Hangin’ in the Kitchen with Lola

I don’t generally post many photos on my blog, but today I have to. You see, on Tuesday, Lola and I had our Second Annual Valentine’s Day Cook-Fest. This is the second year in a row that her mid-winter break from school falls during Valentine’s week, and since Eve and Bubba are stuck in their regular routine, Lola thought it would be cool for us to concoct a feast for them. She is my little chemist, so for her, cooking is fun. So is making a godawful mess in the kitchen.

As soon as we dropped Eve off at her carpool meet-up point, we headed home to start baking. First on tap, the flourless chocolate cake. Lola delighted in using the biggest, sharpest knife we own to shred an enormous block of chocolate. She also loved licking her fingers and swiping them across the counter to pick up rogue bits that had leaped off of the cutting board. Separating eggs is fun, too. Since she used her fingers to filter out the yolks and got to be “all slimy.” Whipping egg whites was harder than she anticipated, so I stepped in to save the day, but she insisted on being the one to fold them in to the mixture at the end.

Once the cake was in the oven, we got to move on to our next dish – gluten-free potstickers. We discovered this recipe last year and it was such a hit that we knew we had to do it again. We also remembered how much work it was, so we bought some rice paper wrappers to make spring rolls with the leftover filling. Mixing dough was a riot – Lola loves to get her hands in there and squish it all together. She had a ball chopping chicken and cabbage and green onions and, later, rolling out the dough and pressing it in the tortilla press.

Then it was time to make the broth for pho. We roasted spices with onion and garlic and ginger under the broiler and put it in the crock pot with broth to steep all day long. The last few photos are of the table Lola set, the noodles and beef just before we poured the boiling broth over the top, Lola rolling a spring roll, and the fabulous flourless chocolate cake.

I already know that next year, Valentine’s Day won’t fall during mid-winter break, but Lola and I have decided to make this a tradition (and Bubba and Eve aren’t complaining – they were looking forward to dinner all day long). Although we made an unholy mess of the kitchen, I don’t remember when I’ve had more fun and I’m already looking forward to next year’s adventures in the kitchen.

10 replies
  1. Raji Lukkoor
    Raji Lukkoor says:

    Hi from She Writes! Great post! I loved being in your kitchen with you and Lola. Be sure to send a slice of cake my way 🙂

  2. Peggy Strack
    Peggy Strack says:

    Everything looks so yummy and festive. What a wonderful celebration. It was just me and my husband on Valentine's Day this year. Of course that's not a bad thing, but I do miss the family fun.

  3. Unknown
    Unknown says:

    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog today. I hope you will be blessed by my book! How fun to learn that you live in this area.

    Your Valentine's dinner looked fabulous – especially sharing the preparations with your dear girl – like an art and craft project rolled into one.

  4. Bella
    Bella says:

    Oh, I read this post and was reminded of how much I miss cooking with my daughter! It's been too long! And don't you love how at this age, kids are the greatest helpers and are so willing to learn? How I miss those days! 🙂

  5. Dee Ready
    Dee Ready says:

    Dear Kari,
    Family traditions are so important. Years from now, years and years, Lola will remember preparing this festive supper each February with you. I bet she will do something like this with her own children.


  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Wow what a feast! What great photos…I can just imagine Lola with her hands in…well..everything! Tell her she can come an mess up my kitchen too!

  7. Sandi
    Sandi says:

    I missed this earlier in the week Kario! What fun and it brought back such happy memories of time in the kitchen with my girls! (We still cook together, and it's still fun, but there is something so giddy about the mess with young cooks!)

    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face, and the memories brought a tear or two!

  8. brenda
    brenda says:

    Coming from a long line of cooks, I enjoyed the post. I never really cook with my daughter. When is cooking I am allowed of answer questions if she asks. The cooks in our family fly solo, and being as she is cut from the same cloth, she isn't about to let me intrude. I confess I cringe from time to time, but as I am the same way… what's a mom to do?


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