Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Frigidaire Kids' Cooking Academy Event


This past Thursday, my boys and I were lucky enough to be part of a fun-filled event that helps support Save the Children. The event was sponsored by the folks at Frigidaire...you know, that company that makes great appliances? {I own one of their dishwashers...have I ever mentioned that I love my dishwasher?}
Along with Frigidaire, this event was lead by Jennifer Garner {lovely actress, philanthropist & mother of two} and Adam Kaye {chef/kitchen director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant & a pioneer in the Farm-to-Table movement}. It's purpose was to teach families about the seasonality of food and gain first-hand experience preparing just-picked ingredients.
It also denoted the beginning of Frigidaire's partnership with GoWalla, the mobile "check-in" app for people on the go. In an effort to give more children access to fresh foods, every time you "check-in" to your local farmer's market using GoWalla, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children, as part of their $500,000 commitment to the cause. For more information on how to do this, you can visit Frigidaire's Make Time for Change facebook page.
Not a mobile app kind of person? You can still help the cause and trigger a donation, by visiting the Make Time For Change website to commit to eating fresh this summer...in addition to the $1 donation, you will also be entered to win a Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator.

Whenever a fellow Mom asks me how I get my kids to eat their vegetables, I say... start a garden! Teaching my boys the importance of eating fresh foods is very important to me. I'm a big believer in the positive benefits of growing your own vegetables {or fruits} at home and have shared that belief many times here...even if it means planting them in containers, if you lack the space. It's so gratifying to see the excitement and curiosity my boys experience when watching something change from seed, to plant, to fruit. They are much more apt to try a bite of something green from the garden when they've had a hand in producing it!
The day's events were split up into two separate stops. First, was a trip to Hilltop Hanover Farm, in Yorktown Heights, NY. Not only is Hilltop Hanover a working crop farm, but it's also an environmental education center. If you don't have space, or time for a garden at home, a place like this is a great alternative.

One of the highlights of the visit for me was the U-Pick section of the farm...where visitors can show up with a bag, and a willingness to get dirty and go home with some farm-fresh produce you picked yourself. I, myself, went home with a few boxes of fresh goodies...including, rainbow chard, kale, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, scallions, traditional & chiogga {candy-striped} beets, fennel and spinach.

Our tour guide, Brian, who works at Hilltop Hanover, taught all the kids exactly how to pick each vegetable, in order to not damage, or disrupt the roots, or remaining leaves.

Another feature at the farm that I really loved was their Farm at Home garden model. It's a small scale version of the big farm, containing many raised beds, full of fruits & veggies...demonstrating how you can make a "farm" in your own backyard. They also sell a home garden kit, filled with plants & seeds...along with online week-by-week instructions on how to maintain it.

My little guy's favorites were the ripe strawberries he picked himself.

Our last stop at Hilltop Hanover was a visit to the chicken coop, where we saw many different breeds of chickens, several week old chicks hanging out with their Mama & got to check out their greenroof technology atop the coop.
My guys were mesmerized by Brian, as witnessed in this photo I snapped of them together. If you live within driving distance of this amazing farm, I highly recommend you plan a trip. Be sure to visit their website, which lists all they have to offer...much more than I can list here!

{From left: Marty O'Gorman, General Manager of Frigidaire, Jennifer Garner, Adam Kaye, Chef/Kitchen Director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant, Mark Shriver, Save the Children's Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs}
Our next stop was Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, in Pocantico Hills, NY. Here, all the kids got a cooking lesson from Adam Kaye, with assistance from Jennifer Garner...who was gracious enough to visit with each & every kid as they prepared their food.

The first dish was Crispy Zucchini with Parmesan. It was made with both zucchini & yellow squash...

sprinkled with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme...

then roasted in a hot oven until the cheese was golden brown & crispy.

