Halloween Frights, Sights and Delights

October 31st, 2014

 

 

 

Here’s what I’ve seen and made so far on this Halloween, and it’s only noon.  Hopefully you’re enjoying your day and getting ready for this evening’s festivities.  The kids’ school parade took a detour indoors as it’s finally decided to rain the Bay Area.  When I got home our lovely neighbor carved my kids names in pumpkins and left them on our porch.  So nice!

 

I’ve made the brain mold again.  Complete with gummy worms for the extra yuck factor.  They’ll be hot dog mummies and noodles again, of course.  We also made Halloween cookies.  Look at my husband’s patience as he uses tweezers to place his sprinkles!  My amazing baking friend made these cake pop eyeballs.  Amazing!  Take a look at last year’s blog for other Halloween recipes and reminders here.

 

This year I made Pan de Muerto (a.k.a. Day of the Dead Bread) for the first time.  I’ve had the recipe cut out for years but I get side tracked with all the Halloween treats that I kind of forget.  So this year I’m early for Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, Nov. 2nd.  Here’s hoping it’s as tasty as the dough.  I’m bringing it to a Halloween get together tonight and don’t want to taste a bone and wreck the bread.

 

Pan de Muerto

Adapted from from allrecipes.com and The Mercury News.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white or colored sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Do not let it boil.  Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, zest and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft and not sticky.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob or bone design on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white or colored sugar.
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When Friends Give You Apples….Make Fall Desserts

September 23rd, 2014

My friend gave me a bag full of her beautiful apples right off her tree.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Except a week later she gave me another bag and I can’t believe these are even bigger and juicier.  The first bag I made this super easy apple crisp.  Crisps are so easy and with so few ingredients I just made it up as I went along. I went to a friends’ and shared with lots of moms and kids. It was a hit and I was asked for the recipe.  Oops!  My own kids didn’t have any crisp. And my daughter didn’t get to help.   So when the second bag of apples came around my daughter and I made another crisp to share with my kids and followed a real recipe so I could share with everyone.  Although I cooked according to directions for 40 minutes and the apples turned to sauce.  I think 25 – 30 minutes for firmer apples.

Another great option for fall apples is an Apple Gallett.  Easier than a pie as the crust is tasty but more rustic and doesn’t require all the fuss of a pie pan, fluting, etc.  I still have some apples left so I’ll make this next.


Apple Crisp

6 -8tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)

2 -3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour (can use whole wheat)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar, and spices; turn into an 8×8″ baking pan that has been lightly coated with no-stick cooking spray

Cut together flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender; serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Galette

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) plus 2 tablespoons cold butter

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup walnuts

2 pounds tart apples (3 to 5), such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water

In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut 1/2 cup butter into pieces and add to flour mixture; pulse motor, cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running (or stirring with a fork after each addition), add egg yolk and 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; process or stir just until mixture comes together in a ball. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a baking pan and bake in a 375° oven until barely golden under skins, 6 to 8 minutes (leave oven on). Coarsely chop nuts.

Peel and core apples; cut each into eight wedges. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it’s foamy, add apples and stir often until slightly softened and brown at edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and nutmeg over fruit and stir until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Remove from heat.

Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a round about 15 inches in diameter. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment and carefully transfer dough round to sheet (edges will hang over sheet)

Pour apple mixture onto center of pastry, mounding wedges in a circle about 8 inches wide and 2 inches high. Gently fold edges of dough over apples, pleating as you go, leaving an opening about 4 inches wide in the center. Brush pastry all over with beaten egg.

Bake in 375° oven until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes (35 to 40 in a convection oven). Transfer galette (with parchment, if using) to a wire rack to cool. Transfer to a large plate, gently pulling parchment from under tart. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

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Vegan for Fun – Cookbook Review and Coconut Curry Recipe

September 8th, 2014

America may not, at least I didn’t,  know German celebrity chef and cookbook author Attila Hildmann.  He’s big in Europe and started the vegan trend with his bestsellers, Vegan for Fun and Vegan for Fit.  We, Americans will know him shortly as his books have now been translated and published in English.  Attila lost his father to a sudden heart attack due to malnutrition.   Attila was motivated and converted to a vegan diet and lost 77 lbs.  His book Vegan for Fun, Modern Vegetarian Cuisine shares his favorite recipes which shows his passion for health and fitness and also for taste.  In addition to his story and over 200 tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes, he gives great tips about vegetable substitutions, stocking a pantry, getting motivated to change your diet, how to shop at the grocery store and kitchen tools to make your life easier.

