Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giada Makes Peanut Butter Granola Bars And Teaches Kids To Cook, Plus The Argument For Same Sex Education

Remember in Giada’s Dig For A Cause episode, she had that cute guy make Peanut Butter Granola bars? It was weird, though, because she didn’t give us the recipe. But my detective-like skills were working overtime and I deciphered it and gave it to you here.

WELL, she gives us the actual recipe for real in her Kidz Kitchen episode. And I was pretty close. The only thing I missed is that Giada wants you to cut the bars when they’re completely cool. I said to cut them while still warm. I stand corrected. Frankly, I’m not sure why they made such a sensation, but if you’ve tried the recipe, tell me about it.

Giada's Kidz Kitchen

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Raspberry Ice Cream Sodas

It doesn’t really matter how good Giada’s cooking class is, because she obviously got the kids from central casting. They are adorable, especially one rambunctious boy, who, you just know, is going to be a heap of trouble.

Gosh, California is beautiful. Gosh, Giada is beautiful. Gosh, her house is…well, you get the idea.

She starts her peanut butter granola bars in her kitchen at home, so the kids can have a snack during the class. They’ll be getting the recipe too.

Giada beats one egg white with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, ¼ cup honey (honey bear alert, but it’s for little kids, so I’ll get over it) and 2 cups of oats. She stirs that together and adds melted butter. I didn’t really need to see this. She adds ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds.

The thing about food television is that…Hold on a sec. Giada adds 1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips. Then she sprays a baking sheet with Pam and lines it with overhanging parchment, then more Pam and the mixture goes in. She bakes it at 350°F for 15 minutes and will let it rest.

Good, a commercial. Time for a rant. As I was saying…food shows should include cooking techniques that are useful to see. Maybe something is a little tricky and we need to see just how to roll up the dough or the shoulder of lamb or we want to see how brown to get something or just how thick to reduce something else. Mixing a bunch of stuff in a bowl for granola bars isn’t really that riveting.

Oh, she’s back.

Giada takes out the granola bars. She lets them sit in the pan for two hours.

Next, Giada cooks up ground turkey to put into the macaroni and cheese cupcakes that the kids will make. She’s preparing all the ingredients in advance of the class.

She quarters cherry toms. Rachael Ray’s tip will help for the beginning of this step.

Giada salts some boiling water and adds asparagus still held together with the rubber band. (Do kids like asparagus? Don’t they always say it makes their pee smell?) She chops up broccoli into small pieces. The cooked asparagus goes into ice water. She adds the broc to the boiling water and then into ice water when they’re done.

Giada’s making baby penne, but she says it so weirdly – pin-naaay, that I had no idea what she was talking about until I saw the box of pasta.

She cuts the asparagus into small pieces. I think I’d use carrots instead. She adds the cooked ground turkey to a bowl to cool in the fridge.

For a raspberry syrup, Giada adds ½ cup of orange juice to a pan with 2 tablespoon of cornstarch (this is weird) and 1/4 cup of sugar. (WHY is she not just using raspberries and sugar?) Then she adds raspberry jam and frozen raspberries and simmers it all to get thick. I would NOT want to be eating cornstarch in my ice cream soda. Very odd.

Giada (whom I do love and admire, I just seem to complain about her a lot…kind of like one’s children…or husband…or friends… get the idea) makes a big deal of lifting the granola bars out of one pan and putting them into another pan, this one with a lid. She could have just covered the original pan with foil, but whatever.

She strains the raspberry syrup to get rid of the seeds - a move I heartily approve of. I HATE raspberry seeds. I ALWAYS strain them, unless I’m serving fresh raspberries or using the berries whole, of course. (Em, when you put my raspberry cheesecake in the mail, strain the mixture first.)

Giada arrives at Chefmaker’s. Those kids are too cute. She serves the peanut butter granola bars to start. Eww, doesn’t that mean that they’ll be cooking after having slobbered all over their hands? Aren’t you supposed to line them up like little soldiers and take up half the class with the washing of hands? (The mothers always like that.)

Little Will and the red-shirted boy are darling. They fill muffin cups with pasta and vegetables, or, in the case of Will, pasta and more pasta. Will and Julian (red shirt) both stick big wedges of cheese in their mouths…just for a taste.

They sprinkle the mac and cheese “muffins’” with bread crumbs and squirt some olive oil on. “Oh, we’re making olive oil cupcakes now,” Giada says. Funny. Giada says we should put more bread crumbs on top to sop up all that olive oil. She puts them in the oven. How will she remember whose are whose?

The kids are really excited about making raspberry ice cream sodas. They put raspberries in the bottom and fill the glass with sherbet, ice cream, soda water and syrup.

Giada takes out the mac and cheese and she hopes THEY remember which ones they made. I wouldn’t count on that. They all like it.

One thing, though, which is so typical…The boys are rambunctious and adorable and get all the attention. The girls are good and sweet and don’t say a word. Maybe this is one of the arguments for single sex education, where the boys don’t hog all the attention and the girls can take center stage. At least, though, these boys and the girls will know a little bit about how to cook, courtesy of Giada.


Pursuit of Healthfulness said...

I love your take on the show! It's true: the girls definitely faded to the background on that one!

I also really like your point that the best shows are really about demonstrating new, or at least reinforcing classic, techniques. I often find myself getting lulled to sleep by watching ingredient after ingredient getting poured into a bowl. Actually, I'm yawning just to think about it!

Who/what shows do you think do the best job of taking the "cooking show" concept one step farther? I find that Ina does a good job; plus she is helpful if/when I have the occasion to feed a small town.

Anonymous said...

I made the granola bars and they were ok but I've made better ones from other food network shows. I used a regular nonstick pan, no parchment paper and didn't have any problems taking them out of the pan. I let them "rest" for two hours and they were still incredibly moist in the middle. If I ever make them again, I'll cook a little longer than her suggested time.

Sue said...

Hi P of H,
Thanks! Yeah, the boys were cute, but the girls need some attention too!

Tyler often includes interesting techniques in his show. And when Michael Chiarello was on, I always learned something from him.

Anne Burrell is amazing too. She always teaches me stuff.

Yeah, Ina's recipes can feed a crowd, although sometimes it's just for her and Jeffrey.

Thanks Sam,
That's good to know.

Emily said...

I watched this! I watched this! I can't say that I learned anything by it, though.

I did laugh out loud when the kids starting eating the big wedges of cheese and dumping olive oil over the pasta. In reality, if I were teaching the class, I would be horrified. "Nooo! Not my $10 wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano!"

Kids don't like asparagus. Do they?