Petite Foodies: Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious

Alice Waters is a true revolutionary in the culinary world.  She in essence started the farm to table movement more than 30 years ago.  In her Berkeley California restaurant, Chez Panisse, she sourced all of her food locally from farmers and foragers.  In 2014, Time Magazine listed her as one of the 100 most influential people for her work in promoting good food for all.  If you want to know more about Alice Waters and her amazing legacy listen to this story on NPR about her.  She is amazing in more ways than one, a project she currently works on is called Edible Schoolyards where public school students learn to grow food that is then used in their school lunches.  Amazing, right?

“We’re trying to bring children into a new relationship with food where they have an opportunity to work in a garden,” she says. “They know what it is to plant the seeds and pick the weeds and they’re learning about what it takes to cook the food. … We’ve been separated from this experience through a kind of fast-food indoctrination that’s been going on for the last 50 years. So we need to really come back to our senses and really understand, like most every other country in the world, that food is something precious.” – Alice Waters

What an important skill for our children to be learning.  Alice Waters is culinary hero to me and I was thrilled to see this book showcasing her in the children’s section of our public library.

book-alice-cover

Source: ReaderstoEaters.com

Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Hayelin Choi (2014), published by Readers to Eaters is not only pleasing to the eye, but filled with a fantastic story and really fun little factoids about Waters life.

To me this book hits on so many different levels of inspiration.  Food and eating well, along with growing your own foods and sourcing local foods.  Trying new things, which is something we strive to promote in our house.  Travel and enjoying destinations and cultures through food.  A sense of adventure and how food can take you to new places literally and figuratively.

I love this book and think you will too.  Please tell me in the comments what you think or if you have other petite foodie recommendations.

Erin

Let’s Take a Bite out of a Great Book

Petite Foodies

These charming food focused books are definitely worth a trip to the library to check out.  We love a good meal in my house and even more we love a good book about food.  In a recent post, I shared about how my girls love to cook and be in on the food prep in our house, whether it’s helping us choose fresh foods and new foods to try at the local market, or it is actually getting aprons on and spoons ready to help make the food.  Sometimes it isn’t possible to have little helping hands, so I like to make sure that we can spend some time reading about food to inspire future cooking projects.   Here are our top picks in books about food:

Julia, ChildJulia, Child – Kyo Maclear with illustrator Julie Morstad have created one of the most charming books I have picked up in a while.  Everyone is familiar with the name Julia Child, this book is not so much about Julia Child, but about a little girl who loves being a little girl and loves cooking with butter.  It is a sweet story about two friends who don’t want to grow up and through their love of cooking may just create a solution to never growing old.  This book would be a lovely pairing with a boeuf bourguignon!  Check out this fabulous video of the one and only making one of her signature dishes.  With the weather getting cold this might be the perfect multi-step dinner to make with the petites.

 

Food Trucks!Food Trucks!This quirky book is perfect for the hip petite foodie who has a severe love of food trucks.  Living in Seattle, we definitely have a love affair with out many food trucks, we religiously follow them and know their weekly locations so we can get a quick fix of delicious food.  Mark Todd, does a fabulous job of showcasing these delicious trucks.  My petite loves the pretzel truck page and how silly the truck looks.  I think this book does a great job of talking about different kinds of foods, my hope in this is that the fun pictures will provoke curiosity and interest in trying these new foods.  One other aspect that is so fantastic is there are fun facts on each page.  Who doesn’t love fun facts about food and food trucks?

Food Truck Detail

Bee-Bim Bop!Bee-Bim Bop!Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee have created a classic that is loved by so many children and parents alike.  This book has a very rhythmic text that just begs to be read aloud.  This book shows the preparations that are necessary for making this delicious dish.  As a parent, I also feel like this book is incredibly realistic, with the rushing to the store, hurrying to make dinner, I love that Linda Sue Park decided to make this  fantastic but very relatable story.