 

I’m always looking for more vegetarian ideas and this book is inspiring with lovely photographs as well.  There are many simple, tasty recipes for everything from sandwiches and pastas to salads and desserts.  Many do not even require having to buy added vegan ingredients, which I like.  I’ve also found these recipes are easy to convert for all diets and tastes.  I made the Vegetable Coconut Curry (recipe below) vegan for myself and daughter but also added chicken for my husband and son.   My daughter who usually thinks curries are too spicy, loved this one.  We also enjoyed the Spaghetti Bolannaise both as written with tofu and also with ground turkey.  The only drawback is this cookbook seems geared for a single or couple.  You have to check the servings andy sizes if you’re making for a family or larger group.  I make sure I double the ingredients on many of these recipes to feed my four.  My kids are looking forward to trying some of Attila’s desserts next.  Chocolate croissants anyone?

Vegetable Coconut Curry with Basmati Rice (pg 112. Vegan for Fun)

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings

¾ cup Basmati rice (150 g)

Sea salt

1 carrot1

1 ½ cups sugar snap peas (150 g)

1 red chili pepper

1 cup mung bean sprouts (80 g)

3 tablespoons canola oil

1–2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 onion

1 garlic clove

¹  ³–½ inch fresh ginger (1 cm)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup coconut milk (250 mL)

1 teaspoon agave syrup

1/4 bunch cilantro

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes

Cook the Basmati rice according to the package instructions in lightly salted water. In the meantime, peel the carrot and cut into thin matchsticks. Wash the sugar snap peas and blanch in well-salted boiling water. Wash the chili pepper, remove the seeds, and cut into thin rings. Wash the mung bean sprouts and allow to drain. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a skillet or wok and sauté the vegetables over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and remove from heat. For the sauce, peel and finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a skil let; sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger with the curry powder for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and agave syrup. Cook for 2 more minutes and season with sea salt. Wash the cilantro, shake dry, finely chop the leaves, and fold into the rice. Arrange the rice on plates with the vegetables and sauce and serve.

 

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Camping Requires Food – Wine Tasting a Bonus

September 3rd, 2014

 

I have been remiss in my food blogging for sure.  I’m blaming it on a great summer.  It was the first time my kids flew on an airplane by themselves.  Plus a great all family trip to Oregon.  Where even the grandparents went white water rafting.  When I think back on the summer I don;t remember much about the food, other than what I already shared.  Yes, there was the Edible Excursion trip to the Mission and we certainly had our share of ice cream recipes.  But really not much to speak of for great food on this summers travels.

Until we went camping over the Labor Day holiday.  We went with about 10 families and had a great time.  I must say I don’t always look forward to this trip.  There’s the amount of people.  There’s the lack of sleep and worrying about the kids poking each other’s eyes out with sticks.  And there’s my daughter whining “what will I be able to eat” when planning the camping food.  But it was great.  There was everything from hiking to biking to rope swings and reading and of course campfires.  But here was also wine tasting.  We went to Hendy Woods State Park where conveniently right out the gates are wineries such as Husch Vinyards, Navarro Vinyards, Roederer Estate and others.  It was quite relaxing meeting at  Navarro before even heading in to the campground.  A nice glass of wine (and grape juice for kids) and the tranquil setting helped everyone rejuvenate after the drive, before pitching tents.  We also ventured out in shifts – one of moms and one of dads (Anderson Valley Brewing) on one of the days to get a break from the camp activities for an hour or two.

 

Of course if you’re going to buy good local wine and cheese and local beer you’re also going to cook some tasty meals.  Unfortunately I don’t have photos (you’ll have to imagine) of the camping grub because my phone died in the park.  It was actually a nice break from electronics and taking photos.  Just enjoying the time, food, friends and family.  One night was every kind of burger – veggie, turkey and beef and pesto, pasta salad.  Another night was a variety of sausages and dogs and edamame salad.  Lunches were a smorgasbord of sandwich fix ins from hummus and grapeleaves (yes, my daughter) to cold cuts, veggies and fruit.  Breakfast was big with this group.  Open fire bacon and eggs, plus bagels and fixings.   The last day one dad made his famous berry pancakes and must have made at least 100.  Of course there was s’mores every night.  Not just the traditional Nestle milk chocolate but also some dark chocolate bars.  And the marshmallows were both vegan and regular.  When my daughter explained why she didn’t want to eat marshmallows with gelatin, and talked about the animal products to make gelatin,  it seemed like a scary campfire story.

