Entries in cooking with kids (13)


cooking classes at pomme

About a month or two ago Lauren and I signed up Lila and Bea for a cooking class at Pomme. For those unfamilar with Pomme, it is a gorgeous children's shop in Dumbo, Brooklyn, full of very special clothes and toys. It is a great place to go when you need a special gift for a new baby or special child in your life. In addition the shop hosts classes and events - last year we took the kids and had wonderful silhouettes made by a talented visiting artist. 


Back to the cooking class. Lauren had a master plan...the girls would be occupied for a few hours and while they were we could do some shopping and explore dumbo...I must say it all worked out beautifully. When we arrived the back room was set up for the class: the tables were stylishly set and the kids were invited to sit on low benches in groups of 6 or 8. The teachers were very friendly and welcoming so parents were able to go do their own thing. When we picked up the girls the smell of freshly baked cookies wafted through the air and all the kids were in great spirits. 


The cooking classes are taught by Anna Harrington of Yummy Time and are for kids ages 4-8. I recently got an email from Pomme and there are three more classes on the schedule now: March 31, April 7, and April 21. If you are in nyc check them out!




We went out for dinner at Mesa Cayoacan in Williamsburg recently and had delicious churros for dessert. You can order them with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, or with mexican hot chocolate. For the adults the hot chocolate was the best part.



The whole experience reminded me that our friend Bernat had brought his churro maker to Quogue last summer and we made our own. Bernat is way too health conscious to make fried dough for himself but he knew the kids would love it, and their enthusiasm was contagious. The churro maker is kind of like a cookie press...you fill it up with dough (recipes are included with the gadget) and pipe it into hot oil. While the churros are still warm coat them with sugar. Delicious!


meringue mushrooms


I love meringues and thought the kids would think it would be fun to help me make meringue mushrooms. They are very easy to make but take a long time to cook so I did that part on my own and enlisted the kids when it was time to attach the stems to the caps with chocolate. They enjoyed the process, and did a good job assembling them, messy finger prints and all. 


One note about the meringues: The cooking time varies enormously so they are not a good thing to make if you are on a deadline. In fact, I was planning on serving these at our New Year's Eve party but they were not done in time. We ended up assembling them as an activity on New Year's Day instead. We used this recipe from Martha Stewart. One option that works really well if the meringues are still sticky after several hours is to turn the oven off but leave the meringues inside overnight. The slow residual heat tends to dry them out pretty well without any danger of browning.




christmas cookies


Baking Christmas cookies is a big part of our family's holiday tradition. Every year my parents, and especially my father, make as many batches of cookies as they can during the month of December. They package them up as gifts for friends and always bring a big batch to our house on Christmas day. Everyone has their favorites but the kids especially love decorated cookies.


If we find ourselves with an afternoon after school, or a free day on the weekend, we also like to make a few batches of cookies and decorate them. Unlike at my parents house, when we make cookies they all get eaten so they don't make it onto the cookie platter on Christmas Day.


homemade marshmallows


Before working at Martha Stewart Living I'm not sure it ever would have occurred to me that you could actually make your own marshmallows. They were in that mysterious realm of food that is so alien I just never questioned it. Although homemade marshmallows are not really any healthier than the ones you buy at the supermarket they are quite fun to make. Once you have made the gooey mixture you have 2 choices: you can spread it in a pan, let it set, and cut it into shapes; or you can put it in a piping bag and form shapes that are more intricate (you can see a version of that variety in my post, first birthday carrot cake). Since my daughter really wanted to help we opted for the first plan so she could participate more fully. We cut the marshmallows into hearts--maybe we can give these treats as gifts so my kids don't insist on eating them all themselves. Bea thought this was an exciting enough project to declare it her favorite dolls birthday…the utmost cause for celebration!  


P.S. Don't worry to much about the sticky mess…it all washes off quite easily with hot water.

P.P.S. After you have cut out your shapes you can use scissors to snip the scraps into mini marshmallows too.


hot chocolate


Now that it is finally getting cold outside my kids have started asking for hot chocolate again. Recently I did this post on Momfilter but thought I would share it here too.  


