YMCA discovers Quince Tarte with Chef Koochooloo

All right, we admit it– we have an obsession for all things Argentine.

Last Thursday, Chef Koochooloo was invited to bring the magic of Argentina to 30 delightful children at the Castro after school YMCA program.

The owner of Baharestan school, (http://www.baharestankids.com) was kind enough to let me pick fresh quinces from her back-yard.  I prepared the paste prior to our lesson, but took a few fresh ones to show the YMCA students and staff, who were surprised to discover this delightful fruit.

What made this lesson truly special was that we had Miss Claudia Auxilir, a Buenos Aires native, join us and conduct the lesson in both Spanish and English. Furthermore, the kids had a chance to sell their beautiful creations at the Castro silent auction the next day, we made over $200 for the school PTA!

YMCA-Quince-Tarte

Enjoy making this delicious and healthy dessert Quince Tarte with your little special chefs:

Country We Are Exploring:  Argentina

Continent:  South America

Official Language: Spanish

English Recipe Name: Quince Paste Tarte

Spanish Name:  Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo

Fun Fact:

Did you know that the oldest known dinosaur species has been traced back to Argentina and Brazil? Some species go as far back as 230 million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains are in the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Ingredient spotlight: Dulce de Membrillo

Quince Paste originates from Quince (Membrillo), a low calorie fruit that contains several vital antioxidants that keep the body young and healthy. The fruit is also full of minerals.

Like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 butter bars
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 cups of quince paste (dulce de membrillo)
  • ½ cup of pineapple preserves (this is an optional ingredient)
  • ½ cup of raspberry jam (optional too)

Little Chef Duties:

  • Mix the ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and sugar) in a bowl using a whisk (Make sure mix is not too wet or too crumbly, you can add an extra spoon of flour or milk to get it right)
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into ingredients until well blended
  • Add milk, egg and egg yolk to the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar mix
  • Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes
  • Butter a 9 inch pie dish
  • Roll about ¾ of the dough on a floured surface and make it a circle big enough to cover all of the pie dish
  • Spread the filling prepared by Big Chef into the covered pie dish
  • Make a lattice pattern on top of the tart

Big Chef Duties:

  • Add dulce de membrillo, pineapple and raspberry jam to a small pot with 1 or 2 spoons of water, stir frequently at low heat
  • Remove pot from heat and let it cool
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Help the little chefs add the filling into the pie dish
  • Roll the remaining dough into a circle and cut thin strips of dough
  • Make a lattice pattern over the top of the tart
  • Cook in the oven until golden brown (about 30 minutes)

Learn while you wait: When a pie or cake bakes, the whole protein network in the mix hardens due to the heat in the oven. The color of the dough changes as the protein hardens and that is what gives pie dough or cake dough a darker color.

More about Argentina! Did you know that in Argentina, teachers have the right to spank children who don’t listen to them in class?

Discussion ideas to ask your Little Chef: When kids don’t listen to your teacher at your school, what is the consequence?

PRESENTATION

  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm!

As they say in Argentina:

Buen Provecho!

 Quince-Tarte

Kid Friendly Kitchen: The essentials to make your kitchen a perfect and safe place for kids

As many of you know I am now leading the startup “Chef Koochooloo” where part of our mission is to empower families to engage in fun, interactive cooking activities and help parents safely involve their kids in preparing a healthy meal. You can read more about our vision and mission in our last post.

When I started cooking with my daughter I came to the realization that I did not have a kid friendly kitchen. Sadly most of my cooking supplies were adult size, extremely sharp or simply not adequate for my daughter, so I moved fast and bought the appropriate supplies, changed my utensils and made my kitchen a safe and fun space for my girl.

It took me a while to find the perfect kids cooking tools that I wanted my daughter to use during this cooking journey. I spent a lot of time browsing online and found some amazing utensils. Believe me I would have liked to buy them all and make my daughter’s cooking experience something she could safely enjoy at every step, but I had to prioritize based on what she would use the most often. With this in mind, I made a list with the essentials and substituted those for kid-friendly versions, which provided both safety for her and peace of mind for me. Here are some of the items that can be safely substituted and can be used by kids.

  • Cutting tools: Disposable plastic knives are a solution when you first start preparing your kitchen for the little chefs. There’s no risk in giving a young child a plastic knife and it allows them to start getting involved with the hard steps of cooking a recipe, but if you don’t have plastic ware at home or you simply don’t like to use plastic utensils, then you can try the plastic knife from Zliss, is a lettuce knife that allows your kids to be safe while cutting. I use kid-friendly knives I bought from IKEA; they come in a variety of fun colors and they have been very useful for our cooking adventures.

IKEA-plastic-knives

Slizz-lettuce-kinfe

  • Spatulas and Spoons: I have found that silicon spatulas and spoons are better for the pots. This material is safe for kids and is very common. The only recommendation I have is to buy it in a friendly size for the kids to use while making their favorite recipe! Remember that these ones come in a wide range of colors and sizes, pick your favorite one! I haven’t completed my spoon collection but soon would like to have spoons and spatulas from www.cookincolor.com

cookincolor-spatulas

  • Measurers: These are a classic for children, and very easy to get, a lot of companies make them in a variety of colors and with fun shapes. But sometimes just a quick visit to your local store will pay off with fun colored measures in a variety of sizes; just keep your eyes open.

61T6GjXpJ4L._SX522_

  • Mixing Bowls: No kitchen is complete without the mix and match “mixing-bowls” the ones in the link are from Trudeau. The ones that I have are from my local store.

Trudeau-mizing bowls

  • Cutting Boards: Of course if your kids are going to be cutting, they need a safe space to do so. At home we have plastic cutting boards, since crystal, wood or ceramic ones are just too heavy for my daughter. Recently, I saw these flexible, cheap and small cutting boards from For Small Hands. Aren’t they adorable? Definitely the next acquisition for out child-friendly kitchen!

small-cutting-board

  • Oven Mitts: There’s more variety for oven mitts. They usually come in different shapes and sizes, but if you want specific kid-size then you may want to try Growing Cooks since they seem to be quite small, perfect for little hands! I’m looking forward to order these ones next time we buy oven mitts.

oven-mitts-growingcooks

I also came across this brand: Curious Chef, and I have to say they do have a lot of great cooking items for children. Next time I’m buying something my daughter needs to cook I will certainly purchase it from their website. I can’t wait to try some of their utensils soon!

There are many more items that a kid can use in the kitchen, funnels, timers, fun spoons, containers with different shapes and more! Share with us if your kids have any preference for kid friendly cooking utensils!