Pineapple Appeal

May 21, 2008
By Chef Allison Sosna
The Inn at Little Washington
Restaurant web site: www.theinnatlittlewashington.com

Nothing can beat the appeal of a tall and thorny fruit like the pineapple. Kids are drawn to their odd shape and juicy, golden goodness. And getting your kid to pick out a great pineapple is just as easy as getting them to eat one.
The next time you find yourself at the grocery store, ask your child to pick out a leaf from the top of the pineapple head. If he or she tells you it came out easily, you have a ripe pineapple on your hands. If your child says it was hard to get, keep picking. Just be sure to pick the leaves discreetly so you don’t drop pineapple leaves all over the store floor!
Once you have your perfect pineapple, try this recipe that your kids will be sure to love.

Roasted Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:
1 pineapple

2 vanilla beans

4.5 ounces honey

6 slices fresh ginger

3 peppercorns

1-ounce banana puree (or mushy banana if you have it on hand)

1 tablespoon of rum (for taste; all alcohol will cook out)

1-cup water

3.5 oz passion fruit coulis (or substitute mango ice cream)

Vanilla ice cream for topping or frozen yoghurt

Procedure:

1. Simmer honey in a saucepan, add water, vanilla, ginger, and black peppercorn. Add banana, passion fruit, and rum. Bring to boil and put on hold.

2. Peel pineapple and cover with the caramel. Cook for 40minutes in an oven on medium (about 320 degrees).

3. Slice, plate, and top with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream or yoghurt.

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

That’s a Wrap…

May 16, 2008

 

Chef Felix teaches strawberry slicingChristina, Morgan and IsabellaThe last Saturday of the Every Kid CAN Celebrity Chef Series was a hit with PBS’s favorite Vegan chef, Christina Pirella (www.christinacooks.com).  The kids were utterly en-wrap-tured (tee-hee!) with the art of making sushi, kid-style, complete with professional sushi-rolling mats and nori.   “Ewwwwwwwww seaweed!” quickly morphed into “Mmmmmm sunflower butter and pickles!” as Christina showed off her own yummy twist on a very established Japanese tradition.  With a nod to the universal love of hummus, a Mediterranean version was also demonstrated, with brown rice, roasted red peppers and alfalfa sprouts or “green hair.”  Never fear, oh preservers of custom, tofu was indeed present and rolled up with cukes and avocado. 

At other tables, the wonderful and super-easy wrap sandwich was undertaken by the kids.  The Mediterranean version (see above) went into tummies just as quickly as the sweeter one.  I will say they went absolutely mad for the sunflower butter(we used Whole Food’s 365 brand), a healthier alternative to peanut butter.  And I quote 5 year old culinary genius Margot-“It looks like peanut butter, it tastes like peanut butter, but it’s better than peanut butter!”  She should know, quickly becoming the expert at she slathered the sunflower butter onto her whole wheat wrap, and licked the knife clean after each swipe.  Not a lover of chocolate, she opted for strawberries as a compliment to her banana-studded and honey-drizzled wrap.   The other kids were perfectly happy with the standard shaved Ghiradelli chocolate and banana confection.   Other fresh fruits were tried in tandem, and the sky is truly the limit with the creativity of this sweet wrap; try mango, strawberries, melon, apples… all organic of course!  It was all great fun and everything was gobbled up in record time.   We will miss our Saturdays at CMOM, but it’s on to the next thrilling phase of Every Kid CAN.  Stay tuned!  

PS.  Thank you to Ryan Kenawell for the wonderful photos.

