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Les Petits Chefs make basic tomato sauce (and pizzas!) with Vanessa Yeung

Kids make homemade pizzas on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe focus for this year’s Food Revolution Day was about sharing the power of cooking, the benefits of cooking from scratch and, ultimately showing people that changing our food choices can make us both healthier and happier.  Instead of one official recipe as there has been in years past, this year, we have a set of 10 recipes chosen by Jamie Oliver that he deems the “Starter Pack” of Cooking.  Each recipe covers a different skill and technique that can give anyone the confidence to cook good, real, healthy meals for themselves and their families, for now and the future.  Jamie has spoken about the idea of ten recipes to save your life since his TED talk in 2010 and this semester Les Petits Chefs have worked with chefs from around Toronto who will cook THEIR “must know” recipes with the boys.

I couldn’t NOT ask Vanessa Yeung to come and work with the boys this term. She has come to teach the boys NINE times before (mostly the dumplings which are one of her most popular catering items) and for this, her tenth visit, I asked her the question I’ve asked everyone who’s worked with the boys this term – what’s the one dish you consider to be “must know”?  Surprisingly, Vanessa didn’t respond with one of the Asian dishes that she’s known for, rather she went with something that speaks to her Italian husband’s heritage – tomato sauce.  In Jamie’s starter pack of recipes, he’s got a recipe for a classic tomato sauce you can use for pasta so it was great to show the boys Vanessa’s take.

We started out making the sauce since it needs to cook away for quite a long time… The boys got the onions, garlic and basil chopped and cooking away… Later on, we would add some good quality passata to the mix, since tomatoes are not quite in season here. It’s a great trick for the boys to know – you can make great tomato sauce out of season!

Kids chopping garlic, onions and basil on eatlivetravelwrite.com Picking basil leaves on eatlivetravelwrite.comForty-five minutes later…

Making homemade tomato sauce on eatlivetravelwrite.com All cooked up, puréed and ready to go!

But what did we do for 45 minutes while the sauce cooked? I couldn’t think of a better use for tomato sauce than pizzas! I’m all about showing the boys how to make foods they love already (especially when it’s healthier versions!). I chose some simple toppings for the boys to use:

Kids slicing salami on eatlivetravelwrite.com Kids chopping mushrooms on eatlivetravelwrite.comalong with cheese, peppers, ham, some basil and spinach…

We didn’t have time to make real pizza dough from scratch so I went to my “go to” – Jamie’s “cheat’s pizza” dough. Just flour, baking powder, water and olive oil make a really fine pizza crust in a frying pan…

Kids rolling pizza dough on eatlivetravelwrite.com Kids rolling Jamie Oliver pizza dough on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd we got cooking…

Kids making Jamie Oliver frying pan pizzas on eatlivetravelwrite.com Pizza mise en place on eatlivetravelwrite.com Kids making frying pan pizzas on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe pizzas start out cooking on the stovetop, then you finish them in the oven. The boys made colourful pizzas that they were so excited to try…

Pizzas ready for the oven on eatlivetravelwrite.comand once they came out of the oven, you’d never know it wasn’t delivery…

Kids Jamie Oliver cheat pizzas on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’m not sure how many of these made it home but the boys did get to bring home one of these too:

Homemade tomato sauce on eatlivetravelwrite.comI see a few pizzas or pasta dishes in their future….

Big thanks to Vanessa for coming out to show the boys one of her favourite family recipes – it’s one I also agree that everyone should know. We love working with you and so appreciate you taking the time to teach us 🙂

Read more about the classes Vanessa offers at Aphrodite Cooks.

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