What’s For Dinner? “Fast & Furious” Recipes


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I’m not sure we have talked about it over the years as much as we should have, but Simran and I have been writing an every other week recipe column for the San Jose Mercury News since 2013!! We write our recipes under the theme of “Fast & Furious” cooking and by now we’re well past 100 recipes and closing in on 200. It’s been a dream of a project and one, when I think of it, that takes us back to where it all began.

When Simran and I first met (Simran’s daughter was only 4 and I had only one kid, and he was just 2!!) we immediately connected over our shared love of cooking but also in the observation we both had that many of our friends didn’t cook much at all. I completely empathize with how onerous the task of cooking can be in the midst of busy lives (especially if you don’t enjoy cooking in the first place) — but the idea of the homecooked meal going extinct is a pretty terrible notion… not to mention the impact on future generations as I think most of us learn to cook by being around cooking as we grow up. So as our friendship took flight, we just decided to see what we could do about making cooking more do-able, tasty and fun — for us, our friends and anyone else out there. Here we are ten years later having taught hundreds of people of all ages to cook and an archive of nearly as many recipes.

I find myself turning to our ever-growing library of quick (and “quick-ish”), healthy (and “healthy-ish) recipes for inspiration these days….so I thought I might make a more regular thing of sharing the recipes we develop for our column, as well as going back into the archives to highlight some of our favorites.

Spicy Chicken Wraps with Cool Minty Yogurt Dipping Sauce

This week my family made this recipe from way back in 2016….a super quick and easy spicy chicken wrap with a minty yogurt dipping sauce. Yum! Starting with rotisserie chicken, this is more of a “just assemble” dinner and works for days when full-on cooking isn’t in the cards. The wrap uses lavash bread which you can find at Trader Joe’s and likely most supermarkets with a simple filling of:

  • shredded rotisserie chicken
  • hummus
  • chili paste or hot sauce
  • veggies of your choice

Warm the lavash to make it more pliable, wrap tightly with fillings and toast the wraps in a pan on the stove if you like. Serve with an herbed yogurt as a dipping sauce. For my dipping sauce I mixed chopped mint and cilantro into plain yogurt and added a pinch of salt to taste and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. You could also do this as a stuffed pita.

If you’re interested, you can find the full recipe details on the San Jose Mercury News website (unfortunately there’s a subscription fee to access the content, but it’s pretty inexpensive at 99 cents for 3 months and you get the full library of our recipes as well as their other recipe contributors).


Summer Camp Registration is Live

summer banner

We’re looking forward to another fabulous summer of cooking and culinary exploration & we’re excited to announce that Summer Camp 2019 registration is now open!!

Click here for dates, details & registration links!

  • Jun 17-21, 9am-3pm (entering 3rd-7th grades): Let’s Explore Mediterranean Cuisine
  • Jun 24-28, 9am-3pm (entering 1st-4th grades): Let’s Explore Mediterranean Cuisine
  • July 15-19, 9am-3pm (entering 4th-8th grades): Bay Area Eats with Chef Annelies Zijderveld

For us summer camp is the absolute highlight of our teaching year. We get to dive deep into delicious world cuisines, exercise our creativity, cook tons of fabulous food…. and most importantly, make new friends!!  Our philosophy has always been create a supportive, fun setting where kids get to engage in both structured projects where they learn and practice specific skills and follow set recipes, as well open-ended time where they can create, collaborate and improvise within a theme. I think that’s why we have so many repeat campers each year. Every session of camp is a truly one of a kind experience!

Simran & Stacie will be leading the first two sessions of camp as we explore the flavors of the Mediterranean and we have invited some of our friends from the cooking teacher world to to join us to round out the summer. We are excited to be able to bring these great teachers to our A Little Yumminess community through a partnership with 18 Reasons.

Annelies Zijderveld is author of the book “Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea“, creator of the blog “The Food Poet“, and a regular instructor at 18 Reasons. Annelies will bring her exuberant cooking style to the theme of “Bay Area Eats” where she will take the diverse flavors of the Bay Area food scene as her starting point. It will be a great week for campers to expand their culinary horizons and to work with new and interesting flavors and ingredients.


