Celebrity Chef Week

Welcome to the blog for Adventurous Young Chefs, where some very cool kids would rather make (and eat) something more exciting than dinosaur chicken nuggets!  This week at Little Feet in the Kitchen, it’s Celebrity Chef week, and we are making the recipes of a different chef every day. Check out our first few days:

It’s always so quiet just before camp begins…

 

And then the fun begins.

Monday was Julia Child day, so we got started right away learning how to crack & separate eggs…

We also learned how to properly whisk, and whipped up some delicious omelets for lunch.

Later we made Pissaladiere Nicoise, sort of a pizza on puff pastry with caramelized onions and olives, which originated in Nice.

The eggs we had separated went into some rich, dark chocolate mousse.  Julia would have been proud.

 

Look at what parents got to taste at pickup… not too shabby!

pissaladiere nicoise & mousse au chocolat!

Tuesday was Jamie Oliver day.  How much do we love Jamie? We talked about how wonderful it would have been for our favorite Brit to just pop by to say hello, but instead, we settled for a YouTube video of Jamie discovering that some children didn’t know the difference between a tomato and a potato.  We love Jamie and his Food Revolution and wish that LAUSD would let him get his hands on our school lunches!  Keep trying, Jamie – we need you!

To get the day started, we made our own herb salts, to be used on roasts, salads, or wherever we want to use them.  Campers got to choose between lavender, lemon-thyme, sage, tarragon and rosemary… though some, like Grace (below), decided that a melange of all the herbs made the perfect herb salt!

Later, in honor of Jamie, we made a gorgeous salad with fresh figs macerated in honey and balsamic vinegar, individual shepherd’s pies and raspberry Eton Mess, that sweet, fluffy dessert of freshly whipped cream, raspberries and crumbled meringue cookies.   Here are some of my campers crumbling up the meringue cookies… how fun is this recipe?

If you’ve never had Eton Mess, you have something to look forward to.  It is incredibly simple, and just as incredibly delicious!

We are looking forward to tomorrow, which is Mario Batali day — a day of some delicious Italian food – we can’t wait.  We are also excited about our special guest chef, Gwen Kenneally, chef and owner of Back to the Kitchen, who is stopping by.  We can’t wait to see what she is going to teach us.

In the meantime, it’s quiet again at Little Feet in the Kitchen cooking camp, but only long enough for us to recharge.

Stay tuned… will your favorite celebrity chef be next?

Summer Is Here

Summer is here and we just finished our first week of cooking camp at Little Feet in the Kitchen, the camp for adventurous young chefs!

Though it’s hard to pass off something like tart flambe as adventurous when it’s really just puff pastry with a creamy, luscious filling, topped with  caramelized onions and bacon…

Oh, how I loved this group of campers. It’s always so amazing to see children of all ages working so well together (last week it was 10 kids, ages 8-13) — they really came together like a family.

making Martha Stewart crudite centerpieces

We started our week out making appetizers… tarte flambes, white bean, sage and truffle crostini, bruschetta — and individual “crudite centerpieces”  — veggies suddenly became popular when presented in pretty flower pots & served with a delicious cucumber dill dip.

We moved on to salads and made Salade Nicoise, Caesar Salad (we learned how to pasteurize egg yolks in the microwave) and our own signature salad dressings.

The theme of this camp was “That’s Classic,” so we wanted to make some other classics, like chicken pot pie (yum) and roast chicken.  We found that the perfect roast chicken is one that’s stuffed with garlic, lemon, onions, rosemary and fresh lemon-thyme from the garden… we roasted it at a high temp for 5 minutes, then turned the oven down to 400 degrees for another hour and a half.  In the interest of having a perfectly moist bird, we don’t go in for those silly “the chicken is done when the juices run clear” directions.  We use a meat thermometer to make sure we didn’t overcook it.  The result was golden, crispy skin on the outside, and insanely moist meat inside. And our onions, garlic and carrots were so caramelized by the time our chicken was finished, we couldn’t stop eating them.  Please excuse our breath after all that garlic!

Our herb roasted chicken with garlic, onions and carrots was divine

What to serve with roast chicken?  Pommes anna, of course, along with an apple tart.  We were treated to a demo by my friend Claude Tait, one of the best (French) home cooks I know.  Her tarte aux pommes is one of the prettiest I have ever seen.

making tarte aux pommes with Claude

A field trip to Porto’s Cuban Bakery with the incredibly generous Executive Chef Tony Salazar leading the way was the highlight of our week, however.  We watched as talented cake decorators created magic in Swiss meringue, chocolate and glazed fruit…

Porto's Bakery Field trip with Exec Chef Tony

Swiss Meringue - an artist in the kitchen

Field trips are no fun without something sweet, though, so campers were given pastry bags full of chocolate and vanilla frosting, along with some fluffy cupcakes, and put straight to work.

During our “That’s Classic” week, we fit in an Iron Chef contest (secret ingredient: ricotta cheese), some homemade chocolate bars…

… and a very noisy (and fun) “whipped cream race.”

whipped cream race

Along the way, we agreed that the “real” Caesar salad with anchovies is much better than that nasty bottled stuff, that we like truffle butter on our potatoes, and that great friends can be made  in the kitchen. As the lovely Julia Child used to say, until next time, Bon Appetit!