Friday, March 11, 2011

Cooking with the young

I’ve been cooking with young people this week. It started on Sunday when my favorite cooking partner—Anna Lei—came to my house after church so we could work on her 4-H demonstration. She wanted to demonstrate how to make the breakfast panini we created for the Farmer’s Market this summer.

Since her demonstration required a recipe, we had to write down what we had done. Here’s what we came up with for our recipe.

Annabeth Egg

Warm a skillet on medium. Add ½ pound sausage to the skillet to brown.

Drizzle olive oil in another skillet that you can also put in the oven. Turn on medium.

Chop ½ onion. Add to skillet and sauté. Chop other vegetables you like (spinach, green peppers, etc.) and add to skillet. If you like garlic, chop and add to vegetables.

While the vegetables soften, mix 3 eggs, salt, pepper, pinch of cream of tarter, 1/8 cup water and 1/8 cup milk. Pour into skillet with vegetables. As it cooks, run a spatula around the outside of the egg circle so the uncooked eggs can seep down and cook. Sprinkle your favorite cheese all over cooking eggs. When the bottom is cooked but the top is still runny, put the skillet under the broiler until the top is nicely browned.

Makes three or four sandwiches.

Breakfast Panini

Turn on panini maker to warm.

Take the Annabeth Egg out of the skillet and cut pieces to match the size of your bread. Spread Dijon mustard (or your favorite condiment) on the bread. Slice a tomato and add a tomato slice. Put egg on sandwich and top with a second piece of bread. Drizzle olive oil on the bread and spread with a pastry brush.

Put on panini maker with olive oil side down. Drizzle oil on the other side and spread with brush. Close panini maker, pressing down slightly. Cook three minutes then remove, slice and enjoy!

While Anna Lei was here, we didn’t actually make panini but gnocchi instead. Those little potato dumplings are so much fun to make and even more fun to eat. Jim agreed they were a 10.

My week of cooking with the young continued yesterday when I took on the challenge of cooking with 10 middle school girls. Since they asked to make pizzas and pasta but we had a limited amount of time, and even more limited cooking tools at the school, I tried to introduce them to healthy choices even though we couldn’t make everything from scratch. We used bagels, English muffins and flatbread for our pizza base. We discussed the difference between using whole wheat and white flour. While they seemed to understand the rationale for whole wheat, not one of them chose to use the whole wheat English muffins.

To top the pizzas we had marinara sauce, tomato paste and pesto to choose from. In addition, we caramelized onions, sautéed spinach and mushrooms and had Canadian bacon, chicken breast, kalamata olives (no one but me liked them), mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. For our pasta, we tried four cheese tortellini and chicken and prosciutto tortellini. Most of the girls happily tried both of them.

The choices I gave them were healthier than what they had asked to top the pizzas with (pepperoni and macaroni and cheese were two of their choices) and they liked most of what they tried. I think the next time around I’ll try cooking with them when we can choose from a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables from my garden. Then we could try making garden vegetable panini. Maybe Anna Lei and I will test out the recipe first!

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