Our student chefs have been busy this spring! Learning and eating was the name of the game in our culinary classes developed and taught by Nicole Whittington-Johnson. Culinary classes alternate with school farm classes for grades 3 – 6. Here’s what was on the menu:
Third grade student chefs made carrot pumpkin soup. They worked on precise measuring, added puree to their vocabulary and utilized frozen pumpkin puree from our Thanksgiving Harvest Feast, learning how to preserve foods to avoid food waste.
While waiting for the spring crops to grow, the students cared for herbs and peashoots under grow lights. There are a number of uses for peashoots, including the School Farms famous peashoot pesto. Fifth and sixth graders took it a step further and made the ultimate companion for peashoot pesto…Peashoot PASTA!
Student chefs measured, mixed and hand rolled their pasta dough (using all purpose and whole wheat flour) and cut them into fettuccine style noodles with pizza cutters. Pasta was topped with carrot sauce made from school farm carrots and rounded out with a sprinkle of parmesan thanks to the Goose Grocer!
Remember those classroom herbs we mentioned? We were able to grow and enjoy dill, cilantro, parsley, and basil. They served as the inspiration for our Herbed Butter Recipe, along side some perennial herbs (thyme, rosemary) from the High School garden. We learned the difference between herbs (leaves of plant) and spices (roots, bark, seeds, berries, flowers of plant) and which cultural cuisines their flavor profiles best serve. Always opting for the healthy choice, our herbed potato salad was vinegar based instead of mayonnaise based. The 2nd grade-grown Makah Ozette potatoes held up nicely.
The fourth graders learned fraction equivalents through the process of making Garden Carrot bread. A delicious support to their math curriculum!
When students were asked about their favorite recipe lesson from the school year, pasta was easily their number one pick. However, close second was the Garden Stir Fry. While fifth graders were learning about Chinese dynasties, they also learned to make this Chinese dish with veggies from the school farm: overwintered storage carrots, kale and kale flowers, and bok choy (grown in our hoop house). Thank you Good Cheer for the onions! Students took full ownership over the preparation and cooking process, and worked in groups of four at skillet cooking stations. The key here was high heat and constant stir(fry)ing. While students enjoyed the recipe they whipped up we had a great discussion about what else could be added to stir fry. In the end we decided you could add your favorite vegetables, seasonal ingredients, or any produce from your refrigerator that you need to eat before it goes bad. Once again the students are considering food waste!
To wrap up the school year, we explored the sweet side of the garden. It was still a tad early in the season for berries or orchard fruit so we revisited our herb friends and made Fresh Mint Ice Cream! The timing couldn’t have been better…this sweet treat came at the end of a long week of rigorous state testing. The students shook up mint and slightly sweetened coconut milk inside ziploc bags surrounded by ice and rock salt, summer camp style. Chef Nicole blasted “Uptown Funk” and the students danced around the classroom, while shake shake shaking their ingredients into ice cream and also learning about the freezing point of water when salt is added. Students hypothesized what the consistency would be after 10 minutes of shaking, and the top three predictions were 1) kinda like a smoothie, 2) soft serve consistency, 3) actual ice cream. What would you guess?
The students now have some great recipes to make for their families over the summer!