Memorable Meal

image My most memorable meal was definitely the pasta and tiramisu.  It was better than the clam chowder and lemon meringue.  The day we had the meal was very exciting because it was the first time eating the stuff we made ourselves.  The feel of the room was very exciting because we were about to eat.  The pasta meal was memorable because it was very delicious, especially the tiramisu that K, G, and I made. ~ W.L.

Taste

imageThis is about the first time I ate clam chowder.  I was in culinary class, sitting alongside my two friends. The meal consisted of grilled prawns, two pieces of bread, sauteed greens, and the clam chowder.  The prawns tasted really good, the sauce on them was awesome.  The greens, however, were a bit too bitter for my taste.  I helped making the bread and it tasted good.  There was also tiramisu, which I made the cream for and it turned out really good.  The star of the meal was the chowder. It was delicious. The chowder was creamy while the clams tasted incredible.  The taste was definitely memorable. ~ K.C., about our 11/7/2014 menu

About That Garden – Labor Day Update

Ida B. Garden, Labor Day 2014
Ida B. Garden, Labor Day 2014, with thanks to Stephen S. – and RiverDog Farm!

A beautiful Indian summer day.  Generous, neighborly friends. Digging and watering.  Our garden is taking shape thanks to many people, some of whom I haven’t even met – yet.  Thank you, friends.

We are entering into our 3rd week of school and now that the “back to school” social excitement has pretty much run its course, it is interesting to see students in class turning towards getting down to real work.  The biggest barriers many of them have are often around trust – trusting one’s self most of all, especially when you are doing something you’ve never done before.

I know how that feels when I’m in the garden. I’ve planted plants, but never seriously helped grow food before.  I’m not sure what the final results will look like, and there are many influences that I can’t foresee and that I don’t have any control over. Toto, I don’t think we’re in my familiar kitchen environment anymore.

Labor Day 2014 in the Garden
Labor Day 2014 in the Garden

Trust aside, I am also realizing that once you get started, growing food has a magnetism – you want to see how those plants are doing, which on this weekend, feels much like that wonderful feeling my great grandmother used to describe when you know there is a good book waiting for you at the end of the day.  Now I want to visit the garden to see what is waiting there too.  How lucky we are to have this luxurious chance to learn in this way, with a safety net of great farmers not far from us should our yield fall short.

Meanwhile, our class will be getting our teamwork and cooking skills together so that when this garden is producing, we will have a rare chance to harvest, cook and serve this delicious fare to ourselves and perhaps also to our Long Table Dinner guests… in about 8 weeks, I trust.

Ghost town

IMG_20140806_121151 6x8

Stopped by school today, with less than a week before teachers head back.  It is a bit of a ghost town, maybe due to the crews that come through over the summer to rewax the floors, or the summer program which “borrows” the building for a month but without any reference points on where things belong.  It takes me a few extra days to put the furniture and equipment back, repaint the chalkboard (which I may not get to this time) and see what’s what. A good time to get mentally ready.

And then every year, I notice the reality that I may find things out of place like that ghost town, but it still feels pretty desolate once I’ve put them back.  Being a school where students catch up on credits means people blow through here in comparison to a regular high school.  It is amazing that we can even build the relationships we do with our students, with the shift change tempo of our quarter based school year.  But I know the family feel of the school will come back, it does every year, a real tribute to the value of our students.  And that means when they are not there, it is pretty empty.

So I went home and immediately got out more seeds to plant.  A good cure for desolation.  Now that I’ve figured out a useful purpose for those egg cartons, my back deck is starting to look like a nursery.  Whatever we can do to keep things lively! The sprouts pictured are sunflowers (thank you Will Allen & his Good Food Revolution).  Put 1/4 cup in a quart mason jar and you get almost a quart of sprouts in about a week.  To eat.  Small satisfactions really count on days like these.

Experimenting with delicious ingredients

We’ve had some good results these past few weeks as we get ready for our next Long Table Dinner on March 6th (sold out already!!!).   One side project was to find a crispy garnish that would also be tasty and light.  Kale chips fall apart, but then we happened on this…

peppered parsley crop 72Yes, parsley crisps.  You make them just like kale chips, getting rid of most of the stems which turn stringy.  Then (when my back was turned) the genius part happened:

They put salt AND ground black pepper on them before baking.

GENIUS.

Next up:  we were given these oranges, 2 cases of little sweet mandarins.  The peels were very tasty too so we made them into candied orange slices.  I love making marmalade, but it is, frankly, a labor of love.  So much work!  These sliced up fairly well and took to being simmered in sugar syrup quite happily.

oranges in syrup

 

Now that we’ve canned most of them (for Long Table Dinner guests to take home if they like), we wanted to figure out the best use for the extras.  So we’ve been making various versions of a delicious chili sauce:

chili sauce 2 crop 72

 

It is great to witness the students getting excited about experimenting with recipes and enjoying the results. Even though the Long Table Dinner is sold out, let us know if you want us to share any of the recipes. A super special thank you to all of those who have been helping us get ready and get the word out.  We are so grateful!!!

 

Q3 Wk1: We’re starting off on the right foot

Every quarter has solove cooking 2014 cropme level of new mix at our school.  A funny mix of fresh start and unexpected change.  That is where returning students are a huge help.  They bring experience and sometimes can even make doing dishes seem cool.  For me anyway. The trick is keeping them interested in doing more than they ever have before, particularly when they enjoy what we have done in the past.

Still, here is one returning student’s review in the first week of the quarter – the first day we pulled out recipes.   Who ever invented colored dry erase and sheet protectors was genius.  Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Trying things out.

pasta al brodo sneak peak We took some time this week to work on a little hand cut pasta, and on making really good chicken broth.  But we were also working on our teamwork in ways we hadn’t yet this quarter.  Students impressed us with how they came together as a team with group awareness and efficiency.

This may have also been because many students committed to working the Long Table Dinner this week …exciting!  It added a delicious real world focus to our work.   Success all aroice cream cakeund.

Please join us for the Long Table Dinner Thursday October 10th!  Tickets and details are at:
http://longtabledinner4.brownpapertickets.com

 

Halfway through Q1 2013

We’ve been busy and we will only be getting busier!  Students are full of energy and are getting ready for our next Long Table Dinner… only 3 weeks away!  Save the Date! October 10th, 6-8:30pm!