Friday, September 26, 2014

Food Network Show - The Kitchen

I love the Food Network because you don't have to go to culinary school or cooking camp to find a great tasting recipe that's easy to cook. I love cooking my family's favorite meals but this is where I get new ideas for meals to cook at home. 

I like many shows on the Food Network like Cutthroat Kitchen, Good Eats, Rewrapped, and Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, but one of my all time favorite shows is The Kitchen. It is hosted by Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Marcela Valladolid and Geoffrey Zakarian and airs Saturday @11am. I love this show because it is different from all the other shows on that channel. It is a talk show style format. They don't just share recipes with you, they teach you tips and tricks, and they do it while making you laugh.

My mom works for the company that produces the show so I often get to go see an episode be taped.  The chefs have as much on set as they do on the show. Some times I even get to be in an episode. I was on the Cooking with Your Kids episode not too long ago.  

One of my favorite recipes on the show is Katie Lee's Low Country Boil Packets which I will be making with my cooking club this week. I love this recipe because you can prepare it ahead of time and throw it in the grill once your guests arrive.

For more recipes from The Kitchen click here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yummy Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Over the summer I attended Classic Thyme Cooking School. While I was there I learned how to make many recipies such as Creme Dubarry or as I call it Yummy Cauliflower and Leek Soup. As soon as my mom picked me up from camp that first day I told her it was a must for the dinner table, especially on chilly Fall days. The ingredients for this recipe can easily found on our weekly trips to the farmers market.

I love the rich flavor of the recipe. It's simple to make but may take a few tries making it yourself to perfect the recipe that gives you a consistency right you enjoy.

Here's what you will need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 pound leek (or 2 leeks), white bottoms only, washed and sliced 1/4 inch 
2 tablespoons flour 
2 pounds cauliflower (or 1-1/2 heads of cauliflower), cleaned and chopped 
2 quarts chicken
1  cup heavy cream
2  egg yolks, (optional)
freshly chopped herbs (for garnish)
Salt and fresh pepper
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pot, over medium heat. Once you have cut the leeks remember to rinse well in a strainer, they can be sandy.  Lightly sauté the leeks, long enough to soften but not long enough for them to change color.

Sprinkle in the flour and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chopped up cauliflower and the stock and mix until smooth. 

Cover the soup and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and tender. You know ti;s ready when you are able to easily poke a fork into it. Puree the soup using an immersion blender then add the cream. 

*The immersion blender is on of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen. It makes pureeing so easy. Instead of transferring the hot soup to a blender and risk spilling it you blend it right in the pot. Hold it tight while it's on. It will suck itself towards the bottom of the pot. You will be tempted to pull up on it but be careful. If you lift it out while you are blending the soup will go everywhere. I am sure your parents will not be too happy about that! 

The recipes suggests to bind with the egg yolk if necessary, but I didn't. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.

We served it with crusty bread from our local bakery. My mom likes to garnish with croutons. I think it's the perfect soup to dunk your grilled cheese in too. 

This recipes says it serves 8 but I think it serves more. 

Disclosure: This post has affiliate links.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Love the Farmers Market

Every Saturday in my town there is a farmer's market. It's in the train station parking lot and is full of all sorts of things. What makes this the ultimate food destination? From fruit to vegetables, pastries to sausages, they have it! I love the sights and smells there. 

All the food is grown in our area or are made at a local small businesses. You always know where it is coming from. Another great thing about this market is that it inspires you to try new food. 

One trip we bought beets, purple beans, zucchini, and sweet onions with scallions growing on top. Four things that we don’t usually buy at the grocery store.

Each weekend, throughout the fall, I will be going to the farmers market to buy ingredients for the things I cook. On Tuesdays I will share with you what I find and the recipes I used them for. I am going to call it Farmer's Market Finds.

I am looking forward to the things I discover, I hope you are too!

Want to find a farmers market near you? Check out this site. All you have to do is type in your location and tons of locations pop up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I love churros, every time we go to Costco we always look forward to getting them. At my school they sell churro as a fundraiser which are very popular. The line is always out the door and sometimes they would even run out of them. 

A churro is basically a Spanish doughnut, a fried dough pastry. Churros are popular in Spain, France, The Philippines, Portugal, South America and the United States. They are normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate.

I have always wanted to make churros myself but always thought they were too hard to make. It wasn’t until the saw them on one of my favorite shows on the Food Network, The Kitchen, that I decided to try to make them.  They were featured on the Cinco de Mayo episode. 

It's way easier to make them that you think. Churros have now become one of my favorite things to make.

Here is the recipe so you make them at home.

Show: The Kitchen 
Episode: Cinco de Mayo with Bobby Flay

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Canola Oil (for frying)
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 medium eggs


In a large bowl stir together 1 cup sugar with the cinnamon and set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, bring to a simmer 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, butter, and salt. 

Preheat a deep fryer to 360 degrees F. We didn't have one so we used a heavy-bottomed pot with enough oil to come 3 inches up the sides.

When the dough mixture in the pot reaches a simmer, dump in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate and remove lumps, about 1 minute.

Remove the flour mixture from the pot and put into a heat-proof bowl. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. 

Spoon the batter into a pastry bag or a plastic resealable bag with a star tip on the end. Carefully squeeze the dough into the hot oil, forming strips. 

Depending on the size of your pot, fry about 6 at a time. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, turning each of them over when as they brown. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper-towel-lined sheet tray or plate. Repeat for the remaining churro batter.

Then place the hot churros in the bowl of cinnamon sugar, shaking a bit to coat.

These are delicious. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

About Me... The Kid Behind the Sprinkles and Spice

Hi, I am Ava and I am 11 years old. I love owls, lacrosse, and anything purple. Most of all, I LOVE everything about cooking!

I started cooking last year, but it seems like I have been cooking for a lot longer. And I feel as though I can cook as good as any kid who has been cooking their whole life. My inspiration is the Food Network. I watch the Food Network almost every day. I love to cook the foods they make.

I also love taking road trips with my family and trying new foods along the way. I love going to new restaurants, especially the ones that are featured on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” and “Best Thing I Ever Ate.” 

In this blog, I will share about all things food related. I have a lot of fun things to share with you, so be sure to subscribe in the side bar so you don’t miss a post.