Archive for the ‘cooking with toddlers’ Category

{At Market} Strawberry Horchata

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I still can’t believe how early strawberry season began this year. We got our first Virginia berries of the year at the Falls Church Farmers Market last weekend, and a few more this weekend. The foodie tots have been ecstatic. The first week, they downed a pint at breakfast as soon as I returned from the market. This past weekend, the toddler went with me and somehow managed to leave strawberry stains on the front and back of her t-shirt, and stroller seat, just while snacking on a few as we shopped. (She was also a big fan of the fresh mini cider doughnuts from Mama’s Donut Bites, new at the market this year. Also spotted: asparagus, ramps & morels — the locavore’s holy trinity of spring.)

falls church farmers market, april

I’ve been wanting to make horchata, a frothy rice-based drink I first tasted in L.A., for an embarrassingly long time. Like, since my last trip to L.A. In 2009. Ahem. Anyway, the drink is simple enough to make but requires advanced planning and patience as the ground rice and water must soak overnight. So it’s a good opportunity to give the kids a lesson in delayed gratification. It’s a fun recipe for kids who enjoy pressing the buttons on the blender, too. It’s lighter than a smoothie and its sweet, refreshing taste goes well with spicy tacos.

While some recipes call for almonds, I chose one that used only rice to keep things simple. I added fresh strawberries which helped sweeten the drink, so it requires less added sugar. (If your berries are very sweet, you may get away with using even less sugar.) You may be tempted to taste the preliminary soaked rice concoction …. (I confess, I did it.) If you do, don’t despair. The drink vastly improves once sweetened. I don’t plan to let another three years pass before making this again — in fact, I’m already envisioning sipping a watermelon version on the deck later this summer.

strawberry horchata @foodietots

Recipe: Strawberry Horchata
adapted from A Wooden Nest

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions:

1. Place rice in blender and grind to a fine meal. Add to water in a pitcher, drop in cinnamon stick and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Pour mixture back into the blender and blend until cinnamon stick is finely chopped. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the rice solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

3. Return strained mixture to the blender and add sugar, strawberries and milk. Blend on high speed until well combined and frothy. Chill before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Can’t wait overnight? Try our Strawberry Agua Fresca recipe.

Life is Short. Make it Sweet.

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I had these lofty ideas of my summer break with the kids, that the boy and I would spend leisurely afternoons in the kitchen while the foodie bebe napped. Of course, it turned out that we’ve spent many days rushing from camp to story time to the pool, and I’m lucky to throw together a quick dinner most nights. But today, we made time for a trip to the store (between the dentist and baseball) and the boy and I finally baked something sweet — a peanut butter pie. For fellow blogger Jennifer Perillo and the unexpected reminder that life is often far too short. Read her post (with tissues handy), and bake something with the people you love this weekend.

peanut butter pie for mikey

the foodie tots bake peanut butter pie

(The recipe for peanut butter cream pie can also be found on Jennie’s blog.)

Snowflake Coconut Cake with Maple Snow Cream

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

What to make when you’ve been snowed in for days? Snow cake, of course! When I proposed baking a cake the boy first suggested chocolate. I talked him into a “snow” cake instead, a.k.a. coconut.

We used Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe, though I used unsweetened coconut instead of the sweetened she calls for. Really, this cake is sweet enough. It’s a dense cake, but flavorful and stays moist for several days, which is important when you’re making a cake for just three of you. (Though we did take some to share on a snow-day playdate.)

Instead of Ina’s cream cheese frosting, I used Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss meringue buttercream.

This is the frosting I used on the boy’s 3rd birthday cake this past summer, and it was an all around favorite — not sickly sweet, easy to make, and it held up on a humid August day — what more could you ask for? It does use quite a lot of butter … fortunately I stocked up before the blizzard, but we still needed to restock when the husband went out for a between-storm grocery run.

frosting the cake

After frosting, we took a snowflake stencil, cut out of wax paper, and laid it gently over the top. We sprinkled a heavy layer of dried coconut (unsweetened, again) over the openings, then removed the stencil to reveal our snowflake. I had tried to talk the boy into dying the frosting light blue so the snowflake would show up better, but he insisted that a snow cake had to be white. (Duh.) I think he was right though, as it turned out just lovely. Don’t you think?

(You could easily adapt this to make a Valentine’s cake by tinting the coconut pink and making a heart shape on top.)

You can’t have cake without ice cream, and I’d had snow cream on the mind ever since reading this article in the Washington Post. When I was a kid, the only thing we ever made with snow was orange juice-topped sno cones, not particularly creative. I remember wanting to make maple syrup candy, a la Little House on the Prairie, but I don’t think we ever did. So naturally I took advantage of the 30-some inches of fluffy white snow in our backyard to make maple snow cream — delicious and equally enchanting to kids and parents alike. (Well, this parent at least!)

