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No picky kids here - just Gastrokids

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Written by Heather Jones   
Thursday, 24 September 2009

ImageRemember that 1985 duet with Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin, “Sisters are doin’ it for Themselves”? Well, this year it would seem that the Foodie Dads are doing it for themselves. 

First there was Matthew Amster–Burton and his daughter Iris doing it up in Seattle with Hungry Monkey and now we have the very hip Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans with their GastroKid Cookbook.  Titled after the acclaimed blog of the same name, Bon Appétit features Editor Hugh Garvey and Media Executive Matthew Yeomans have put together a compilation of their most tried and true kid friendly recipes.  Although the focus of this cookbook is learning to prepare palate pleasing meals for the younger members of the family it’s not one of those cookbooks that dumbs down the idea of cooking for kids or one that results to tricking kids into eating their vegetables.  It’s more about meals that are going to work for everyone in the family and presenting food to your children in a non-intimidating way. 

The authors are adamant about reclaiming the family table, offering 10 GastroKid rules to assist you with this process: Find your inner GastroKid; Never call a kid a picky eater; Don’t cook down to your kids; Don’t take it personally that your kids despise your cooking; There’s no such thing as kid's food (Here Here!); When in doubt add, salt, fat, and acid; Caramelize it; Eat seasonally & locally; Get your kids cooking; and Love the leftovers.

As far as I’m concerned these aren’t just GastroKid rules, but ones that every good Foodie should cook and eat by. The recipe style in this book is pretty free form. There are a few exact measurements here and there but everything has been written to taste as every family is different; the recipes give you permission to wing it and feel good about it.  The ingredients the authors use are ones that should be readily available whether you do the CSA, Farmers' Market, or Whole Foods. 

And speaking of ingredients there is one thing that I found mildly amusing. The authors seem to be having a love affair with Pimenton de la Vera (Spanish Smoked Paprika). This tantalizing spice is used in almost half of the recipes featured in the book. I have to say it works, their dedication reminds me of when I discovered cumin many years ago and to this day I find myself trying to incorporate cumin into everything I make just because I love it so much. 

Picking out the initial recipes to try were tough, but I settled on the Yuppie Panini (see recipe below) and the Shrimp & Chorizo Non-Paella (see recipe below).  Forget my girls; the Yuppie Panini is just the type of sandwich that I like to have when I’m home alone (which is never). Shrimp and Chorizo make such lovely bed fellows my oldest couldn’t stop humming as she was eating always a sign that something is REALLY good, that and my husband  wouldn’t  sit down at the table but was content to stand guard over the stove eating right from the  skillet.  So, do you need this cookbook? Absolutely. The GastroKid cookbook is the new Little Black Dress of Kid’s Cuisine. 

Shrimp & Chorizo Non-Paella

The Gastrokid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans. Wiley, 2009.

Jonesing for paella (and sadly without rice in the cupboard), Matthew remembered this great dish that he and his wife, Jowa, used to order at a Chino-Latino restaurant in New York called La Nueva Rampa. It was chorizo with chickpeas, and they served it with rice on the side. Here's a recreation of this chorizo y garbanzos dish with some shrimp added
for good measure. It has all the essential ingredients of a paella and is cooked much the same, but you can skip the rice since the chickpeas fulfill a similar starchy purpose. Serve with a simple salad.

Makes 4 Servings.

  • 2 medium-hot Spanish chorizo, diced (buy at Latin markets)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Half a 29-ounce can of plum tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la vera
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the diced chorizo in a tablespoon of olive oil, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reserve the chorizo, then add the onion and garlic to the chorizo-infused oil and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and pimentón and cook, stirring. When the onion is softened, after 3 to 5 minutes, add the chickpeas and water to this sofrito.

Return the chorizo to the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. By now, the sauce should have reduced so that it is hugging the shrimp and chorizo. Garnish with the fresh cilantro.

The Yuppie Panini

The Gastrokid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans. Wiley, 2009.

While the ingredients are French-ish/European-ish in origin, this sandwich is about as 1980s American yuppie as you can get when it comes to the ingredients, which, hilariously, have become new favorites among kids. The tangy goat cheese perfectly contrasts the sweet intensity of the sun-dried tomatoes.

Makes 1 Serving.

  • Rustic country white bread
  • Goat cheese
  • Sun-dried tomatoes from a jar, drained of most of their oil, but with a bit left on for that richness you want
  • Fresh basil (or flat-leaf Italian parsley pulled off the stem; I know, it's nothing like basil, but it's green and plays nicely against the sweetness of the ingredients)

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. On one slice of bread, spread goat cheese. Then top with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Top with more cheese. Place the sandwich on the pan. Place another heavy pan on top to press it down. Cook for a few minutes, taking care to toast but not burn the sandwich. Wearing an oven mitt, remove the top pan. Flip the sandwich, replace the top pan, and cook until all melty and melded. (Obviously, you could also do this in a fancy panini press, if you own one.)

About GastroKids

ImageWhat is a Gastrokid? A kid who's willing to boldly explore new culinary tastes and experiences. That's the spirit of The Gastrokid Cookbook, where you'll find fast, easy-to-prepare, kid-tested, adult-friendly, organic, sustainable, and downright delicious recipes the authors have prepared for their own kids.

Available at

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


Last Updated ( Monday, 21 September 2009 )
Debra (Unregistered) 2011-11-28 12:21:53

My sister in law purchased this cookbook for me. I have really enjoyed the recipes.
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