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July WAS Ice Cream Month

August 12th, 2014

Yes, July was National Ice Cream Month.   And yes, I know it’s August.  But that doesn’t mean ice cream season is over.  My family turned out the ceremonial first batch of homemade ice cream just after school got out in June.  Of course we always start with Mint Chip.  The real deal (see past blog) with real mint.  Not the fake colored, extract stuff.  This year we’ve also made a few new flavors, below.  When making ice cream remember to explain to your kids (and husband) it’s not a quick instant gratification process.  Be sure to read the recipe and see how much time (refrigerator, freezer, machine) you’ll need before you’re actually ready to scoop and enjoy.

 

Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

This was a huge surprise.  I received the Vegan Al Fresco Cookbook and went for this right away.  Overall I like this cookbook, and we love this ice cream.  The coconut oil gives this a great dense and creamy texture.  It has become my husband and daughter’s favorite flavor.  I even brought a batch to a friends’ for dinner and she served it with a homemade peach pie she had made.  It went together perfectly.

I made a few changes you’ll see noted below.  I don’t like the coconut texture so I didn’t add the shredded coconut.  I didn’t have the extract, so I didn’t use that either.  There’s still debate about confectioner’s sugar and whether it’s a “vegan” ingredient.  If you’re concerned buy the vegan brand.  (I explained “bone char” in an earlier post.)  And I didn’t see the need to buy arrowroot when I had cornstarch in my pantry.

Coconut Ice Cream from Vegan Al Fresco by Carla Kelly

Makes 4 cups

2 14 oz. cans full-fat coconut milk

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder – I substituted cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional) – I didn’t use

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional) – I didin’t use

Place 1 can of coconut milk in refrigerator overnight (to speed this up I put in the freezer for 2 hours).  Open can – do not shake – and scoop off 1/2 cup cream from surface.

In a blender, process coconut cream with contents of second can of coconut milk, melted oil, sugars, arrowroot and extract until creamy and smooth.

Transfer blender jar to refrigerator to chill overnight.  Stir in shredded coconut if using, and mix to distribute evenly.

In an ice cream machine, process mixture for 30 minutes, or according to machine instructions, until aerated and cooled.

 

Lemon Sorbet

My daughter requested this when she started her orthodontist expander.  I was happy to oblige.  Especially after realizing I already have the ingredients on hand.  Ice cream requires a trip to the store for cream and whole milk.  Sorbet is simple.  The recipe I used came with my ice cream maker.  I even had simple syrup in the fridge left over from making lemonade.  Next time I need to read the recipe more thoroughly as the one I used made a small quantity (maybe a pint vs our usual quart).

Lemon Sorbet from Allrecipes.scom

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 6 servings
  • 1 lemon’s peel, finely diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup carbonated mineral water
  • 6 strips of lemon zest, for garnish

Pina Colada Sorbet 

This was almost a merge of flavors from the coconut and the lemon.  It was bright and refreshing and we ate it with my daughter’s birthday cake.  Seemed very tropical as we enjoyed it during the Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Pina Colada Sorbet from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut water $
  • 1/2 cup sugar $
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup cream of coconut

Preparation

  1. 1. Place first 3 ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth and sugar dissolves. Combine pureed pineapple mixture, coconut milk, and cream of coconut in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  2. 2. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

 

My son just asked what flavor is up next.  My daughter and husband said coconut.  But he wants something new.  Stay tuned…

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Coconut Water Taste Test – Fresh and Fun, or Canned?

July 18th, 2014

My kids love to open coconuts.  Last year (see post) it was on their list of top 5 summer activities.  However we  never seem to actually eat or drink much of it.  This time was different.  Because of all the coconut waters and juices on the market we decided to do a taste comparison.  Does the coconut milk from the actual coconut taste like the kind in the can?  We also needed to learn the difference between coconut milk, coconut juice and coconut water.

 

Coconut milk is easy.  It’s the stuff you cook with.  Think Indian food.  It’s the liquid and meat that comes from the brown coconut.  It’s pulverized and put in a can.  It can be light fat or full fat.  More of the solids and fats move to the top of the can so depending on your recipe you may spoon the creme off the top, use just the milky liquid or use it all.

 

But what’s the difference between coconut juice and coconut water?  Both coconut water and juice is the clear liquid in young green coconuts.  Seems the difference is the marketing.  The juice may have other additives (although I bought one that didn’t) and the water does not.  They may sometimes have pulp at the bottom of the can/bottle.

 

My kids were split on what they like.  No surprise there.  My daughter didn’t like that the juice from the actual coconut was still cloudy after straining.  My son thought is tasted more like coconut and the canned tasted like vanilla.  I, to liked the stuff right out of the coconut, but best after being refrigerated.  However everyone agreed it was lots more fun to break open the actual coconut vs opening a can.

