Making an arctic blast

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Now that the weather’s getting warmer, ice cream will be on the minds of more and more little ones. Who are you kidding? You’re thinking about a cool treat as well. Enjoying this summer staple can be more than going to the store and grabbing a carton.
Make ice cream with your kids! It doesn’t take a lot. All you need are some food storage bags, half and half or milk, sugar, vanilla, ice, rock salt and five minutes!
First, fill half of a quart size food storage bag with ice and add 6 tablespoons of rock salt. Then seal the bag. Next, put ½ cup of milk or half and half, 1 tablespoon of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla in a sandwich size food bag and seal it. Place the mall bag inside the large one, and reseal it.
Now it’s time to shake it!
Put on some music and dance around while shaking the bag. It should take about five minutes for the ingredients in the smaller bag to become ice cream.
While your hands might be cold during this process, the ice actually gets a little bit warmer before the ice cream becomes ice cream.
But how does it work?
The outer bag, the one with the rock salt and ice, becomes super cold when mixed together. Salt makes the ice melt, like when we use it on snowy roads. Basically, it heats it up because the combination drops the freezing temperature of ice, making it extra cold. By heating up the ice, a super cold environment starts to surround smaller bag. That super cold environment allows the milk, sugar and vanilla to freeze into delicious, home-made ice cream!
This extra cold method could be intense for the hands of your little ones. Have gloves or a towel handy to put around the bag while they are shaking it just in case. Once you’ve got ice cream inside, take the small bag out, wipe it off to get the salt off and put your fresh ice cream in a bowl and enjoy!
We like to add yummy toppings like fresh strawberries or a bit of honey on top. So have your favorite tasty topping ready as well!
You’re enjoying a treat that’s been around for so many years!
Where ice cream came from is debated.
It all started with ice-based treats. A frozen mixture of milk and rice was enjoyed in China around 200 B.C. The Roman Emperor Nero, 37 – 68 B.C., is said to have ice brought from the mountains and mixed with fruit—a delicious delicacy. Ice cream was really popular in the desert.
Arabs were among the first to use milk as a main ingredient in the frozen treat. They sweetened it with sugar, rather than fruit juices.
Making ice cream got easier in 1846, when Nancy Johnson invented the hand-cranked ice cream churn. The invention made it easier to get the cold treat. But bowls were still required until 1904, when at the St. Louis World Exposition, an ice cream vendor who ran out of dishes improvised by rolling up waffles to make cones. That’s where we get waffle cones.

Kids Culinary Adventures to release “Chefs First Activity Book”

As professional chefs we begin with safety first! This entertaining and educational book provides hours of fun.  Small children will safely identify kitchen tools through a color, cut and paste activity which is a great introduction to everyday kitchen utensils.

This fun engaging book comes with a small recyclable card board “toolbox” to carry their culinary items. Just like a real chef . This activity will also teach small children about items that could be hazardous if handled without the proper introduction!

“Given the right equipment and an opportunity to use it correctly, your child will be able to manage peelers, paring knives, and other kitchen gear with surprising dexterity and confidence…but, only with the proper training; those tools can also be hurtful to small hands!” ~ Chef Gigi

At Kids Culinary Adventures we think it all sounds as if everyone needs to just get back around the kitchen table! This year designate a day each week to prepare a meal together! And allow the kids to be a part of the journey. When you’re in the kitchen with your child, how often do you find yourself pouring the flour, dumping the spice, washing the bowl… and before you know it, the child has just had a chance to watch, or stir! Of course, it is only natural for us as parents to drive these skill sets, as they were driven for us. Successful parenting time in the kitchen will be a rewarding experience for your whole family.

Below are lists of items that can help you get started ; please remember… as adults we view the world differently. In the kitchen we all will have to address a child’s natural interest in the variety of shiny small wares we have in the drawer. Because we use peelers, mashers, and cutters in our home kitchens on a regular basis, children will naturally be curious about them; parents and caregivers look at that overstuffed utensil drawer as something that fulfills a purely functional purpose. But what does a child see? Well… now that’s different!

