We want our children to be the benefactors of stewardship and sustainability, and they’re also partners in the effort.
While writing a recent post about an Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, I thought about children. Would a kid eat this, would Lily like it? I wondered about a child-friendlier take on the tart and that lead to these critters. I used naan and cookie cutters to create little fishy, penguiny, rabbitty morsels, but could have used the pastry dough from the tart just as well.
Edible Critters Recipe, for Munchkins
This is loose. Read through and then make it your own. Or, I should say, their own. Kids choose the shapes and participate as much as possible.
Brush cut-out shapes – naan works well – with a little olive oil and then spread with fig or rhubarb jam and dollops of goat or cream cheese; combinations of grated cheeses; tomato sauce underneath and it’s almost a pizza; a thin slice of apple or pear topped with grated cheddar cheese; and by all means include the caramelized onions if that’s kid-friendly enough. Use your imagination and include toppings that kids love and that will tolerate a few minutes in a hot oven, maybe while at the same time making an Onion & Goat Cheese Tart for the big kids.
Bake these critters at 375º for 10 minutes or so. Keep an eye out – different combinations of toppings require slightly different cooking times. Remove from the oven when edges begin to brown, cheese bubbles and you can’t wait another minute.
Awaken the child within, these things are delicious. Maybe just forget about the fancy schmancy tart and just go for the cheesy critters.
Use local products whenever possible and emphasize the food’s story when cooking with children. They’re curious about where things come from. The experience of actually creating a deliciously cheesy bunny, or looking at a flower, a bug or herbs through a magnifying glass might get a kid thinking about the bigger picture. More than, say, ripping open a bag of food and diving in.
Speaking of munchkins, Tilth hosts summer gardening classes for kids which are supposed to be excellent. Children’s Garden Summer Programs 2008.