Summertime, and the Learning is Fun in the Kitchen!
I have been blogging very little lately as I have been very busy!! I am teaching children to cook this summer. It’s been a learning experience for me too.
Each week for the past 6 weeks, groups of young, excited students have been eager to start cooking. Some have experience from home, some just love to watch cooking shows on television and want to cook themselves.
We only have 90 minutes every day for the camp so we have to prep the food, cook, eat and clean up in that short time. I planned themes for each day, to focus on two easily prepared from scratch foods that they would find interesting and tasty.
“Young Chefs” (1 – 3 grade children) have made delicious foods such as quesadillas and watermelon agua fresca, homemade granola bars and banana rice pudding, spaghetti and meatballs.
The older children (grades 4-6) have had a more integrated theme to direct the recipes: The Cooking like a Celebrity class have recipes loosely taken from the ideas of cooking shows: “Chopped (and Shredded)” featured chopping lots of fruits and veggies for salads and making salad dressings for them; “BBQ Addiction” have the children preping and cooking food on a grill pan on the stove as well as making pizza on the grill (did you know that grilled watermelon is delicious?).
Cooking Roadtrip has exposed the children to foods around the United States: Chinatown Lo Mein; NYC no-bake cheesecake; the All-American apple pie! The children did such a great job on the mini apple pies, I told them that their skills would make any adult proud! Look at that lattice-work!!
For many, cooking has become a lost art. I have enjoyed the enthusiasm that all of these children have for cooking! I feel they are aware of the benefits of cooking home cooked foods as well as the fun of it.
AND–they LOVE to wash dishes!!
Mini Apple Pies –that any kid or adult can make
(adapted from food.com)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup chilled butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons water
5 medium apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chilled butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a food processor, blend the flour, salt and butter until it look like small peas.
While the food processor is running, slowly add the water through the top opening and blend until the dough is sticking to the side of the bowl. You might need to add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon more water to get the dough to that consistency.
Take the dough out of the bowl and combine it by hand until well blended. Form into a ball.
Cut that ball in half, then in quarters, then form 12 equal size balls of dough.
Roll each ball out, a bit bigger than 4 inches, then cut the dough with a 4 inch cookie cutter (or glass or anything that measure 4 inches in diameter).
Using a 12 cup muffin time, press each circle of dough into the muffin tin until the dough is all the way up the sides. If your finger pokes a hole in the dough, just mend it with your fingers.
For the filling, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and flour. Set aside.
Peel and core the apples, cut them into small pieces. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and mix to combine.
Fill each muffin cup with apples.
Cut up the butter into 12 small pieces, place one piece on each pie.
Using the extra dough, cut strips for a lattice top (shown) or other designs to top your pie.
Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, until crust is lightly brown and the apples are bubbling.
After cooling for about 10 minutes, loosen the pies with a knife and they will easily come out of the muffin tin.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
**Note–experiment with fresh berries, peaches, etc. for seasonal pies!