Despite my efforts to freeze time, Julia turned 6 this past weekend and we celebrated with a cooking lesson taught by my friend Eryn and me. I totally had a personal motivation, since Eryn and I have been brainstorming about teaching cooking classes to children and new moms for several months now and we were dying to finally have a trial class. Julia does love to cook and experiment in the kitchen (more than she likes eating), so I knew the idea was just perfect for her. We were having so much fun cooking that we almost forgot to sing her happy birthday, which she made sure we did in 3 languages – who would have thought that my once shy little girl would want to be the center of attention for that long? She definitely takes after her Dad.
Everyone was so engaged and the parents loved how we turned the office space in our home into a little cooking studio. We made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla beans that Romas brought from a “work” trip to Madagascar, hummus with veggies pealed and cut by the kids in no time, and a Brazilian limeade called limonada Suiça (Swiss lemonade), don’t ask me why.
My favorite moments were when the kids held the vanilla bean and learned where it comes from, or when a few of them peeled their carrots entirely, until there was no carrot left to chop, reminding us that shavings are another great way to eat veggies. Next time I am roasting those shavings for them to see how they turn crunchy and how they would be delicious dipped in a thinner yogurt or cheese sauce, too!
We were also happily surprised by the fact that the kids appreciated the tartness of the limeade and found it refreshing (Julia got her sunglasses out!) and tasty, with no requests for extra sugar. It is a super quick and fun drink to make with kids and it tastes a thousand times better than store bought juices. To make it prettier, serve it with thin slices of lime or a bit of grated lime zest. Now close your eyes and picture a Brazilian beach… or I have a little picture for you. And it is carnaval… wait, I’m thinking caipirinhas, now!
And here we are, happy cooks, reunited with our babies after all the cooking was over. We are hungry for more!
BRAZILIAN LIMEADE (Limonada Suíça)
4 cups of cold water
1 lime, washed and cut in 8 parts
1/4 cup of sugar
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, for about 2 minutes. Strain the lime mixture through a sieve and discard the pulp. Serve immediately in a pitcher with ice.