While letting the kids cook may sound like a disaster in the making, allowing them to prep ingredients is a chance to bring learning into the kitchen. Use measuring spoons to enhance math skills and work on spelling with unique ingredients. If there’s a little mess, cleaning up is a great way to teach responsibility. Baltimore’s chefs understand how important it is to get kids in the kitchen, so they offered up these great cooking ideas just for families.
J. Paul’s Harborplace
by Chef Jason Dyke
301 Light Street
Baltimore, Md. 21202
For a breakfast of French toast, mix eggs, milk and two tablespoons of cinnamon in a bowl, and gently whisk. Butter a non-stick skillet or pan. Dip slices of Texas toast into the egg batter. Brown each side of the Texas toast in the pan. Cut the toast and top it with maple syrup and whipped cream. Serve the French toast with a side of fresh fruit.
Tuna Salad Melt and Tomato Soup
To make this classic combo, mix one can of tuna with a dollop of mayonnaise, chopped scallions and chopped celery. Toast rye bread, and top each slice with the tuna salad mixture. Top each mix with sliced cheddar cheese and place in a 450-degree oven until the cheese melts.
For the tomato soup, saute one tablespoon of garlic and two tablespoons of diced onion until they’re golden brown, and then add one can of tomato sauce, one can of diced tomatoes and one tablespoon of tomato paste. Let it simmer for 25 minutes. Puree the soup until it’s smooth, and add seasonings to taste. Serve the soup hot with the tuna melt.
Jason Dyke’s “World’s Best Lasagna” Recipe
To make the world’s best lasagna, cook one pound of ground beef, one-half cup minced onion, and two cloves of crushed garlic over medium heat until browned. Stir in one, 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, one 28-ounce can of tomato paste, and two six-ounce cans of tomato sauce. Season with two tablespoons of sugar, one and one-half teaspoons of basil, one-half teaspoon of fennel, one teaspoon of Italian seasoning, three teaspoons of salt, one-quarter teaspoon of pepper, and parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook 12 lasagna noodles for eight to 10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine one pound of ricotta cheese with one egg, parsley and salt.
Spread 1.5 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of a nine- by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange six noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce. Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with four ounces of mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1.5 cups of meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil to prevent sticking, and spray foil with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
About Jason Dyke, executive chef at J. Paul’s Harborplace
With more than 22 years of experience working in the restaurant industry, Dyke is the executive chef at J. Paul’s Harborplace, where he is responsible for creating signature and seasonal American-style menu items.
Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
by Chef Chris Ford
200 International Drive
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Granny’s Banana-Nut Bread
Spray three loaf pans with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Scrape off a vanilla bean and rub the scraped vanilla bean into 2.25 cups of brown sugar and 2.25 cups of white sugar mix. Mix 2.25 teaspoons of salt, nine cups of flour, one tablespoon plus 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder, 2.5 teaspoons of baking soda, and one teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl.
Separately, mix together four cups of pureed bananas, 1.75 eggs, one cup of canola oil, two cups of buttermilk, one cup and 1.5 teaspoons of crème fraîche, and two tablespoons plus one teaspoon of honey. Add wet to dry while mixing on low speed. Fold in 4.5 cups of pecans last. Distribute batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the oven to 325 degrees, and continue baking until internal temperature reaches between 195 and 200 degrees.
About Chef Chris Ford
Pastry Chef Chris Ford is an esteemed veteran of some of the country’s most famed kitchens. Through his work for the Mina Group and Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, Ford prepares unique, flavorful desserts for Wit & Wisdom and PABU restaurants.
Gordon Biersch Brewery
Chef Jake Pulcher
1000 Lancaster Street, Suite B
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Measure one ounce of canola oil into a large sauté pan and heat the oil it’s until hot. Add four ounces of boneless chicken strips, and cook them until the meat turns all white. Remove the pan from the flame and add a quarter teaspooon of salt and pepper blend and bruschetta mix (two cups of diced tomatoes, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1.5 teaspoons of salt and pepper blend, one tablespoon of chopped garlic, two tablespoons of olive oil, and two tablespoons of basil chiffonade).
Return it to the flame and cook for one minute. Reheat eight ounces of pasta in a hot water bath and drain well. Add the pasta to the pan and toss with two tablespoons of garlic butter. Serve in a bowl with the contents of the sauté pan, a sprinkle of Parmesan/Romano cheese and fresh basil.
About Chef Jake Pulcher
As executive chef of the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Baltimore location, Jake Pulcher plays a key leadership role in kitchen execution and quality control. Pulcher has held executive chef positions at several restaurants prior to joining Gordon Biersch.
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Renee Libby Beck spends her days as a public relations and social media manager for Medifast, Inc. and any spare time that she can find as a freelance writer. Her work has been published in local and national publications. Renee also serves as the Baltimore Food Examiner for Examiner.com.