Field Trip to Loteria Grill with Chef Jimmy Shaw

Welcome to the blog for adventurous young chefs!  If you’re reading this, I have a feeling you love to cook — and eat — so you’ve come to the right place!

LFIK students en route to Loteria Grill

For our last day of Tween Camp @ Little Feet in the Kitchen, we truly hit the lottery with a two-hour field trip to Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill in Studio City. Chef/owner Shaw, a Mexico City native who learned to cook from his mother and later, Diana Kennedy, welcomed the students with a special printed menu just for them…

A special menu for Little Feet in the Kitchen students

After giving the students a tour of the kitchen, Chef Shaw and his equally warm sous-chef Saul (pronounced Saw-ool) gave the kids a demo on how to make Aguas Frescas…

Saul cuts pineapple & cactus fruit for Aguas Frescas

Pina y Tuna (pineapple & cactus fruit) for aguas frescas

Mixing pineapple and cactus fruit juices for aguas frescas

Here Shaw puts the finished aguas frescas in jugs… the kids (okay, and Debi &  I) couldn’t wait to taste them…

They were delicious!  However, Shaw didn’t stop there.  He then gave the children a hands-on lesson in making sweet tamales… here they make strawberry and pineapple corn.

Making Tamale Dulce

Kellen's first tamale (pineapple)

I really can’t decide who had more fun… me – or my students!  Below are the tamales we made, all ready to be steamed (the color is from the fruit only – no added color!).

Strawberry and Pineapple Tamales

While our tamales steamed, Shaw treated us to another cooking demo of green chilaquiles, which disappeared within minutes.

Why stop there? Especially with ten hungry tweens in the kitchen.  Shaw and Saul gave a demo on making perfect pico de gallo, followed by another hands-on lesson in making molletes de frijol negro, another delicious Mexican breakfast dish.

We washed down the delicious molletes with more aguas frescas with contented sighs. Then came the show-stopping demo of Loteria’s Chicarron de Queso, a crispy, griddle-cooked cheese akin to the heavenly substance that oozes out of a grilled cheese sandwich.  Here, one of his lovely staffers shapes it into a cone before the kids descend upon it.

Finally, out came the sweet tamales, which Shaw generously boxed up with their signature salsa for the kids to take home.  All in all, Shaw and the entire Loteria Grill experience was a huge hit, and the LFIK students couldn’t wait to tell their parents about it (some of them were already making plans to recreate the dishes at home).  We were sorry to have to say goodbye to Shaw, but the restaurant was already filling up with customers, so we grabbed a quick photo op…

Molly, Debi (my fearless sous-chef), Kellen, Chef Jimmy Shaw, Nicole, Kailey, Paige H, Paige M, Maddie,(staff), Alex, Saul, Me, Cameron & Rachel

We are so grateful for Shaw’s warmth and generosity, and can’t wait to return, family and friends in tow.  In the meantime, however, I’m heading back to the kitchen to make some chilaquiles, tamales, molletes, aguas frescas…

Chocolate Clouds

Have you ever tasted a chocolate cloud?

We did in our cooking camp  for adventurous young chefs today! Check out our mini-chocolate pavlovas with freshly whipped cream and raspberries… Today’s class was “Meringue Madness,” and Little Feet in the Kitchen students whipped egg whites and sugar into heavenly creations all day long…

Little Feet in the Kitchen Studio

Here are some of today’s campers at the egg separating station… (great job, you guys!)

Al fresco egg separating station -- not a single yolk in our whites!

Here Cameron pipes out a perfect pavlova…

A few LFIK students with their chocolate pavlovas, ready to go into the oven

Here are a few of the finished products below (everything else was devoured):

The Lemon Meringue Tartlets were delicious, too — as usual, we had a blast and are looking forward to tomorrow!

Kayla, Alex, Rachel, Nicole, Maddie, Jennifer, Paige, Paige M, and Molly with their pavlovas!

Farm Box LA meets Little Feet in the Kitchen

Welcome to Little Feet in the Kitchen, the blog for adventurous young chefs… we don’t really do “kid food” here, but more adventurous — and delicious — food.  Why cook — and eat chicken nuggets when there is a whole world of incredible food out there?  Today we got a special treat… Reisha of Farm Box LA came to visit our teen camp with two huge boxes filled to the brim with gorgeous organic produce from local farms.  Not only does Farm Box LA deliver boxes of organic produce right to your door, Reisha — who happens to have a pro-chef degree on the side — also brings recipes with her so that you’ll never wonder what to make with it!  Check it out and tell them Jennifer & Little Feet in the Kitchen sent you!  www.farmboxla.com

Here is Reisha with Little Feet in the Kitchen teen campers.

Farm Box LA meets Little Feet in the Kitchen

LFIK campers loved hearing about Reisha’s background and learning how she got involved with organic produce.

Reisha brought us the most delicious apples we had ever tasted… they almost looked fake! (they were real, trust us!)

Even you would be a salad lover with lettuce and herbs this fresh & straight from the farm!!

For the rest of the day, we cooked up a storm… pan-roasted salmon with curry, pan-roasted mustard chicken, chicken in soy-ginger marinade, roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese and of course, salad with a vinaigrette of olive oil and white peach & balsamic vinegar from our favorite olive oil purveyer… We Olive!  (you can buy it online @ http://www.weolive.com, but we get ours direct from the store in Long Beach because they are sooooo nice! note: my favorite is still the blood orange olive oil – check it out!)

Here is Kailey now, grating ginger for the soy ginger marinade…

Maddie minces garlic for the mustard chicken.

All in all, a great first day of August teen cooking camp!  The pan-roasted salmon and soy-ginger chicken were a big hit, and the roasted asparagus with parmesan even won over the asparagus-haters in the group!  Finally, what a treat it was to have Farm Box LA visit camp — thank you again, Reisha!

Blind Cheese Tasting at Artisan Cheese Gallery

Welcome to the blog for Adventurous Young Chefs!!  Do you like cheese?  We do!

Little Feet in the Kitchen campers were treated to a blind cheese tasting at Studio City’s amazing Artisan Cheese Gallery the other day… First, owner Melody Dosch gave the students a taste of the various milks used to make the cheese… cow, goat, sheep, even buffalo…

Goat, Sheep, Cow & Buffalo milk tasting

Then she blindfolded them to see whose palate was the sharpest!

Zoe can't decide... goat or sheep's milk cheese? Or was that buffalo?

In the end, the children, ages 7-13, were more accurate than the adults both with and without blindfolds (including me, which leads me to the conclusion that the amount of cheese consumed has no bearing on cheese-identifying skills).

Owner Melody Dosch, LFIK students and Jennifer Evans Gardner at Artisan

Please go see Melody at the Artisan Cheese Gallery on Ventura & Laurel Canyon in Studio City for some of the best cheese you have ever tasted!! They not only sell cheese, wine and packaged fine foods, but their gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and salads are incredible… My favorites are the aged gouda and apple salad with Marcona almonds and the duck confit & fig sandwich, which I might be found sharing with my friend Bekah Wright, fellow food & travel writer, and the author of the luxury travel blog http://www.lifeonasilverplatter.com (we invited her along on our field trip, too!).

Jennifer & fellow cheese lover Bekah Wright of LifeOnASilverPlatter.com

Thank you, Melody, and Artisan Cheese Gallery, for an incredible day — we love you and can’t wait to come back!!!