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Food
Food Bytes PG Cookbook The Food Chain
Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Children's cookbook will charm adults

Thursday, December 14, 2000

By Kathleen Ganster

I've never met a kid who didn't love to cook. A great resource for children and their parents is the new kid's cookbook from Williams-Sonoma.

This is also a good book for want-to-be cooks and even adults just starting in the kitchen. Not just a book full of easy recipes, this cookbook has large, clear photos; easy, concise directions; explains cooking terms and provides lots of tips. With the holiday season at hand, this would be a winning gift.

The photos are particularly attractive to kids. I allowed each of mine to choose a recipe from the book and each one had a hard time picking among the tempting photos.

Perhaps the most helpful section is "here's how -- the basics." The clear, large photos display helpful cooking concepts, such as chopping onions, testing for doneness, whipping heavy cream and zesting an orange. Many of us didn't learn these until we were grown-ups.

The recipes offer a variety that will appeal to kids and adults -- no peanut butter sandwiches in this cookbook. Young cooks can prepare a whole meal, from appetizers to dessert. Super-easy recipes are marked with an asterisk and are easy enough for small children.

Each recipe tells what equipment is needed, along with the usual ingredients. That helps the child plan and find out what a springform pan or sandwich pan is before he or she starts cooking.

Simple directions keep the cooks on track. Gather your own cooking kids and try these recipes.

Kathleen Ganster is a Hampton- based free-lance writer who kitchen-tested these recipes with her three children.

Crunchy Coated Chicken Breasts

This is a nice, new way to cook it with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

17 saltine crackers
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and set aside.

Put the crackers in the plastic bag. Press down on the bag to release the air and seal the top. Using the rolling pin, crush the crackers to make coarse crumbs.

Empty the crumbs into a shallow bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese, dried thyme and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir with the table fork until well mixed. Drizzle the olive oil over the crumbs and toss with the fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Rinse the chicken breasts with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them, skinned side up, on a work surface. Spoon the mustard into a small bowl. Using the table knife, spread the mustard over the top of each chicken breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Press the mustard-coated side of a chicken breast half into the crumb mixture. Place the chicken, crumb side up, on the foil-lined jelly roll pan. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Sprinkle any leftover crumbs on top of the breasts and pat them onto the chicken with your fingers.

Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle when cut into with the sharp knife, about 25 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven and serve the chicken immediately. Makes four servings.

"The kid's cookbook" by Williams-Sonoma



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