DIY Kids in ZeKitchen

3 Zebras + 2 Kids

When I first started thinking about cooking, I wondered if a zebra would really be able do it. I mean, having four hooves with no opposable thumbs definitely has its challenges, so I was feeling a tiny bit discouraged.

But then a wise kid named Max told me this, “Just because you’re not cooking now doesn’t mean you CAN’T – it only means you don’t know how yet. After you learn, you can do it yourself. As in: DIY, zebra dude!”

Max Slices Fruit

I realized he was absolutely right! If you want to do something, you just need to learn how to do it – and then you need to actually do it.

At our IACP Kids-in-the-Kitchen event at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, that’s exactly what we did!

Let's Get Blogging!

The DIY theme was all about taking food “from dirt to digital,” which means learning where our ingredients came from, preparing and sharing them, then telling our stories in words, photos and video.

(The event’s official name was “Flash, Crackle, Pop!” — cameras were everywhere!)

Juliane & Skylar with ZeBot

Inspired by the super-fun CUESA Foodwise Kids classes, a group of culinary professionals (people like chefs, cooking teachers, nutritionists, food writers and photographers) and other expert volunteers helped us put DIY into delicious action.

Holly & Kids

Some kids were amazing cooks already — it turns out that a great way to learn your way around the kitchen is to watch parents and other adults who love to cook.

That’s what my friend Isabella told me she did. And now, her prep and cooking skills are as impressive as a real chef’s (but Isabella says there’s ALWAYS lots more fun stuff to learn).

Isabella Preps Like the Pros

Some kids (and all of the zebras) were just beginning to understand how to safely and efficiently use a knife and other prep tools. And you know what? We had just as much fun as the cooks who already knew what they were doing.

We learned that the most important things to do are watch and listen carefully, be patient, keep trying — and know that practice makes perfect!

Knife Skills

One of the great things about the people who showed us how to prep, cook and bake our recipes was that they let us experiment with ingredients and seasonings — and decide whether or not we thought something tasted good.

Have you ever heard the saying “it’s all a matter of taste”? Well, it’s really true — the same things can taste different to different people (and zebras)!

Cassiaus Seasons His Creation

Working in teams, kids (and a few zebras) learned how to make the world’s best crackers. We got to mix the whole-grain dough and season it with herbs, then roll it out to create crackers in any size or shape we liked (as long as it fit in the oven).

ZoeBot and ZeBro Learn How to Flatten Dough

You would not believe how amazing those crackers smelled while they were baking.

And when our crackers came out of the oven, we all agreed they were the ultimate in crispy, crunchy deliciousness!

Jessica Checks the Crispness

To create healthy companions for our fresh-baked crackers, we got to craft toppings from all kinds of imaginatively yummy ingredients.

We used everything from ripe, juicy strawberries and newly harvested veggies to stinging nettles (which taste a lot better than they sound – after you spin ‘em in a giant salad spinner and blanch ‘em to remove the stingers, that is!).

Zebras, Kids & Salad Spinner

Because sharing the stories of food makes cooking (and eating) more fun than ever, we wrote about what we liked best – and made our own music video. Check it out!

We also had a great time reading stories of what kids around the country had done for the Green Ribbon Schools award-winning IACP Kids Digital Kitchen.

Let's Blog with Zebras

If you’d like to be part of this year’s IACP Kids Digital Kitchen (and we really hope you will), you’ll find all the information you need right here!

I know you must be getting pretty hungry by now, so I’ve included a couple of easy, irresistible cracker-topping recipes at the end of this blog – and you can check out the Foodwise Kids super-simple, super-tasty cracker recipe by clicking here!

Now let’s get cooking!

ZeBot Berries

RECIPE: Irresistible Ricotta, Honey & Strawberry Topping

What you need:

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (if you don’t have ricotta cheese, it’s perfectly okay to use cottage cheese instead)

A drizzle of honey (you decide how much is a drizzle—but don’t go crazy okay?)

1-2 cups of sliced strawberries (if you love berries, it’s okay to go a little crazy!)

What you do:

1. Stir the honey into the ricotta (or cottage) cheese.

2. Put the sweet (but not TOO sweet) cheese on your homemade crackers, then top them off with ripe, juicy strawberries.

Hummus in Pumpkins

RECIPE: Wonderful White Bean Puree for Dolloping or Dipping

What you need:

One 14 oz. can cannellini beans

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. olive oil

A sprinkle of salt & pepper

A kid-sized handful of chopped, fresh herbs (a mix basil, tarragon, parsley or whatever you like best!)

What you do:

1. If you have a food processor, put all your ingredients into the work bowl (fitted with the metal chopping blade), then pulse until everything is deliciously creamy.

OR:

If you don’t have a food processor, that’s okay, too! Just put your ingredients into a mixing bowl, then use a sturdy fork (or a potato masher) to mash everything into velvety yummyness.

2. Either way: dollop your toppings onto crackers with a spoon — or use the crispy crackers as dippers (but no double-dipping please)! If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can serve your puree in hollowed-out pumpkins (or try using bell peppers as colorful serving dishes).

Max Tomatoes

RECIPE: Totally Tempting Tomato & Basil Topping

What you need:

1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes (or about 3-4 ripe roma, heirloom or other big tomatoes, if they’re in season (summer))
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2-3 peeled garlic cloves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
A sprinkle of salt & pepper

What You Do:

1. Coarsely chop tomatoes, red onion, basil and garlic (you can use a knife or chop them in a food processor by pressing the “pulse” button a few times.)

2. Add lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and enough olive oil to bind the ingredients (this means to make everything sort of stick together – it will look a lot like fresh tomato salsa (or pico de gallo).

3. Spoon the savory topping onto your crunchy homemade crackers – and eat happily ever after!

Zebras Are Top Chefs 2

Want to learn more about IACP Kids-in-the-Kitchen and “Flash, Crackle, Pop!”?

Please check out this cool video by KIK member, Greg Chang!

Pretty great, huh? Well, you can join the fun, too — join us for this year’s yummy creativity in the IACP Kids Digital Kitchen!

ZeBot & ZoeBot Bunny Ears

3 thoughts on “DIY Kids in ZeKitchen

    • Well, let’s make it happen in Montgomery County, then, Sheila — I’ll put all my zebraic creativity to work helping you!

  1. Pingback: ZeAmazing DIY Cracker Caper | ZeBot's Kitchen

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