Mike Weller, Lead Chef Instructor at 18 Reasons, has a special way of making learning fantastically fun and approachable. He will lead our July campers in a kid-version of the basic knife skills class he teaches at 18 Reasons, one of their most popular offerings

So come on and join us… it’s gonna be a blast!  


Save the Date! Summer Camp 2019

camp-composit-2017It’s the holidays, but it’s also that other time of year! Time to start thinking about next summer’s cooking camps… Summer is the absolute highlight of our year. While we loooove teaching at schools and libraries and cooking schools during the rest of the year, it’s summer camp that’s really our heart and soul.

We are so fortunate to have lots of repeat campers join us every summer and it’s so much fun to watch their skills in the kitchen grow and to hear about all the cooking they’ve been doing at home. Summer is also the time when we get to welcome new campers into our A Little Yumminess family, and see their cooking skills and creativity take flight. This year we will be offering 4 weeks of camp for various age groups and we will be joined with some wonderful guests chefs throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more details!

Save the Date: Summer Camp 2019

  • Session 1: Jun 17-21 – Let’s Explore Mediterranean Cuisine (entering 3rd-7th grades)  
  • Session 2: Jun 24-28 – Let’s Explore Mediterranean Cuisine (entering 1st-4th grades)
  • July 15-19 – Bay Area Eats (entering 4th-8th grades)

The best way to get first dibs on registration is to join our mailing list. We will send an early bird registration link to mailing list members mid January which will give you a week to register before we open camp registration to the public.

Visit our camps and classes page for more details or to join our mailing list.

All the best,

Simran & Stacie

Upcoming Cooking Classes

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Join us for our upcoming classes in Sonoma and San Francisco:

Indian Dinner Party @ Ramekins in Sonoma on Sunday, May 20th

Mix up your dinner party repertoire and impress your guests with this Indian feast!  Step one: Start your party with some delicious bhajis (aka pakoras), battered and spiced vegetables deep fried to a golden brown. Step two: invite your guests to gather around the kitchen with some cold beer as you ply them with bhajis hot from the stove, and dipped in a refreshing chutney. Step three: take a break and drink with your guests (Simran and Stacie suggest Johnnie Walker, which is very popular in India!). Step four: when everyone is a little tipsy, serve this delicious Indian meal to soak up the alcohol, as all these dishes have been pre-cooked and are easy to keep warm. As an extra indulgence, the pooris require you to be frying at the stove, but can be skipped if you’d rather be sitting down at the table.

Flavors of India: Kashmir @ 18 Reasons on Sunday, June 3rd

A hands-on, collaborative cooking class culminating in family-style dinner served with wine and beer.

This delicious menu hails from Kashmir in Northern India — a place dubbed “heaven on earth” by the 17th-century Mughal ruler Jahangir — and will introduce you to a very special Indian regional cuisine rarely seen outside India.
Kashmir has a rich culture and history that greatly influence its cuisine. Kashmiri food is richly flavored with spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and saffron. The staple of the diet in Kashmir is rice. In addition to rice being of great importance in Kashmiri meals, other important items include mutton, chicken and fish. Aside from these non-vegetarian items, vegetables are also very important in Kashmiri cuisine. They are used along with meat to prepare some of the best combinations in Kashmiri cuisine. Some of the popular combinations include fish and lotus root, mutton and turnips, and chicken and spinach.

Lamb Rogan Josh – Signature Lamb Curry of Kashmiri cuisine
Rajmah – Traditional Kidney Bean Stew
Haak – Leafy Greens
Dum Aloo – Fried Baby Potatoes in a Rich, Spicy Gravy
Muj Chetin Doug Dhar – Grated Radish in Yoghurt
Simple White Rice – the best with this cuisine
Kashmiri Kahwah – Kashmiri Green Tea with Almonds

Summer Camp Registration is Open!

