Teen Basics Culinary – Days One and Two
The week of July 11th was the beginning of Summer Culinary Camp at Let’s Get Cookin’ in Westlake Village, CA. Let’s Get Cookin’ offers 3 weeks of Culinary Camp to Preteens and Teens between the ages of 10 – 16 and is taught by Sylvia Rieman. The first week was our Basics Camp which started out with instruction in Safety Tips, Measuring and the safe use of knives and slicing techniques. The concept of Mise en Place was also introduced. Mise en Place is the French term that means that all the ingredients and equipment should be prepared and set out before the actual cooking starts. Having everything prepared ahead of time, greatly simplifies the cooking process and eliminates the chance of not having the proper ingredients or equipment.
After the preliminary introductions of the above topics, we got into our cooking techniques. The first day was the use of eggs and the day’s lesson covered Egg Safety Guidelines, Egg sizes, and a cooking guide for eggs. There are countless dishes that cannot be made properly without eggs and we covered just a few. Since this was the first day of camp we concentrated mainly on breakfast foods. Each student had the opportunity to cook Crepes. We filled the Crepes with scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese. Two different methods of cooking Bacon were offered.
Egg Waffles were introduced (Egg Waffles are the popular street waffle that can be found in Hong Kong and other Asian Countries. The waffles comes out soft enough to roll up into a burrito like package, but is still firm enough to hold it’s shape.
Lemon Curd and Chocolate Mousse was made to go inside Pate Choux (Cream Puffs) which the students made along with Cheese Popovers. In addition deviled eggs were also made.
The second day of Camp was Vegetables and the skills we concentrated on were the proper use of knives and slicing techniques along with different ways to serve and cook vegetables. An important part of everyone’s diet is the consumption of fresh vegetables, either raw or cooked. The focus for the third was vegetables, both raw and cooked. The students were presented with an array of vegetables including root vegetables, bulbs, leaf vegetables, stalks and legumes. In addition they were also presented with those vegetables which contain seeds inside and are actually classified as fruit. Some fruits contain little sugar and are prepared and eaten as vegetables.
Each group prepared either a cooked vegetable appetizer or entrée and a salad with the dressing of their choice. About 6 different salad dressing recipes were offered and only one of each kind could be prepared. The object of each group preparing different salad dressings was so that the students could taste more than one kind and perhaps be exposed to something that they had not tried before.
The cooked appetizers were White Bean Bruschetta, and Black Bean Mini-Burgers. The entrees that were prepared was a Mushroom Lasagna with Marinara Sauce, Vegetable Chili and Grilled Vegetables. The students also made Hollandaise and Cheese Toppings to go on the Grilled Vegetables. In addition, biscuits were also made and were served along with the Chili. Brownies were the dessert of the day.