Through the eyes of a child that over stuffed drawer looks like a toy box full of fun gadgets, and this can be dangerous, and while successful parenting in the kitchen implies us to allow a child to do for themselves; it doesn’t mean to leave them unattended with hot or sharp kitchen materials!

Also, when making your determinations, keep in mind every child is different. You should make the decision based on the child’s ability to focus, their desire to learn, and their dexterity. A child should always be supervised in the kitchen but allow them to take the task, unless you see danger ahead!

Children under 7 years old should be given tasks of measuring, additions of ingredients stirring kneading or mixing ingredients by hand, shaping dough, spreading, mashing, shredding or tearing herbs and lettuces. Shucking peas and legumes; shopping, test tasting, and cleanup.
Children 7 to 9 can handle peeling tasks. Guide a small hand with your own hand at first. The more often they hear, “Always peel away from your hands, not toward them,” the better. Have them peel over a paper towel for easy clean up.

Children 11 and older are usually ready to begin using a paring knife. While peeling vegetables with length like carrots help keep their hands and the peeler further and further apart from one another. Start this age group put with vegetables that offer a little less resistance, and are easier to cut, such as zucchini and peeled cucumbers.

Kids 13 and older can use larger knives and tackle more challenging cutting jobs. Even though these kids show more dexterity keep an eye on them. Usually this age breeds confidence which will lead to increased speed…increased speed which can lead to cuts. A gentle reminder to slow down is often the best way to keep someone on the right road. Make sure all your knives are sharp. If by chance, (and let’s hope not) someone does get cut a cut from a sharp knife the cut be as bad as one from a dull knife. Keep your cutting board on top of a damp towel to prevent it from moving and always work clean, it’s safer.

To understand organic seems to be four years of college ! I’ll try to define it – (in short order) the best I can without turning green !

Organic foods… are they safer, healthier  or more nutritious?

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weed killers, organic farmers may conduct sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds controlled.

Listed below are differences between conventional and organic farming

Conventional  Farming

  • Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.
  • Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.
  • Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds.
  • Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth

Organic Farming

  • Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
  • Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
  • Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
  • Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing to help minimize disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an “organic certification program” that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed. Any farmer or food manufacturer who labels and sells a product as organic must be USDA certified as meeting these standards. Only producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from this certification; however, they must follow the same government standards to label their foods as organic.

If food bears a USDA Organic label, it means it’s produced and processed according to the USDA standards and that at least 95 percent of the food’s ingredients are organically produced. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it.

Illustration of the USDA organic seal

Products certified 95 percent or more organic display this USDA seal.

Products that are completely organic :

  • Such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry a small USDA seal.
  • Foods that have more than one ingredient, such as breakfast cereal, can use the USDA organic seal or the following wording on their package labels, depending on the number of organic ingredients
  • 100 percent organic. Products that are completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • Organic. Products that are at least 95 percent organic.
  • Made with organic ingredients. These are products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The organic seal can’t be used on these packages.

Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can’t use the organic seal or the word “organic” on their product label.

They can include the organic items in their ingredient list, however. You may see other terms on food labels, such as “all-natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free.” These descriptions may be important to you, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” Only those foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.


Chef Gigi to Guest Demo at Simon Kidget Club!

Chef Gigi will be whipping up some fun with Simon Kidgets Super  Duper Mini Chefs Club at The Standford Shopping Center this Saturday June 5th, 2010.

You wont want to miss this- an interactive kids culinary event that combines food family and fun! Mini Chefs can come and explore the fun side of food by getting involved in hands-on learning activities ! Chef Gigi will be doing  exciting food demonstrations  and sharing the fun with Sprinkles Cupcakes, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn Kids!