We are thrilled to announce our 2018 Summer Cooking Camp – hope your children can join us!

around AsiaA Little Yumminess Around Asia

  • Jun 18-22: A Little Yumminess Around Asia (entering 4th-7th grades) / Register
  • Jun 25-29: A Little Yumminess Around Asia (entering 3rd-7th grades) / Register
  • Cost: $550 ($500, plus $50 materials fee)
  • Camp runs from 9am-3pm (we do not currently offer early or after care)
  • Location: Bethany United Methodist Church, Noe Valley SF

Explore the diverse cuisines of Asia as we cook our way through classic flavors, essential ingredients and fundamental techniques — from curries, to noodles, soups, dumplings, condiments and more. The last day of camp will be a friendly team cook-off where campers put the skills and ideas they’ve learned into action to come up with their own creative dishes. During the week, campers will explore key Asian ingredients and flavors during guided tastings, decide the menu and shop (on a budget) on select days, and create their own custom cookbook with recipes and notes from the week.

No need to pack anything, but a water bottle & an apron, campers will make their own snacks and lunch each day! Please let us know if your child has any dietary restrictions.

Around the worldA Little Yumminess Around the World

  • July 16-20: Around the World (entering 1st-4th grades) – 9am-3pm / Register
  • July 23-27: Around the World (entering 1st-4th grades) – 9am-3pm / Register
  • Cost: $550 ($500, plus $50 materials fee)
  • Camp runs from 9am-3pm (we do not currently offer early or after care)
  • Location: Bethany United Methodist Church, Noe Valley SF

We’re going traveling with our tummies as our tour guides! Campers will take a tour of some of our favorite cuisines around the world, focusing on a different cuisine or country each day. We’ll taste interesting ingredients from around the world and practice a variety of cooking skills while cooking global recipes that we will enjoy together at snack and lunch time.

No need to pack anything, but a water bottle & an apron, campers will make their own snacks and lunch each day! Please let us know if your child has any dietary restrictions.

Our camps are well suited for kids who thrive in a structured environment. We’ve put much thought into creating the kind of camp that we’d love to send our own kids to and we keep all of our camps small in size.

Cancellation Policy – To receive a refund for your cancellation, you must cancel on or before 3/1/18. Refund amount will be what you paid less the $50 processing fee.  Starting 3/2/18 we will not be able to issue refunds, but you are welcome to look for a replacement (and we will help you as well).  Please contact us to work out details should you need to cancel anytime. Email us at alittleyum@yahoo.com.

Our Team – Unless otherwise noted, Simran and Stacie teach all camps, with the help of our trusted and experienced staff along with a few amazing junior counselors.

What to Pack – No need to pack anything but a water bottle & an apron, campers will make their own snacks and lunch each day!

Dietary Restrictions – All camps are nut-free and designed to accommodate vegetarians. Please let us know if your child has any dietary restrictions.


Save the Date: Summer Camps 2018


Upcoming Day Camps – registration is now open!

  • Fri., Feb 16, 2018 – Chinese New Year Feast (grades 2-6) – Register
  • Fri., Apr 27, 2018 – Italian Classics (grades 2-6) – Register

We can also organize a custom day camps (minimum 12 kids) – great for school holidays and teacher in-service days! Contact us at alittleyum@yahoo.com

Save the Date! 2018 Summer Cooking Camps 

We know many families are already making summer plans, so we wanted to let you know that A Little Yumminess is back with five weeks of cooking camp in 2018.

This summer our youngest campers will jet off on a culinary trip around the world, and our older campers will explore the diverse cuisines of Asia and take a culinary tour of France! Registration for 2018 Summer Camps will go live in mid-January. In the meantime, save the date! (All camps take place in SF/Noe Valley.):

  • Jun 18-22: A Little Yumminess Around Asia (entering 4th-8th grades)
  • Jun 25-29: A Little Yumminess Around Asia (entering 4th-8th grades)
  • July 16-20: Around the World (entering 1st-4th grades)
  • July 23-27: Around the World (entering 1st-4th grades)

A Little Comfort: 20th Century Cafe’s Russian Honey Cake

It’s been a rough couple of months out there in the world. Sometimes the world of cooking classes and food blogging can feel a little frivolous in light of everything happening out there: hurricanes, violence, politics and most recently wildfires in our beloved Napa & Sonoma counties. But then again, when you think about it, there is a special kind of magic when people come together around food — sustenance for the body and the soul. So now’s the time, more than ever it seems, to invite a friend over for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, or to make that big pot of pasta sauce and share it with a neighbor, or invite family around for dinner… or get involved with feeding and nourishing your community.

