Our three students at Wissahickon Awbury were very excited to make the Week 5 meal. They are all fans of tacos, and with so much to prepare, volunteer Janie Glatt was rotating slicing, dicing, cutting, and squeezing duties non-stop. Kendall Jones, Saige Frazier, and Egypt Scott are very helpful to each other. They make sure each step gets finished so we can stay in the right time frame and keep moving. And, although cleaning up is not their favorite part of the cooking experience, they willingly do it so they are ready for their next assignment. Egypt Scott wanted to slice the onion, and when she was almost finished, exclaimed that she didn't cry. Progress! Each student took a turn at squishing the marinade and steak mixture, sauteing the vegetables, and getting the toppings into bowls and onto our table. Responses were mixed. Kendall Jones didn't like it all that much but really liked making the sour cream from Greek Yogurt and lime juice. Saige Frazier thought it was good enough to make for Week 8, and Egypt Scott liked it the most, giving it an "infinity out of 10" rating. All three agreed if they made it again they would add more seasoning, like Mrs. Dash's, taco sauce, or dill.
—Janie Glatt, Mary Beth Von Triestem
Halloween did not stop our future chefs this week. We had all six students show up as well as Barbara Krumbhaar, our sub for Jane Pupis. Hopefully the excitement is for the Lime-marinated Steak Tacos. Madina Azamjon and Marjona Asrova never tasted tacos before. Juan Rivera wasn't so crazy about beef. Dominic Bondarenko doesn't like green peppers. Fred Moore was very hungry and wanted to get started. We reviewed the marinade and watched as Mrs. Munafo cut up the long hot green pepper, very carefully. Before some of the students had experienced getting onion juice on their hands and then touching their eyes. Everybody began chopping and dicing the ingredients for the marinade. Fred and Dominic did a great job slicing the steak into strips. "I only like the red peppers," said Dominic. "Me too," cried Mrs. Munafo, "and that's why I brought this (holding a red pepper). With six people, we quickly cut up all of the veggies and Nigina and Juan went to the stove with Miss Barbara to sauté them. Madina enjoyed crumbling the queso fresco cheese and everyone got a taste. "It's tasty," said Marjona. Our avocado was still not quite ripe but Nigina and Juan sliced it up. We had separate bowls for the greek yogurt, the limes and the chopped cilantro. As a healthy Halloween treat, we had apple slices with peanut butter. "Can I eat the apples now?" cried Fred. They were for after the tacos. Everyone got to make their own using the corn and flour tortillas we had. They all got eaten but, as Juan said, "the flour tortillas were easier to fold." Some loved the meat, others loved the cheese, and still others just enjoyed making their own tacos. There were no leftovers, even with the apples as a treat, but we did manage to scrape together one taco for Fred to take home. When his dad entered, Mrs. Munafo told him, "Fred sure can eat!" His dad replied, "Oh yeah, he's always eating at home."
— Susan Munafo
This week the students loved what they had make to eat. We had many compliments from the various staff members who said that it smelled delicious. The girls really enjoyed everything that they had did this week. They are thinking that this may be the meal that they would like to make for the final meal. They thought that it had a lot of flavor, they really did not care for the cilantro, but they were all willing to try it.
— Wendy Vandenberg
Bayard Taylor Elementary
The day after Halloween, our Bayard Taylor chefs were bursting at the seams with energy. It could have been a candy buzz, but we'd like to think it was excitement about making Lime-Marinated Steak Tacos. They'd been looking forward to it all semester.
This was a volunteers' dream meal, one that every kid wanted to take home to share with their grandmothers, parents and siblings.
"This is the best we have made so far!" exclaimed Angel Ezell Sanchez.
"The spice really got me!" added his twin brother Angel Luis.
Our chefs didn't mind that there was a lot of preparation, first making the marinade, and then cooking and assembling.
