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Friday, February 18, 2011


I have tried FOR YEARS to get my teen-ager to eat oriental food.  His idea of oriental is eating Beef Ramen.  He only tried that because some character in his manga books ate it voraciously.  He will eat ramen for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  He also will not eat vegetables.  Intense payback for my my having been a picky eater as a child.

I decided to set up a stir fry "station" and call him into the kitchen to cook his own stir fry dinner one evening.  He had gotten where he liked green onions...he'd eat fresh basil...he liked limes squeezed on certain I made sure to include those ingredients.  I started out with very thinly sliced chicken breast so it would cook fast, also had a little bowl of sliced crimini mushrooms, some zucchini, and some soy sauce.  I used olive oil (familiar to him and acceptable) for the frying medium.  The first time was not all that adventurous.  He doesn't like rice, so I boiled some whole wheat angel hair pasta and had it ready...explained the process...and he did it...with minimal ingredients...and he liked it. <big smile>  Lo Mein...he was eating Lo Mein!

That was about a year ago.  He's not all that more adventurous, but he's gotten flexible about using some chili garlic sauce, some sesame oil, a good amount of mushrooms, and he eats it with chop sticks!  I think if you keep trying (and this took me nearly 10 years to accomplish) kids will eventually find a way to include "different" foods in their diet.  The teen has Asperger's trying new things is always going to be a challenge.  I just want him to be able to live on something other than pizza, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and hamburgers in his adult life.  I realized when I was throwing together our stir fry this week (we have it almost weekly now - it's a staple) that he'd really begun to enjoy this dish - not just tolerate it.  His knife skills are slowly improving despite fine motor deficits
(altho I've ordered a Kevlar glove for him to wear - not kidding you!) ...and he is learning about food preventing cross contamination.  He thinks, as do most teens, that he knows everything, and I don't know shit anything.  However, he's learning some solid kitchen skills - moms everywhere should get their sons in the kitchen cooking with them!

Here's our version of stir fry!



4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs OR boneless skinless half chicken breast
6-7 Scallions (green onions)
6-7 large crimini mushrooms (gently cleaned with damp paper towel)
10-12 large basil leaves (chiffonade)
Olive Oil
Toasted Sesame Oil
Chili Garlic Paste (marked Vietnamese - available in ethnic section of the store)
Soy Sauce
Whole Wheat Angel Hair Pasta (Capellini)


Thinly slice your chicken and set aside (obviously, to avoid cross contamination, use a different cutting board and a different knife).

Clean and thinly slice mushrooms, scallions, and basil.  Set aside.

Quarter a lime and set out your liquids.

Set a pan of water on to boil (the pasta takes only 2-3 minutes).

In a large skillet (or wok) add enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the pan and sprinkle sesame oil (I use about a teaspoon of sesame oil).  Get the oil hot, but short of smoking.  I start with the chicken and stir fry it until it is about 1/2 done then add the mushrooms, and then all but about 1 tablespoon of the onions and about 3/4 of the basil.  Stir fry - keeping everything moving. 

Add garlic chili paste to taste (I use about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon, add a good amount of soy sauce (I use about 2-3 tablespoons) and squirt two lime quarters over it all.  Drop your pasta in the boiling water.  Set a timer so it doesn't overcook.  Continue stir frying until the chicken is done.  Add the drained pasta, the last of the onion and the last of the basil, toss to coat and serve in large flat bottom bowl (I use a pasta bowl - and this provides about 2-3 big servings).  Serve with a quarter of lime to squeeze over the bowl for a nice burst of flavor at the table.

We love this - like I said - it is now a week-night staple!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

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