Guest blogger: Cooking with Remmi

I am Remmi from Cook Time with Remmi which is a healthy-based cooking show for kids. In April 2009 we launched our website and pilot show. Within a month we were picked up by the Tulsa Public School systems cable channel and they have aired the show multiple times a week ever since. Concerned about the childhood obesity epidemic, my show’s objective is to link the skill of cooking to improved nutrition. In my show I prepare healthy meals consisting of main dish, side dish, and salad. My show has now received a lot of attention at the national level so we are now in preproduction of our second series. Our plan is to roll out the series in three markets in the fall and air the show on conventional TV. We hope to continue to distribute the show to other cities so we can have a wider distribution and help kids get excited about cooking and improving their health. In addition to my show, I just recently landed a monthly column for the award winning Tulsa Kids Magazine.
To tell you a little bit about me……..I am 10 years old and I started cooking when I was 4 years old. I started with washing vegetables and assembling salads with my mom. Within the last year and a half I started cooking even more and now I am able to prepare entire meals. There really isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t cook something. I am able to do most everything in the kitchen and the only thing I am not allowed to do by myself is drain the pasta (not allowed to carry boiling water)! I love basketball and gymnastics and I love spelling bees.
My goal is to go to culinary school soon as I am ready to learn more about cooking and nutrition. I am lucky that I enjoy fruits and vegetables more than any other foods so eating healthy is not a problem for me. I really think kids would think about eating healthier if they had the opportunity to learn to cook. Cooking can be so much fun and food can be very interesting as well. I love food history so I read about the ingredients and dishes I am fixing. Did you know General Grant loved cucumbers so much, he ate them everyday with his cup of coffee? Not sure about that combination but I do so much love cucumbers! And about Mrs. Q,s blog………I am honored to be a guest here and I would also like to say I am concerned about what kids are getting in their school lunches. I wonder why salads and fruits are the smallest portions on the plate, or even, non existent. I wonder why the food is not displayed more attractively so kids will want to eat it. And, this is a big one….I wonder why can’t we serve a salad without it always being ranch dressing. Ok, so since I got stuck on salads………….here is one of my favorites…………Let’s get cooking! For a simple summer dinner, we have Eggs Benedict (low fat sauce-I promise) and Gazpacho Salad with Italian Dressing.
Eggs Benedict (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 English muffins
8 eggs
1 lb asparagus (trimmed/with peeler remove outer layer on 2 inches of bottom of stalk)
1 quart of water
1 T white wine vinegar
Hollandaise sauce (recipe below)
Fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions:
Boil water and place asparagus spears in the water for 5 to 7 minutes until crisp tender. Drain on paper towels. Toast English muffins. Prepare Hollandaise sauce. Reheat water used with the asparagus. Add vinegar and bring to boil. Break each egg into small bowl and slide into the boiling water. Cook only 3 eggs at a time. Boil just until the whites are cooked. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining eggs. To assemble, place 2 muffin halves on each plate. Split the asparagus among the 4 plates and on top of the muffins. Place an egg on each muffin and spoon 2 T sauce on each egg. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Remmi’s Notes- Alton Brown of the Food Network has a great video on how to poach eggs.

Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients:
1 ½ T cornstarch
2/3 C milk (2%)
1 t unsalted butter
2 ½ T lemon juice
1 egg yolk
¼ t salt

Directions:
In a small pan on low medium heat, place the cornstarch and milk, and heat until thickened stirring constantly. Add butter and blend. Add lemon juice and salt and blend. Stir in egg yolk. Remove from heat. This can be made ahead and reheated.

Gazpacho salad with Italian Dressing

Ingredients (salad):
2 C Romaine lettuces (sliced in 1” strips)
½ C Cucumbers (seeds removed/medium dice)
½ C Cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
½ C Red bell peppers (large dice)
½ C Green grapes (sliced in half)
¼ C Green onions (sliced/medium)
¼ C Celery (sliced/medium)
¼ C Fresh parsley
2 T Almonds (toasted)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 C Croutons (directions below)
Ingredients (dressing):
¼ C Oil (canola or light oil)
2 T Red wine vinegar
¼ t Garlic powder
¼ t Dry mustard
½ t Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Prepare all ingredients as directed. Place lettuce on platter. In medium bowl, mix cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, green onion and celery. In small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients and then mix with the vegetable mixture. Place the vegetables on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle parsley and almonds on top. Serve prepared croutons on the side so they do not get soggy.

Croutons

Slice 1 cup of French bread into small cubes. Place on cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on the bread. Add 1 teaspoon of diced garlic and a tablespoon of parsley. Bake in 325 degree oven.
Ok for some food history and fun food facts……………Did you know?……………………….

