Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hey, Alice! What's cookin'?

Yeah, schools out!!  Yippee - all summer to play with your friends, swim, relax, ride bikes all over the place and run off and play kick the can.

Screeeechhh! Uh, what year is this?  This is not how they do it in the year 2009.

Summer ain't what it used to be for kiddos today. They go from one camp to the next. Especially if they have working parents - like me. Camp is "daycare" for kids.  They are there all day - just like school. Their whole summer is scheduled and planned. So my job is to find the coolest places for her to hang (that we can afford!)

Lucky for us, we have some super cool camp options.  The main camp Elli will be attending is called Steve and Kate's. The camp is unstructured.  Kids get to choose what activities they want to do.  They get the best counselors (cuz it's a cool summer gig) and they have THE BEST FOOD. We're not talking hot dogs and PB&J. We're talking gourmet cuisine.

This year, the menu was put together by chef Alice Waters, of Ches Panisse fame. All the recipes are from her cookbook called The Edible Schoolyard. Elli will be eating better than me all summer. Not fair! Check out some of the menu items:

Monday.... Chicken Breast Sandwich with arugula and a light lemon vinaigrette
Tuesday....Edible Schoolyard Redbean Turkey Chili with grated cheese and tortilla strips
Wednesday...Bel Fiore Mozzarella Sandwich with pesto and tomato slices
Thursday...Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast seasoned with fresh herbs
Friday...Make It Yourself Burritos with grass fed beef, pinto beans, red rice and cheese

It also says:

Campers will sit down to a meal made with organic, locally sourced, sustainably farmed ingredients. Wow, that's a mouthful. Campers will learn about the food they eat and how to minimize their environmental impact through recycling and composting.

Last summer Tyler Florence was the guest chef.  I though that was pretty cool.  This year is super cool. Elli loves food. She's becoming quite the foodie in our house.  So I can't wait to she what she thinks of the new menu.

I'm sure we'll have to start a compost bin by the end of the summer!

I'm no Alice Waters, but here is my recipe for Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Arugula Salad.


Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Arugula Salad

1 T dijon mustard
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. chopped thyme
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups packed arugula leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat the oven to 475ยบ

1. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of the mustard with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and the thyme.
2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, brush them all over with the mustard mixture.
3. Pat the parmesan cheese all over each chicken breast
4. Transfer the chicken breasts to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chicken on the top shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until just cooked through and nicely browned.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon each of mustard and olive oil; stir in 1/2 t. of water. Add the arugula and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss.
6. Spoon the salad onto plates, top with the chicken and serve.
7. Serve with a light, fruity wine.


  1. I just saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about Alice Waters this past weekend. How cool that Elli gets to be a part of that!

  2. I know! I saw the same thing. I'm so jealous. It's great to teach kids about this stuff. We'll see what they think about the flavors!


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