Leprechauns in the Kitchen was the theme of the kid’s cooking class at Grace Marie’s Kitchen at Bristol Farms in Manhattan Beach last Saturday, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a menu of Shamrock Green Salad, Irish Farmhouse Shepherd’s Pie and Lucky Leprechaun Brownies. All the recipes were prepared by the kids, who ranged in age from seven to thirteen. The class was three hours long and they cooked in teams assisted by the Cooking School Instructor Shelly Shepard-Wilson and her two assistants.
The kids learned new skills, such as pouring, measuring, how to crack an egg and how to use a can opener.
At Grace-Marie’s Kitchen the kids prepare adult recipes that have been scaled down and they successfully complete them. There are three to four recipes which make a full meal, including dessert. The kids are taught safety and sanitation, and work with real knives, which is great for their self esteem. They set the tables, learn a little etiquette, and wash their own cooking dishes. In fact, they’re big fans of cleaning. Grace-Marie says the parents can’t believe their own children are so enthusiastic to get their hands in the dish water, but it might have something to do with the nifty water-squirting device in the sink. This is also a great outing for home schoolers.
The parents don’t stay in the classroom. They drop off their kids and pick them up when it is over. Then they go home with the recipes and a big container of leftovers. Kids have started at seven years old, gone on through the Teen Classes and then go on to work at Bristol Farms or with Grace-Marie in her cooking school. Some of the Teens come to class with three-ring binders full of years of recipes from the classes.
The Teen Team took care of the important task of sautéing the meat and veggies, and assembling the Shephard’s Pie. David, of the Teen Team, plans to go to culinary school and become a chef.
All the kids were given either a plastic knife or a steel knife according to their age and skill level, and were given a chopping and slicing lesson.
The kids gave rapt attention to Instructor Shelly as she shows how to use the blender.
The kids made Shepherd’s Pie, a meat and tomato filling covered with a mashed potato and cheddar cheese crust, and a salad with Green Goddess Dressing. Plus Brownies with Green Cream Cheese filling.
Finally they get to eat their wonderful creations, with exclamations such as, “We made this!” and “This is really good!”
A great day in Grace-Marie’s Kitchen at Bristol Farms!
Irish Farmhouse Shepherd’s Pie
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup onions, diced small
1 cup carrots, diced small
1 0.87 oz packet Brown Gravy Mix (McCormick or Lawry’s)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
¼ cup steak sauce (A-1, Heinz 57, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat a 9”x13” baking pan (or casserole) with vegetable spray.
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground meat. Cook, stirring, until almost cooked through and lightly browned.
- Stir in the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring, until tender (5 minutes)
- Add the gravy mix, tomatoes, ketchup and steak sauce.
- Cook stirring, until warmed through (5 minutes or less).
- Pour into the prepared baking pan.
6 cups leftover mashed potatoes (any favorite)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1. Combine and mix the potatoes, cheese and parsley. Spread over the meat filling.
2. Bake until warmed through and slightly light golden brown on top.
Cut into large squares and scoop out portions with a large spoon.