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Monday, September 24, 2007

Hawaiian Chicken

Paula sent this one in a long time ago.

Hawaiian Chicken

Ingredients:
  1. 6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
Marinade Ingredients:
  1. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  2. 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  3. 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  5. 2 fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
  6. 1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
Utensils You Need:
  1. Large sauce Pan
  2. Large Bowl
  3. Baking Sheet
Directions:
  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
  2. Place chicken in marinade and chill for four hours.
  3. Just before baking chicken, combine the following items in a saucepan and simmer for an hour. This will be served with the chicken.
Directions For Pineapple:
  1. 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  2. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  3. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Margarine
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. 1 Cup sugar
Put chicken breast on sheet pan and bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for about 35 minutes. Baste frequently with marinade.

This is a fairly simple recipe for chicken and an excellent one at that. Gets two stars for ease. And the pineapple is a welcome addition to the chicken.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

As in our previous post, Vegetable Lasagna, I saved this one for right before Yom Kippur as it is a great and easy one on the stomach. Also real easy to prepare. Paula sent this one in.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients:
  1. 4 Large Tomatoes (sliced thin or diced)
  2. 1 Medium Red Onion (diced)
  3. 1/2 Pound Buffalo Mozzarella
  4. 1/4 Fresh Parsley (chopped)
  5. 2 Teaspoons Fresh Basil (chopped)
  6. 1 Clove Garlic (minced)
  7. Black pepper
  8. 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
You will need:
  1. Serving dish with sides
Directions:
  1. Place tomato slices or diced cubes in dish
  2. Add the onions
  3. Add Mozzarella
  4. Sprinkle basil, parsley, garlic and pepper over it
  5. Drizzle with olive oil
  6. Drizzle with vinegar.
  7. If the dish is small, continue layers.
  8. Refrigerate until chilled and serve

Just simple and easy and good. If you serve this before the fast go easy on the pepper. Otherwise a great side dish for anytime of the year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Vegetable Lasagna

Yom Kippur, the long fast day is almost upon us. As it is a commandment to fast on Yom Kippur (the fast goes from sunset till the end of the following day when night arrives), so to, it is considered a commandment to eat the day before Yom Kippur.

In Israel, from 2 PM on the eve of Yom Kippur, all radio and TV stops, there is no public transportation, Ben Gurion airport shuts down - and the country begins preparations for the holiest day of the year.

Before Yom Kippur, we sit down for what is known in Hebrew, as a "Seudah Maphseket". This literally means the "meal which stops" or "the meal which divides". As readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, in kosher homes, we divide meat from milk. Thus some families will have meat based meals before the fast and others will have dairy or vegetarian based meals. It all depends on the stomachs of those preparing for the fast.

I have long ago adopted the lighter milk based meal in my home, though many people I know usher in the fast with chicken or meat. The following recipe, Vegetable Lasagna, is great for such a meal, and I have saved it in the queue for this time. Paula writes:

I am not a lover of pasta. I prefer to make this dish using mushrooms in place of the noodles. You can use both if you choose. This can be made ahead and kept in the freezer. Serve with a salad and you have a complete and satisfying meal.
Ingredients:
  1. 5 Large Portobello Mushroom caps, sliced thin (use 10 if you do not use noodles)
  2. 8 Ounce package of Lasagna noodles
  3. 3 Cups Tomatoes (diced)
  4. 1 Bunch of Spinach
  5. 1 Cup grated carrots
  6. 1/2 Cup Onion (diced)
  7. 2 Cloves Garlic
  8. 1 Cup Sweet Red Pepper (sliced thin)
  9. 1/2 Cup Black Olives (chopped)
  10. 2 Teaspoons Oregano
  11. 2 Teaspoons Basil
  12. 2 Cups Cottage Cheese (drained)
  13. 1 Pound Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)
  14. 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  15. 3/4 Cup Olive Oil