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Rediscovering the Mission with Edible Excursions

July 9th, 2014

When my husband and I lived in San Francisco, now 10 years ago, we would search out the latest and greatest in food and neighborhoods.  Sometime this led us to some not so safe or clean areas.  We didn’t mind.  It was always an adventure and part of the experience.  One such neighborhood was the Mission District.  20 years ago we would go directly to our Mission destination restaurant (usually the original Slanted Door) or bar (Blondie’s or the Elbo Room).  Not wanting to stray too far from the crowds.  Some restaurants had valet which was great.  Or we’d try to park near the police lot.  Certain blocks were shady and even scary to walk through to get to your car.   Over the fourteen years of us living in SF this changed and more and more restaurants and shops moved into what was predominantly a neighborhood of taquerias and furniture stores.  Unfortunately Slanted Door moved to bigger and more tourist digs at the Ferry Plaza.  Since moving to Marin 10 years ago, we’d still go to the Mission now and again to dine at our favorites such as Foreign Cinema and Luna Park.  But we weren’t discovering anything new.

 

Last weekend we did.  I gave my husband a gift certificate to Edible Excursions, a company started by a dear friend of ours, from back before we had children.  After working at Gourmet Magazine, Edible Excursions owner Lisa Rogovin traveled the globe searching out cooking schools and culinary adventures.  Once back home, she brought her culinary expertise and connections to lead culinary walking tours throughout San Francisco and East Bay (Berkeley, Temescal) neighborhoods to discover and share delicious tastes, local artisans and community treasures that you may or may not have heard of (neither  from tour books or even living in the city).  Over the years she has added tours, such as Japantown, as well as guides, called Epicurean Concierges.  These individuals run the gamut from chefs to cookbook authors to food purveyors and teachers.

 

Here’s a little peek at our tastes…

And when I say tastes, I mean yummy food and lots of it.  Come with an appetite.  My only complaint would be my belt was too tight at the end.  Not sure if that’s the tour’s fault or my will power – not to eat every morsel.  After wine and cheese, chocolate and a lovely courreges, we were served a tasty beef sopa plate, followed by a delicious pork taco and then a rich ice cream.  I could have skipped the pork taco.  Although you needed something to go with the tequila tasting.  Maybe this stop could have been a lighter item, such as ceviche.

 

Our tour guide Karen, was very knowledgeable and even lives in the neighborhood.  She introduced us to everything from a small batch chocolatier to a farmer’s market food stand and a non-profit off shoot of the famed Bi-Rite Market.  On the way we saw new playgrounds full of kids, the newly refurbished murals at the Women’s Building and small mini community gardens only as long as a car length.  My husband and I couldn’t believe we were in the Mission.  Specifically we spent lots of time on Valencia Street.  And there are still bars on the shops a few blocks over.  But it wasn’t shady.  Overall the area was colorful and jovial and felt like a real community.

 

There were 6 of us total on the tour.  Five of us were locals of the Bay Area.  Two lived in SF.  And one was from St. Louis.  The tour was a surprise for everyone – locals and tourist.  My husband and I enjoyed ourselves so much we made plans to eat at a new restaurant, The Abbott’s Cellar on Valencia Street a few nights later.  Thanks to our friend Lisa, and Edible Excursions we’ve rediscovered a great hood.  By the way Lisa started the business 10 years ago!  I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to participate in a tour.  Funny our son is almost 11.  I guess that’s what happened.  We swapped culinary adventures in hip, shady places for parenting adventures in safe spots.  I’m looking forward to bringing them together again.

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Happy 8 and 48, with Single Layer Cake Recipe

July 4th, 2014

Well she’s not a baby anymore.  I can’t believe my daughter is 8.  Turning 8 also coincided with finally being 48 inches.  I say “finally” because she has been waiting for that height.  48 inches opens many doors to kids, such as the slide at the community pool, a host of carnival rides and being able to drive an indoor go cart.  This is what she wanted to do to celebrate her day.  That and making a birthday cake of course.

I went to my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I’ve had for 20 plus years and found this recipe for a Busy Day Cake (aren’t they all?).  This was a super easy single layer cake that was perfect for last minute making and decorating.  We omitted the broiled coconut topping and went with a classic buttercream frosting.  Which of course we needed multiple colors.  The birthday girl and brother did it all by themselves.  They did a lovely and tasty job.

 

Busy Day Cake

Makes 8 servings

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cups sugar

2 teasponns baking powder

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add milk, butter, egg and vanilla.  Beat on low speed with electric mixture till combined.  Beat on medium speed for additional 1 minute.  Pour batter into greased and floured 8 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pan.

Bake in 350F oven for 25 to 390 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove cake from pan.  Cool thoroughly, then frost and decorate.

