Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12/18/12 ChefElla's Fruit Stars

There are so many things to eat this time of year.  It seems like everyone you see wants to give you a cookie, a piece of cake or pie, or some candy, and it is so hard to say no.  We all like desserts, but sometimes our tummies need a little break.  I like to drink my Mom's famous fruit smoothies, but not everyone else does so I have the perfect solution, ChefElla's Fruit Stars.  My fruit stars look great they are easy to make, and they are good for your tummies.  They are great right out of the refrigerator, or you can bring them to your next holiday party, and your Mom won't complain about you eating more than one.
For this recipe you will need to use a knife.  If you are not allowed to use a knife by yourself you can have your mom or dad help.

1.  Wash your hands.
2.  For this recipe you will need a small bowl, a strainer, a melon baller (parisian scoop), a spoon a
     knife, a cutting board, and some bamboo or metal skewers.

Fruit Star Ingredients:
1                 Star Fruit
1lb.             Strawberries       
1/2              Honey Dew Melon
1lb.             Pineapple, Bite Size Chunks

3.  Put your strawberries in your strainer and run them under cold water to clean them.  Let the
     strawberries dry and then cut the green ends off.  Set aside for later.
4.  Wash your honeydew melon.   Place on a cutting board and cut in half.  Use your spoon to scoop
     out the seeds.
5.  Using your melon baller, put the flat side on the meat of the fruit (see the attached picture).  Tip
     up the melon baller and cut into the honeydew.  Turn the melon baller around to make a clean cut.
     Pull out the melon baller and you should have a ball of honeydew.  Continue to make melon balls
     until there is no more room to make clean cuts.
6.  You have two choices for the pineapple.  You can buy pre-cut pineapple in the produce section or
     your grocery store, or you can cut a whole pineapple.
     -To cut a whole pineapple first cut off the leaf end and then the stem end.  Stand the pineapple up on
     the flat end and cut the rough skin off.  Do not cut too deep.  Just cut off enough so that you can see
     the yellow flesh.  When the outside skin is gone it is time to cut up the pineapple.  The core of the
     pineapple is to hard to eat.  You will need to cut the pineapple away from the core.  The circle in the
     middle of the pineapple is the core.  Put your knife on the top of the pineapple just to the right of the
     core.  Cut straight down cutting off the whole side of the pineapple.  Put the pineapple down flat and
     cut the rest of the pineapple away from the core.
     When you are finished cut the pineapple into chunks.
7.  Lay your starfruit on its side and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
8.  Start by sticking your skewer into a piece of star fruit.  Slide the star up to the blunt end.
9.  Next stick your skewer through a strawberry, then a melon ball, then a piece of pineapple,
     then another melon ball, and finish with another strawberry.
10.  Use the rest of your fruit to make a skewer for each of your friends or family.
11.  If you do not like the fruit that ChefElla picked your can make fruit skewers with your favorite
      fruits.  You can also try different patterns by putting the fruit on the skewers in a different way.

You can serve your fruit stars with caramel, fruit dip or with nothing at all.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12/11/12 Table Setting: A Note From ChefElla's Dad


When I was young my family and I regularly ate dinner together.  My mother would cook and we would sit down to eat.  No t.v., no texting, no computer, and no homework at the table.  While I did not help in the kitchen, I had what I thought was the most important job, setting the table.  My mother would tell me what we were having for dinner and I would set the table accordingly.  I was proud of myself, and I was part of making dinner special.

Looking back on it now, I realize it was a little thing, but it taught me a lot, and while learning to cook is important, learning how to entertain and take care of your guests is just as important.  We eat with our eyes, and sitting down to a beautiful table can enhance any meal.

Things are different now, we eat on the run, we have t.v., text, computers and homework at the table, but it does not mean that you should not sit down to a properly set table.  Take the time to set the table with your little ChefElla's now, and when you have a special dinner they will be be ale to help by setting the table for you.

1.  For more formal dinners, the internet is a great place to see table settings.  There are pictures and
     explanations to help you set your table no matter what you are making.
2.  Do not make setting the table a chore, make it an important part of cooking and entertaining your
     family and guests.  Make sure you recognize your child's effort out loud and at the table.
3.  For special occasions you can have your child do something extra.  Personalized place cards,
     decorations, and even hand written menus will add to the entertainment.  This will also keep
     the kids busy while you are in the kitchen.
     (If crafts are not your thing, you can simply buy decorations, and have your child spend their time
     decorating the table.)

With family dinners, parties, and holidays coming up, it is a great time to introduce your ChefElla to setting the table.


-ChefElla's Dad