Until now, I have not made regular posts, because I was unclear to whom I was writing. Now I know: It’s you, who want to know more about cooking at home. You could be a child or young person, or you could be a parent or adult cooking teacher. I am happy to help you however I can.
I plan to share an idea, a recipe or a story a few times a week, not to overburden you with reading material, but instead to give you an opportunity to get acquainted gradually with my teaching methods and family favorite recipes. If you reach out and post a comment, I will respond. My hope is that like other social media, this blog will create an opportunity to exchange ideas and develop friendships.
By the way, the photo above was taken last week by photographer Megan Meinberg in my home kitchen classroom.
For years I have taught ‘tweens home cooking skills in after-school programs and summer cooking camps. Once I provided a series of Saturday classes for military families–parent/child partner teams had a blast cooking and dining together.
Now I think it would be fun to share culinary skills with adults, too. Nutritionist Kay Loughrey and I will provide a simple but elegant luncheon class that you’ll want to repeat for your own special occasion dinner parties.
Chef Crye drove through a snowstorm to attend a cook-off at the Williams-Sonoma store at Mazza Gallerie in Chevy Chase. It was the first round of the KIDS COOK Original Recipe and Cooking Competition!
The contest is a collaborative effort of Real Food for Kids and Williams-Sonoma. Metropolitan Washington 4th-8th graders were encouraged to use their creativity to invent delicious dishes using fresh ingredients and following the www.choosemyplate.gov guidelines.
This girl demonstrated how to make a mixed nut, raisin and brown sugar topping.
This girl showed how to make a baked pear and goat cheese/dried cranberry salad.
This girl demonstrated her family’s favorite breakfast burrito.
This girl prepared a Thai-style shrimp and noodle dish–and she made her own oyster sauce!
Kids’ cookbook author Nevin Martellasked the contestants questions as they cooked. Culinary expert Katherine Newell Smith led the judging, which was based on taste, appearance, presentation, originality and nutrition.
Guess who won Round One? It was the second girl from the left, who made the Thai shrimp and noodle dish. She and three friends will receive a private cooking lesson at Williams-Sonoma. Her recipe will be sampled at the Mazza Gallerie store on Feb. 27-29. All the contestants received Williams-Sonoma gift bags.
On to Round Two on Feb. 28 at the Clarendon Williams-Sonoma store–what fun!
Chinese people like to eat lucky foods on New Years Day. One of them is dumplings, because they look like gold or silver ingots. To be really lucky, make your dumplings with lots of pleats, and arrange them in lines, rather than (bad luck) circles. Circles are interpreted to mean that your life will go in circles, and you won’t go anywhere.
The adult chefs worried about how to prepare enough oven-roasted, garlicky potato wedges to give up to 20 cooking club members a sample. Would we be able to split five pounds of potatoes between two baking sheets in a single layer? Should we use aluminum foil, parchment paper or Silpat?
On Monday Chef Crye used aluminum foil but did not oil it, thinking that the potatoes had been tossed in plenty of oil. Mistake! The potatoes stuck to the foil, and it tore when the finished potatoes were scraped out.
On Tuesday she tried oiling teflon-coated baking sheets with similar results. The young people said that the potatoes tasted wonderful, but they looked like hash browns.
Here is Team Silver Spoon’s amusing menu:
The consensus is: Line the baking sheets with aluminum foil, and oil it. Remove the “fries” with a silicone spatula, rather than a metal one.
Our Young Chefs after-school cooking club is one of the free Excel Beyond the Bell activities offered at some Montgomery County (Maryland) middle schools.
Here are a few highlights from this month’s Grand Finale Party:
Each cooking club meeting begins with Circle Time. Whoever is holding “Mr. Potato” has the floor. The rules: Everyone has a turn to talk. You can pass, if you like. No put downs!
I showed youths how to “French” a chicken drumstick. We prepared the drumsticks for the party to be held the following afternoon, so that the chicken could soak up the Chinese Barbecue marinade overnight.
M. toasts pita chips to go with Jacques Pepin’s warm white bean puree.
We used Chef Catherine’s Whirligig popcorn popper to make Garlic Herb Parmesan popcorn. The cooking room smelled divine!
Chef Catherine uses plastic chip bag clips to secure the end of the pastry bags. How’s that for multi-tasking tools?
Chef Catherine shared her trick for rolling out gingerbread cookies evenly: Place lengths of yard sticks on either side of your rolling pin. The thickness of the yardstick is just right for rolled cookies.
Part of the fun of learning to cook and bake is finding ways to make our favorite recipes taste great — and make great nutritional sense. For the perfect balance, we used 50% white whole wheat flour in our gingerbread cookies.