During summer vacation, Christey and I have been pairing with the two oldest boys, Andy and Colin, for an Iron Chef type cooking game. One way to make cooking (and new foods in general) interesting for pre-teens is to make it a fun time. The cooking day is usually Saturday or Sunday. On the Wednesday before, the boys pick out of a hat: an ingredient, which of us they will partner with, and either appetizer or dinner. We decided on a random assortment of kid-friendly ingredients like brown sugar, bacon, applesauce, and peanuts, and of course, POM pomegranate juice was one of the ingredients in the hat. Over the July 4th weekend, the pomegranate juice was plucked out of the hat and it was time for Battle POM!
Christey and Andy had the appetizer course, and Colin and I had the dinner course. Christey and Andy decided to grill pineapple slices marinaded in POM and soy sauce, then fill the hole with melted feta, topped with walnuts. Colin and I decided on panko chicken tenders with an Asian POM dipping sauce.
The cooking fell on July 4th weekend, and all of us were pretty ambitious cooking for over a dozen family members. Good thing there wasn't a time limit!
Christey and Andy started by breaking down two pineapples, cutting off the rind and chopping the core out of the middle.
Once the slices were ready, they were tossed with a cup of POM 100% pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup of soy sauce. After sitting for a minute or two, the slices were tossed on a medium-high grill until browned slightly on each side.
A block of feta was microwaved for about 15-30 seconds until soft, then a tablespoon was placed in the center of each slice, some walnuts were added, and the POM/soy mixture was drizzled over the top:
For dinner, I chopped several pounds of chicken breasts into strips. We set up a station with plain flour, a bowl of eggs whisked and beaten, and a mixture of panko bread crumbs mixed with a bit of kosher salt. Colin manned the breading station, dipping the slices in flour, then egg, then panko, while I fried them up.
Once the chicken was done, I put them in a 275 degree oven to stay warm while we made the sauce. I added chopped scallions, ginger, and garlic to some hot olive oil and stirred until fragrant. Colin added a cup of POM pomegranate juice and a tablespoon of soy sauce, and we simmered for about 5 minutes. We added a tablespoon of cornstarch to a 1/4 cup of water, stirred the starch into a slurry, then added it to the sauce. After simmering for a minute more, the sauce had thickened into a nice dipping sauce.
POM Pineapple with feta and walnuts (serves a dozen) 2 pineapples, peeled, sliced, and cored 1 cup POM 100% pomegranate juice 1/2 cup soy sauce 8oz block feta walnuts to taste
Panko Chicken Tenders with POM dipping sauce (serves a dozen) 6-8 chicken breasts, cleaned and cut into tenders flour/eggs/panko enough to coat the tenders 3 scallions, chopped fine 1 inch cube fresh ginger, minced 1 large clove garlic, minced 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup POM 100% pomegranate juice 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Battle Results -- The guests voted based on appearance, creativity, and taste. While Colin and I won on taste, Christey and Andy won the appearance and creativity votes, and their points carried the meal!