I love this book because it shows how much fun it can be to go shopping and make food with your family at home.

 

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and HamDr. Seuss needs no introduction, so I will tell you some fun facts and give you some fun pairings.  Green Eggs and Ham, according to Scholastic is in the top 10 best children’s books.  It currently sits at number seven.  Did you know that there are only fifty words used in the entire book?  It’s true, it was a bet between Dr. Seuss and his editor that he wouldn’t be able to write an intelligent book using only fifty words?  He did and won the $50 bet.

During its 50th anniversary in 2010 it was estimated that 200 million copies of this book had been sold.  Check out some of these super fun ideas for things to do when you’re done reading book.  For all the petite Seuss lovers, check out these fun activities that can be done.  Perfect for a rainy day activity.

I can eat a rainbowI Can Eat a Rainbow -Annabel Karmel does a fabulous job in this vibrant board book that has been a favorite of both my daughters, recently my five-year old was showing it to her little sister and was telling her all about the fruits and vegetables and which ones they like to eat and enjoy.  One of my favorite parts about this book is that the veggies and fruits shown are not just the standards, they have some fun foods that your petite might like to try.

Another thing that we love about this book is how they have made animals out of the fruits and vegetables, it makes it all the more fun for little ones to look through and see their favorite fruits as a rabbit or beans as frogs.  This book is also really easy for little fingers to manipulate, the color tabs of make it easy to turn the pages on their own.  I guarantee the petites will love this book and may even take a nibble out of some of the colorful images.I Can eat a Rainbow Detail

 

I find that when I take my little ones to the store (this of course, is not every time), when I spend time showing them fruits or vegetables and talking about what we are seeing they are so much more engaged in the food procuring process.  My five-year old loves to make complex dinners or desserts because there are lots of steps and opportunities for her to contribute to the meal prep.  I’ve even taken her to the store and let her choose a whole meal,  she had a blast picking vegetables and a meat and of course making silly suggestions.  I think the silly suggestions were her favorite part.

Of course, these are just a few of my petites favorite books.  They all inspire little ones to try new things, to be excited about shopping and making food.  Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to tell me about some of your favorite books about making food.  Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for new books.

Bon Appetit!

Erin

 

Fostering the love of cooking in the petites

 

When I was small I used to spend a lot of time having sleepovers with my Gram and Papa.  We would spend time watching public television and specifically we would watch three shows that I remember vividly.  The Frugal Gourmet, Cooking with Julia Child and Victory Garden.  I remember these times so vividly that recently I was watching Downton Abbey and heard the beginning intro and welled up because I so fondly remember watching these shows with my Gram.  Gram was a great baker, I remember making cookies and cakes sometimes pies and breads.  I remember the rituals that would go into each of these recipes, how we would wash our hands and lay out the ingredients, these are rituals that thirty years later I am working to create with my petites.  Since Z was little I have put her on the counter in her bumbo chair and have her watch while I explained step by step the items I was preparing.  Now, it is something that she chooses as a choice activity – cooking projects.  She loves them.  z

I, strongly believe in the importance of spending time cooking together in the kitchen with the petites. I think that it helps them to understand what goes into eating healthy food, it promotes conversations that I don’t believe would happen otherwise and it spurs creativity.  Since Z was big enough to hold a spoon, she has been helping me stir.

My petite likes to try new foods, since she was small we’ve had a rule that she has to try everything and we call it an adventure bite, usually this is said louder in a sort of Mighty Mouse tone and I like to throw in a festive right arm air pump.  This little gem has worked, she has never, seriously NEVER refused to take an adventure bite, we might have to be persuasive or loud about the ADVENTURE BITE, but she does try everything.

Now I try to make sure that we do cooking projects at least weekly if not more.  This week we are making a German Chocolate Cake.  This is by far one of the most delicious cakes I have ever made, if you like German Chocolate, you have to make this…you will not regret it.