You will Need:
  1. 1 Steamer or pot to steam spinach
  2. 1 Large Pan to cook noodles
  3. 1 Large skillet for saute’
  4. 1 Baking Dish
  5. 1 Bowl
Directions:
  1. Combine cheeses in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of basil, and 1 teaspoon of oregano.
  2. Steam spinach for 10 minutes, set aside
  3. Cook noodles according to package, set aside
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat Add mushrooms and cook until softened, approx 3 minutes, set aside
  5. Add tomatoes, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, garlic, onions, red peppers, olives and carrots to the oil.
  6. Cook until softened, approx 6 -7 minutes.
  7. Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, coat bottom and sides.
  8. Start layering with noodles, spinach, tomato mixture, mushrooms and cheeses.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 35- 40 minutes.

Am leaving this at a three. Despite the number of ingredients, which may seem a bit overwhelming, it is fairly easy to make and certainly easy on the stomach. Additionally, if you are a mushroom eater, using all mushrooms, makes it even lighter on the stomach.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A New Year - Great Recipes Coming Up And Hosting KCC 23

In the nature of things we tend to wait for a milestone in time to try an implement some new things. Over the past year, (when I did not take some time off from blogging), we have added some great new recipes, a great deal of humor, and tried to create an easy, yet interesting layout for recipe presentation.

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen is devoted not only to those great recipes, but to the person who so does not want to cook. Our niche in the world of Food Blogs, and there are zillions of them, and some quite incredible with really great recipes, is to provide recipes and humor - stories of life - real life - and real homes and real kitchens. That is why Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen is open to submissions, be they from professional chefs, to working mothers, to just plain people who love to dance in the kitchen. It is also important to note, that from time to time the effort is made to provide food facts, nutritional facts, and some important news brought to my attention in the food world.

The 23rd Kosher Cooking Carnival Scheduled for Release on October 18th.

Recently, I have the pleasure of being in touch with Batya, who is a serious blogger over at me-ander. Her blog is well known and quite popular in Jewish blogging circles, and she posts on things that are important to her "muse" as she calls it. Batya also runs the something known as the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which is usually presented on a monthly basis at a guest blog. The latest Carnival can be seen here at me-ander, Presenting the 22nd Kosher Cooking Carnival! (You can find the index of the contents of the first twenty-one Kosher Cooking Carnivals here. Here's a listing of all the previous KCC's: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21!)

Kosher Cooking Carnival

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen will be hosting the 23rd Kosher Cooking Carnival towards the end of October. which I have been told should be released on October 18, 2007. Batya has put an incredible amount of time, effort and work into the Cooking Carnivals, along with all the bloggers that have been kind enough to host one in the past. So at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, we are going to try to keep up the humor and combine it with the normative format used here in the blog. Anyone in the blogging world, who wishes to submit a kosher recipe for the October Cooking Carnival should take a moment to read the submission guidelines, follow them to the best of your ability, and then make sure your submission is clearly marked for the 23rd Kosher Cooking Carnival. (Otherwise it will be put in the recipe queue and posted by itself.)

To be clear about this. Anyone who wishes to can submit a recipe for the Cooking Carnival. You need not run a blog to do so. There is no membership or any other requirements. You may also just give us the name of a recipe and a link to it on your blog if you so wish (though I really would like to publish all the recipes here.) You can also in your submission, just give Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen written permission to take the specific recipe(s) off your blog and publish them here as well (so you do not have to type it all out). The only caveat here is that it must be a kosher recipe. They can be professional or home grown. Please try to include pictures if you have any as well. Please remember that all submissions must have the Ingredients clearly listed separately, and explicit directions. Again see the submission guidelines for details.

Photographs With Recipes @ Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

One thing Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, sorely lacks, are the photographs that go along with the recipes. Some have tried to include stock photographs from the Internet. Whereas the effort is greatly appreciated, it is really not optimum. So for the New Year, Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen is requesting that you try to send in photographs of your recipes, if you have just created that masterpiece in your kitchen.

