Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Seattle Chef

January 4, 2013 5:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Cooking with kids can be a challenge, but with a few new ideas and a little patience, the experience can be extremely rewarding. These recipes from two of Seattle’s finest chefs include new ideas and flavors to enjoy to get kids excited about meal time.

Cafe Juanita
9702 N.E. 120th Place
Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 823-1505

Mother of an 8-year-old son, Cafe Juanita’s chef and owner Holly Smith knows how to involve children in the kitchen. One of her favorites is to make a great soup for a tasty, easy option to help keep warm. She also suggests a breakfast recipe that works great with the tiny hands kids bring to the kitchen.

Pappa al Pomodoro
Handful of black kale
1 can of organic chickpeas
Vegetable or chicken stock
Brussels sprouts
Minced garlic to taste
Lemon zest

While the children clean and rip the kale, drain the chickpeas and chop up the carrots and Brussels sprouts. The amounts of each ingredient may be tailored to the cook’s individual taste. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sweat the garlic until it’s just golden. Pour in the stock, season to taste with kosher salt, and add in the kale and veggies, cooking until tender. While you’re serving, the kids may help finish off the soup with marjoram and lemon zest.

Eggs in Ham Baskets
1-2 eggs per person
Prosciutto or serrano ham
Fresh herbs

Butter ramekins and line with them a slice of the prosciutto or ham. Crack in an egg and season with salt and any fresh herbs that are on hand. Bake at 400 degrees for nine to 11 minutes. Pull them out slightly before they’re done as they will continue cooking. Kids love these little breakfast cups because they are as fun to eat as they are to make.

About Chef Holly Smith
Chef Holly Smith hails from Monkton, Md. While completing her education at Baltimore International Culinary College she began working under some of the world’s top chefs. Under Master Chef Peter Timmons, and later Chef Tom Douglas and Chef Tamara Murphy, Smith found her passion in the food of Northern Italy. In 2000, Smith opened Cafe Juanita to instant acclaim and inclusion on dozens of lists featuring the country’s best restaurants. In 2008, she won the James Beard Award for best chef of the Northwest.

Related: Best Brunch Spots In Seattle

1112 4th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 264-6060

Sautéed Soy Beans
8 oz soy beans
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
.5 tsp. sesame oil

Sauteed soy beans are a great way to get kids to eat new vegetables, with this idea from Chef Steven Ariel, kids may enjoy the result. Blanch the soy beans in boiling water. After them straining well, add them to a hot pan coated with a bit of olive oil. Sauté the beans briefly, then add minced garlic. When the garlic is slightly brown, add soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Continue to stir fry until the beans are coated well. Turn them out on to a serving dish, and have the kids garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Spiced Maple Cream
.5 cup of fresh roasted pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
8oz pancake mix

For Spiced Maple Cream
4oz of roasted pumpkin
2oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. maple syrup
A pinch of pumpkin pie spice and blend until well mixed

Pumpkin pancakes are a great way to use winter pumpkin and Ariel offers a tasty recipe to start the weekend out right, even topping them with maple cream. Have the kids mix six ounces of water, the roasted pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Add pancake mix and combine, but be careful not to over work. Cook as you would any pancake. To add some real kick to the morning, mix up a quick batch of spiced maple cream. Just blend all ingredients until they’re well mixed. The kids may push the button to blend, and when they’re done, top the pancakes for a real kid pleaser.

About Chef Steven Ariel
As chef de cuisine at TRACE, Ariel brings his vast experience in cuisines and a deep appreciation for the ingredients offered by the Pacific Northwest to the table. Born in Honolulu, Ariel was raised on a macadamia nut and coffee farm. He has studied at the University of Hawaii and the Thai Cooking School in Bangkok. Ariel worked in both Alan Wong’s Honolulu and The Pineapple Room before making the jump to the mainland. In 2006, he signed on as executive sous chef at the iconic Canlis restaurant in Seattle. Now, after stints at Cafe Juanita serving as sous chef for James Beard Award-winner Holly Smith, and at Chef Thierry Rautureau’s LUC as chef de cuisine, Ariel leads the kitchen at TRACE.

Related: Best Hawaiian Restaurants In Seattle

Megan Knight resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, WA. During the day she works in IT Management and at night is a royal news junkie. Her work can be found at

Listen Live