I’ve been looking at the different sites and pins on Pinterest about cooking with kids, and the specific recipes, but honestly, in my opinion I think that if you’re up for it then you should cook any recipe you want.  I’ve given my daughter cooking magazines and had her look at the pictures and then we’ve made the recipe together.

Benefits of cooking with the petites:

  • working on basic math skills
  • fine motor skills benefit heavily benefit from cutting skills
  • working on sequencing – following directions and steps
  • talking about food and how it’s made promotes healthy eating habits
  • making food give children a sense of purpose and accomplishment
  • promotes healthy discussion about food
  • this is life long skill you’re promoting
  • kids are more likely to eat the foods that they’ve helped to make
  • promotes healthy eating habits
  • creates memories
  • creates other interests: finding out where food comes from, growing your own food and general excitement

Cons of cooking with petites:

  • It’s a little more messy
  • It takes a little more time

As you can clearly see the benefits outweigh the cons

When you think about all of the benefits and how enjoyable cooking can be this is really something I feel strongly about promoting in my girls.  I think that by showing them how to make healthy meals they will have a better relationship with food as they grow older.  Not to mention being able to make an amazing birthday cake that tastes better than a store-bought cake….well yes please, now that is a skill I want to foster in the girls.

What are your favorite things to cook with your petites?

Bruschetta…what’s not to love about this amazing appetizer?

Bruchetta

Growing up we ate a lot of Italian food, not because we have deep Italian roots -we don’t.  We ate a lot of it, because my mom loved to get Italian cookbooks and she would try out new dishes, possibly because of her love of traveling to Italy.  We ate Italian food, honestly, because it’s delicious!  There was a restaurant that we would go to all the time when I was growing up, it became a reward when I got good grades and a place we could count on for a great meal every time.  One of my all time favorite appetizers they made was bruschetta.

I love the vibrant fresh basil, the tang of the balsamic vinegar and the crunch of a well toasted baguette.  Over the years it has become one of the recipes that I’ve made so many times that I just whip together simply by eyeballing it.  The funny thing about this dish is that it is so incredibly simple.  The ingredients are basic and it just blends together to make this amazing bite.  Every time I’ve made this dish for a party, it is the first one devoured completely, even when I make more than I think we will need.  People always ask for the recipe.  So here goes…

Bruschetta

6-8 Roma or medium on the vine tomatoes, diced into small pieces

10 fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (although I leave this out often when I make it for my family)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste, usually just a pinch of each

Sourdough Baguette

olive oil for drizzling

Additional toppings:

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Balsamic Glaze

 

Dice the tomatoes and try to leave out the majority of the seeds, this way the end result will not be too watery.  Stack all of the leaves of basil together and roll it up like a little cigar and chop it finely.  Finely chop the garlic.  Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and stir together.  Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.  Remember to taste it along the way to get it to your personal liking.   You can let it sit for a few hours, but it doesn’t taste as good after about 4 hours and starts to break down.

Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch rounds, use a pastry brush to lightly coat both sides of the bread with olive oil place on a baking sheet.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes flipping them over half way, watch to make sure they don’t burn or get too browned.  If you are a lover of garlic you can also take a peeled clove and rub it over the bread after it is toasted.

Place a good spoonful of the mixture onto each piece of bread.  At this point you can either serve it as is, or you can add a drizzle of balsamic glaze to the top, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  If you opt for the cheese you will want to return to the oven and broil until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately.  Makes about 2-3 dozen depending on how you slice the baguette.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Petite Stag Gumbo & The Princess and the Frog

IMG_5769Like most four-year olds, my petite is in love with all things Disney’s.  These days it is The Princess and the Frog.  At first we were a little worried about it since there is a creepy voodoo doctor and scary shadow creatures.  For good reason, we had a major problem with pesky shadows a few months ago that made our night-time routine more like a cardio workout (running up and down the stairs) than a relaxing time of night.  What I realize now, after watching Tiana quite a few time,s is that she is awesome!  She has goals, ambition and best of all brains!  My favorite line of the movie is when she is wishing on the evening star and her daddy tells her she needs to do more than wish on the star, that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and most importantly never ever lose sight of what is really important.  What a great message to send out to petites.

