Kids in the Kitchen 4

Chef Casey Easton’s Food Lab is drawing Boulder’s youth into the world of cooking, one delicious recipe at a time.

Captivating kids in the kitchen is just one of Casey Easton’s many specialties. Founder and chef at Food Lab in Boulder, Easton employs her knowledge of a vast variety of cooking and baking techniques to teach people aged 6 and up how to craft stunning meals, appreciate healthy ingredients and utilize new skill sets and flavors.

Easton began by teaching adults, but after becoming a parent herself, she began hosting classes for kids. As she learned firsthand, getting youth involved in cooking and baking is not only a blast but is also highly beneficial for the kids.

Easton explains, “…it is such an important life skill to be able to feed yourself…[kids] get to know what real foods are, and it helps divert them away from processed junk.”

Additionally, teaching kids to cook is an invaluable way of broadening their palates, as they are much more likely to try foods that they think are ‘weird’ at first glance once they realize what the food is actually made from. Pesto, for example, is a something that most kids will automatically claim to dislike; however, when you show them what goes into it—parmesan, basil and nuts, three things many kids love—they often change their tune. Easton notes that when kids get to create a new food themselves and see what goes into it, they are far more likely to try it and like it.

For Easton and her family, the holidays are a great excuse to craft classics like pumpkin and berry pies. For those wanting to get their children interested in cooking at home, the season provides ample opportunity to get them engaged.

Bringing out a child’s inner chef really boils down to getting them involved. With that in mind, Easton has provided us with a tried-and-true, kid-pleasing recipe guaranteed to get Boulder’s next generation of culinary masters off to a strong start (with a sweet incentive).

Berry Pie

Dough:

1¼ cup flour

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp salt

½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces

2 TBSP shortening

¼ cup water

Berry Filling:

4 cups fresh or frozen berries

1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 TBSP cornstarch

1 ½ TBSP butter

1 TBSP sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place berries in medium saucepan over medium heat, cover. Cook until the cherries lose 3/4 of their juice, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot berries and mix well. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.

Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled berry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.