Winter is a good time to stay indoors and focus more on learning food preparation skills. Also to eat yummy hot foods to fill our stomachs and warm us up!
This week we launched a new cooking program with the Eco Club at Winchester P.S. We are lucky that the school has a kitchen in the art room that isn’t used in the afternoon, and that both teachers and administrators were happy to let us use the space. Even Ms. Charmyne, who makes the students delicious meals at the school for lunch and who uses the garden produce and herbs in her cooking when it is available, lent us some of the kitchen ware we needed.
The first group of middle schools students decided on making a lasagna (based on Jamie Oliver’s book Food Revolution) and a salad to go with it — just to make it healthier. The week before they planted some Genovese basil under the grow lights we’ve set up in the teacher’s lounge. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ready for this week!
We made a salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red pepper, grated carrot and bosc pear. The dressing was made out of lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic. It would have been nice to incorporate greens from our own gardens, but so far the salad greens we have growing under cold frames outdoors are still teeny tiny, just like the basil. The reality too, is that most grocery stores do not have local produce.
As for the lasagna, we substituted bacon for turkey bacon and the ground beef with ground halal chicken to fit the dietary needs of the students. We even made a mini vegetarian lasagna. We were able to incorporate garlic from the Winchester garden as well as dried oregano that we had collected, dried and saved in the summer.
The recipe called for sour cream or creme fraiche. The bolognese sauce we made from scratch enticed all kinds of visitors all afternoon: teachers and students. Even the caretaker. They all dropped by to comment on how good the hallway smelled. A few students tried to see if they could join us.
The end result!
Everything was gobbled up, even though a couple students thought the homemade salad dressing was “too lemony”.
Overall it was fun and I look forward to next week’s challenge with the next group of students: jerk chicken!