Books & Cooks

By Liz A. RSS Wed, September 3, 2014

On August 21, Shayna Marmar, owner of HoneyPie cooking, led a fun and delicious program for families called Books & Cooks. The class began with a reading of “Up, Down and Around” by Katherine Ayres, a colorful children’s book that teaches the ins and outs of gardening and the different ways vegetables can grow up, down, and around!  After story time and a quick wash of hands, the class began. Each child had a tray of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables: peaches, beets, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, apples, and more. The child also had a pair of zigzag scissors and a butter knife to cut the vegetables. The trays of produce provided a palate of palatable possibilities for mixing and matching colors, textures and flavors. Shayna believes in the importance of getting kids in the kitchen: “When children participate in the cooking process, it is empowering and engages them on a meaningful level -- no matter how small or large the role is that they take. It is my experience that children increase their investment and interest in foods when they are helping to prepare them, even when those foods are ones that they initially expressed hesitation towards.”

Shayna provides homemade, nourishing food solutions to children, adults, and families through demos, entertainment, and program design and is a big believer in offering children choice, but in a way that is practical and limited by the parent or caregiver. For example, she suggests if the goal is for a child to try broccoli, an example of a choice could be, "Should we sprinkle the broccoli on top of the pasta like teeny tiny confetti or should we serve it on the side like little trees?" According to Shayna, allowing the child to help make a decision in whatever way works for a particular food and family's goals really helps to open a child's willingness toward trying that food.

As the program closed, Shayna facilitated an open discussion with the kids about foods they may not like and how to properly express that without offending anyone else’s taste buds. At the end of the class, these young chefs had a sense of the importance between food and family. “Cooking at home allows you to be in control of your recipes,” Shayna told the class. Summer Rolls are a great recipe no matter what the season!   


Fresh Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce


5 oz uncooked rice noodles
2 teaspoons vinegar - rice, apple cider, or
white (for both the noodles and the sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or maple syrup (for
both the noodles and the sauce)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons nut or sunflower seed butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
1 tablespoon hot water
1 cucumber
2 carrots
1 apple
½ cup fresh herbs such as basil,
cilantro or mint

15 rice paper sheets 

1. Prepare the noodles: Boil water and pour over the noodles. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and mix with 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, ½ teaspoon of the sugar, honey, or maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.

2. Make the dipping sauce: Place the nut or sunflower seed butter in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, ½ teaspoon of the sugar, honey, or maple syrup, the soy sauce, grated ginger if using, and 1 tablespoon of hot water. Stir all ingredients together.

3. Prepare the vegetables, fruit, & fresh herbs: Cut, peel, or grate the cucumber, carrots, and apples into small pieces. Separate different ingredients from each other on a plate. Remove the stems from fresh herbs like basil and mint. 

4. Create a workstation: Place the rice paper sheets stacked next to a large bowl filled halfway with water. Put a medium- or large-sized cutting board near the water. Next, lay out the prepared noodles, the veggies, and the fresh herbs. Last, place a tray or a few plates at the end of the station, for the finished summer rolls.

5. Make the summer rolls: Dip a sheet of rice paper in the water until it gets soft, then place on the cutting board. It does not have to get completely softened in the water, because it will get softer on the cutting board. Put a little bit of each filling - the noodles, vegetables, apple,
and fresh herbs - toward the half of the rice paper closest to you. Fold the sides in and then roll up the rice paper so it sticks together and forms a summer roll. No problem if it is not a perfect roll. It will taste great, and the more you practice, the easier it will get! 

Any combination of vegetables, fruit, and fresh herbs can be used. Cooked shrimp, chicken, or tofu is a nice addition as well. Let your imagination design a new recipe!

© Honeypie Cooking, 2014 

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