Well friends, since we last met I have been very busy! In addition to all of our usual summer catering, my last two weeks have been spent at JCC teaching first “Be the Next Cake Boss” and “Advanced Cake Boss” during this year’s annual Kid’s College (ages 8-12) and “Chopped” for “Tweens to Teens” (ages 10-14) week. Was I ever blessed with a terrific bunch of kids and a wonderful assistant in each of my four classes!
Allowing kids in the kitchen with you is such an amazing experience for not just the kids, but the grownup as well. The kids I have had the pleasure of working with these past weeks were totally into cooking. They were fearless when it came to trying new things, and boy did we step outside the box ingredient wise! For my older group, we took our “Chopped” competition to the extreme! Their mystery baskets held everything from beef tenderloin to lamb chop lollypops to squid! They met each challenge with fresh ideas and open minds! And they TASTED new things. I was very impressed…I heard very few YUCKS during the week as the kids sampled and savored their creations. As the saying goes, show me how to fish and I will eat for a day, TEACH me how to fish and I will eat for a lifetime…and I think we have created a lifetime of creative cooks!
While this was not my first time working with the older teens to tweens group, I was again blown away by their interest and knowledge! Many of them seemed to be as dedicated disciples of the Cooking Network as I am! They know the chefs, the shows and the jargon. Watching them in the kitchen made me smile as they transformed themselves into professional chefs. We practiced measuring and knife skills and hopefully they learned a few “tricks of the trade” from yours’ truly.
I was amazed the progress and teamwork the kids showed just over the course of the four day session. They learned about butchering and baking, seasoning and sauteeing. Each day brought a new mystery basket, but as on the show, the kids had to come up with their own recipes for their creation. I watched as their eyes lit up with excitement when they placed their finished plates in front of the judges. They had successes as well as a few failures in the kitchen, but we laughed through it all.
The next time you have some free time, why not turn off the electronics and turn on the stove? Grab the kids and a cookbook, blow the dust off the cover, let it fall open and cook whatever recipe you see first! Or just open the cupboard and fridge and grab a few ingredients and start throwing stuff together. Add the ingredients you find, but don’t forget to add an extra heaping spoonful of love!! It will not only feed your body, but nourish your heart and soul!
Lamb Chop Lollypops
- 1 trimmed rack of lamb chops
- Olive oil (EVOO)
Cut rack of chops into individual chops. Season to taste with salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (I prefer to use a garlic infused EVOO)
Sear each side in a hot pan or on a grill for about 2 minutes per side, cooking to medium doneness.
Serve with warmed mint jelly as a dipping sauce if desired.
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