Cookbook helps kids make delicious food that parents can enjoy

Inviting kids into the kitchen to help with meal preparation can either be a delight or a disaster. Susie Fishbein’s book “Kosher by Design: Kids in the Kitchen” tries to make sure that children have the time of their lives while learning valuable skills such as math, nutrition, independence — and most of all, creating wonderful memories through a shared experience with family members.

Written for ages 10 and up, this book contains real food the whole family will want to eat. No wiggly Jell-O with gummy worms or purple pancakes, thank goodness.

Separate equipment and ingredient lists help the adults delegate the tasks of gathering everything needed to carry out the recipe. Easy-to-follow directions and mouth-watering photos inspire the young cooks and take the guesswork out of the finished product. An innovative and eye-catching photo index teaches kids about various cooking tools and there is a helpful chapter on the practice of keeping a kosher kitchen.

But it’s the recipes that I’m most impressed with — simple enough for the young ones yet sophisticated enough for any adult. Sesame Broccoli, French Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts, Goldilox and Banana Berry Bread are tantalizing titles that are respectful of our children’s intelligence and offer a fine opportunity to get acquainted with a grown-up kitchen.

French Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts | Serves 4

3 onions
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups water
4 tsp. vegetable bouillon
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
4 (1 inch thick) slices of baguette
1 cup shredded mozzarella
On the cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut each onion in half, and then slice the onions into thin semi-circles. Set aside.
Place the butter and olive oil into a large pot. Turn the heat to medium. When the butter melts, add the onions and cook them, uncovered, for 20 minutes until they are very soft and golden brown. Stir them often to make sure they are not getting too brown or are burning. If they are, lower the heat.
Sprinkle the flour into the onions and stir to coat the onions. Pour the water into a deep container or bowl. Add the parve beef bouillon powder, thyme and black pepper. Mix to dissolve the powder. Carefully pour this stock into the pot of onions. Turn the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if it needs it.
Preheat the oven to broil. When the soup is done, carefully ladle it into 4 ovenproof crocks or bowls. Float a slice of bread on top of each bowl. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the bowls. Place the crocks or bowls onto a baking sheet. Place the tray with the bowls on it into the oven on the middle rack, and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about two minutes. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and remind everyone that the bowls will be hot.

Sesame Broccoli | Serves 4-6

12 ounces broccoli florets
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. roasted or toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Place the broccoli florets into a large pot. Add the water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot and let broccoli steam for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid.
The broccoli should be bright green and softened. Mix the broccoli with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Place a strainer into the sink and carefully drain any water out of the broccoli. Return the broccoli to the pot. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and sesame seeds. Mix to combine. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

“Kosher By Design: Kids in the Kitchen” by Susie Fishbein (192 pages, Mesorah Publications, $22.99).

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].