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July, 2012

Simple Sides: Kiwifruit

By Dennis Linden

Kiwifruit is the perfect kid fruit; it is small, easy to scoop out of its fuzzy skin, colorful and, most of all, delicious.

Mascot with Kids

This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with two uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe options. The dishes will be centered around seasonal fresh produce item and easy enough to prepare so that a child of any age can help in contributing to the family meal. While many of these recipes may seem very basic, this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will lay the culinary foundation necessary to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their confidence in the kitchen grows. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.

The competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can even be great fun. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever
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Kiwi

Kiwifruit is the perfect kid fruit; it is small, easy to scoop out of its fuzzy skin, colorful and, most of all, delicious. Here are two fun recipes that will demonstrate the fruit’s diversity. First, as a thirst-quenching summer cooler and then as a savory component in a tasty cooked side dish. While cooking kiwi does mute the vibrant color of the fruit, the taste shines through in this comfort food side dish.

Recipe I
While this is not technically a side dish, it is such a fun little recipe for kids that I just had to include it. Try this as a “culinary arts ‘n crafts” project on a hot summer afternoon. The only real sharp knife work to this is slicing the kiwifruit in half; supervise an older child in this task or do it yourself and then let the kids start with scooping the fruit out of its fuzzy shell. Your young chefs can accomplish both the cutting up of the soft kiwi into chunks, as well as the cups made from the even softer watermelon, with the dullest of plastic knives.

The kids can easily measure and combine the few ingredients of kiwifruit mixture into a blender or processor. Then, I suggest completing the recipe on a backyard picnic table. A quick demo of cutting a small block out of the watermelon and then hollowing it out with a melon-baller will launch the fun. Let the kids have at it from cutting out their own container shapes with aforementioned plastic cutlery, filling with the liquid kiwi and enjoying their creations in a single gulp. When the party is over, the most practical approach is to give the kids a running hose so they can clean up the table and themselves! Adult only preparation tip: Make your own watermelon cups and fill them with the same kiwi puree mixture that has been fortified with vodka, gin or tequila! A great party appetizer!

Recipe II
Here’s a savory dish that combines slices of kiwi with a complementing mix of three vegetables not normally associated with the fruit. In fact, this recipe’s ingredient list is a culinary lesson opportunity in itself for your kitchen crew. Specifically, that one of the fun things about cooking is experimenting with different flavor combinations. Emphasize that following a recipe prepares good cooks to create their own unique dishes. This one definitely has a comfort food flavor with a twist that can be whipped up with the help of a microwave in about 45 minutes. The result is an unusual side dish that would go well with a roasted chicken.

The prep for this dish does require some slicing and dicing of all four of the main ingredients. The cubing of the two potato varieties provides great knife practice for an older child with knife experience under the supervision of an adult in the room. If the kids are too young to do knife work, they can peel the yam and sweet potato easily enough with a peeler and scoop out the kiwi halves (carefully) with a spoon so they can be sliced. Let the kids do all the measuring, of course; eating to better math scores! Leftovers of this dish reheated make a great standalone hot lunch! You can insure that yummy lunch by making a double batch!

Recipe I
Key Lime Soup in Watermelon Cups

Key Lime Soup in Watermelon Cups
6-8 servings

Ingredients
1 Seedless Watermelon, halved
2 ripe Kiwis
2 Limes (juiced)
2 teaspoons Fresh Mint, chopped
¼ cup Agave Syrup
Salt, to taste

What the kids can do:
  1. Scoop the kiwifruit out of its skin, chop into pieces and place in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add lime juice and agave to processor and liquefy.
  3. Cut watermelon into cubes of different sizes out of the most seedless part of the melon.
  4. Using a small melon baller, carefully hollow out the fruit from the top of each cube to form a container.
  5. Place watermelon cubes on a platter and fill with the kiwi puree.
  6. Lightly sprinkle with course salt and eat with your fingers!
What the supervising adult should do:
It is probably best to slice the kiwifruits in half for scooping and the watermelon in quarters as it makes it much easier to cut the needed blocks out of the fruit.

Recipe II
Kiwifruit Vegetable Medley
Kiwifruit Vegetable Medley
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium Yam, peeled and cubed
2 cups Carrots, cut into thick slices
2 Tablespoons Butter
¼ cup Agave Syrup
10 Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced <2>**
2 cups Edamame, shelled <10>**
2½ Tablespoons Butter
Salt, to taste

What the kids can do:
  1. Prepare and measure out all ingredients.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine sweet potato, yam, carrots, butter and agave syrup.
  3. Transfer mixture to a microwaveable baking dish and cook on high for 15 minutes or until softened.
  4. Place hot veggies back in mixing bowl and add salt, kiwifruit, and edamame.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large casserole dish and bake in oven at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and top mixture with a little more butter and salt to taste.
  7. Serve family style in a large bowl or individual servings.
What the supervising adult should do:
Supervise an older child with all the knife work needed and handle transferring the hot mixture from mixing bowl to casserole dish.