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!


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.


  • 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?


  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm!

As they say in Argentina:

Buen Provecho!


Beef Taquitos

“Taquitos” is the word used in Mexico to say “small tacos”. However they are not always so small. Taquitos are eat in Mexico very commonly and the filling changes depending on the occasion, parties, gatherings or Mexican holidays! Enjoy!

“Taquitos” is the word used in Mexico to say “small tacos”. However they are not always so small. Taquitos are eaten in Mexico very commonly and the filling changes depending on the occasion, parties, gatherings or Mexican holidays! Enjoy!

Name in English: Beef Taquitos

Name in Spanish: Tacos de carne de res

National Language: Spanish (Mexico)

Why Little Chefs love Mexico? Children in Mexico have a lot of fun at their birthday parties. The “Piñata” is originally a Mexican child party activity were traditionally children used to beat with a stick a “piñata” made of ceramic and decorated with colorful papers. Nowadays kids chose any kind of figure they want, from their favorite superheroes to their favorite princess, and the best part is… all piñatas always have candy inside!

What problems children living in Mexico face? A lot of children in Mexico live in poverty and they need to walk many miles to attend school, especially in low populated areas, also known as rural areas. Children in Mexico would be benefited if we donate to associations dedicated to building more schools and take education to every corner of the country.

Why is this recipe special? Some of my Mexican friends celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and because I love Mexican food and all its various ingredients I decided it was time to give it a try and make a very common recipe that in Mexico is actually food for any occasion, but here you can particularly enjoy it this weekend even if you don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I assure you! You will be left craving for more!

Why Big Chef’s care? Tortilla is an excellent source of fiber; they have a beneficial effect on your digestive tract, thanks to their fiber content. This intake of fiber through tortillas is very beneficial in the long run.

Why Little Chef’s care? Taquitos are traditionally finger food. But the best part is that you can add anything you want to your ‘taquito’. So you prepare it as you want it to be!

Tortillas are traditionally made by hand in Mexico. Moms all over that country have a special item to make them perfectly round; it’s called a tortilla press. (Almost every other house in Mexico has one).

Tortillas are traditionally made by hand in Mexico. Moms all over that country have a special item to make them perfectly round; it’s called a tortilla press. (Almost every other house in Mexico has one).


  • Lettuce (3 cups)
  • Mild Salsa
  • Beef (1/2 pound)
  • Mazeca Flour (1 cup)
  • Cream (1 cup)
  • Beans (1 cup, refried beans)
  • Avocado (1)
  • Onion (1/2 cup chopped)
  • Fresh Cheese

Little Chef Prep work: If the big chef decides to make the tortilla by hand, then tortilla pressing is a very fun activity for the children! It’s just like playing with dough, they just need to put a little ball in the middle and press until the tortilla dough is round and thin.

Big Chef Prep work: Big chefs can decide if they prefer to make the tortilla by hand or if they want to buy it. There are many tortilla brands; some of them are even organic. What is very important is to have soft tortillas in the end. Now to the cooking!


  • Hand made tortillas: Take a cup of the Mazeca flour and put in a big mixing bowl. Then throw a small vegetable oil spoon and blend it together by hand. Or using a spoon, preferably wood or silicon.
  • Use a flat pan to make the tortillas, most families outside of Mexico don’t have a ‘comal’ a traditional Mexican cooking platform that is used to make the tortillas. But do not worry a flat pan works just fine.
  • Add a little water to your tortilla dough, until you can make small balls that are not too soft, nor too hard.
  • Then add a little oil to your flat pan, and once you have pressed the tortilla (if you don’t have a tortilla press, don’t worry! Use a big plate; a flat surface and a plastic cover for both ends). Put the round ball of dough floor in the middle of the plate and push hard until you feel the surface has become flat.
  • Now take the tortilla and carefully place in the pan. The middle and then the rest of the tortilla area will change colors. Once you see this then switch the tortilla (like a pancake) and wait for the other side to be thoroughly cooked!
  • Beef recipe: For the beef you can cook it as you please the most. And even change the recipe if you don’t like beef. You can use chicken. Cook the beef with sauce of your preference. I used tomato mixed with onion and pepper.
  • Taquito preparation: Warm the beans and use the beans and the beef as a filler for the taquitos.
  • Cut your lettuce and shred your cheese, that will be on top of the taquitos.
  • Put your taquitos in a plate and on the top add lettuce, salsa, cheese and cream. You can top with guacamole or sliced avocado.

WP_20140424_010 copy


WP_20140424_016 copyAnd now as they say in Mexico: Buen Provecho!