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Cooking heats up with the young

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Food shows on network TV and online streaming services like YouTube have exploded recently and many kids are becoming so interested in cooking that an entire industry has evolved around preparing these children to become future chefs, according to Flowjournal. Food Network, a channel devoted entirely to food-centric programming, has found that 60 percent of kids in the 2-to-17 age bracket are watching shows with their parents. Their popular MasterChef Junior franchise, headed by Gorden Ramsay, pits the culinary skills of children ages 8-to-12 against each other. It has now finished its sixth season.

Outside of watching videos, many children now have access to culinary camps and programs, some of them run by celebrity chefs. Duff Goldman, made famous by his show ‘Ace of Cakes,’ runs a Summer Cake Camp out of his Cakemix locations in Los Angeles that allows children to have fun and make a mess while learning serious skills to make them better bakers. For those that live too far away, there are also subscription boxes from companies like Foodstirs. The company will send a new kit every month based on different baked good themes that allows children to cook something fun with their families.

While talented young home cooks are making a splash on TV, critics of the shows think that they place too much emphasis on the competition rather than letting the kids simply have fun. Others point out that competition can help make everyone stronger in the long run and have compared the participants to other young phenoms in the sports and arts arenas that are praised for their dedication and skill. In general, child chefs tend to be more supportive of one another, even while competing, and frequently display a high level of sportsmanship among their peers.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: Campari spritz

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This lively cocktail is the perfect drink to kick off your holiday parties—or to treat yourself with after a day of Christmas shopping.

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients
• Ice cubes
• 1 ounce Campari
• 3 ounces sparkling wine
• 2 ounces lemon-flavored soda or sparkling water
• 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
• 1 lemon peel twist (optional)

Directions
1. In a glass, place several ice cubes.
2. Pour in the Campari and sparkling wine.
3. Top with your choice lemon-flavored soda or sparkling water.
4. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and lemon peel twist, if you choose.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: Fresh fig and goat cheese salad

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If you partied last night, and you’re looking for a healthy way to use up your leftover bubbly, this refreshing salad is just what you need.

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Vinaigrette
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup leftover sparkling wine
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon old fashioned mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
• Salt and pepper to taste

Salad
• 4 ounces whole pecans
• 4 ounces mixed baby greens
• 4 figs, quartered
• 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions
1. In a bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients until fully mixed.
2. Toast the pecans over the stove in a dry pan until they’re lightly browned. Once they’ve cooled, chop them.
3. Place greens on 4 plates, and divide the figs, pecans and goat cheese equally.
4. Drizzle vinaigrette over each plate and serve.

Note: If you drank all the sparkling wine last night, just increase the white wine vinegar to 1/2 cup.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: Creamy turkey and spinach penne

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Too much leftover turkey? Try this delicious recipe.

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 18 ounces penne
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup 35% cream
• 2 ounces cream cheese
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups chopped turkey
• 2 cups finely chopped spinach
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Cook the penne according to directions on the package and set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2. In a large pan, sauté the garlic in butter until it starts to brown.
3. Deglaze with the wine or broth making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the tasty bits.
4. Pour in the milk, cream, cream cheese and Parmesan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook for a few minutes until the ingredients are well combined.
5. Stir in the water you set aside, the turkey and the spinach. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to heat up the turkey and wilt the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Mix the pasta and sauce. Serve hot.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: White chocolate and cranberry cookies

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Everyone will love these perfectly . Save a few for Santa!

Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 18

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 egg
• 1-1/2 cups flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 1 cup white chocolate chips
• 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F
2. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, blend the butter and sugars.
3. Add the vanilla and almond extracts as well as the egg. Mix well.
4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt slowly until you the dough is smooth.
5. Stir in the while chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
6. Make balls with about two tablespoons of dough and place them 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until light brown.
8. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Note: These cookies keep for up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: Maple-cranberry upside-down cake

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This tart, easy-to-make cake is as delicious as it festive. Serve it as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Start to finish: 45 minutes (20 minutes active)
Servings: 10 to 12

Ingredients
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 cups fresh cranberries (You can use frozen, just be sure to thaw them before starting)
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 pinch of table salt
• 1/2 cup milk

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C)
2. In a pot, bring the maple syrup, two tablespoons of the butter and the cinnamon to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in 1-1/2 cups of the cranberries and set aside.
3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer, cream the remaining butter with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
5. Add the flour mixture and the milk, mixing until just combined.
6. In a round cake pan, pour in the cranberry-maple syrup mixture so it covers the bottom. Add the cake batter and bake for 25 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry.
7. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a spatula around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan, and flip over onto a serving plate.
8. Place the remaining cranberries on top of the cake and serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Food

Holiday recipes you’ll love: Turkey breast stuffed with mushrooms and pancetta

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Easier than roasting a whole turkey but just as delicious, this recipe makes a perfect .

Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 2 ounces dried wild mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 French shallot, finely chopped
• 2 ounces pancetta, cubed
• 5 ounces button mushrooms, minced
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, one finely chopped
• 2 turkey breasts
• 4 large slices Swiss cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2. Following the package instructions, rehydrate the wild mushrooms. Lightly dry them with a paper towel and then chop. Set aside.
3. In a pan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the French shallots and pancetta for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the button mushrooms, wild mushrooms and chopped rosemary. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Butterfly both turkey breasts (cut lengthwise, but not all the way through, so they open like a book). Cover each breast with plastic wrap, and pound with a meat tenderizer until uniformly flat.
6. Remove the plastic wrap, and cover the surface of each breast with slices of Swiss cheese.
7. Spread the pancetta and mushroom mixture evenly over the cheese.
8. Carefully roll each breast, making sure to keep the stuffing in. Wrap with kitchen twine to keep closed.
9. In an oven-safe pan, sear the rolls so all sides are browned. Cover and finish cooking in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160 °F (72 °C).
10. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve on a bed of roasted potatoes and garnish with the remaining sprig of rosemary.

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