Kidgit club members are encouraged to bring a non perishable food item to donate to our local food shelter. For registration in your area or to learn more about The Simon Kidget Club click here!

Chef Gigi is on at noon and 1 o’clock come join the fun! 660 Standford Shopping Center, Stanford Ca.

Remembering Your “Que”!

The History of Barbecue

The Spanish explorers arrived in the new world to find the natives preserving meats in the sun. This was a successful preservation method but the problem was that the meats were often infested with bugs and this meant spoilage. The indigenous people learned to build smoky fires to keep the insects away and help preserve the meat, which would be hung on racks over the fires.

The native Indians called this process “barbacoa” and this is where the history of barbecue begins. The barbecue process developed further when Africans and Europeans migrated to the United States. They brought cattle and pigs with them and replaced the fires and racks with large smoke houses and pits.  Polynesians had been cooking pork in this way for thousands of years, but it was a new and successful idea in the new world.

Pigs were very easy to keep and were the most commonly barbecued animal at the time. Meat had to be eaten quickly after slaughter or preserved by smoking because refrigeration was not available. Spicing was an alternative to bbq. The direct descendant was the pit barbecue, which could hold a whole hog. Meat cooked in this way would have to be cooked for as many as fourteen hours before it was done.

Poor cuts of meat were slow cooked in the early colonial era to reduce their toughness. Better cuts of meat did not need to be smoked in this way because they were already tender enough.

Salt was used in large quantities to dry the meat so it would not be contaminated. Smoking had the same effect. Cold smoked meat was a type of early barbecue when the meat would be preserved by smoke and dried by sun exposure.

The History of Grilling

The history of grilling is a lot more recent. Grilling over a barbecue was reserved for picnics and campsites until the 1940s. As the middle classes began to move into the suburbs, backyard grilling became popular. George Stephen, a metalworker who lived in suburban Chicago, was bored with the flat, open brazier type grills available at the time. He cut through the middle of a harbor buoy, put a grate on top and used the top of the buoy as a lid. He cut vents to control the temperature. This was the first Weber grill we know today.

Where Did the Word Barbecue Come From?

Nobody knows for sure but the most likely theory is that “barbecue” derives from the West Indian term “barbacoa”. Others claim that it comes from the French “barbe a queue”, which means “from head to tail”.

Camp Green Eggs And Ham

Camp Green Eggs and Ham! Chef Natalie and her students washing up then making some yummy schlotz knotz.

Posted using BlogPress from my mobile iPhone office

Fun in the kitchen!

Our chefs at Kids Culinary Adventures alway cook up fun and great memories in the kitchen. Here are some pictures of our staff and students in action.

– Posted using BlogPress from my mobile iPhone office

Marshmallow Peeps Recipe!

Spring has sprung! Read Chef Gigi’s article on…. How to make Homemade Marshmallow Peeps!

Kids Culinary Adventures’s Blog!~ “In the Mix!”

Bon Appetit!

Welcome to the new Kids Culinary Adventures blog, the official source for information, insight, and updates about Kids Culinary Adventures , and really super kewl  food stuff!

Kids Culinary Adventures aka known as “KCA”, is made up of a few of passionate food enthusiasts and professional culinary experts who share their passion with families all over the world ;via the internet and more so, locally in the San Francisco Bay Area at our culinary learning center! Thanks to their work, KCA is a starting place for children, teens and families to learn about , nutrition and cooking outside the box!  We are also a learning platform to anchor academics!

We thought now was the right time to open the oven door and start a food blog with our  community about what’s happening with the world of kids cooking , heath , nutrition and food education! Click here for more secret info “About us”

We  “Pinky Swear” we intend to use this blog to:

– Pass useful information to families that contain emphasis on food , health and education
– Provide authentic messages to you about the food community
– Highlight interesting enhancements, both current and future regarding food and fun!
Additionally……. we want to hear from you! Double dog dare ya!

Chef Gigi and the Kids Culinary Adventures Staff!

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