If you’ve read some of my other posts you will know that my petite loves to cook.  After watching Tiana for the first time she wanted to make gumbo.  Lucky for her, I have an amazing recipe that is one of my favorites.  So today, we declare is Gumbo & The Princess and the Frog day!  Hip Hip Hooray!

When we lived in the south I would go to the library all the time and check out cookbooks, my favorites were the ones that were from churches, you know those little ones with the plastic bindings that church ladies would put their prized family recipes into.  Love them.  I put together a recipe that has all of our favorite things in it…you can make it more Cajun with crab meat and oysters; or more Creole depending on if you prefer sausage or poultry.  I prefer them all so here is my version:

Petite Stag Gumbo

1/4 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 sweet onion, Walla Walla or Vidalia, chopped

1 cup red bell pepper chopped

1 cup green pepper chopped

1 cup celery chopped

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 bag of frozen okra

4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon chicken base or bullion cube

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

3 cups of water

2 bay leavesphoto 1

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 cup dried parsley

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 chicken breast cut into cubes

1 Smoked Turkey Kielbasa (you can use beef, or Andouille if you prefer), cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 pound of shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Rice

  1. Mix oil and flour in a large cast iron pot or stock pot.  On medium heat, stirring constantly, you are looking for a light brown color, a caramel shade.  Don’t just leave it, once it starts to brown it goes quickly and can burn.  [If it burns or gets too dark, throw it out and clean the pot and start over, it will ruin the gumbo if you don’t]
  2. Add the onion, peppers, celery and garlic to the roux and cook stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add in the chicken stock while stirring, it will begin to thicken nicely.
  4. Add in the chicken base, water, can of tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, lemon pepper, Worcestershire, frozen okra, chicken and sausage.
  5. Simmer on low for 1 hour 30 minutes.photo 2
  6. Add shrimp just before you plan to serve it to get them cooked through adding in the last ten minutes.

Serve over rice

I’m not going to lie, it is even better the second day, the spices do some amazing thing and meld together making it even more delicious.

Enjoy!

 

Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Pineapple Coconut MuffinsI love muffins, they are so versatile and delicious, I love looking for new muffin recipes on the internet  that I think would be fabulous.  Since its starting to get warm and sunny out I though how much fun would it be to make a pineapple coconut muffin.  A little taste of summer for a Saturday morning.  I have a basic muffin recipe that I’ve been using and I add in the fruit I’m craving in the moment.  I hope you enjoy!

Pineapple and Coconut Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

Heat oven to 375 degrees

8 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 1/4 cup coconut sweetened flakes (divided, 3/4 cup will get on top of muffins)

1 cup crushed pineapple (drain out the juices)

1 1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, adding the salt and milk.   Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl.  Add in 3/4 cup coconut into the mixer. When mixed together add the flour/baking powder.  This recipe makes 12 muffins.  Use muffin liners and add mix to the cups.  Put a little sprinkling of the remaining coconut onto each muffin top.

Bake for about 22 minutes checking with a toothpick to see if they are done.

The crispy topping of the sweetened coconut is amazing.  Petite tested and approved.  Petite Approved

Enjoy your Saturday,

Erin

 

 

Easter Eggs, wanting something beyond egg salad and deviled eggs?

We love eggs in this house.  Seriously, someday I will have a flock of chickens and will be able to stop buying eggs at Costco.  For us Easer is just another reason to eat delicious hard-boiled egg creations.  Let’s for a minute discuss the deviled egg – umm yum, but there are lots of other options out there.  You can add Sriracha to them and have a true Deviled Egg.