Let me be clear about this. I do not expect, nor do our readers expect, the mouth watering professional photographs that appear in the great food blogs. But, whatever your recipe is, pick up the old digital camera lying in your desk, snap a few pictures, and send them in with your recipe. Don't worry about size or how big they are or even if you took 40 pictures. I will size them down if need be and choose the ones that are best for the layout. Whereas this is not a requirement, I would like to see more photographs with the recipes at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Sweet Year Full Of Blessing To All

To All Readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen



Rosh HaShanah the Jewish New Year is upon us. It begins a time of introspection and prayers for the coming year. We search through the foibles and mistakes of the past in order to understand how to make the future better.

For the two days of Rosh HaShanah we eat honey upon our bread. It is but a simple tradition, reminding us of the sweetness of all life has to offer and the sweetness to come.

May this coming year bring an end to wanton destruction and death. May it be the beginning of a new dawn - where we learn to understand, respect and accept one another. May it be the end of sorrow and tears.

Wherever you are on this planet, whatever your beliefs, and however you practice them - may this coming year bring a measure of peace to our homes. May it bring with it - to you, your families and all your friends -

A year of peace,
A year of blessings,
A year of health,
A year of prosperity,
A year of laughter,
A year full of all the wonderful things in our lives.

May the sweet beauty of life accompany you through the entire year.

May you be granted all the wishes of your heart, and may they all come true only for the good.

I will end with the traditional greeting to all said in synagogue on this holiday:

"A Good Year. May you be written and inscribed in the Book Of Life, for a life of peace, prosperity, health and wonderful things.

So may it be the will of God. Amen."

Shanah Tovah. Techatev Ve'Techatem Li'Alter Chaim Tovim U'le'Shalom.

Amen. Ve'ken Yihe Razon"



Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Kitchen Gadget Wish List For The Chef Who Clearly Does Not Have Everything - Yet!

I was fairly astounded by the number or reactions that have come in from my post "Truly Useless Kitchen Gadgets For The Chef Who Has Everything". It is obvious that what is one's useless gadget is another person's find of the century. Such is the basic of consumerism and answering the needs of the market or creating the needs for the market.

The Jewish New Year is coming up in a couple of days and we enter a period of introspection and serious thought - about the past, present and future. However, for today Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen will present you with a bit of end of year humor - not exactly recipes - but all food related. Every now and then we must for a moment learn to take ourselves with a bit of humor to truly understand our lives. Indeed, if we could always remember to smile it would be a much better and much more peaceful world.

So today I am going to give you all my wish list - of what I want in my kitchen and what I am going for in this coming year. This will truly add to convenience and ease of feeding the family or just yourselves. Of course since some of these gadgets are truly expensive I am not going to put any prices up. I will let you all do the Internet searches to find the model and brand best for you. Hang on to your seats folks - cause this is gonna be wild!



OMG! Why, oh why, do people have to eat all the time. I never get out of my kitchen. Dishes and glasses pile up, the mixer has so many smudges, it takes an hour to clean, the Fridge is never closed for more than 10 minutes. Yikes! I am getting a migraine.

If your thoughts are along these lines than I recommend one big mama of a machine that will do all the work - and you will make money off of it to boot!



Put this in your kitchen and I guarantee you - everyone will be smiling on sugar highs, no one will be hungry - ever - and the allowance you give the kids or the money they make - will end up right back in your pocket.

Me? I am going for the whole shebang. I ordered this for my kitchen the other day - and as the famous Marie Antoinette said so succinctly:

"Let Them Eat Cake"




O.k.... Sheesh! Stop complaining that vending machines won't make it in your home. Well we are serious Coke drinkers. And I do mean Coke Cola - no Pepsi. I really would want a Coke Fountain in my home. (Yeah yeah - calories, sugar, unhealthy.... I got the picture!) So if you really cannot get the vending machine, here are some good substitutes. Splurge! This is so NOT useless in my home. I will even give up on the my electric salt and pepper vibrators if you buy me one of these!


The Koolatron is quiet, reliable and cools cans to 32° below ambient room temperature. (If a room is 72°, beverages will be cooled to 40°.) The compact unit holds four cans in each of two separate dispensing sections, and two additional cans in its pre-chilling section. Tokens are included, but coins will also work. To dispense a beverage, simply press the lighted button on the front of the machine. Plugs into a standard home outlet. Power consumption 65 watts.