Sushi Recipe:

Serves 6

BASE INGREDIENTS:

cooked short grain brown rice, about 2 cups

3 sheets of nori – toasted

TRADITIONAL FILLING:

  • 1 avocado, cut in half, seed removed, mashed
  • Baked tofu, cut into strips
  • 1 cucumber, cut into think strips
  • prepared mustard

SUSHI WITH A TWIST FILLING:

  • 3 dill pickles or cucumbers, sliced into spears
  • Almond butter OR Sunflower Seed Butter

MEDITERRANEAN FILLING:

  • ½ cup hummus
  • 1 roasted bell pepper, sliced into thin ribbons
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  1. Take either a bamboo sushi mat or a cotton tea towel and place it in front of you on a dry work surface. If using a mat, make sure that the bamboo pieces are horizontal (so it can roll up).
  2. Next, place the nori, shiny side down, on the mat. (If nori is toasted, simply take it from the package and use it. If you purchased untoasted nori, simply roast it over an open flame until it turns a deep green. Then it is ready to use.)
  3. Next, press rice evenly and firmly over nori sheet, leaving about 1 inch of nori exposed at the edges closest to and farthest from you. Make sure the rice covers the nori completely from side to side. Rice should be about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Place filling ingredients on the rice on the edge closest to you. A thin line of filling will suffice–a line of avocado, strips of tofu and cucumber, a thin line of mustard.
  5. Or dill pickle spears and a thin line of almond butter spread the width of the rice.
  6. Or a thin layer of hummus, peppers in a line and sprouts on the peppers.
  7. Then, using the mat as a guide, roll the nori maki, jelly-roll style, completely encasing the rice and filling in nori. When completely rolled, wrap the mat around the maki and gently press to seal the roll. Remove the mat and with a sharp, wet knife, slice the nori roll in half, crosswise, repeating this process until you have 8 nori rounds, about 1 inch thick. Arrange on a serving platter and serve with pickled ginger or a mild dipping sauce (soy sauce, water, ginger and diced scallion is most popular).

Pizza party!

May 14, 2008
Pizza party in the Bronx!
Chefs for Humanity and Children’s Museum of Manhattan teamed up for a fun and healthy three days of cooking classes at the Phipps Classic Center in the South Bronx. The kids, ages 8-11, had a ball eating fruits, veggies and healthy salad dressings they made themselves. They performed taste tests, made and mixed salads and eagerly answered the question, “Do You Wrap?” with sushi rolls, lettuce wraps and whole-wheat tortilla wraps with a variety of healthy fillings. The last day of the workshop was a pizza party, starring one of every kid’s fave foods and presented with a flourish by Pizza Master Mark Bello (check out his website at www.pizzaacasa.com)  Chef Mark taught us all how to pat, knead and flip the dough to obtain optimum crust elasticity and crunch, and then created a simple pizza sauce of canned organic tomato sauce, freshly grated garlic, sea salt and a dash of honey to sweeten the deal. With a sprinkle of mozzarella, a dash of parm and a variety of fresh and nutritious toppings, the kids had created tasty things of beauty. Chef Mark slid the pies into the oven with a bona fide pizza paddle, fostering an atmosphere of authentic parlor, and ovens were watched impatiently. After 20 minutes of “is it done yet?” the pies came out and were given the final touch- organic, torn herbs. The pizzas were gobbled in a flash and pleased and proud chins were wiped clean. The three-day workshop was deemed a success by Phipps, CFH and CMOM staff. And the kids? “I’m going to open my own pizza shop!” Crowed one little girl, excitedly. What else is there to say?
for great pics of this event courtesy of The Daily News, go to:   http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/bronx/2008/05/06/2008-05-06_chefs_for_humanity_team_up_with_children-3.html

 

 

 

everybody eats lunch

May 6, 2008

Well they do, don’t they?   Kids in Egypt eat lunch, kids in France eat lunch, kids in Mexico eat lunch, businesspeople in Midtown Manhattan drink lunch (smoothies these days)-it’s a vital and social time of our working and playing day to day life.  Chef Cricket Azima of The Creative Kitchen has taken the art of The Lunch to a whole new level with her innovative and terribly cute kid’s book, Everybody Eats Lunch.  Take a whirlwind tour of the world with your child, and eat lunch together with lots of new friends.   Each page features a different country and fun facts about its culture and lunchlore.  The lunchbox-shaped book is interactive, with removable pieces that hide nutritious easy recipes each child can make themselves and take in their own lunchboxes.  They’ll be the envy of the playground, trust me.   It’s pretty hip to make torta when you’re 8 years old!   Pick up this educational tool-slash-toy at www.amazon.com or www.thecreativekitchen.com while it’s still around.  A book this good is gonna get gobbled up fast! 

