Tag Archives: children’s books

Everybody Eats Lunch

Everybody Eats Lunch Cover72

Before the crazy holiday season began, I was given the opportunity to review Everybody Eats Lunch  by Cricket Azima with pictures by Titus V. Thomas.    I wanted to test out some of the recipes  before reviewing so I could give you a better idea of what the book has to offer.  🙂

This wonderful children’s cookbook, which is charmingly shaped like a lunchbox,  cleverly touches upon concepts of cooking, geography, time, language, AND has great, easy recipes.

Five kids from around the world (Mexico, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and Jamaica) share with the reader what a  typical lunch from their country is like– what it is called in their language, what time they eat lunch, and what kinds of dishes might be in their lunch.

The book is constructed out of sturdy cardboard and at the beginning, there is a map of the world and lift-the-flaps which also show each character in their respective countries.  It’s a nice way to connect the place with each child that we meet later in the book.

map

The contents of the lunch are laid out on one side of each spread, and each part can be removed to reveal a recipe behind it. So cute!

mexico

Jamie and I loved exploring Everybody Eats Lunch and learning about the  different lunches in each of the cultures.

I decided to try making three recipes in no particular order.  First up was the “Beef Patty” (it really looks like a sort of filled bread pocket, like an empanada, rather than a beef patty) from Jamaica.

beef patty blue 1

The recipe is simple — you just saute beef with onions and spices, then fill crescent roll dough pieces with the filling and bake.  The only thing I changed was to reduce the amount of oil because I used a non-stick pan to saute it in.  I also drained some of the fat after browning because I used 80/20% beef — not the leanest choice for ground beef!

beef patty blue front

The verdict:  They were heavenly!

The second dish I made was the Brazilian style rice and beans.  I had some extra chicken stock in the fridge that I had to use up, so I used that in place of the water.  I have to say that this dish will become a regular in our house.  It was so delicious and comforting!  We had it the next evening with quesadillas.

rice and beans 1
Since the first two dishes that I tried out were savory, I decided to make a sweet one for the third slot.  Jamie wanted me to make the Caramel Sandwiches from Mexico (graham crackers filled with dulce de leche).  I’m sure they are amazing!  But with all the holiday indulgences we’ve been partaking in, I decided to go with something less decadent, and I made the South African rusks.  I’d never heard of these, but apparently they are quite popular.

rusks

They are kind of cross between a biscuit, crunchy scone, and fat biscotti.  They would also be great at breakfast and perfect for dipping into hot chocolate or coffee.  They are not too sweet — but delicious with a hint of cinnamon and almond extract.  This one was another winner!

I’m excited to make more of the recipes in the book with Jamie since they all seem interesting, easy to make, and most importantly, flavorful!

Check out Everybody Eats Lunch for yourself at Glitterati Incorporated.  You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Here are the recipes reproduced with permission of the publisher:

Jamaican Beef Patty

beef patty blue side

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup bread crumbs

2/3 cup beef stock

1 8-ounce package crescent rolls

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes.

3.  Mix in ground beef, thyme, curry powder, salt and pepper, stirring to break up beef.  Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4.  Add breadcrumbs and stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.

5.  Place crescent roll triangles on ungreased baking sheet.  Place generous tablespoon of beef mixture in center of each and fold over.  Seal edges with fork.

6.  In small bowl, combine egg and turmeric.  Brush tops of each patty with egg mixture.

7.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4

beef patty cut

Yum!
Note:  I did have extra filling leftover.  This wasn’t a problem, however — it was good plain!

rice and beans 2
Brazilian Rice and Beans 

1/4 pound bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

1 15.5-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

2 cups rice

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

1.  In large saucepan, cook bacon and onion over medium-high heat until browned, about 8 minutes.

2.  Stir in beans, garlic, bay leaves, rice and water nad bring to boil.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

3.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 4

Note:  I halved this recipe and still had leftovers.  Also, I used brown rice, so I had to add in more liquid and cook it longer.

rusk square

South African Rusks

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten,

1/4 cup melted butter (note: this is about 3/4 stick of butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In large bowl, combine both flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3.  In separate bowl, mix buttermilk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Shape into log about 4 inches by 8 inches, and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

5.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange slices cut-side down on baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes per side, or until lightly golden.

Makes 12 rusks.

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Filed under Beef, Books, Children, Lunch, Vegetables

We were interviewed on Jama Rattigan’s awesome children’s books and food blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup.
Thanks, Jama! 🙂

Jama's Alphabet Soup

Don’t you just love it when one good thing leads to another?

I’ve been a big Melissa Iwai fan for awhile now. How could I not love someone who illustrates a book about a quest for pancakes and then follows up with a self-illustrated title about soup? In addition to her writing, drawing and painting chops, this girl can cook! Just check out The HungryArtist, where Melissa regularly creates tasty, healthy magic in the kitchen (please adopt me). 🙂

If you’ve seen Melissa’s delightful Soup Day (Henry Holt, 2010), you know it was inspired by the time she spent cooking with her son Jamie. Apparently, we can also thank Jamie for her latest book, Hush,Little Monster(Little, Simon, 2012), which was written by her husband Denis Markell. Because Jamie had trouble sleeping when he was a wee babe, Denis, an award-winning Broadway musical and comedy writer…

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Homemade Almond Paste and Pear Tart with Almond Filling

This past weekend I was at the Brooklyn Museum signing copies of my books. If you have never visited the museum, you should if you have the chance — it’s a wonderful space. They have an exceptional collection of Egyptian art as well — we will be making another visit soon to take advantage of this!

Anyway, back to the event — My table mate was Lisa Greenwald who was signing three of her Y/A novels. One book, Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes, involves fortune cookies, so she brought a duffel bag full of fortune cookies to give out at our table.

