All of us (cooking teachers included) were highly skeptical of the baked eggplant fries recipe. There was even a plea to "just fry them." We dutifully explained the benefits of baked vs. fried food. However, we all expected the worst. We also made baked sweet potato fries, to go along with our focus on thinking and learning about different tastes and preparations. Well, both types of fries were completely amazing, as were the turkey burgers, and fast and uncomplicated to make! (A confession, we did burn some of both types of the fries, as we initially neglected to turn them in the oven.) Even vegetable hater Maliyah Gregg chomped happily on an eggplant fry! Most of the girls felt that the taste on the burger and fries was so good that they did not even need condiments.
- Christine Chmielewski and Julie Smith
Apologies for our absence from last week’s reports - unfortunately, we’ve had a hard time getting the cooking class at Community Partnership School (CPS) off the ground.
It seemed like the perfect set up. We already had an established relationship with the school through the Vetri Foundation for Children, enthusiasm from the staff and parents, and access to a full kitchen. We just had to bring the groceries, recipes, and skillset and we’d be cookin’!
Not quite. CPS is located in Project H.O.M.E.'s Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs, which means there are other enriching community programs – afterschool tutoring, college prep for teens, adult workforce development, - held in the building throughout the week. We weren’t the only ones vying for the kitchen space.
Meet the women who are behind the expansion of My Daughter's Kitchen cooking classes, now operating in five schools in Philadelphia this fall:
Kelly Herrenkohl Director, Vetri Foundation for Children
A shared goal of improving the nutrition of Philadelphia school children led to a partnership.
The five young chefs were ready with their cookbooks and cutting boards when I arrived for our second class at Bayard Taylor Elementary in North Philadelphia.
Kareema Brown measures olive oil for the salad dressing. "What's boo-ca . . . ti-ni?" said Bianca Perez, 11, sounding out the first word in the recipe for our second meal, bucatini with spicy summer squash and white beans.
"It's a kind of pasta," I said, digging into the bag of groceries to show them. "It's a little thicker than spaghetti but hollow in the middle."
Bucatini With Spicy Squash and Beans
Makes 6 servings
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or less)
We talked about presentation, and Aniyah spent a lot of time meticulously arranging the apples on the plate in a spiral. Maliyah enjoyed working with Julie to make a pretty salad! They took such pride in making things look attractive.
Everyone (except Maliyah) loved the zucchini! They all would make it again at home. We talked about using spices (hot pepper flakes in this case) to ramp up the flavor instead of oversalting things. No one wanted to mix the zucchini in with the pasta! They all thought the beans were "nasty" except for Maliyah, who thought they were good and "tasted like shrimp!" Everyone wanted tomato sauce with the pasta, veggie on the side. And they wanted meat. We explained the beans and the cheese were good proteins, but no one was buying that.
- Christine Chmielewski
We found Italy on the map and talked about different pasta shapes and passed around the bucatini so everyone could see how tubular it was. Everyone wanted a chance to grate the Parmesan. The students set the table beautifully, remembering the rule from last week: fork on left (four and left both have four letters), knife and spoon on the right (all with five letters).
We decided to serve a salad, too. Amber and Elijah worked on the dressing, the girls sliced pears, and Brandon washed and chopped the romaine. Nina composed the salad, lettuce piled in the middle with pear slices fanned around the perimeter, feta cheese sprinkled on top. The pasta was a big hit. They loved the red pepper flakes, and most added more to their plates.
- Diane Fanelli and
Young Scholars Douglass
The cooking students at St. Martin´s are (from left) Savannah Jones, Julie Smith, Kevin Day, Maliyah Gregg, Aniyah Jones, and Hope Westcott.
The cooking students at St. Martin's are (from left) Savannah Jones, Julie Smith, Kevin Day, Maliyah Gregg, Aniyah Jones, and Hope Westcott.