Posts Tagged ‘kids cook monday’

Corn and Feta Quiche

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Welcome spring! Everything seems to be blooming early this year, with the first strawberries arriving at the markets in DC already. The kids and I have only just planted our garden, but it feels like corn season is already just around the corner. It *is* egg season, though — did you know that chickens raised naturally lay fewer eggs in the winter? Warmer days mean our favorite vendors will have more eggs at the farmers market — and that is definitely a good thing.

Eggs play a prominent role in both Passover and Easter holiday celebrations and my kids have been delighted to have hard boiled eggs on hand. Flavor magazine’s latest issue had a great article explaining the difference between commercial and farm-raised eggs and a guide to help you decode the labels on eggs at the grocery store. We prefer to buy our eggs directly from the farmer, but in a pinch, look for cage-free, organic/vegetarian-fed eggs at the grocery. In real life, chickens aren’t vegetarians; when you aren’t buying directly from a farmer and want to avoid animal by-products and genetically-engineered feed, it’s important to get organic-fed eggs.

I first learned to make quiche in high school, when volunteering as a kitchen aide at a school retreat. There, the leftover vegetables from the previous night’s dinner were recycled into breakfast — but now I typically use fresh vegetables and serve the quiche for dinner. It’s so fast to put together — especially if you keep a pie crust on hand in the freezer — and I can steal some time in the yard with the kids while it bakes. This quiche works just fine with frozen corn, so enjoy it now and then make it again when sweet corn is available this summer.

know your egg farmer

Recipe: Corn and Feta Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 crust for 9-inch pie
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup corn (if frozen, defrost)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch dried thyme
  • optional: green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and back chilled pie crust for 10 minutes. Remove and lower temperature to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt. Gently stir in cheese, corn, and green onion if using. Pour into pie crust.
3. Bake for 40 minutes, until set through. Makes 6-8 servings.

Note: If your kids will go for it, you can add color and a little spice with diced green pepper, Hatch chilies or jalapeƱo.

corn and feta quiche

What’s your family’s favorite egg recipe?

Dye-Free for Purim and Every Day: Sign the FDA Petition

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Did you know that the E.U. requires warning labels on foods with certain artificial food dyes? And that American brands have adapted their foods for sale in Europe? It doesn’t seem so far-fetched, then, to ask why they aren’t making the same changes to the products sold here, right? Well it turns out some companies are, though the incentive may be less goodwill and more fear of an anticipated crackdown after the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced hearings on the use of artificial dyes in food, taking place next week. Artificial food dyes have been linked to ADHD, cancer and allergies for quite some time, and one can only hope the FDA will fully consider the science behind those concerns.

hamantaschen purim cookies

Not long ago, the husband returned home from Target bearing rainbow-colored goldfish crackers. Before I could, ahem, react, he quickly pointed to the label: “Colors from Natural Ingredients!” I was still skeptical so I turned it over to see — in fact, they use annatto extract, beet juice concentrate, paprika, turmeric, huito juice concentrate and watermelon juice concentrate. And they are just as boldly colored as can be — so clearly, the question of can we replace artificial dyes with natural ones has already been answered.

The trouble with food dyes, as with so many additives, is that they are not just in the obvious junk foods but so many other foods you wouldn’t even expect to see colors. Plain white marshmallows? Artificially white. The potato rolls we buy because they don’t have HFCS? Yellow #5 and #6. (Maybe it’s crazy to ask why can’t potato rolls just be white? Aren’t potatoes white?)

I’m able to avoid some of the grocery store battles by shopping at the organic market as much as possible. But on a recent trip to the regular grocery, the dreaded meltdown occurred in the cereal bar aisle when the boy spotted Nemo, Cars and other full-colored “fruit” snacks conveniently located at his eye-level. Now we sometimes buy Annie’s brand fruit snacks, which I fully realize are still not much more than a dose of sugar, but at least they’re made of natural sugar and colors. Trying to explain to a hungry and tired 4-year-old why some fruit snacks are only special treats he gets at birthday parties was an unpopular argument, to say the least, but I pressed on and later let him choose some of those colored goldfish crackers for his after school snacks.

Before I had kids I didn’t appreciate the power of marketing to young kids, thinking surely parents just needed to learn to say no. I’ve since been educated in the magical powers of branding (thanks, PBS, for making sure my son recognizes McDonald’s golden arches). Sure Annie’s bunnies are cute, but why settle for bunnies if you can get snacks that look just like Dora?! Wouldn’t it be nice to have to say “no” just a little less often? The folks behind the movie “Fresh!” are running an online petition you can sign to urge the FDA to ban artificial dyes in food. Click here to sign the petition today. (Deadline is Wednesday, March 23.)

The Foodie Tot and I did some baking over the weekend, making hamantaschen for Purim. No dyes needed as hamantaschen get their jewel tones from jams — raspberry, blueberry and poppyseed, this time. Here’s a little clip, enjoy!

The Foodie Tot Makes Hamantaschen from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

(And please see these other great posts on food dyes in children’s food:

Kids Cook Monday: Strawberry Cream Tart

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The folks behind the Meatless Monday campaign (HealthyMonday.org) have added a new weekly challenge to their menu: Kids Cook Monday. The newly-launched website contains kid-friendly recipes and videos of parents cooking with their kids. Naturally, FoodieTots is thrilled to support the cause — you can see some of our kid-tested recipes on the site already. And, in honor of the launch (and our new house!), the Foodie Tot and I made a Strawberry Cream Tart this weekend.

A tart is a fairly fool-proof pastry to make with younger kids. And if you, say, haven’t yet unpacked the food processor, a little child labor comes in handy in combining the flour and butter with a pastry blender. Since the rolling pin was also unaccounted for, I simply pressed the dough into my tart pan. Not as pretty, but it gets the job done.

As the boy notes in the video, the strawberries came from our new neighborhood’s farmers market, the Falls Church market. (He’s still a little confused on whether both Alexandria and Arlington are in Virginia.) It was the first weekend of strawberry season here in Virginia, and they were abundant at the market. And I bought the mascarpone for the tart from Blue Ridge Dairy, and the (multi-colored) eggs from Valentine’s Country Meats & Bakery.

Watch the video! (and pardon my arm in front of the boy’s face … we need to work on our camera set-up in the new kitchen.)

Foodie Tot makes Strawberry Cream Tart from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

Recipe: Strawberry Cream Tart

Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, combine flour and cold butter until small pea-sized lumps form. Add powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with a fork. Add to flour mixture and mix until dough begins to come together (will still look quite crumbly). Press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour before rolling out. Alternately, press crumbs into a butter tart pan. Freeze tart shell for 10 minutes. Prick with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Shell should look set but not begin to brown. Cool before filling.

Cream Filling

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Instructions: Stir cheese, sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

Strawberries

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fruit jam (we used plum), melted in microwave for 10 seconds and thinned with a few drops of water

Assembling the tart: Place the cooled tart on the counter and arrange the cream, berries and jam nearby. Your child can spread the cream in the shell, arrange strawberries over the cream, and use a pastry brush to brush the jam over the berries. Chill for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

If you’d like to join the Kids Cook Monday fun, visit the website or contact Joanna Lee at jlee@mondaycampaigns.org. And please check back the first Monday of each month for the latest Foodie Tot cooks video!