Aliani Cabrera and Gabriel Rodriguez jumped right in to chop the onions and peppers, and then dissolved in laughter as each got onion tears, after vowing they would not.
They and their classmates loved the spices and juices that went into the marinade — cumin, garlic, cilantro, lime and jalapenos.
"This smells soooo good," enthused Aliani, as Gabriel offered the mixing bowl for everyone to sniff.
Everyone had fun "smushing" the steak together with the marinade, and each had to have a turn. It goes without saying that there was no shortage of volunteers to cook the steak and vegetables in the skillet.
As the meal simmered, our chefs worked the remaining limes for the lime crema and wedges — and competed for the right to suck the last juice from each lime rind.
Then it was time to assemble — a challenge since everyone seemed to want to mix everything at once. After we got them into an assembly line, things moved more smoothly, though, as they spooned each ingredient into the taco shell.
They were not disappointed.
"It was not spicy, but had a little tang," Aliani said.
"I liked the spicy," Gabriel added. "I want to take some to my grand-mom."
— Nancy Smith and Peter Landry
Hunter Elementary The students at Hunter Elementary School unanimously proclaimed the steak marinated tacos to be their favorite recipe so far! The food not only tasted yummy, it was fun to prepare. This recipe had the most steps as compared to the others. Samira said, "Even though there were lots of parts to the recipe, it didn't seem to take long because it was fun to make." The girls enjoyed all of the flavors and ingredients in this meal, especially the cilantro. Aneijha appeared to be pro at chopping the cilantro and making the crema. The only complaint was not enough spice. Genesis wrote in her journal, " I wish it had more spice in it!" Others agreed with her. The students may not always like vegetables but they enjoy lots of flavor!
— Angela Burke and Cindy DePasquale
Robert B. Pollock School
The girls have been looking forward to this recipe since day one! They were eager to dive right in and get started! They split up and worked on mixing the marinade and cutting the meat. They enjoyed learning about new ingredients and what it means to "marinate" meat. Viktoriia commented on the stickiness of the garlic while Hailey learned how to chop and use cilantro. Both Patricia and Alina did a great job preparing the meat by cleaning it and chopping it for our tacos! The girls had a great job decorating their tacos and as we sat around to eat we discussed different things we could add. Alina said, "Wwe could use tomatoes!" while Patricia suggested salsa. They all loved the lime yogurt and connected it to sour cream!
— Kristen Smith
Gesu School Student Chefs Sanaa Burton, Simran Singh, and Desiree White agreed that they were very glad to have meat as part of the menu this week. We discussed the fact that we did cook turkey for a previous recipe; they acknowledged that it was protein but said it wasn't the same as using steak which they all felt was real meat. They also were glad not to have "too many veggies" but there was much drama about chopping onions. It made for watery eyes, taking turns, and looking for strategies to help avoid runny noses and eyes. Ms Pickett, Ms Mooney and Ms O'Neill loved the smell of cilantro but the girls did not. They thought it smelled funky. We learned to keep the handle of a skillet away from an open flame and to turn it towards the stove rather than pointing out where someone could walk into it. We learned to spell yogurt two ways (with or without an "h"), tortilla,and avocado. Sanaa said she liked that we are cooking foods from different cultures instead of just familiar foods. Simran organized the clean up effort —she said she washed the dishes last week so Desiree could have a turn this week while the others dried and put away. We had a good time and Sanaa announced that she lives for Tuesdays, Desiree said her favorite part is working together and Simran is so very glad she joined because she loves to cook and because she's getting to know two of her classmates better!
Hours before the bewitching hour on Halloween, our mini chefs are busy chopping, dicing and marinating. Everyone was assigned a part in making the marinade. Ivan Zheng finely chopped the cilantro, Winni Zheng sliced the beef into finger length stripes, Stella Chau massacred the garlic and Ava Stuchko juiced the limes. They all knew to "beware of the jalapeno". No one jumped in to dice it. Finally, Ava S and Stella Chau acquiesced and donned the gloves and took on the task.