Recipe: Maple Snow Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 bowl full of clean, white snow
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions: Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat. When warm, whisk in the maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool. Gather snow. Pour cooled maple cream over snow, stirring to combine and break up any chunks that form. Enjoy immediately! Makes 4 servings.

What are you baking for – or with — your Valentine? It turns out I’m not the only one with home-baked Valentines on the mind — Kelsey of The Naptime Chef and Jennifer of Savor the Thyme are hosting a “Food is Love” challenge. Hop over to either of their blogs for the details; enter by Tuesday, February 16, and you could win a prize from Scharffen Berger chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your foodie families!

Kids Cook Book Soup: Apples!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I hope you haven’t had your fill of apple recipes just yet, because we have several more to share for the very first round-up of Kids Cook Book Soup. Thanks to all for sharing your apple inspiration, and please read to the end for the November theme announcement! With no further ado…

From Jen at The Gould House, “Eldress Bertha’s Applesauce”

kcbs-1-applesauce

Jen and her 2-year-old daughter, Ella, used apples from their farmers market to make this applesauce. Jen writes, “Ella enjoyed counting the apples, catching the apple peels as they fell into the bowl, and mashing the apples after they were done simmering on the stove.  She also ate her first whole apple while I was doing the chopping.  The applesauce was delicious and it made the house smell so “autumny”—definitely a keeper!”

From Melissa at Little Locavores, Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash — with Apples

kcbs1-3-applesquash

Melissa created this fall recipe with the thought of appealing to those who don’t like squash unless it’s doused in sugar. I don’t know if it won her farmer’s sons over, but this flavorful dish has extra kid-appeal when served in an acorn squash bowl. (Melissa and her son recently went apple-picking at Seedling Orchards in South Haven, Michigan.)

From Kelsey at The Naptime Chef, Spiced Apple Cookies

kcbs1-2-cookies

Kelsey and her toddler daughter made these scrumptious cookies, with New York McIntosh apples, to occupy a rainy afternoon — just one of many recipes in her “Apple Mania” arsenal.

And here at FoodieTots, Spiced Apple Hand Pies

kcbs1-4-handpies

We picked apples at Virginia’s Crooked Run Orchard, reviewed How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World, and baked kid-sized apple hand pies. Yum!

~

And if these aren’t enough ideas to use up the apples in your crisper, here are a few more kid-friendly apple recipes:

At Market: Simple Tomato Gazpacho

Monday, September 14th, 2009

grapes at marketAt the Alexandria Markets: We’ve returned to our Alexandria farmers markets after our recent travels, and witnessed that unequivocal sign of seasons changing from summer to fall in the peaches and tomatoes being nudged out by apples, pears, and early winter squash. Now I don’t know if there’s some sort of zucchini shortage in Northern Virginia, but we’ve received none from our CSA this year and I only spotted a few giant ones at the West End market. Has there been some sort of run on zucchini by crazed zucchini bread addicts? (By the way, if you haven’t been to West End lately, you’re missing out on some wonderful authentic Mexican tamales from Alma at Westmoreland Berry Farm.)

At any rate, we received word from our CSA that their tomatoes have begun to show signs of early blight (not the late blight you’ve heard so much about), so I set about to make sure we enjoyed the ones we got to the fullest. After our tomato jam experience (kudos to Jennifer for winning the food52 best preserves contest with her recipe!), the boy comes running to get his knife whenever he sees me dicing tomatoes. He even overcame his fear of the blender to help me make this super simple gazpacho. With all due to respect to José Andrés, who makes the best restaurant gazpacho in town, this recipe is even simpler with just six ingredients, tasting pretty much like, well, a pulverized tomato. Ironically the boy liked it even though he refuses to eat fresh tomatoes. Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil — preferably from Spain, of course.

tomato gazpacho

Recipe: Simple Tomato Gazpacho (kid-friendly instructions)

Ingredients:

  • About 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 slices white/Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Using a kid-safe knife, assist child in cutting tomato and bread into pieces.

2. Place tomatoes, bread, garlic, vinegar, salt and 1/4 cup oil in blender. Cover and blend for 1 minute.

3. Add additional olive oil as needed, blending after each addition, to reach a smooth consistency. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then serve with an extra drizzle of oil to garnish. (Use basil oil for extra oomph.)

Bonus Foodie Tot Video! This was a totally unscripted, impromptu video shot by the husband so please disregard the messy counter and, uh, my lack of make-up. (And no, Seventh Generation did not provide compensation for the product placement, but clearly we should buy stock or something. ;-) ) Anyway, enjoy!

Foodie Tot cooks gazpacho from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.