 

 

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“Chef” Gets the Scene and Story Right …But Bring Your Own Food

June 10th, 2014

Chef, movie

Ever since the movie Swingers I’ve loved Jon Favreau.   I haven’t agreed with his movie choices lately with blockbusters such as the Iron Man films, but I enjoy his Dinner for Five Series and now Chef brings him back to sharing food, friends and stories.  He’s written a film about a self-absorbed chef who gives up his safe restaurant job after a bad review, for creative integrity, and ends up searching for a new way to express himself and discover happiness on a food truck.  While food is everything to him, Chef Casper is forced to explore his relationship with his 10 year old son, himself, ex-wife, friends, and the ways of the Internet.   His journey is an enjoyable one to watch.

 

I went to see Chef at a matinee with my foodie friend.  Unfortunately I was late for our planned lunch and the theater café was closed.  The thought of eating concession popcorn for lunch was unthinkable, so we snuck in some food from neighboring Japantown.  No.  I’m not above sneaking in food.  Although my friend wasn’t pleased.  However I won’t be forced to eat junk from the theatre.  Plus I cleaned up after myself, which is more than I can say for many theatre goers. You’d never know where I ate my tea noodles.

 

Chef was big with food and personalities.  In addition to Favreau (Chef Casper), there’s Sophia Vergara (the ex-wife), Scarlett Johansson (the hostess), Dustin Hoffman (the restaurateur), Oliver Platt (food blogger/critic) John Leguizamo (the sous chef),  and even Robert Downey Jr. (Sophia’s other ex) .  The 10 year old son, Percy , is played by Emjay Anthony.  He’s got an old soul  and can hold his own with Favreau beautifully.

 

While watching this film my friend and I were very pleased to eat our contraband lunch. Food itself is one of the main stars in Chef.   It all looks amazing and delicious and you wish you could taste every dish.  Everything from caviar eggs to grilled meats to chocolate lava cake to cubano sandwiches are on screen – sizzling and tempting you for two hours.  In addition to the beautiful food is the carefully chosen soundtrack to help transport you as the food truck travels from Miami to Los Angeles and has the rhythms and beats to match.

 

Chef is one for the time capsule.  The backdrop is the foodie scene as we know, live and eat it today.  Learning via Twitter where a certain food truck will be during your lunch break.  Reading the latest food blog that can make or break a chef.  Kids knowing more than their parents about the ins and outs of videos and the Internet.  Teaching kids the importance of cooking, sharing and eating good, real food.   There’s even a reminder of one of my favorite other food movies, Ratatouille (see past review) in the feel good ending.  Stay past the credits and watch famous Korean taco truck chef Roy Choi, who consulted on Chef, teach Jon Favreau how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  For all these reasons I really enjoyed the film.  So go …but not hungry.

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Six Part Plant Fest – Kids Eat Veggie “Burritos”

June 2nd, 2014

Did you know there are six parts to an edible plant and they all have different health benefits?  Neither did I.  I went to a great event at my kids’ elementary school where the garden teacher discussed the parts of the plant, their use, and how we eat all parts by having the kids make salad burritos.  I thought they looked more like lettuce cups, but hey I was there to prep, serve and learn.  In case you’re wondering the six parts and their uses are:

1. Seeds – essential for reproduction.  Makes new plants.

2. Stems – part that carries leaves.

3. Roots – underground structure to hold the plant and soaks up water.

4. Leaves – offshoot of the stem, here “food” is made for plant.

5. Flowers – colored and usually scented.  Attracts insects.

6. Fruit – product that follows the flower.  Holds and protects the seeds.

Makes sense.  But I never really realized how we eat different and multiple parts of produce.  It was a tasty visual to understand the plant parts.  And many of the offerings came right from the school garden.  All the plant parts were chopped and grouped together so kids knew wheat they were eating.  The leaves started the burrito wrapper with big leaves of romaine.  At the stems table there was celery and green onion.  At the flower table there were nasturtiums petals to eat as well as broccoli tops.  The seeds were popular with an array of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  The fruit was a variety of berries and sugar snap peas.  For roots there were carrots and radishes.  There were even sauces to choose and flavor your creation.  Kids realized too that on the same plant we can sometimes eat multiple parts.  This is helpful in thinking how to serve, prep and cook these parts as well for a diet in a variety of color, taste and vitamins.

The kids (and a few of us helpers) had a great time.  The only downside was there was only one to a customer.  Feeding 600+ students doesn’t lend itself to second helpings as many of the kids were hoping.  We make a lot of burritos and lettuce cups at home and this just gives me more ideas for using all the plant for a variety of textures and flavors.

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