This post comes to us courtesy of writer and Williams-Sonoma creative consultant Laura Martin Bacon.
No matter how you celebrate spring, family recipes always have a place at the table. Sharing childhood favorites is one of the best ways I know to give friends a taste of who you really are.
My friend Nick Katsoris proves this with a whimsical recipe project he conjured up to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – and help kids understand the delicious connections between food and family.
Working with Chef Cat Cora, president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, Nick asked some of America’s favorite celebrities to contribute a recipe for a dish they loved when they were a kid.
“It’s a fantastic way to get your children excited about helping out and experimenting with you in the kitchen,” Cat says. “Make delicious and healthful meals from the heart that the whole family can enjoy together.”
The resulting labor of love is the homespun Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook – starring more than 50 legendary luminaries and a cartoon lamb named Loukoumi who’s determined to teach her animal buddies how to cook.
To show the universality of family food traditions, Nick includes the best-loved childhood dishes of everyone from Celine Dion, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Aniston to Rachael Ray, Paula Deen and a coterie of young Disney stars.
The whole idea is to get kids (and kids at heart) into the kitchen – cooking, talking and sharing a great meal together. Need a little fresh inspiration? Check out this springtime favorite from Emmy award-winning actress Jennifer Aniston.
Favorite Quinoa Salad
“This is a really simple salad, but so delicious. All these beautiful, healthy ingredients make it one of my favorites.” – Jennifer Aniston
½ cup quinoa
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley (washed, stemmed and chopped)
4 Persian cucumbers (peeled in strips, then seeded and diced)
2 medium tomatoes (diced)
1 ripe, slightly firm avocado (diced)
2 to 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.
Stir in quinoa, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Put quinoa into a medium-sized mixing bowl and let cool.
Gently mix quinoa with parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocadoes and oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 2.
Image details: Disney’s “Rule the Mix” stars Hudson Thames, Michael Adrian & Piper Curda; Disney’s “Shake It Up” star Kenton Duty; “Kickin’ It” stars Alex Jones & Dylan Riley Snyder; Disney’s “Madison High” star Catherine McNamara; and Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook author Nick Katsoris with his son Dean. Photo by: Jillian Nelson.
About the author: Laura is a longtime writer and creative consultant for Williams-Sonoma and other well-known entities. She’s also the Culinary Creative Director of DooF (“food” backwards), an organization that uses multi-media entertainment, education and live events to help kids and families discover the magic of food. DooF explores every aspect of food – from flavors, history, science and cultural traditions to the exciting journey from source-to-table. Laura’s mission: to make good food fun – at home, in the classroom and beyond.