The slippery avocado almost got away from Ava Stuchko and Stella Chau, but they managed to hold on to it. Taking out the pit proved to be another adventure. The aroma of sauteing onions and peppers, as Winni kept a watch over the skillet, brought everyone to the stove with wide eyes.
Time to break up the queso fresco. Ava Stuchko exclaimed, "this cheese is so soft." The mini chefs prepared their tacos with gusto. Stella says, " We all love tacos!". The silence from everyone only confirmed it- Lime Marinated Steak Tacos- a hit!
— Cindy O'Donnell, Lorrie Craley
"Many hands make light work," Ethan Santiago recalled from the morning's lesson on adages and proverbs. He was describing the teamwork employed in preparing the highly-anticipated steak tacos. This was voted the favorite recipe so far, with the lime crema getting credit for adding another layer of flavor to the tacos. We may see this dish on the final menu!
— Susan Lore, Annamiek Van Laar, Edith Bobb
Sacred Heart students Janiyah Kellum, Rahsaan Jones, Ha Nguyen and Reggie Hernandez were all thrilled to see some of their favorite foods on the work surface when they entered class this week. Who doesn't love steak, cheese and tortillas?! They got to chopping veggies, slicing the meat and shredding the cheese very quickly. Although some of the students had tasted guacamole, a whole avocado was a new ingredient for them and Reggie particularly enjoyed slicing it. Everyone agreed that their favorite part was the meat. Said Ha, "I can really taste the lime (marinade). It helps to balance the dish and make it lighter."
— Susan Harris, Lisa Hendrickson
St. Augustine Academy
The steak tacos had "lots of flavor" they all agreed. Brynn Mitchell exclaimed "this recipe has all the vibes —peppers for spring." "Steak for summer," added Brianna Arroyo. "Avocado for fall," was Peyton Gooden's response. "Onion for winter," was Keymoni Thornton's final addition.
— Cheryl Pfeiffer and Welcome Furber
Visitation BVM School The class worked energetically to prepare this week's recipe. The right sequencing of steps and correctly-timed cooking were the challenges. As predicted last class, Lime-Marinated Steak Taco was a winner! Our taco-loving group found this new twist on this American favorite delicious. Several tasty flavors were introduced with the trimmings of avocado, fresh cilantro, queso fresco cheese and lime crema. Perhaps this dish will be served at the graduation dinner?
— Maria Brown
We had a smaller group this week and when they heard what we were making, they were pretty excited! Zamir Castro and Alex Rosa were in charge of marinating the steak while the girls were in charge of chopping peppers and onions and manning the stove. It wasn't long before the onion tears were running down Allison Kelso's face. Just as Alex was about to shake the bag with the marinated steak in it, I told him to make sure it was closed tight. Too late; strips of steak came flying out but luckily, none landed on the floor! They are already talking about making this for their families.
—Maureen Barrett and Mariann Owens
Lewis Elkin School
Week 5- Lime marinated steak tacos was the unanimous class pleaser. Every week, after preparing, eating and cleaning up our chefs are asked to write down in their journal their thoughts and reactions to the recipe. This was Leah Rodriguez's written entry. Five star meal said, Nathan Cuevas. Preparing homemade lime crema with yogurt, a generous squeeze of lime and cilantro was the surprise touch to make the steak taco taste like no other taco the students had tasted before. The class also questioned where does the steak comes from? Adrian Gonzalez and Samuel Sanlate said "cow meat." They were correct. Something most people don't think about. The origin of the protein on your plate. Working with jalapeños was the class challenge. To prevent our budding chefs from the burning, stinging and eye tearing effect of the little green pepper we talked about not touching your eyes while working with jalapeños. And, to wash your hands when the slicing and chopping was complete. Success on all ends this week at Lewis Elkin Elementary.
— Bette Begleiter and Amy Steinberg