-Credit is given to Delmonico’s Restaurant as the creator of Eggs Benedict. This was the very first public restaurant. A customer did not like anything on the menu-so the chef created this dish.

-Grape growing is the largest food industry in the world.

-Did you know under ideal conditions-asparagus can grow 10 inches in 24 hours?

-There are 4 top super foods in this menu. They are tomatoes, almonds, greens, and eggs!

-The larger the diameter of asparagus-the better the quality.

-The first recipe published for “Gazpacho” was in Mary Randolf’’s book The Virginia Housewife published in 1824.

-“La Paella”(rice dish) and “El Gazpacho”(cold vegetable soup) are the most famous dishes from Spain.

-Although “hollandaise” means from Holland-the sauce really came from France and was originally called “Sauce Isigny.” During World War I, butter production came to a halt in France. At that time butter was imported from Holland so the name of the sauce changed to “Hollandaise” to indicate the origin of the butter, and the name was never changed back to “Sauce Isigny.”

Well…I want to thank you for reading this blog. I hope you enjoyed some of the fun food facts. Hope you will try the recipes……..they are delicious! You can get some more great recipes on my website at http://www.cooktimewithremmi.com/. Have a really happy day and don’t forget the second week of August is “smile” week……….so let’s do a lot of that! Remmi

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15 Responses to Guest blogger: Cooking with Remmi

  1. KC Quilter August 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    FANTASTIC post!!!! This is how we get kids to eat healthy, in my opinion.

  2. Anonymous August 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Mrs. Q,

    I am familiar with this program, as I am from the Tulsa area and it is occasionally broadcast in the local Whole Foods store. If only all kids could see beyond the chicken nuggets and pizza rolls and get excited about cooking this way!

    I do not wish to seem like a negative Nancy for what I am about to say, but this column sounds as though it was written with a lot of help from Remmi's parents and not by a 10-year-old girl.

    "My show has now received a lot of attention at the national level so we are now in preproduction of our second series. Our plan is to roll out the series in three markets in the fall and air the show on conventional TV. We hope to continue to distribute the show to other cities so we can have a wider distribution and help kids get excited about cooking and improving their health."

    The above also sounds like a business plan written by Mom and Dad to be shopped around in hopes of capturing a network exec's attention.

    I have no doubt Remmi is a very bright girl and I think it's terrific that she has taken great interest in cooking at such a young age, but I would much rather hear from her in her own words what she likes about cooking and eating healthfully.

  3. Megan August 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Remmi sounds like a lucky kid – I was also able to cook by that age, and can only wish I'd had the opportunity to have a cooking show! 🙂 Agreed that it doesn't sound much like it's in her own words, but hey, it has some good sentiments. It's nice to see kids in the kitchen.

    I do have to strongly disagree that the width of asparagus means it's better quality. On the contrary, it simply means that it's from older crowns. Besides which, each asparagus crown sends up multiple shoots, and each one is differnet, even though it's from the same plant. Thin asparagus tends to be more popular in restaurants in my hometown, because it's far less likely to be stringy or woody, like old stalks can be.

    Anyway, there's my 2c… again.

  4. Kim August 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Well done, Remmi! I love how curious you are about food and I especially enjoyed the food history and background you included in your blog entry. I visited your Web site and I think your work is inspiring to children and adults alike. Congratulations on your accomplishments and best wishes for continued success in the future!

    To the other followers of this blog and comments-

    I think these ARE Remmi's thoughts and ideas. If an adult helped her organize them and if an adult edited them, I don't have a problem with that at all. Most adult writers have editors who do exactly that and it doesn't mean the ideas are the editor's ideas. There are also many 10-yr.-olds who can write better than some adults.

    If Remmi's parents are shopping her "business plan" in hopes of capturing a network exec's attention, good for them! I hope they're successful. Go to Remmi's Web site and watch her video. It's way more interesting than most of the cooking show drivel and dreck aired on cable networks today.

    For kids, I think Remmi makes healthy cooking and good nutrition something they want to learn rather than something they have to learn. Her show is fun, not preachy. I believe this is the key to successful promotion of good nutrition to children. She also gets bonus points in my book for teaching easy ways to get more active (not included in her post today but presented on her Web site).

    GO REMMI !!!

  5. Anonymous August 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    Ads on today's web site.
    Ad for free fried tortilla chips and cheese dip at Chili's
    Ad for Snicker's candy bar
    Ad for Mars bar candy bar
    The candy ones were especially hypocritical as they claimed to show how candy bars are a fun part of a child's daily diet. Hope, as always, that you will reconsider having ads like this on your web site.

  6. Mrs. Q August 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Anonymous — I'm sorry that you got those ads. For the record, Google Adsense chooses things that you surf on and things in your area. So for example, my ads are for "groupon" and "being a foodie at the tasting table" and "working out at a gym." Sometimes the ads are for sandwich shops too. I have NEVER seen an ad for candy bars or Chili's.