It functions on quarters, but as the owner you will receive a dozen tokens that you can keep for yourself.
Don't want to mess with money? Coke should be totally free anyway! Try these ones below!




Oops! You are one of those people who see the word Soda and go ballistic? We have something for you too, and something that will satisfy both your needs and the normal needs of your Coke guzzling family. Everyone is Happy! And with these little gadgets - your kids can stay on a sugar high and you can drink all your problems into oblivion. A place for wine, beer and for Coke all in the same fridge!



This Dual-Zone wine cooler offers the ability to set two independent temperatures for storing different types of wine. Each chamber is digitally controlled. Temperature setting for either zone can be set between 41 to 64.4°F. Double pane insulated Tawny glass door with platinum trim and black cabinet will compliment any setting.
Oh you say that canned beer is not good enough. It has to be drought beer huh? And hubby uses this as an excuse to go drink at the neighborhood bar with all his buddies? No defense against that is there? HAH! Now with one quick swoop, you can totally cut out those trips to the bar and make hubby stick around and help clean the dishes. Don't ever tell me I didn't try to help you ladies out!

Introducing your own private beer machine.



Here is part of the description of the DraughtMaster.
You know how everyone at Coolest Gadgets love to have a tipple or two judging by the amount of alcoholic posts that we have made. The new Draughtmaster from Carlsberg will definitely be on top of most mens’ shopping lists this holiday season as you now no longer need to trudge down a cold, long road to the local tavern in order to knock back a few pints with your mates. Instead, you can pull points of lager in the comfort of your own home, although the missus will strongly disapprove of having your friends over as ruining the recently purchased Persian carpet with puke will most definitely be grounds for a divorce.

The Draughtmaster for thirsty men is one of the most environmentally-friendly beer taps around, and it is capable of taking in 5-litre kegs (almost the equivalent of 9 pints) at one go, although we’re sure you would most probably lose count after the 6th or 7th pint. Since these kegs are made from fully-recyclable plastic, getting a refill from a nearby store is not a problem. Should the local store run out of stock, you can always make your purchase online.
Now - dare you to complain that you need to go out before the dishes are cleaned - cause you need to taste that drought beer going down the throat!

All Right! I will get serious. Well, as serious as I can get. Some of the "gadgets" below are really useful (but then again I am one of those who thinks a vending machine in my kitchen would be the most useful appliance after the dishwasher!)

So let us start off with something that makes my mouth drool. Seriously drool. And anyone who loves chocolate out there and gives parties in their house should have at least two of these.





Now we move on the more and more serious. Truth be told when I first saw this little gadget, I thought to myself - "Now this is truly useless!". But then I got to thinking. It is kind of a unique idea, and for a family who likes toast or toasted bread - it is cute. And hell, once you are buying a toaster - why not go for this one!


Pop Art is a style of painting and printing which goes back to the sixties/seventies, however the toaster does not really produce a piece of art, but the pop part I suppose is where the toast pops up and the art is, well you get my drift here, it is all in the name.

The toaster itself is conventional apart from the fact that you are able to burn a pattern onto the toast, there are six designs so there is always a choice etc, this toaster puts the fun into breakfast this is especially when there are kids waiting for breakfast and you want encourage them to eat something healthy, with its simple operation and the plates are removable which means the pattern can be changed as you wish, makes this toaster an exciting addition to the kitchen.

The toaster features: 6 design plates, which create these patterns on your toast: double hearts, LUV U, flower, snowflake, cake and smiley face, 12 toasting levels, reheat and frozen, slide-out crumb tray, size 7-1/2Hx6-3/4Wx11L and comes in red, black, white, and blue.
Just make sure your son does not try to toast your daughter's finger in it - just to see how cool her fingers will look with these little mold impressions.

