Posts in the Kids Cooking Club Category

chocolate pretzels

Boy it’s been a tough couple of weeks (months). I’ve been really under the weather and the medicine I am taking is knocking me out. I really dislike not feeling like myself. I know that life ebbs and flows, and that everyone has ups and downs, but it’s sure crappy when it’s happening to you. I am finally feeling better. Not 100% yet, but one day at a time. I’m so happy to be adding a new post (or 2). I have a growing list of summer projects, but for now I am happy to be posting Chocolate Covered Pretzels. They are so easy and fun to make.


8 oz. semi sweet bakers chocolate (chocolate chips don’t work as well)
½ tablespoon butter
Pretzels (I buy the half size rods)
Toppings (mini-M&M’s, sprinkles, colored sugar, finely chopped nuts)


Using a coffee mug, add all the chocolate and microwave for 1:00. My microwave usually needs another 30 seconds. Microwaves vary, so after the initial 1 minute, you can try 10-second intervals. The chocolate will not be fully melted, but if you put a spoon into the chocolate, it will be nice and soft when it’s ready. Add the butter and stir until smooth. I like to use a silpat lined baking sheet, but the paper plates with a waxy finish work well too. Get ready to dip and decorate! When all finished, put the bedazzled pretzels in the refrigerator to harden. I read on a website, forgive me for not remembering who’s idea this is, but she suggest adding milk to the leftover chocolate in the mug for an amazing Parisian hot chocolate!


My son and I made these at home!


So proud of my FM classes!  You guys did great!




This guacamole is perfect for any time of year. I make tons (literally) of guacamole all summer long, when the tomatoes are ripe and fresh. But in the winter, when farm fresh vegetables are harder to come by, guacamole is still perfect. I am always grateful for all the good nutrients my kids receive when they polish off a large bowl of home-made guacamole.  Sometimes they eat “guac and chips” for dinner!

This is the quintessential kids “cooking class” food. Guacamole is easy to make and fun to eat. And kids can basically make it all by themselves. Diced avocado, tomatoes, and onions coupled with minced garlic, fresh lime juice and a few dashes of Tobasco sauce is all it takes to whip up a bowl of fresh guacamole. Cilantro is a delicious added bonus. You can also make your own chips!  I love this recipe from Simply Recipes



6 ripe avocados (they should just lightly yield to the pressure of your fingers), diced
1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and small diced
¼ sweet Vidalia onion (yellow, brown, or red onions work well too), small diced
1 clove garlic, minced (I like to use a microplane)
Juice from 2 limes (I love it limey)
5-6 dashed of kosher salt (keep tasting until you reach the level of spice that you enjoy.  You can also use jalapeno pepper.)
1-teaspoon kosher salt (taste the guacamole with a chip before adding more salt)


Add all the ingredients to a medium sized bowl. Using 2 butter knifes, “cut” the ingredients together with a criss-cross motion. Taste the seasoning and adjust as needed. If not eating immediately, put plastic wrap pressed on top of the guacamole to make sure no air gets in (this will help prevent it from getting too brown). Some people like to keep the avocado pits in the guacamole to prevent browning.  You can also add a few tablespoons of salsa to thinly cover the very top and mix it in when you are ready to serve it.




We have been having so much fun in cooking class: chopping, stirring, whisking, measuring, melting, baking, and frying! We made delicious Zucchini French Fries. What a fun way to eat green vegetables, breaded and lightly fried, and then sprinkled with salt. These can also be baked for an even healthier treat.

I wish I had a great segue from Zucchini French Fries to skiing; unfortunately there isn’t really a connection. I just have skiing on the brain. For some crazy reason, I decided to learn how to ski this winter (I tried last year too, but didn’t get past the bunny slope). I am amazed by how difficult it can be for some of us (me in particular) to learn. Not my children though, they put skis on and cruised down the mountain at warp speed. They are now skiing backwards, going over moguls, and doing jumps.

As an adult learning to ski, I think about everything. Turning my feet, adjusting my body, shifting my weight, staying forward on my skis, looking out not down, and somehow, with all of these instructions, I should also be relaxed! I have a new appreciation for how some people feel in the kitchen: sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and an impending feeling of doom.

I am writing this last part of the post after having successfully cruised down my first black diamond slope out in Colorado. So if you are someone for whom cooking does not come easily, don’t despair: a bit of elbow grease, some easy recipes (found right here), and a helping of determination will have you bustling around the kitchen asking, “When do we make the soufflés”?


3 zucchini, cut into 4 quarters from top to bottom
1-cup flour (more as needed)
2 eggs, beaten, plus 1-tablespoon water
1-cup seasoned breadcrumbs (more as needed)
Canola oil for frying
Kosher salt


Using 3 shallow bowls, put flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs each into their own bowl. First dip the zucchini in the flour until lightly coated. Tap gently on the side of the bowl to remove excess flour. Then dip the zucchini into the egg mixture until coated. Then dip into the breadcrumbs (you can even add some grated Parmesan cheese to your breadcrumb mixture) until coated. Put them on a plate to await frying.

