Fun and safe cooking with kids

July 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cooking with kids... Fun gadgets and ideas to help keep it fun and safe in the kitchen. We met up with the author of "Cooking with Ellamarie, Celebrities, and Kids," Ellamarie Fortenbach, for some great ideas.

Safety foundation

  • On the refrigerator, have the number of your local fire department to call in the event of a kitchen fire. Firemen are your friends. Go with your family and meet your local Fire Department and ask them to go over the different fire extinguishers and let them help you determine which one would be best for your family.
  • Going over important safety precautions with your kitchen equipment, checking for wires that could be worn out on old appliances, not putting copper in the microwave, and using a drain cover in the kitchen sink for families that have a garbage disposal. Without you seeing their hands, children may try to help you by pushing food down the garbage disposal while you are turning on the switch.
  • When cooking, children should not run through the kitchen. They can burn themselves as well as the adult cooking.
  • Always remember the importance of lids and mittens vs. towels
  • Don't put papers or your mail on the stove.
  • Blenders - it is easy for children to get seriously cut. Leave appliances unplugged until the adult is ready to turn them on.
  • Clean your ovens on a regular basis can help prevent oven fires.
  • Using the buddy system as you cook; checking that you have all of your ingredients before you begin cooking.
  • Things to do: Keep long hair out of the way; only an adult turns the stove on; and only an adult lights a gas stove.
  • Divide your checklist between you and your child. Confirm by everyone repeating check back to you.

Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta Filling and Artichoke Sauce

Ravioli

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs kept at room temperature

Spinach Ricotta Filling

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 bunches spinach
  • 1 cup ricotta Cheese

Artichoke Sauce

  • 5 artichokes
  • 1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pepper to taste

Ravioli directions

Pour the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Crack the eggs into the well. Throw away the shells. Mix the eggs with a fork until they are completely blended with the flour. Use your finger tips as you knead from center, working your way out to the outside of dough. If the mixture is too dry, then add very little water. If it is too soft, then add some flour. If you follow the directions exactly, you should not need to add more water or flour. The dough should never stick to your fingers.

Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured table. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough will end up as a perfectly smooth ball. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.

Set the pasta machine regulator to position 1, pulling it outwards and turning it so that the two smooth rollers are completely open. Pass a piece of dough through the machine turning the handle. Repeat this operation 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle of necessary. When the dough has taken a regular shape, pass it through the rollers once only with the regulators set on number 2, then once again on number 3, continuing until you reach number 6.

Place one of the pieces of the dough over the ravioli mold. Gently push the dough into the filling cavities. Please refer to the photos for guideline.

Spinach ricotta filling directions

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, thoroughly wash the spinach and cut off the bottoms. Add the cleaned spinach to the pan, one bunch at a time, and sauté over medium heat. The spinach will quickly reduce in volume each time, allowing you to add the next bunch of spinach. Put the spinach in a bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon of cooked spinach and 1 teaspoon of ricotta cheese to each of the ravioli.

After filling all of the ravioli, take another sheet of dough and lay it across the ravioli mold. Using a small rolling pin, press down on the ravioli thereby sealing them. By pressing down on the ravioli mold with the rolling pin, the ravioli edges will be cut (the edges of the mold are sharp).

Gently remove the finished ravioli by lifting it out of the mold, placing them on wax paper to dry. Make sure that all of the edges of the ravioli are sealed. Allow the ravioli to dry for at least 45 minutes.

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook for 3-5 minutes. Using a mesh strainer spoon, test one ravioli to ensure that they are cooked. Drain ravioli into a colander and quickly rinse with water to prevent sticking. Sauce Rinse the artichokes and trim their stems to remove discolored areas. Place the artichokes in a large pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for about 3 hours. Turn off the heat and drain the artichokes in a colander. Allow them to cool. Next, scrape the edible portion off of the artichoke leaves and remove the artichoke hearts, cleaning away all fibrous parts of the artichoke. Put all of the edible artichoke matter and artichoke hearts into a cuisinart food processor. Add the vegetable broth, whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, and pepper to taste. Process for 3 minutes until smooth.

Pour the sauce into a pan and warm over low heat. Serve over the ravioli.

Fettuccini Florentini with Ham

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs kept at room temperature

Pour the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Crack the eggs into the well. Throw away the shells. Mix the eggs with a fork until they are completely blended with the flour. Use your finger tips as you knead from the center working your way out to the outside of the dough. If the mixture is too dry, then add very little water. If it is too soft, then add some flour. If you follow the directions exactly, you should not need to add more water or flour. The dough should never stick to your fingers. Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured table. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough will end up as a perfectly smooth ball. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.

Set the pasta machine regulator to position 1, pulling it outwards and turning it so that the two smooth rollers are completely open. Pass a piece of dough through the machine turning the handle. Repeat this operation 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary. When the dough has taken a regular shape, pass it through the rollers once only with the regulator set on number 2, then once again on number 3, continuing until you reach number 6.

With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces approximately 10 inches long. Set the cutting rollers to the fettuccini setting. Move the handle to the hole for the cutting roller, turn it slowly, and pass the dough through. If the rollers won't cut, this means that the dough is too soft. In this case, you should pass the dough through the smooth rollers after adding some flour to the mixture. However, if the dough is too dry and cannot be caught by the cutting rollers, then add a little water and pass it through the smooth rollers again. Place the pasta on a tablecloth and let it dry for at least an hour.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until done. Stir gently and then drain the pasta once it has finished cooking. Spray with cold water to prevent sticking.

Sautéed Spinach

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 bundles of spinach

Remove the leaves of the spinach and rinse them. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the cleaned spinach to the pan, one bunch at a time, and sauté over medium heat. The spinach will quickly reduce in volume each time, allowing you to add the next bunch of spinach.

Alfredo Sauce

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 1/2 cups if a cheesier flavor is desired)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Reduce to low heat. Then add the Parmesan cheese.

Ham

  • 1 large ham steak
Put the ham into a frying pan and brown the ham over low heat. Then move the ham to a cutting board and trim the hard edges off of it. Cut the ham into 1 inch squares.

In the pot that was used for making the pasta, put in the pasta, ham, spinach, and the Alfredo sauce. Toss lightly and serve. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

For more information, visit cookingwithellamarie.com


Load Comments