Week 5: Layers of wonderful spices and flavors

Sauliyah Hammond dices the jalapeno for the vegetarian chili students prepared during week 5 of My Daughter’s Kitchen at Olney Elementary

Choppin', communication and chillen' were the three c's for week 5. The students couldn't wait to show off their knife skills with one another as they each took turns chopping the veggies for the vegetarian chili. Ciany, or newcomer, jumped right in as she started to read the ingredients and the steps for the chili.  One by one the students put the ingredients into the big pot creating layers of wonderful spices and flavors.  "Carlos do you want to chop the onion?" asked Ms. Liesner.  "No, no, no!" Carlos cried as he remembered his experience chopping onions last week for the quick beef stew.  "I don't think my eyes have quite recovered from last week" Carlos joked.  James decided he would be the guy for the job and diced the onions without dropping a single tear!

Once all the ingredients were in the pot we started on the guacamole.  Carlos, being puerto rican knew just what to do as he explained how he is no stranger to avocados.  However, when he cut it open we realized it was extremely hard.  Ms. Howard decided to look up ways to soften an avocado and she found that if we wrapped it in tinfoil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes it would soften up.  With our chili simmering on the stove, and the avocados in the oven, all that was left to do was wait and hope the avocado would soften.

After 20 minutes the avocados were still too hard so we unfortunately had to scrap the guacamole.  The students set the table and Ms. Liesner ladled the chili into cups for the students to try.  We all sat around the big round table and joked around about how it would be a good idea to wait a little bit to sample the chili since we remembered last week how we practically burned out tongues diving into the quick beef stew too quickly.  To everyone's surprise the chili was very favorable and substantial.  "I cannot believe there is no meat in here, I don't even miss it!" said Ms. Liesner.  "I usually make chili in my slow cooker to let the flavors marry over night, but I am surprised at how much flavor is packed in the chili in such a short amount of time!" said Ms. Howard.  "My favorite is the celery" smiled Ciany.  "This may be my favorite recipe yet!" said James.  All of a sudden it grew quiet as everyone enjoyed their hearty meal.  With our bellies full and smiles on our faces, another successful week had come to an end.

--Samantha Liesner