My recipe for Deviled Eggs:

6 eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon dill relish, or finely chopped dill pickle

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

pepper to taste

There you have it, pretty simple huh?

Devilish Eggs, follow recipe above, just replace the mustard  with 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha.

Guacamole egg,

6 eggs hard-boiled

2 tablespoons mashed up avocado

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno

1 tablespoon finely chopped tomato

1/2 finely chopped cilantro

squirt of lime

salt and pepper to taste

Other options are to make a delicious toast/crostini with the eggs – you can decide how much you want to be eating.  It at first seems like an unlikely combo, but its delish!

Prosciutto Pesto Egg Toast/Crostini

baguette sliced 1/4 inch, brushed with olive oil and baked at 350 for 10-20 minutes flipping over halfway.  Or if you opt for a toast, just toast up some sourdough bread in the toaster.

classic pesto sauce (or make your own)

6 slices of prosciutto

4-5 hard-boiled eggs sliced ( I don’t use the end pieces because they lack the yolk)

Or for the toast: toast the bread, spread a layer of pesto, add a little folded up prosciutto and place an egg slice on top.

 

proscuitto

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Cobb Salad, here is a great one from Better Homes and Gardens. Cobb Salad

Another delicious salad would be the Salade Niçoise here is a fabulous recipe from Savour.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to peel those pesky eggs.  So this will give you insight on what a nerd I am, recently I boiled a batch of eggs and they were the worst ever, I couldn’t peel them and ended up swearing up a storm the more frustrated and mangled the eggs got.  So here are some things I have learned since then.  Do not do the Pinterest bake them in a muffin tin, it will make the side of the egg that touches the tin turn brown and the eggs themselves are rather rubbery.  PINTEREST FAIL!

Next, to peel the eggs perfectly.  I read that if you soak them in water to cool them, because the egg is a permeable shell it will continue to absorb water, thus making it easier to peel.  Another way is in the cracking, you want to gently tap the bottom (less pointy side) of the egg and then tap all around the egg.  I then run it under cold water just briefly then pick first at the bottom, there is an air pocket and it is easiest to get the membrane to pull away from there.

These are just a few recipes that I think are delish.  After that Easter bunny has come and gone, what do you like to do with all of your eggs, I’d love to hear about other ways you use your hard-boiled eggs?
E

Best Banana Bread Ever

Best Ever Banana BreadThis banana bread is so good, we love it.  I don’t know about you, but I always buy bananas as if they were going out of style, not to mention no one in my family will actually eat a ripe banana.  They all prefer them to be slightly green, and once they are yellow, it’s all “no thank you”.  So, considering all of this and the fact that I buy them in bulk it is inevitable that 1-2, okay usually 3 of the bunch turn a lovely shade of brown.  As soon as that happens I put them in the freezer, where sometimes they sit for a very long time.  Really they shouldn’t be in there for more than two months, so if you’ve got some in your freezer that have been in there longer, you might wanna toss them out.

 

So this is really the best banana bread ever its super moist (ugh such a gross word – but damp, wet, humid and soggy don’t seem to hit the mark)

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 stick of butter softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs beaten

6 overripe brown bananas – thawed if they’ve been in the freezer, not the liquid just the banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Using a mixer mix the butter and brown sugar, when they are mixed together add in the Making the best ever banana breadeggs and then the bananas.  Then slowly on a low-speed, so you don’t overwork the bread, add in the flour mixture.  Then pour it into a loaf pan, I use the Emile Henry Loaf Pan from William Sonoma so I don’t spray it or grease it before, if you use a metal one go ahead and wipe some butter on the edges or spray some cooking oil on it.  Depending on what type of pan you use it could take anywhere from 55-65 minutes to cook through, best use a toothpick to see if it is done.

It is great, we struggle to not eat it all in one sitting.  Even the smallest petite is a huge fan of this banana bread.photo 3