Making hot chocolate from scratch is so easy if you have a bar of dark or milk chocolate. A serrated knife works well for chopping the chocolate--it produces little shards that melt very quickly. A few spoonfuls are all you need...just stir it into barely simmering milk.  One of the nice things about this method is that you can really control how sweet and rich your hot chocolate is based on personal preference...a little dark chocolate gives a lot of flavor but is far less sugary than most commercial mixes.


A dollop of freshly whipped cream is my favorite topping but my kids love marshmallows. Soon I will post about making your own.



skull cupcakes


My friend Jodi came up with these brilliant marshmallow skulls for Martha Stewart Living. As soon as I saw them I knew my kids would love them. My boys still bring a treat to school for their birthday and these skulls on top of a mini cupcake are perfect. One cake recipe makes enough mini cupcakes for both boy's classes and the skulls more than make up for the tiny portions. The directions call for chocolate sprinkles but we used the multi colored ones that I already had. Best of all, the skulls are easy enough to make that the kids got to help too.




grilled pitas with fresh herbs


These grilled pitas are a family favorite, and an easy way to let the kids help with dinner prep. They love brushing the bread with olive oil and sprinkling on the salt and herbs. You can chop any herbs you like but since I always make them when we eat yogurt marinated grilled chicken I often use chopped cilantro from that dish and mix in some chopped parsley. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the pitas and sprinkle them with a little sea salt and some herbs. Place them on the grill, turning when they are very lightly browned. If they start to puff up they are done, but this does not always happen. Serve immediately...I always make sure these are the last thing grilled since they are really best when nice and hot and they are ready in about 2 minutes.




quick pickles



I have made quick pickled cucumbers for years and have always done it the same way...I thinly slice some cucumbers (sometimes I also thinly slice a red onion) and sprinkle them with salt, sugar, and vinegar. Sometimes I add some fresh dill, sometimes mint. The cucumbers are softened and full of flavor within half an hour, and we eat the whole thing right away as a salad (photo below left).


Then, a month or so ago I was talking to my friend Rachel and she said she was making quick pickles with her son Caleb. We always compare recipes, and often share ideas for what to make for dinner, and this time was no different. It turns out, she was making a quick pickle recipe by Mark Bittman. I love his columns so I decided to look and see if I could find the pickle recipe online...curious to see what his favorite quick pickle is. 



I found the recipe here and discovered a whole new technique! To me, vinegar has always been a key ingredient, but Bittman does not use any vinegar at all in his recipe. Instead, he makes a salt water brine. I had to try them (photos above right and top) and I must agree that they are delicious. 


There are some differences between the two - I think that when I want a pickled cucumber salad as a side dish (for example, it goes really nicely with roasted salmon or grilled lamb) I will probably stick with my own method. But for a real pickle...a crunchier, really fresh tasting pickle, that can be kept in the refrigerator for about  a week, the Bittman pickles win. 


In the link you will also find another way to make quick pickles...one which does use vinegar, but like Bittman's version, are really pickles, as opposed to mine, which are more of a pickled cucumber salad. We made a jar or two of those as well...they were good, but not as crisp and fresh tasting as the ones without the vinegar.


To make my quick pickled cucumber salad use 2 cucumbers. I peel them, leaving strips of peel in tact, and remove the seeds. Slice thinly and place in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 4-5 tablespoons vinegar. You may choose the type: white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar all work well. Stir the cucumbers to combine. Add a heaping tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint or dill and stir again. Set aside, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes before serving.



granola, take 2


Homemade granola is so popular in our house that I decided to try a variation. In this version I used puffed wheat and rice (available at health food stores). The result is a lighter texture than my original granola recipe made with rolled oats. I use a mixture of butter and olive oil but you may use either alone as long as the total amount is 8 tablespoons (half cup). I think this may be a new favorite...the entire jar was devoured in less than a week.


6 cups puffed wheat

4 cups puffed brown rice

1 1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup maple syrup

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine maple syrup, olive oil, and butter in a small pot over medium heat stir to combine. Once butter has melted pour mixture into dry ingredients and stir until well coated. Divide mixture onto 2 sheet pans and spread into an even layer.  Cook for about 15 minutes then remove trays to stir mixture. Return to oven for another 15 minutes or until golden brown (switch the position of the trays so that the top tray is now on the bottom and vice versa). Set aside to cool. Store in an airtight container or large ziploc bag.