We talk to Chef Justine about her Latest Adventures in the Kitchen

Q. What’s cooking in the Sun Basket Test Kitchen this week?

We’ve heard some inspiring stories from our customers that their kids are getting involved in the cooking process when they get their Sun Basket. I have a daughter, Stella, who loves being in the kitchen with me, so I thought it might be fun to keep kids in mind when developing recipes. I’m thinking about a kid-friendly palate and family-friendly recipes, food that can bring everyone together around the table.

Q. How would a family-friendly recipe differ from any other Sun Basket recipe? 

A. Our regular Sun Basket recipes are developed with couples in mind. They tend to rely on a lot of seasoning blends and spices, with a more adventurous flavor profile. I’m looking to classic comfort foods and giving them healthy updates. So instead of traditional mac ‘n’ cheese, I’m testing a baked penne made with delicious, high-protein quinoa pasta and loaded with vegetables like broccoli, beans, and tomatoes. My goal is to gently nudge kids and their parents in a healthy direction while keeping the flavors simple and recognizable. 

Q. You’re working with some interesting ingredients like quinoa and jicama that a lot of kids might not be familiar with. Any suggestions for getting kids to broaden their tastes? 

A. I think the trick is to give them an unfamiliar ingredient and season it in a familiar way. 

That’s the thinking behind the latest recipe we tested, Enchilada Casserole with Quinoa and Apple Radish Slaw. Instead of tortillas, I swapped in quinoa but flavored it with our own Sun Basket enchilada sauce. The name and the look of the dish might be a little different, but the taste is one that’s familiar; it’s a classic sauce that I developed to be mild, yet flavorful enough for a kid to love. As for jicama, I never met a kid who didn’t like it. Seriously, it tastes like a juicy apple. 

Q. We love the idea of getting kids involved in the kitchen, but it can get a little crazy. Any suggestions for managing the chaos? 

A. I think it helps tremendously that Sun Baskets arrive ready to cook, so it’s easy to stay organized. Let kids unpack the box and choose what recipe they want to make. From there, it really depends on the kid. Parents know when their kids are ready to handle a knife or work at a hot stove. And I also encourage the whole family to use their hands. As long as everyone washes up before they begin, there’s no reason you can’t tear the lettuce and herbs instead of cutting them. 


pictured: Chef Justine and her daughter Stella