Little Chef

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Today was a big day in the kitchen for us, starting this morning with Krusteaz’ Blueberry Muffin mix – yum!  This was a nice surprise from Chouchou – he had left it on the counter, and Mon Cœur (MC), ever observant said, “I want muffins for breakfast!”  It sounded pretty good to me, too.  

So, I prepped all the ingredients, gave her a bowl and a whisk, and let her get to it.  She chose to make mini muffins, so while she poured and mixed the pre-measured ingredients, I lined the muffin tin and sipped my coffee.  

MC is really mastering her pouring skills, and although messes still happen, I am at least not cringing every time she goes to pour something.  I can’t believe what a little chef she’s become.

A recipe book for MC 

We had dinner guests coming tonight and I’ve been eyeing this recipe for savory madeleines that are in a kid’s recipe book our French friends gave her back in February.  I really wanted to give them a try – I was curious because I’d never seen a savory madeleine recipe before.  In addition, my sister gave me a madeleine tin about eight years ago, and I’ve never used it, so this was the perfect occasion.    

I always thought madeleines would be tricky to make, so I steered clear.  But with MC and I adventuring so much in the kitchen recently, and guests coming over, I thought, “Why not?”

The kid’s recipe book, Les Recettes de Petit Ours Brun is really well done and I love it.  There’s an introduction with all of the tools used and the abbreviations they use for measurements.  It has a table of contents with recipes organized from appetizer to birthday treats, and everything in between. In the back it even has birthday invites, place name holders, and decorations for straws.


Helpful (approximate) Conversions

I had not jumped in quickly though to make any recipes because I lacked motivation to do the prep work for these recipes and convert between centiliters and cups, grams and cups, and Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Below are approximate conversions – I’ve rounded up or down depending. For example, 10 cl of milk converts to 0.425 cups. It was easiest to measure ½ cup. One hundred grams of flour is 0.425 cups, again ½ cup was more manageable. Two hundred ten degrees Celsius is actually 410 Fahrenheit, but since I have a gas oven that tends to run hotter, I rounded down.

  • 100g (dry ingredients) = ½ cup
  • 10 cl (wet ingredients)= ½ cup
  • 20g (butter) = 1 ½ Tablespoon
  • 210 degrees C = 400 degrees F
  • 180 degrees C = 350 degrees F

While MC was napping today, I grabbed the recipe book and my phone and noted conversions on a sticky note, and began gathering and measuring ingredients.  

I did as much prep work as possible before she woke up and joined me in the kitchen.  Then we both got to work. I loved how this book outlines by step who does what – Maman Ours (Momma Bear) and Petit Ours (Little Bear).

I really let MC do most all of the mixing, and I stepped back.  She made a bit of a mess at one point, pouring the liquid ingredients into the dry.  It wasn’t a big deal and I quietly began cleaning it up.  She made a fuss though, “Oh!  It’s all my fault!” 

Say what? (I digress)…

Oops.  She had heard me say that the other morning as I cleaned my coffee she spilt all over the floor and phone and computer.   It turned out not to harm any of my technology, but in the moment I was so upset and trying not to yell.   

Since it really was my fault – having technology by a side table with coffee in an open container and a free ranging toddler (because I really should know better) – that’s all I could think to say.  Funny the things toddlers pick up on and how they choose to reuse later…

Back to the culinary adventure

The next step was to put the batter into the pans, and I anticipated the madeleine tin to not be big enough for all of the batter, so I readied the American counterpart, the trusty mini muffin pan.  I let MC continue to be the chef, and gave her a mini ladle, showing her how much to put in the ladle and how to spoon it out.

Here’s where it got really messy, on a fait des bêtises (we made a mess). They didn’t quite turn out as pretty as what you would find in a pâtisserie (pastry shop)…I headed to the other side of the table to take pictures for this blog post…

And moments later I hear, “Oops!” and some giggling. She had taken a completely full ladle and poured it right between the two madeleine forms. Oh là là…c’est la vie.

Savory Madeleines

(makes approx. 24 mini muffins or 20 madeleines)

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of ham (or we used 3 slices of Treet!)
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp of yeast (or one packet of yeast)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbs melted butter
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan
  • ½ cup cooked frozen peas
  • salt & pepper to taste

How we made them:

  1. Maman preheats oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the ham (treet) into small cubes.
  2. MC mixes the flour and yeast together in a bowl and makes a well in the middle of the bowl.
  3. Maman mixes all wet ingredients together: eggs, milk, olive oil.  Then she mixes in melted butter, parmesan and salt & pepper.
  4. MC pours wet ingredients into dry, then mixes together.  Maman whisks and mixes a little bit, too, just to make sure everything’s incorporated.
  5. MC pours in the peas and ham and mixes again.
  6. We grease the pan(s) together (We use Crisco and a paper towel, à ma Maman – in my mother’s style), then we fill the pans.
  7. Maman puts the pans in the oven, lowers the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and sets the timer for 5 minutes.  After five minutes, she turns the oven off, and sets the timer for another 5 minutes, and voilà!

I enjoyed making a recipe from this book for two different reasons.

First, MC loves to cook, and this was the perfect book written for kids and parents to cook together.  I appreciated how it laid out the utensils needed, and gave advice as to who should help with which step.

Second, it was in French.  I have to admit, being stuck at home all day and being exhausted from the first trimester (and apparently a pinch of hypothyroidism), I unfortunately have not been speaking very much French to MC at all.  

I am trying to get back into speaking a majority of French with her, but she has been a little hesitant.  In fact, the past few times I’ve started speaking to her in French, she looks me in the face with scrunched eyebrows and a puckered mouth and says, “Mommy don’t speak Fwench to me!”  Aïe! (Ouch!)  

So the fact that the book was in French set my mind to that language mode, and helped us to have an immersion experience in the kitchen today.  It is sometimes a struggle to try to stay in French when that’s not my native language, but having resources in the language have really helped to “flip the language switch,” at least for an afternoon! 

This post contains affiliate links. For more information about affiliate links, please see my “meet Maman” about page.

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