Top Chefs Kids Menu: Cloudy with a chance of Pretzel


by KIM HOLCOMB / Evening Magazine

Bio | Email | Follow: @KimHolcomb

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 2:13 PM

If your kids like the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," perhaps they'd like to try meatballs with a chance of pretzel for dinner.

We last talked to this top chef four years ago. Now his son is 7 years old and they're coming up with recipes together.

Have you ever wondered what it means to "cook with love?" Meet Chef Jason Wilson, owner of Crush and Miller's Guild.

"I think what we do as chefs is not only our job, it's important to us, it's important to our family. But there's really nothing like cooking for those that you're intimately in love with," Jason said.

He made his name as executive chef at "Crush." Miller's Guild is his new offering, a steakhouse concept restaurant featuring a nine-foot grill.

"I use the term wood-fired cooking for describing Miller's Guild because there we'll use wood fire in almost every realm of what we're doing," said Jason.

At home he used a regular stove to introduce his son Ferrin to the world of food. This was a few years ago.

These days Ferrin is even more willing to help out and try new things.

"That same level of adventure is there. It's just starting to explore more and more of it," Jason said.

Experimentation led to this recipe: meatball with a chance of pretzels. Jason uses beef and bison meat to keep the dish lean.

"Remember, you grate, grate, grate and then you turn. You grate, grate, grate and then you turn," he said.

Jason also sneaks in vegetables like zucchini and kale.

"We chop the heck out of it in advance then we kind of saute it and mix it in to the meatballs," he said.

Ferrin's favorite part is the crunch.

Pretzels take the place of traditional bread crumbs.

When it's time to fire up the stove top, Ferrin takes over. Jason thinks kids who cook early learn how to cook safely.

"Something he's going to be comfortable throwing in the pan. He's away enough from it so he's not going to burn himself, but it's so he can fell the heat too and gets comfortable," said Jason.

Ferrin's definitely comfortable with rolling the meatballs -- a perfect task for little fingers.

The meatballs go on a preheated pan into a preheated over, while Ferrin and his dad whip together a simple tomato sauce.

Set the table and voila, a father-and-son recipe that's high in protein, low in fat, and utterly delicious.

Meatballs with a chance of pretzel and a guarantee of happy diners.

Serves 8

1 lb fresh ground Buffalo or Bison meat
1 lb Extra Lean Ground Beef, Naturally raised
2 cups finely chopped kale
½ cup finely chopped or grated Glutino Pretzels
1 whole Egg
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 tbsp finely chopped celery
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 small zucchini grated
1 carrot grated
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450F
Sauté the salt, pepper, onion, kale, garlic, celery, and olive oil together for 4 minutes on medium high heat. Add the grated zucchini and carrot and place ALL ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with your CLEAN hands (or gloved) and make appropriately sized balls (golf ball size). Place them evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve on lollipop sticks, bamboo skewers or over pasta with fresh tomato sauce.