Lisa Greenwald and me at our table

The organizers at the museum ingeniously devised a game in which kids could collect stamps from each author table onto a sheet of paper.  If they got all the stamps, then they could get a prize. 🙂

Stamping sheets amid fortune cookies!

Me and Kate Hosford

Kate's book, Big Bouffant, and an Annabelle doll I made for her book launch.

The night before the event, we had dinner at our friends’ place.  I decided to bring an Almond Pear Tart. I wanted to make something autumnal that didn’t involve pumpkin or pecan since Thanksgiving is this week!

I love baking with almond paste (not to be confused with marzipan) but it can be difficult to find, and it is also somewhat pricey.  I found a great recipe for almond paste to make from scratch. For a fraction of the price of a 10 ounce can of almond paste, I made 7 ounces from a bit of blanched almonds, confectioner’s sugar, almond extract, and some egg whites.

I bought some pears a few days before the dinner and they were pretty hard, so I stored them in a paper bag.  As the fruit ripens, it emits a gas called ethylene.  When the gas is trapped in a bag, it speeds up the ripening process.  It did the trick!

If you have a melon baller, use it for coring the pears– it makes it a cinch!

This is an amazing recipe. The almond paste filling is very light and creamy and goes perfectly with the baked pears. I served it with whipped cream spiked with apple brandy (I would have used Poire William — a pear liqueur — but I didn’t have any on hand).  The only thing I changed in the recipe are the directions for placing the pears on the filling for baking.  I think placing each slice one and a time from the outside moving in is a better method.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Almond Paste

4 oz. blanched almonds

2 ½ oz. confectioner’s sugar

pinch of salt

½ egg white (I used about 1 tablespoon liquid whites)

½ teaspoon almond extract

  1. Finely grind almonds in food processor.
  2. Add in confectioner’s sugar and salt and process again.
  3. Slowly pour in egg white while processor is running. I eyeballed it and stopped when the consistency looked right.  Add extract and process some more.

Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Makes 6 7/8 ounces of paste

  

Pear Almond Tart from Bon Appetit 2003

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons apple cider

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons chilled butter

1/2 cup (packed) almond paste (5 ounces)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter at room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 medium Bartlett or Anjou pears


1.  Whisk egg yolks and apple cider in small bowl to blend. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add chilled butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk mixture and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. Roll out dough between two sheets of saran wrap to prevent sticking.  Lay dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; chill while preparing filling. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)
2.  Position rack in lowest third of oven. Preheat to 375°F.

3.  Blend almond paste and sugar in processor until almond paste is finely ground. Add 1/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter and process until thick paste forms. Add eggs and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Spread filling in crust; cover and chill while preparing pears.

4.  Peel pears. Cut each pear in half lengthwise and core. Slice 1 pear half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Press on pear half to fan slices toward wider end. Arrange slices in a concentric circle from the outer rim moving to the center of the pan.  Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Brush over pears.

5.  Bake tart until pears are tender and crust is brown, about 50 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm or at room temperature. (Tart can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar or to taste
dash of vanilla
dash of Pear Liqueur or Apple Brandy
1.  Whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla and liqueur and whip a bit more until peaks are stiffer — be careful not to over whip though!

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscotti and the 6th Annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival

Chocolate glaze optional - I'm trying to decide if it is better with or without.

In the midst of trying to finish 52 illustrations by next week (I have 11 more to go!), summer activities, preparing for September book events, I decided to honor my recent white chocolate fixation and attempt to create an original recipe of White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscotti.

I will be reading from my book, Soup Day, at the 6th Annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival at the Princeton, NJ Public Library this Saturday at 11:30 am.  I will also be meeting amazing authors and illustrators,  greeting the public, and signing books!  If you happen to live in or near Princeton, NJ, please stop by and say “hello”.  I’d love to see you. 🙂

I’m traveling with my friend Kate the day before, who just released her book, Big Bouffant, and we are staying with her dear friend in Princeton who has generously offered us lodging.  I decided to make this creation to bring to her.

Hopefully she won’t mind the sloppy chocolate garnish I mistakenly put on the sides instead of the tops (see note below)!

White Chocolate Macademia Nut Biscotti

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

½ cup white chocolate chips

optional:  1/3 cup semisweet or bittersweet chopped chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add sugar and beat another minute.  Add egg and extracts and beat until incorporated.  Stir in macadamia nuts and white chocolate until evenly distributed.
  4. Dump batter out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Wet hands and form dough into a large rectangular log, about 4-inches by 12-inches in size.
  5. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes until top is firm.  Let rest on baking sheet on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  6. Carefully transfer log with two spatulas (it can easily break if it is not supported) to a cutting board.  Cut log into diagonal slices about ½-inch thick with a serrated knife.  Gently use a sawing motion, don’t press down too hard, or the log will break.
  7. Transfer the pieces back to the baking sheet and bake for another 20-25 minutes, flipping baking sheet and cookies halfway through.
  8. Remove baking sheet from oven and let rest on wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Then move biscotti to rack to cool completely.
  9. If you’d like to drizzle them with chocolate, just melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals (it took me about 90 seconds), stirring in between.  Transfer melted chocolate to a sandwich Ziploc bag and press all the chocolate to one corner of the bag.  Snip off a small bit of the corner so you have a tiny hole.  Turn biscotti so that the tops are up!  (I forgot to do this – oops!)  Squeeze the bag gently, drizzling chocolate over the biscotti.

    Major fail: I drizzled one side instead of the tops -- oops!

    To speed up the hardening process, you can chill in the refrigerator or freezer for a bit.

Makes about 13-14.

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Filed under Art Related, Children, Cookies, Desserts