going bananas

April 22, 2008

banana octopus and friendFor a fun way to get some potassium into your kids, make a nutritious undersea creature: The Banana Octopus. 

What you’ll need:   a banana, a dull-ended steak knife (kid-friendly, mother-approved) and two black quilting pins.  That’s it!

Begin by cutting off the stem of the banana.   Then, starting about halfway up, make vertical slits about a half inch apart, all the way to the now stemless end.   Make sure you cut deep enough to get through the skin.   Once you are done with the slits, pull each one upwards and break off the bottom half of the banana.  Eat that half before continuing!   Set the tentacled banana half down on the table and push the two black quilting pins in to create little octopus eyes.   Tada!!!  A fabulous banana octopus.  You didn’t know you could do that, did you?   Aren’t you clever!

Courtesy of David Leathers

 

Cooking up a great time at CMOM

March 30, 2008

reeves-with-torts.jpgA glorious tangle of kids of all ages descended upon the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on March 15th, to learn how to cook fun foods from Mexico. They cuddled up eagerly on the floor together in front of a long table full of goodies, courtesy of Whole Foods and fidgeted excitedly. “I’ve been to Mexico!” one child chirped as Chef Cricket Azima, food editor of hot kid mag Kiwi, founder of The Creative Kitchen and author of the highly anticipated children’s cookbook “Everybody Eats Lunch” introduced the day’s special cuisine. Chef Cricket led the kids in a rousing demonstration of (gasp!) Whole Wheat Tortilla making, using the good old George Foreman Grill (an absolute MUST in a healthy kitchen and very kid-friendly) and a recipe courtesy of Chef David Leathers. After the intro, the kids made their way to several tables where students from the French Culinary Institute as well as other culinary professionals helped them create Dinner Impossible Chef Robert Irvine’s Super Salsa (ketchup-friendly mind you), and Holy Guacamole. I can say from personal experience, that the tortillas were a huge success. Everyone wanted to get their little hands dirty. “Squish squish squish,” I instructed a rapt Reeves and Dylan, “is how you KNEAD the dough.” All the kids had a grand time squishing the dough in their hands and on the table, nutritious whole-wheat flour flying. The day soon proved this old adage (that I just made up right now): If you make it, you’ll eat it. Reeves dashed off to find his parents so he could proudly give them a taste of what he had done. Allison, Haley and Reeves Fisackerly were visiting from Jackson, Mississippi, founder Chef Cat Cora’s very own hometown. They were thrilled when they stumbled upon the class. “I thought it was great. Cricket was great with the kids. If I would have brought home whole wheat tortillas, he never would have touched them,” commented Haley. Reeves, 5 ¾, is no stranger to cooking. “I’ve cooked pizza with cheese and pepperoni. Also mushrooms and spinach,” he remarked casually.The salsa and guac stations were just as successful. Juicy mangos, tomatoes, crispy limes and even Serrano chilies were all chopped and prepared by the children, with the help of cheerful, super-safe plastic knives. Iyanna Brown tried her hand at Holy Guacamole. “I chopped up avocados, tomatoes and garlic!” She and her Aunt Valerie and cousin Maxine come every Saturday to the Children’s Museum. “I LOVED this event! We will definitely be back,” said Valerie.   Muchos gracias to Chef Cricket for teaching with such pizzazz, the fabulous Whole Foods for donating all ingredients,  and the volunteers that gave their time and incredible energy to make this event a smash and a wonderful beginning to a very exciting new program. Nice work guys!