Too cute? Too much work? I hear you. The next two gadgets I fell in love with. Did not take much actually. Are you one of those people who can never get a pancake to look decent no matter how hard you try? I mean some people get the so perfectly round and cooked perfectly. It is totally unfair! Mine come out - well sometimes they are one step away from scrambled pancakes. So this little thing-a-ma-jigger really made my eyes pop out. Great pancakes every time!



And coupled with the perfect pancake maker - I always wanted a great waffle maker. Something I dream about. I will be a hero in the kitchen!



Truly this mighty duo above - is so going to be in my kitchen real soon. Next time the kids smirks at my scrambled pancakes when I offer to make him some, I will simply make myself pancakes and let him starve or hit the vending machines!

Now let us get real serious. My caffeine addiction, if you have not guessed from the Coke ingestion is beyond your wildest nightmares. So I have a grinder and a filter machine, and an espresso machine. But this next little machine I LOVE! Why, oh why, didn't anyone think of this a few years ago. One machine which grinds the beans and makes coffee all in one fell swoop. My eyes are popping out in jealousy of this one.




The fundamental concept behind Cuisinart's Grind and Brew system is preservation of flavor. When coffee beans are freshly ground the natural oils that result contribute to the natural complex flavor. As ground coffee sits these oils dissipate and their unique properties fade. By integrating a grinder into the coffee maker you re assured of getting the optimal flavor from the coffee bean.



Ever since that fateful day a few years ago when I learned to make spaghetti, (without letting the water boil out of the pot!), I have begun a quest for all types of lasagna and pasta dishes. Quite a few are up on Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen. So in my quest for the perfect pasta, one day, I discovered this little shop here in Jerusalem, owned by an Italian family that makes fresh pasta along with some delicious prepared foods. Ever since I bought my first fresh pasta at the store, I have this overwhelming desire to make my own pasta. I drool when I see these machines.



Now finally the most serious of them all. My pet peeve in almost all kitchens is that the designer or builder never walked into a kitchen in their life. And certainly never cooked a meal. One of the most blatant objects that are missing from kitchens is the simple outlet in the wall. Some kitchens have two or three - if you are lucky you may find five or six spread all over the place and usually in the worst places. Think about it. You need an electrical outlet for the fridge. Usually you need one for the oven. And most certainly you need one for the dishwasher. (Forget it - I am NOT giving up on the dishwasher!). So there goes three. Umm..someone forget the microwave? And what about the mixer and the 2000 other contraptions in the kitchen. So we are always playing double up or change the cord - especially when our hands are covered with egg and flour and who knows what!

I found this at http://www.eubiq.com/ and it is exactly what the doctor ordered. Not only for the kitchen but for the computer room and media room as well. Indeed, I would put one of these strips in every room in the house, and never have to worry about finding an outlet again. If I ever build my own house, or do renovations this is something that will be at the top of my list of "must haves". (After the dishwasher!)








Thursday, September 06, 2007

Honey Bran Oat Cake

This arrived just in time for then Jewish New Year. As I mentioned before, (Apple, Honey and Cinnamon Chicken) on Rosh HaShanah we traditionally eat food with honey, to symbolize our hope for a new sweet year. Here Paula writes about the recipe:

Not even an egg to break, sheesh. Yes, I know it calls for baking.. but honestly, baking does not get any easier than this…. Unless you use homemade applesauce, but I wouldn’t dare suggest that.
So now we give you a delicious & healthy Honey Cake (and no eggs to boot!).



Honey Bran Oat Cake





Ingredients:
  1. 2 Cups Wheat Flour
  2. 2 Cups Oat Bran
  3. 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  4. 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  5. 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
  6. 1 Cup Honey
  7. 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  8. 1 Cup Raisins
  9. 2 Cups Applesauce
  10. 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
Utensils You Need:
  1. 2 Medium Sized Bowls
  2. Whisk
  3. 2 Loaf Pans
Variations:
  1. Add 1/2 Cup of chopped walnuts or almonds



