What a great assignment! Two high school seniors, TJ and Ryan, asked me to mentor them on the last project of their high school careers: They wanted to learn to cook two simple meals, so that they could then videotape themselves preparing the foods.
Neither young man had ever tasted bok choy before. I asked them to describe it, and they struggled to find the words. I would say the bok choy had a mild, cabbage-like flavor; it was crisp but tender, bright emerald green and enrobed with a savory sauce. If we were to make this dish again, I would split the bok choy into quarters instead of halves, because the base of the heads was not quite cooked enough.
Something fun to do on the afternoon of an early release day from school Jan. 25 and 26
Chef Sheila will open her kitchen to children (ages 13-17) who love to bake cookies, muffins and quick breads on Thursday afternoon. As usual, she honors special recipe requests, so let her know what baked goods your child is eager to learn to make. We will divide up the baked goods to take home, along with recipes.
On Friday afternoon, boys and girls (ages 8-12) will try out their apple pie baking skills. Everyone will go home with a 9-inch flaky, buttery double-crust apple pie they will construct in class and bake at home. A Pyrex glass pie plate and recipes are included in the fee.
Email Chef Sheila to let her know about your child’s food allergies, sensitivities and restrictions: crye4(at)aol(dot)com.
COOKING CLASS FEES
THURSDAY, JAN. 25, 1:30-4:30 p.m., for ages 13-17: Cookies, Muffins and Quick Breads;
FRIDAY, JAN. 26, 1:30-4:30 p.m., for ages 8-12: Apple Pie and Pie Crust Cookies
EACH 3-HOUR CLASS COSTS $75
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!
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.