[Simran and I have found some opportunities to share and help recently and it feels pretty good! If you want to get involved with helping Northbay fire first responders and evacuees, here’s a resource we can recommend: SF Fights Fire. ]

For me, a little personal moment of comfort came recently in the form of Russian honey cake, from the 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley in SF. It’s their signature dessert and one that’s been on my list to try for far too long. What’s so cool about 20th Century Cafe is that the dessert menu focuses on sweets from Eastern Europe so there are lots of new things to try. It’s such a lovely little spot for a special after school treat. The honey cake was, as advertised, divine and I managed to get a bite of the deliciously delicate layers of cake and cream before my hungry tablemates made it disappear.


this cake! — surrounded by poppyseeds from one of their housemade bagels which we also sampled.


enthusiastic cake eaters


going going gone!

[Upon returning home and finding myself a little obsessed with this cake, I found this video of chef/owner Michelle Polzine making it.]

We had delightful time of chatting and sharing delicious cake together, then decided to further lift our spirits by taking a short walk and visiting our gorgeous San Francisco City Hall. We often admire the beautiful exterior of the building as we pass by, but I realized the kids had never been inside. It really is stunning and made even more lovely by all the “just married” couples taking photos on the balconies and grand staircase. Being in the presence of so many happy new beginnings has a way of recharging your sense of hope in the world.

We took a minute to sit on the steps, and all found ourselves with big smiles on our faces — tummies happy and happy to be together enjoying something beautiful. And when I thought about it on the way home I realized that those smiles where what we were needing most of all.





Weekend Cooking: Breakfast Tacos


(written by Ria)

I could eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One weekend morning I was thinking about Mexican food and how much I loved it. I opened the fridge for breakfast and contemplated. . I spied some tortillas and avocados in the fridge and, I had this “light bulb moment” –  “Could I make tacos for my breakfast at home?

You definitely should try breakfast tacos at home. This dish is more of an assembling operation than a cooking operation. You can throw anything into this taco. These are the ingredients that I put in my special breakfast taco.


  • Avocado
  • Pico de gallo/Salsa Verde (store bought or homemade)
  • Soft boiled egg
  • Ham
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Tortilla
  • Lemon/Lime/Salt/Pepper/Paprika


There is no method!! There is just you, your taste buds and your imagination!

Links for other breakfast taco recipes



Feelin’ Brunch-y (& Lego Eggs, Bacon & Pancakes)

Happy Sunday! Here’s a food-inspired minimalist lego creation by Luca: “I thought it would be interesting to create items in the least amount of pieces. A whole breakfast in 8 pieces! Enjoy!”

Lego Bacon & Eggs by Luca_A Little Yumminess

……. and while you’re enjoying this brunch creation, browse these brunch-y links from the archive. [Geez — I’m getting hungry, I think I’m in dire need of some shakshuka! :)]


Kids in the Kitchen: 5 minute Crispy Kale

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 4.00.47 PM

Kids can make this from start to finish. Check out Matteo’s video review below 🙂

We’re a little bit addicted to this super fast and super easy stovetop “grilled” kale. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack…. we’ll eat this anytime!

It’s similar to oven roasted kale chips (although here you get a pleasing mixture of crispy and softer, sautéed bits), but sooooomuch faster because there’s no need to heat the oven up. Since we first started making kale this way a few months ago, we’ve been making it at least a few times a week and the kids are able to make it from start to finish. 🙂

Dry Skillet Kale Continue reading