Keeping my 4 year old busy

Summer for a 4 year old who has started school has been a little tough. He's so used to being at work with me (at a preschool program), and being at school, that all this free time is too much for him.

Add to that the fact that his brother is old enough to do off up the street to play with friends, but he is not, and you have a grumpy little boy. And frankly, there is only so much Hard Hat Harry I can take!

So when his brother went off to play road hockey up the street last week, leaving him behind with me, there were tears and anguish from a little boy who felt left out and a bit bored. The tears dried up instantly when I offered to have him come help me do some baking, though.

Our decisions on what to make together came down to a few things - what recipes looked good to us in Dorie's Baking from my Home to Yours, and what recipes in that group we had the ingredients on hand for. We came up with two - Blueberry Sour Cream Ice cream, prepping it for the next night, and Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler (page 415), from then on designated as dessert for that night.

We had to pick two - getting the ingredients together for the ice cream, and making the base, would take us less than 10 minutes. And that's with my little guy running of to find his chefware and standing on a chair with my "squidger" to get the juice out of the lemon.

For a 4 year old who had never done it before, he uses a reemer very well and only lost a little bit of juice to his apron.

Think I have a little chef in the making here?

Next to twisting the lemon, his favorite part had to be turning the food processor on to puree the blueberries and sour cream together, while looking down the food tube to see things mix. Tasting the base to check for sugar had to be third on his list of favorites.

With the ice cream base off in the fridge, we headed out to the garden to pick some rhubarb, dropping the leaves into the composting. A big bowl of cherries awaited us in the kitchen, waiting impatiently to be pitted. I'm with Alton Brown though, not a fan of uni-taskers that don't get used often, such as a cherry pitter. So I don't own one.

Did you know that little fingers make the best cherry pitters?
I guess I own few sets then, don't I? :-)

Pitting a pound of cherries takes alot longer than throwing together a base for ice cream. Which makes it perfect for distraction baking! Add to that getting to turn on the food processor again, for making the cobbler dough, and you have one happy little chef!

The cherry rhubarb cobbler was good, but not really my thing. I would rather have eaten the cherries straight from the bowl. Perhaps if I had had some ice cream, I might have liked it better, but I suspect I would have just liked the ice cream.

While it didn't really do anything for me, my 8 year old inhaled his, my husband enjoyed all of his, with a touch of cream, and the little chef? Well he loved the cobbler balls, dipped in the juices of the fruit. Wasn't so fond of the fruit though - maybe he and I both disliked the ginger in the fruit.

The next night the blueberry sour cream ice cream made it into the ice cream machine, just in time to be shared with my brother and mother. The recipe did not make a large batch, especially not with 3 very hungry boys waiting to have some!

We didn't tell anyone about the sour cream in it, waiting instead to see what reaction the ice cream received before we suggested there might be a bit of a tang to it. Personally, I didn't taste one. I tasted wonderful blueberry creaminess!

Blueberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream
by Dorie Greenspan Baking from my Home to yours

1 cup blueberries - fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw and drain)
1/3 cup sugar, or more to taste
pinch of salt
grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon or lime or more juice to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream

Put the blueberries, sugar, salt and lemon zest and juice in a medium nonreactive sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture boils and the berries pop and soften, about 3 minutes.
Turn the berries into a blender and whir until you have fairly homogeneous puree, about 1 minutes. (It will never be completely smooth, and that's just fine.) Add the heavy cream and sour cream and pulse just to blend. Taste, and if you'd like, add a squirt more lemon juice or a tiny bit more sugar.
Pour the custard into a bowl and refrigerate until it is chilled before churning it into ice cream.
Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers instructions. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.


Karen Baking Soda said...

owww he is so cute in his little red apron and red chef's hat!
My kids love to help out in the kitchen as well, although at their age I can't get them to wear this outfit anymore. Enjoy as long as you can!

Brilynn said...

I find it's hard to improve on cherries in any other way than straight from the bowl.
That blueberry sour cream ice cream on the otherhand, is fabulous, I've also made it with strawberry.

Peabody said...

It's so great that you involve your child in cooking!