When I heard our theme for the teen Summer Reading Club would be about traveling the world, I knew I wanted to feature a program about foods of the world. Teens love programs where we have real food and not just snacks, and last year we had a huge turn out for our healthy snack program. So this summer we are doing another cooking/food program. I was going to do the whole world, but was required to narrow it down to one area by the main children’s department. Eurasia is both Europe and Asia, so a lot of food options. It took a while to think of foods that would work–where we would have enough time to show the teens how to make it as well as be able to make enough ahead of time so that teens can have samples. I’m hoping the recipes I selected will work for the teens, and that we have a good turn out, but not so much that we run out of food!
Our menu is composed of four recipes from different parts of the world. We’ll be tasting two European dishes and two Asian dishes, two savory and two sweet. Besides making and eating the food, teens will also get the recipes and be encouraged to try these at home.
The first recipe is a spicy carrot salad, typical of Russian summer salads it is sort of a coleslaw type salad. I plan on grating the carrots the day before and mixing the dressing into the salad that morning. We’ll make up a batch at the program, but it really needs to sit so the flavors can set for about 4 hours. I have a fellow staff member who also has a food handler’s permit so he can dish this out, and I bought portion cups from Costco to serve this in. This is VERY easy to make.
Next we’ll be making our second savory dish, Onigiri. This rice balls are a little daunting to make for a group like this, I made a bunch for myself and found it to be very labor intensive and they don’t keep well. But I really wanted to include this as a very typical dish. So I’m going to get two rice cookers and prepare rice and have the teens help make them. Using the portion cups, a little plastic wrap, and spritz bottles, teens will shape their own onigiri. It is pretty easy to make, cut out a piece of plastic wrap, fit into the bottom of the cup, spritz with water, shake off excess, shake a little salt on, shake off excess. Then put a scoop of rice in the bottom, stick in a little filling (we have chopped olives, pickles, or a little tuna salad) and put more rice in. Then twist the top of the plastic closed, getting out all the air, squeeze the ball into shape. Add a little nori to wrap, and eat!
Staying in Asia, we’ll have our first dessert. Mango Kulfi is a traditional frozen treat from India. I found an easier recipe, and will make a TON in ice cube trays, so each teen can have some. We’ll mix up a batch at the event, even though it wont freeze in time to eat, just so we can learn how to make it.
Our final dish is crepes. I’ve got a hot plate, a crepe pan, and a good recipe for batter. Add nutella and bananas and you could be eating from a vendor in Paris! I’m going to do this last so teens can sample the other things we’ve made while I make enough crepes for the participants, though we plan on dividing them so folks can try a bit.