Directions:
  1. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in one bowl.
  2. Mix with spoon until well blended.
  3. In another bowl, combine applesauce, vanilla and honey
  4. Mix with whisk until smooth
  5. Dry ingredients bowl, make a well in the middle (push dry mixture to the sides
  6. Of the bowl. Pour applesauce mixture into the middle.
  7. Stir until completely combined.
  8. Add Raisins
  9. If you are adding nuts, put them in after the raisins and mix.
  10. Divide mixture into two greased loaf pans
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick inserted into the center,
  12. Comes out clean.
Honey Dripping from Wooden Spoon Into Jar

Buy at AllPosters.com


Great recipe (and I do like the no eggs part as well - keeps it incredibly healthy.) However, still needs baking, even though we don't need egg white separation and certainly some dexterity in the kitchen. We will give this a two though as it is really straightforward with no need for rare ingredients or an overabundance of kitchen utensils.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Shrek Cookbook - Book Review



(***Due to layout of this review, if viewed in an RSS reader, certain sections may seem duplicated.)

Before we begin, the normal disclaimer.

This book review was solicited by the publishers of the Shrek Cookbook and contains my opinion of the book. For kosher readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - This is not a "kosher" cookbook though the majority of recipes in the Shrek Cookbook can be used as is, or with just a few sane and healthy substitutions, can be kept kosher. (Indeed as far as I could tell every recipe in this book can be kept kosher.) It is not that difficult to find equivalent and healthy kosher substitutes these days, especially in the United States.

Book Details:

The Shrek Cookbook, published by Dorling Kindersley (www.dk.com) is a publicized as a cookbook for children (ages 4-8). It's 30+ recipes come in Ringbound Hard Cover, so the pages can be turned easily while the book lays on a counter top.

The font is large, catering to the child and parent alike. There is one recipe on each double page. As the picture below of "Molten Lava Soup" depicts.



The Shrek Cookbook does devote its first page to explaining rules about cooking to the child. Making sure an adult is present, keeping hair tied and being clean. A lot of adults should read these directions as well!This type of layout is excellent especially for the parent/young child duo in the kitchen. As you can tell from the picture the layout is professional and fun. There are quite a few elements to the Shrek Cookbook layout, in which one can tell that a great deal of thought went into it. It is critical to point this out, because it would be easy to just slap Shrek pictures all over the book and then present it as a Shrek Cookbook for Children.

The elements to each recipe are as follows:
  1. A character from the Shrek Movies is picked and a name for the recipe representing the character and the recipe is displayed. Each recipe has been given a name based upon the character "featured" within the recipe. You can find names such as "Captain Hook's Fish Cakes", "Fiona's Feisty Chili" or "Royal Chocolate Truffles".
  2. A couple of short-short cute descriptions of the character to tie them into the recipe.
  3. A separate box for the ingredients.
  4. An overall description of the recipe with the character.
  5. Recipe instructions - clearly marked in steps, e.g. 1,2,3 etc.
  6. 3-5 Real Pictures of the recipe and the steps.
  7. A picture of the final product
  8. A box telling the child about the character and why this character is attached to the recipe.
So as you can tell the Shrek Cookbook is a fairly complete layout and all in full color. The final product is consistent and colorful and entertaining. (I am prejudiced though - I happen to love Shrek.)



The Shrek Cookbook layout is good and consistent; the pictures are sometimes awesome; the recipes do produce what they say they will produce; the instructions are clear; an older child can certainly help and learn how to do things; and your child will be entertained with Shrek.All of this is clear and great for a child to look at. The recipes though, in the Shrek Cookbook are very simple. Simple is a good thing. They seem to be geared for the child to help out a bit, and for the parent to not have to slave over fancy things. Taking away all the funny names there is a recipe for hamburgers, one for some vegetables and noodles stir fried, aptly called "Stir-Fry Worms & Insects"; a healthy rice, brocolli and chicken dish called "Swamp Slime With Maggots".

The book does devote its first page to explaining rules about cooking to the child. Making sure an adult is present, keeping hair tied and being clean. A lot of adults should read these directions as well!