Next up, was a Spring Vegetable Salad made with mixed baby greens,

fresh green peas {which the three of us couldn't stop snacking on},

asparagus, grated carrot, edible flowers, hard-boiled {farm fresh} eggs,

you're choice of fresh herbs {mint, dill and/or parsley} dressed with a honey/mustard vinaigrette. We all had some and it was delicious!
Then...dessert...which was Strawberries with Mint & Honey. It was such a simple, yet elegant dish made from plain yogurt, macerated fresh strawberries, Blue Hill's own honey, fresh mint & slivered almonds. Not only were these little parfaits served in Weck Jars, which are a favorite of mine...but, so is their honey {I was thrilled to come home with some}.

{Jennifer Garner, with all the children who attended the Kids' Cooking Academy Summer Session with us}

Our last stop was a beautifully presented buffet lunch. We had a chance to sample the restaurant's versions of the recipes we had just created.

Along with a few extra dishes...one of which was a sophisticated take on a bologne sandwich. The bologne was sevred open-faced on a foccacia type bread, which was spread with whole grain Dijon mustard. The tops were sprinkled with finely minced pickled vegetables. I assumed this was something "kid-friendly" for the children in attendence...but, I didn't think my guys would go for it. But, they did and loved it!

My kids barely let me taste their yogurt desserts during the demo. So, I was happy that they were served at the buffet too!
I love that when I'm using "just-picked" ingredients, they can be prepared simply and with very minimal effort...yet, result in something so delicious. Such was the case with all of Adam's recipes...which, I was happy to learn are available at Frigidaire's website.
There were several other Mom Bloggers at the event. Some of whom I met last October at another Frigidaire/Save the Children event. It was great to catch up with Winnie, from the natural living food blog, Healthy Green Kitchen, which I've become a regular reader of. Also, Lisa @ New York Chica and Colleen @ Classy Mommy. I also met some new to me bloggers, like Katja from the Skimbaco network of blogs, who's kids were gorgeous and sweet as could be...and, Suzanne from Gotham Love, whose little boy {the one with the brown shirt in the photos} stole Jennifer Garner's heart with his cuteness & eagerness to try every single vegetable offered to him!
My participation in the Frigidaire Kids' Cooking Academy Summer Session was sponsored by Frigidaire, who provided me with travel arrangements to and from Westchester, NY to participate. Thanks Frigidaire!

17 comments:

Joanne said...

This sounds like such a crazy awesome event! I love the idea of getting your kids to eat veggies by involving them in the growing and cooking process!

Laura Jayne said...

What a wonderful experience for you and your kids! Waiting patiently for the garden to grow and the local farmer's market to open. :o)

AquĆ­ said...

how fantastic!! This is the coolest thing for kids! I think you idea about teaching kids the importance of eating fresh veggies by starting a garden is a great idea!

Raquel @ Erecipe.com said...

that is great experience for kids. Early awareness in eating veggies is really important in our kids. Thumbs up!

Winnie said...

Beautiful post Kate! You captured all the best parts of the day :)
Loved catching up with you- you are inspiring in person as well as on you blog!

Classy Mommy said...

wonderful day! so happy we could experience it together. love your photos too.

suzybananas said...

Great Post! The farm sounds like a fun place to take the kids.

Niri said...

It was so wonderful to meet you. What a fun day that was.

Janelle Kibbe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

How cool is that? Save those pictures! Your sons probably have no idea how lucky they were! Jennifer Garner does look lovely! And what a fabulous cause. I've always wanted to go to Blue Hill! Perhaps for our anniv in September. I've heard it's wonderful!

LMBrown said...

What a great day! And a great post! Your boys are adorable!

dada rocks said...

Great write up and amazing photos - gotta ask what did you shoot these with?

kate said...

dada rocks-thanks! I use a nikon d90...love it :)

kelley said...

girl, should you host a cooking class (or two)...i am ALL over it:) after reading your post, i honestly can see you doing something like this for us here in SoNo:) i love your posts and tastes!!! xoxo

Stephanie @ henry happened said...

How lovely & fun! I love J. Garner. I just found your blog and am planning to try out your mango gazpacho ASAP!

Stephanie @ henry happened said...

Ok, me again, meant to say, sorbet. Duh! :)

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