    However, Google Adsense ads are basically a moot point: I will be doing a site redesign and migration over the next few weeks and at that point I will no longer be using Google Adsense.

    I will maintain the BlogHer ads (to the left) as I specifically can filter out all food advertising.

    I'll restate the reason for ads: it's two-fold. First I would like to get a salad bar for my school when I'm done with the project. Secondly, in case you hadn't noticed, I work my butt off to run and maintain this blog. I make a couple dollars a day. I'm not rich and I can use whatever will remain after the eventual cost of the salad bar.

    Some people have suggested a "donate" button, but that is completely not my style. I earn an income from my full-time job. I think it's chintzy to request donations and I don't want your money. It's far better for corporations and non-profits to "pay" a couple cents for the occasional glance from your eyeballs.

    Again I'm really sorry the ads offend you. I have no control over them and they will be disappearing shortly.

  7. Kim August 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Gee, Mrs. Q, you're making two bucks a day on those ads? You may not be rich now but hang in there because you will be…..in about three or four hundred years! 😉 You explained that you wouldn't have control over the ads going in. I try to keep that in mind and just ignore them.

    Anonymous, you're probably getting candy bar ads aimed at kids because you have kids that use the same computer you use. Google Adsense can read your cookies and browsing history and use that info to determine which ads it wants to send you. I sometimes get ads for elder care, hemorrhoid ointment, and bladder control products. I'll trade ya.

  8. Anonymous August 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Giggling… I like that this comes from a kid… but I wish it sounded like a kid! Of course an adult would help her but much of it doesn't even sound like a 10 year old… which does make it seem a bit disingenuous.

  9. The Table of Promise August 7, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    This is simply awesome! I only hope that my kids will be as interested in food in a couple years.
    What a great perspective.

  10. Mrs. Q August 7, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    Thanks so much for commenting! I liked this guest post because I think it points to an overall trend: kids are getting into the kitchen. I find it inspiring.

  11. Melissa August 7, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    Ha, my ads are "take out a personal loan" – they must know that my family of six doesn't have much money,
    "get your teaching certificate in a year" – too bad I already have mine. and it took me four and a half years to get it,
    and "save $ in Denver" though I live in CO, I'm really not 'that' close to Denver. LOL.

    This is fun, I'm glad to see kids learning to cook, whether they write the entire post on their own or not. If my kids weren't so insanely messy and never clean up, I might let them cook more often.

    PS- I linked to your blog on my blog. I just started it, it's about going dye-free in our food. 🙂

  12. Anonymous August 7, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    "Anonymous said…
    Giggling… I like that this comes from a kid… but I wish it sounded like a kid! Of course an adult would help her but much of it doesn't even sound like a 10 year old… which does make it seem a bit disingenuous."

    My point exactly, Anon. There are some good ideas in this column, but from the sound of it, Mom and/or Dad did way more than "help." I say let her tell it in her own words in a way that other aspiring young chefs can understand, rather than using something obviously scripted by an adult.

    This is a link to an article about Remmi from our local paper. In it, the writer mentions that Remmi's mom writes all of the scripts for her show and Remmi sometimes has to change the words so they are easier for her and sound the way she and other kids her age talk. To me, this column sounds more like the work of Mom than of the young chef herself, which, as you said, seems disingenuous.

    Perhaps there are other young chefs out there who could chime in?

  13. Mrs. H August 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Go Remmi! It's time to get our kids back in touch with their taste buds. I think many kids eat nothing but fast food on the run, and food that is already cooked and heated up in the oven or microwave.
    That's what I like about Remmi and Jamie Oliver and Ann Cooper…we need to get back to the real joy of preparation and enjoyment of eating. Not just stuffing our faces and not really loving what we're eating.

  14. Anonymous August 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    What a gorgeous post! To all the doubters – I know a 12 year old who cooks and writes like this. It's entirely possible. Renni sounds like a force to be reckoned with. Exactly what kids need – someone to identify with! – and exactly what adults need – a reminder that kids are only limited by the extent of our expectations and allowances for them. Thanks, Mrs. Q!

  15. Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Remmi seems like an interesting kid and and a great host for this show which clearly has professional help – the pictures on the website alone are lovely, haven't seen the show. But, if your kids watch this kid cooking and they like it, that's a great result.

    I guess it's the first person tense of the posting that is "off" but the message and show sound fine. The historical stuff is great and the recipes look great too.

    ps: my kid has been actively cooking his own stuff since about 8 – required lots of parental support but we have all reaped the benefits since – he has a talent….admittedly not a lot of veg though, that part seems always to be my job though I keep hoping.

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