Sunday, June 28, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Cooking with Kids and the Farmer's Market

I am very excited to say that I was one of the 24 people chosen to participate in Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 . Foodbuzz selected 24 bloggers from around the world and had them write about their unique meals - all within a 24 hour period.

My proposal revolved around something I truly believe in: buying local produce at farmer's markets and making healthy meals for your kids. The Kid has been asking for cooking lessons, but since losing my job, expensive classes just aren't in the cards right now. So I thought, why can't I do it myself?

The Kid has always taken great interest in watching me put together meals. At just 5 years old he already knows his way around the kitchen. We started off by planning a menu and came up with recipes that incorporated a lot of fruits and vegetables, then headed off to the Farmer's Market.

My favorite Farmer's Markets are the Santa Monica and the Hollywood. They are two of the biggest markets in the city. At the Hollywood you might run into celebrities, at the SaMo you might run into famous chefs - everyone in this town loves fresh produce, folks. Both markets are large and carry a diverse number of produce vendors. We started off with our 'menu' and went up and down the stalls looking for what we needed.The Kid has been my littlest sous chef on many of my meals, so I got him started washing and separating what was needed. I also tried to choose things that were easy prep and incorporated different cooking techniques for him to learn. Something in the oven, something on the stove, something on the grill. Perhaps a bit ambitious, but he was very excited to give it a go. Here's a rundown of our menu, and what we bought for those recipes specifically from the Farmer's Market:
Creme Fruit
strawberries, apples, grapes

Broccoli Salad
broccoli, red onion

Avocado + Grapefruit Salad
avocado, oro blanco grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit

Potato/Sweet Potato Fries
potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemon, garlic

Lettuce Wraps
garlic, ginger, carrots, green onions, mushrooms, lemon

Grilled Shrimp with homemade Tzatziki sauce
cucumber, dill, lemon, garlic

Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream Sandwiches
Cherries, lemon, ginger

O.G. who was front and center for this meal, and in her O.G. ways - complained that "Food today is so fresh. We always used to cook it until it was completely limp and colorless. I like it like that." Ok...well that ain't happening at this meal, sorry. For the recipes I put together for this particular meal, most of the fruits and veggies are ever so slightly cooked, or not cooked at all. All the nutrients and it makes for a much fresher tasting meal. Unless you like lifeless broccoli - then head over to O.G.'s house.

I know we are lucky to live a place where food is colorful and available year round, but cooking seasonally can be a lot of fun wherever you live. The kids play a major part in my meal planning, because I like to make sure they are always trying different foods, testing flavors and seeing what they truly like to eat.Cooking doesn't have to be a chore if you pick simple, fresh recipes. Fresh produce was a major part of this meal but what the Kid enjoyed most (so he said), was spending time working in the kitchen with me.

You can find all the recipes here:
Creme Fruit
Broccoli Salad
Avocado + Grapefruit Salad
Potato/Sweet Potato Fries
Lettuce Wraps
Grilled Shrimp with homemade Tzatziki Sauce
Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream Sandwiches

And see all the photos, here.

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Blogger The Food Librarian said...

OMG! Jenn, this is so awesome. You must have been in the kitchen or out ALL DAY. But the results are so perfect. I see the Kid on Top Chef Juniors! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009 8:57:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow. You're like the best mom ever!
I agree w/Food Librarian - the Kid is totally going to be on Top Chef!

I have been determined to buy produce locally at the Farmer's Market but I WISH I lived closer to the ones you go to. While my FM is walking distance, it's very slim pickins'. But after seeing the film Food Inc - it's given me a kick in the pants to change my eating habits and where I buy my food from. And to make sure my food contains food!

Sunday, June 28, 2009 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger bethany actually said...

I am guilty of having good intentions about farmer's markets but poor follow-through. I really should hunt some local farmer's markets down and try them out!

BUT Annalie has been helping me in the kitchen since she could stand on a chair at the counter and wield a spoon. She loves to help me cook and I've done everything I can to encourage it...except taking her to a farmer's market. Gotta work on that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

Wow!! this is impressive and inspirational! wish I was so good with cooking, OR had kids that loved fresh produce.

Sunday, June 28, 2009 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger kathrynsky said...

oh my god, i love markets like this!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009 2:03:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

That is absolutely fantastic. I am definitley going to start doing this stuff with my 5 yr old. Not only is he learning to cook for himself when he is older and on his own, he is also learning to eat healthy.

Monday, June 29, 2009 4:52:00 AM  
Blogger Sizzle said...

Tasty! I love lettuce wraps.

Monday, June 29, 2009 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger Yum-e said...

I am speechless! Usually when parents cook with their kids, the menu is like 3 items at the most. You both knocked it out of the park!!!! And the kid eats grapefruit? Even I don't eat grapefruit - I need to grow up.

Amazing post! Is this the actual post that's going to get submitted? Very very awesome job and by the way, can I put my order in for a "littlest sous chef" too? I might need two actually...


Monday, June 29, 2009 9:45:00 AM  
Anonymous alibaba38 said...

This is great Jenn! I love how he has his pinkie's up while eating his ice cream sandwich.

Monday, June 29, 2009 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous kat said...

nicely done

and - it's interesting how well grapefruit & avacodo go with each other. a friend gave me a much more simple recipe that sounded just weird enough to try and I liked it.

Monday, June 29, 2009 1:38:00 PM  
Blogger jami said...

Great accomplishment; great execution; great post!!

Monday, June 29, 2009 1:43:00 PM  
Anonymous McCrum said...

I cannot recommend How To Think Like a Chef by Tom C enough. It's the cookbook I wish I'd started with, since it deals with the basics (how to roast) and shows you how to build from there.

Monday, June 29, 2009 8:36:00 PM  
Blogger suburban housefrau said...

Is it just me who thinks that $5 for a basket of berries seems pricey?

The nearest good farmer's market is a 30-minute drive away. The part of me that wants to eat fresh food battles with the part of me that says wasting an hour of fossil fuels isn't worth it. :-\ Plus - when you get there - most of it has been trucked in from Mexico and isn't even local!

and no, we don't have public transportation!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I don't go to the Farmers Markets like I probably "should," but my local chain grocery store is now pimping that most of it's produce is "locally grown" and many of the items have photos of the farms where they come from.

I have to agree with suburban housefrau that $5 is a little steep for that size basket of berries, but that may be because I typically just buy them on sale at the market.

In the end though, I'm sure Jenn and her kids will live much longer than me because of eating such healthy food and kudos to that!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Laurence said...

The dude is completely just, and there is no skepticism.
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Saturday, December 17, 2011 5:21:00 AM  

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