We told Keyshawn Andrews that he was getting a "Master Class" in cooking today - two teachers and one student! - because the other students either couldn't make it or had to leave early. We expanded the vegetable selection to sweet potato, white potato, and parsnips, as well as eggplant for "fries." While the fries were baking, Keyshawn prepared and panfried the turkey burgers in the electric fry pan. We still haven't gotten the commercial oven to work in our favor. The fries tasted good, but the panko browned too much.
While we were working, we talked about his recent trip to Howard University, a school he liked a lot and would like to attend.
We sent all the food home with Keyshawn for him to share with his family, which he was very happy about.
For the burgers and the eggplant, we divided into two groups, with two students making the burgers and three working on the fries. Brandon Day and Alaina Tomlinson were a little squeamish about mixing the meat, but they used gloves and got through. Other than that, everyone is getting into the swing of peeling and chopping, so the meal prep went very fast with a lot of time left to eat the final product and discuss dressing up for Halloween. The end results were the burgers were well liked, but the eggplant fries not so much.
"The turkey burger was delicious," said Amber Jacobs. "Loved it with the hot sauce."
"The eggplant fries were good and salty," said Nina Cunningham. "This is the best I ever had. P.S. The best thing is being with my friends."
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