Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Spatulatta Cookbook

My 6 year old is at a tough age. She’s too big to be treated like a baby, but not old enough to take on those big kid responsibilities like changing the oil in my car or getting a real job that brings home a paycheck. For that we’ll have to wait until 3rd grade.

Since most of my waking hours are spent in the kitchen, she often asks if she can help me cook. I usually say no. I’m a control freak. I can’t help it. She’s still my little baby who needs me to do everything for her (to prevent having to spend even more time cleaning up after her).

Recently, I have tried to bend and let her help. Unfortunately it tends to end in ”Don’t spill. Don’t touch anything. Don’t stick your fingers in that.”

There is a new cookbook out from the Spatulatta girls. It is filled with “recipes for kids, by kids from the James Beard award-winning” web site. This has been a great mother-daughter bonding experience for us.

The recipes in this cookbook are easy to follow. So easy, even a 6 year old can do it! The book is divided into sections based on the seasons, so we picked some of the summer recipes. There are also vegetarian and snack sections. The pages are vibrant colors (unlike my boring cookbooks!) with lots of great photos showing steps along the way and the final product. The authors, Isabella and Olivia Gerasole keep everything straightforward and simple.

A quick trip to the Farmer’s Market and we were on our way. Our first recipe was Papa’s Pesto. The key is using fresh ingredients. After ransacking my poor basil plant, we only had 1 cup of leaves and the recipe called for 2 cups. We halved the recipe and proceeded ahead. My daughter did a great job of putting Parmesan cheese, basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic in the food processor and I managed not to shove her out of the way and do everything myself (I’m very proud of me). Our only complaint is that the Spatulatta girls have a much greater love for garlic than us, and we found the pesto to be too strong to eat. Next time we would add the garlic gradually and stop and taste before adding more (ah, what a wise idea, I should apply that to all my cooking!). Hopefully my little basil plant will grow more leaves before summer’s end so we can try Papa’s Pesto again.

Later that day we tried making the Blueberry Pie. I have baked apple pies before (see previous posts), but never a blueberry one. We followed the directions exactly and the pie came out delicious. Fresh blueberries from the Farmer’s Market made this pie taste homemade even though we used prepared piecrusts. I am sure the picture might not be beautiful to you but as a first pie joint effort, we think it is fabulous.

After all of our cooking adventures, we surfed over to the Spatullata website. My 6 year old LOVED watching the cooking videos. Isabella and Olivia make every recipe seem so simple to follow.

The Spatulatta Cookbook was a perfect guide for this mother-daughter’s first time adventure in the kitchen together. If there is a budding chef in your life, you may want to steer them toward the Spatulatta girls’ website and cookbook. They may pick up a thing or two and blueberry pie could be in your future or at least breakfast in bed!

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