TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - Volunteers for KidZone Museum worked and bonded over Spanish tapas one evening in early November. The party was an envelope-stuffing night in support of the Museum's winter giving campaign.
During the campaign, the Museum asks members and friends to consider KidZone Museum in their year-end giving. Volunteers personally sign about 1,000 letters and place them in easy-to-spot canary yellow envelopes.
Funds raised will go directly to support winter programming including: Scholarships and transportation service for low-income families to the KidZone Museum, parent education classes, and the development of a new aviation-themed exhibit. The Truckee Tahoe Airport District has made a generous grant to jump-start this new exhibit.
Before getting down to business, the volunteers enjoyed an assortment of tapas or "small plates" along with Spanish wine. This is the third year board member Helen Pelster has prepared the tapas spread. She learned about Spanish cuisine and tapas over the years of visiting her husband's family in Spain.
The menu included: smoky paprika almonds, speared cheese with roasted bell peppers (banderillas), potatoes with saffron allioli, and lentils with sage and delicata squash. After the work was complete, the volunteers were treated to homemade flan and flourless chocolate cake.
Classic Spanish food and flavors are simple, so using the best ingredients makes a big difference. The delicata squash, bell peppers and garlic all came a weekly produce box from Mountain Bounty Farm in Nevada City. The saffron is direct from Spain and the authentic sweet smoked paprika came from World Spice Merchants online.
"I decided to leave my favorite egg dish, tortilla de patata, off the menu this year, and serve a flan dessert, instead," commented Pelster. Tortilla de patata is the ubiquitous Spanish snack made of eggs, potatoes and onions. Flan is an egg custard dessert topped with caramelized sugar (see recipe following).
Spanish wine complimented the tapas assortment, including a typical red wine from the Rioja region made from tempranillo grapes. Pelster also offered a light and fruity white wine from Galicia in the north of Spain made from albarino grapes.
"This is such a fun and delicious way for volunteers and staff to help support the Museum," said volunteer and giving campaign chair Stephanie Bright.
It's not too late to include KidZone Museum in your year-end giving. Whether or not you received a letter in the canary yellow envelope, you can donate online at www.KidZoneMuseum.org.
Pelster's Flan Recipe
This recipe is adapted from several sources to make an authentic Spanish caramel custard dessert that is incredibly rich and smooth.
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
Preheat oven to 325º.
To make the caramel, put 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir sugar constantly until it is completely melted. Suddenly it will be caramel color with little bubbles - it is done at this instant. Quickly remove the caramel from the heat and pour evenly into four 6 oz. or 8 oz. custard cups; tilting to coat the cup if necessary.
Start water boiling for the custard bath, then prepare the custard. Beat the two egg yolks and two whole eggs with a whisk; add 1/3 cup sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve (pour into a small pitcher with a spout).
Place the custard cups in a 9" x 13" pan and evenly pour the custard into each cup. Place the pan with cups in the oven and fill with boiling water to 1/2" to 1" depth. Cook for 55 minutes or until they are set. Custard is done when a sharp knife inserted at the edge comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and then immediately remove the cups from the water using an oven mitt. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Unmold upside-down onto individual plates just before serving. Makes 4 servings. Recipe can be doubled.
For additional information about the Museum contact Carol Meagher, executive director, at email@example.com or 530-320-5613.
About the KidZone Museum
The KidZone Museum is a local nonprofit children's museum located in Truckee, with exhibits designed to engage a young child's curiosity with an array of repeat play activities. Featured exhibits change periodically and always include educational and child development elements. The Museum's mission is to inspire learning through creative play and discovery. For additional information visit www.kidzonemuseum.org or call 530-587-KIDS (5437).