Heat a large non-stick skillet and add enough canola oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When all the zucchini “fries” have been well coated with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, add a few at a time to the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry for about 2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy.

Transfer zucchini to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot.




Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Wow . . . the 2015 Saveur Best Food Blog Nominations have begun If you are feeling inspired, please nominate castle walk kitchen for best special interest blog. The nominating process takes about 30 seconds. It’s really easy and means a lot to me. The more nominations the better!

In the hopes that Saveur will take a look at my blog, I thought I should take stock of what I’ve done this year. So I took a trip down memory lane and revisited my past posts. What a short trip! What have I been doing all winter? Learning to ski of course (more about that in my next post)! We have had record-breaking amounts of snow this winter.

But, mon dieu, I have neglected you all! I will attempt to remedy that in the next few weeks. Today’s post is for Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup. I think my class will stage a coup de tat if I don’t post this immediately! Most of the kids really loved this soup (as did their parents, babysitters and siblings who got to sample the soup at pick-up). Remember, the kids are doing most of the cooking here. I slice the onions first to make them easier for the kids to dice, then they cut (or pull apart) the broccoli into florets, measure butter, flour, and stock, and shred the cheese with a grater (and some assistance). I’m so proud of all my young chefs!

Here’s what you can look forward to (though maybe not in this exact order) . . . Zucchini French Fries (this should have been posted at the end of last session’s cooking classes, my apologies!), Easy Guacamole (new this session), Bruschetta (because I had left-over tomatoes . . . this is also one of my personal favorites), Sweet Potato Wedges (ridiculously easy with cinnamon and hot chili pepper), Chicken Posole Soup (I fell in love with this soup from Two Elks Lodge), Porcini Mushroom Soup with a Poached Egg (from Cookshop in NYC) and Eggplant Ragout (this is from a submission to Temple Israel’s new cookbook).  Also on my “to do” list: Curry Chicken, Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding, and Lasagna . . .


1 medium onion, diced (sometimes I use ½ of a sweet Vidalia onion)
1 clove garlic, small chop
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth (feel free to use vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
1 can evaporated milk
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (you want it to cook in 10 minutes)
Kosher salt and freshly group pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder (you can a bit more if you like some kick!)
8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded


Heat a large stockpot over a medium flame. When hot, add the butter. Then add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn. Sprinkle the flour on top and let the flour cook for another 1-2 minutes. Pour the broth and evaporated milk over the onion mixture and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the broccoli and carrots. Season the soup with salt, pepper and mustard powder. Gently simmer for about 10-12 minutes. The broccoli and carrots should be tender. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until all the large pieces of broccoli are broken down. Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese. It should melt quickly and smoothly. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread.


Sour cream pancakes with caramelized apple compote

I am always looking for new, easy recipes to make with the kids I teach in cooking class. I like to use a secret (healthy) ingredient even when making sweets. Think carrot cake, zucchini muffins, or sweet potato pancakes. So when I found a great Apple Custard Cake from Dorie Greenspan, I hoped I could convert it into mini muffins (we have only 1 hour to prepare, bake and eat our creations). No matter how I tried I couldn’t quite get it to taste or cook the same as Dorie’s fabulous recipe. Sometimes perfection is not to be messed with. Here is a link to Dorie Greenspan’s Apple Custard Cake Squares:

I’m back to the drawing board. Should I try a more traditional apple muffin? Or pancakes filled with shredded apples? I started surfing some of my favorite cooking sites (hello Smitten Kitchen) and found Deb Perelman’s Lemon Ricotta pancakes with sautéed apples I also found a recipe on Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) food website for Edna Mae’s famous Sour Cream Pancakes Magic presto I turned 2 recipes into one (with a few changes here and there)!

The sour cream pancakes and caramelized apples are a delicious combination. As I write this I have made them with one class already. They were gone before they even hit the plate! Here’s my favorite quote “ I wish pancakes and apples would fall out of the sky so I could eat them all day long”! I am rushing to get this post up as I promised one of my friends he would be able to make these for Sunday brunch!


¾ cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-cup sour cream
2 eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
Canola oil or butter for frying

3 apples (I use whatever I have in the refrigerator), peeled and diced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1-teaspoon cinnamon


In a medium sized bowl mix all the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. There will be lumps in the batter . . . perfect!

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour 1-2 teaspoons on canola oil into the pan. Using a paper towel rub the oil over the bottom of the pan to coat entirely.

Using a ¼ measuring cup to scoop the batter, drop it into the pan. When you see a few bubbles forming on the top of the pancakes, its time to flip them. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute on the second side. Serve warm.


Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. When melted add the apples. Mix to coat with butter. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top and mix again. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit as the water from the apples cooks out. Serve over the pancakes.