high in the pantry so Claude asked me to pick him up so he could see the spices. He chose cinnamon and allspice. Whew, that could have gone an entirely different direction. But thankfully he chose well and no tears had to ensue.
We started by washing the blueberries and picking through them to make sure all the stems, leaves, etc. were removed. Claude helped me dump a little brown sugar and cane sugar on the berries. I measure, he dumps. We then zested an orange together. We juiced that orange into the berries. We each took a turn. Claude said “juicing is hawrd.” Claude mixed all the ingredients together.
We then got out the mixer, Claude’s all time favorite kitchen utensil (well maybe tied with the salad spinner). We dumped softened (Kerrigold) butter into the mixer with sugar, an egg and vanilla and mixed until smooth. Claude started and stopped the mixer in addition to the “dumping.” In a separate bowl we mixed AP GF flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt together. Claude dumped and mixed after I measured. Then we started the mixer and I added the flour mixture slowly to the butter/sugar mixture until just combined. BUT we were missing the “PICES.” You think that toddler forgot? Not a prayer. Ok, so the recipe does NOT call for these items. I’ve already taken major liberties with this recipe, but there is no way I’m letting him down by not letting him add his ingredients. He sprinkled about 3 shakes of cinnamon and 2 shakes of allspice into the cobbler topping. Thankfully, he showed some self control.
Claude then was charged with another favorite task. Painting the bottom of the dish with butter. Now the kid likes this activity for two reasons, one it’s messy and fun and two he likes to eat big gobs of plain old butter. Now maybe it’s our fault for buying the most delicious butter on the planet, or maybe it’s hereditary, but the kid will eat straight butter. And who knows how much he would actually gobble down unsupervised.
Just as we were about to pour the blueberries in the pan we decided that we’d toss in the few peaches that were about to go bad that Mimi brought us the day before (home grown by a farm neighbor). Claude proceeded to eat as much as we put in, so the cobbler was only dotted with peaches.
We baked and ate for desert with friends who came over that evening. Now, I’ve made some delightful cobblers in the past BUT I am here to tell you that Claude’s Cobbler is THE best I have EVER tasted, anywhere. (Sorry Mom and Grandma.) I mean this kid has got some culinary intuition. His random additions just made this cobbler explode with flavor. We will be making this cobbler for years to come and I will always have this sweet memory of the two of us cooking together. And this is yet another reason to cook with your kids!
For the berries
5-6 cups blueberries
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of peaches
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
Sprinkling of AP Gluten Free flour
For the topping
1 Block of Kerrygold butter (2 sticks butter)
1 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup AP Gluten Free flour
1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
3 Claude shakes of cinnamon
2 Claude shakes of allspice
Preheat oven to 375. Mix all berry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg in mixer fitted with paddle attachment. In separate bowl mix flours, baking powder, salt and spices. With mixer going slowly combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just incorporated. Butter the bottom of a baking dish and dump in berries. Gently spread topping over then berry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.