Has your daughter joined us for any of our Winter Field Trips? We’ve been having a great time, from trapeze-swinging to cooking to book-making! Rounding out the series is an April 22 trip to The Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg, where we’ll visit the sketchbooks that the girls created back in December as part of the international Sketchbook Project. Then we’re heading over to Momofuku Milk Bar to meet famous (and famously talented) Pastry Chef Christina Tosi, and to sample her delicious sweet treats.
Added bonus on this last trip? Moms can join us, too! The chance to see the sketchbooks and meet Christina Tosi is not to be missed! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot for your daughter and yourself, too.
In the meantime, in the Curious Jane spirit of girls + ingenuity + adventure, camp founder Samantha chatted with Christina about inspiration in the kitchen – what sparks her creativity, what she loves to bake, and why.
Here’s what she had to say (and a fun recipe to try at home with the kids.)
Samantha: I noticed in a previous interview that you said “Restrictions foster creativity!” This is a big motto of my own, too, especially working with “young designers” who may not have the motor skills or deep wallets to employ power tools or fancy supplies. Look around you, scavenge your junk drawer, use what’s at hand!
What led you to this motto?
Christina: I had very little when first starting out to make milk bar. Little to no resources, help, money, time, etc. It forced me into a hyper state of creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work that kept me focused and able to hone in on who I really was as a pastry chef, without any distractions.
S: When you bake for a good friend, or someone in your family, what do you make?
C: Cookies. Every time.
S: Did you ever have any kitchen “accidents” that turned into major “ah-ha!” moments?
C: I’d say a quarter of the items on our menu are mistakes: the cornflake crunch was baked/burnt and we made it into a cornflake-choc chip-marshmallow cookie, and so on. Whether it’s over-ordering and having to find a use for leftovers or someone accidentally putting/mis-measuring something into a recipe. every mistake is an opportunity to step outside the box and open your mind to something new.
S: If I have these things in my pantry — fill in the blank — I can make anything!
C: Just give me a minimum of 4 items and I’ll make something – anything — tasty. Remember, limitations are the best way to challenge yourself!
S: When you were in grade school, what set you apart? What made you Christina Tosi? What about now (besides the sweet treats)?
C: I embraced being me. I promoted myself as being different and comfortable with it, whether I was over achieving on a report card, shopping at thrift stores or turning down the opportunity to go out to a party or get in trouble to stay at home and bake, I was always super open and comfortable with who I was and where my passions were and it always attracted great friends.
S: Incidentally, my 8yo and I made your Compost Cookies this weekend and included no fewer than 7 pantry snack items and cereals. I’m a big fan of the ‘compost’ concept — I tend to use this approach for salads and dressings (a sweep of the arm across the back of your fridge turns up quite an assortment of jars and potions for a perfect dressing).
We’d love to share a simple recipe for girls to try at home….
C: This is one of my faves; we shared it with InStyle. It’s great with fresh fruit and/or fresh herbs (mint, thyme, etc. torn apart and spread on top!)
S: Yum! Thanks, Christina! We’re looking forward to bringing the girls to meet you at Milk Bar on April, 22!
And for more of Christina‘s recipes, pick up a copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.
Fruity Pebbles Crispies
• 1 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows
• 4 T. unsalted butter
• 6 cups Fruity Pebbles Crunch, loosely packed
• 2 springs fresh thyme or lemon verbena for garnish
1) In microwave, heat marshmallows and butter on high in a large microwave-safe bowl for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently with a wooden spoon until mixture is completely melted and smooth.
2) Pour Fruity Pebbles Crunch on top of marshmallow mixture; stir until cereal is coated.
3) Spread 1/2″ layer of mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan; allow to cool completely.
4) Sprinkle with thyme or lemon verbena leaves, torn into small pieces.
5) Cut into rectangles and serve!