Of course, with a child who likes Shrek, you will be laughing and giggling a great deal - and that is what cooking with children should be all about anyway.Some of the recipes are not recipes though. A complaint - which I am not sure is a plus or minus actually. For instance in "Waffles a la Donkey" it is simply teaching the child how to toast frozen waffles and put the maple syrup or other topping on it. Or "Magical Morning Potions" is simply a way of showing the child how many different types of juice you can make from fruit in the juicer. But in all due fairness to the book the recipes do progress from the simple to the more complicated.

The recipe creation and making is for the parent - the book, pictures and cute lines are for the parent and child. It is an interesting way to get your child involved in the kitchen - if the child is so inclined to be. The layout artists worked hard on the book, making sure it was not just a venture in slapping Shrek pictures over recipes.



The Drawbacks:
  1. The recipe creation and making is for the parent - the book, pictures and cute lines are for the parent and child. It is an interesting way to get your child involved in the kitchen - if the child is so inclined to be.I am not one to establish age brackets for books, however, personally I believe the age bracket is a bit misleading. While the pictures in the Shrek Cookbook, of Shrek and his friends, will appeal to the 4-8 age bracket, I tend to doubt, that except for the extremely precocious and dexterous child, normal children in that age bracket, will do any cooking from this book. And that age bracket, though only 5 years, (4,5,6,7 and 8) has a huge gap in reading skills and comprehension from the 4 year old to the 8 year old.

    The recipes in the Shrek Cookbook are very simple. Simple is a good thing. They seem to be geared for the child to help out a bit, and for the parent to not have to slave over fancy things.This does not in any way take away from the recipes contained within the Shrek Cookbook. Nor does it say anything about how good they may or may not be. The ages marked on the book are for the parent, who when going through the book store, will see the Shrek Cookbook as possibly a good way to entertain the children with Shrek, and maybe have them a bit interested in creating something in the kitchen. But no 4, 5 or 6 year old that I know could possibly manage any of the recipes in the book, except for the really easy ones at the beginning of the book. In other words - let us say it straight. You are not going to turn your child into a chef with this book. What you will do is end up showing them the pictures and reading the ideas to them - but of course, you are going to end up doing the cooking and baking. Of course, with a child who likes Shrek, you will be laughing and giggling a great deal - and that is what cooking with children should be all about anyway.

  2. Sometimes "cute" is good. Sometimes it is just plain "too cutesy". At times this cookbook, in order to maintain the "child appeal" gets too cutesy with the recipes and names and pictures and quips. However, in defense, the book's layout is, as I said above, done very well.

  3. I do believe in reading and improving your vocabulary - at any age. But some of the words used in the Shrek Cookbook are a bit out there. "Aura" and "odious" and the like are GREAT words, but once again it shows that the essential market here is the "Parent" and not the child - certainly legitimate, but good to be aware of.

  4. By the way, this is also a great book for you grandparents out there who do things with your young grandchildren. You should also purchase it if you need quick, healthy and decent ideas to feed the kids.Do not expect any "sophisticated" recipes in the Shrek Cookbook. Though this should be fairly obvious, it is important to point out. These recipes are made for a child's palette, (and for adults like me!). On the upside even if you are not an experienced cook, or hate the kitchen, you will not have an overly abundant amount of cooking or baking in any recipe. And many of these recipes are great for the whole family.

Should you purchase the Shrek Cookbook? If your child is interested in Shrek, and you want to do something with them - together - in the kitchen, then most definitely, go out and get the Shrek Cookbook. By the way, this is also a great book for you grandparents out there who do things with your young grandchildren. You should also purchase it if you need quick, healthy and decent ideas to feed the kids. It is obviously not a gourmet cookbook, but the Shrek Cookbook keeps to the basics and keeps it simple. And if you are not that dexterous in the kitchen - then it is certainly a great book to consider. All in all we give this book a Four Star rating. It's layout is good and consistent; the pictures are sometimes awesome; the recipes do produce what they say they will produce; the instructions are clear; an older child can certainly help and learn how to do things; and your child will be entertained with Shrek. And as I said above - with a child who likes Shrek, you will be laughing and giggling a great deal - and that is what cooking with children should be all about anyway.

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