Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Tag: Healthyeating

The Science Of Cooking: Citrus Rocks!

 

IMG_0826“If we look deeply into a flower, what do we see? Sunshine, a cloud, earth, minerals, the gardener, the complete cosmos.”-Thich Nhat Hanh

Citrus Rocks the Science of Cooking Class where fourth grade Chef Scientists explore the link between minerals that originate in the soil, to the unique role it plays on the human diet, along with a little citrus history, some fun anecdotes, and a healthy recipe.

Citrus Love: With its sheer variety and profusion of colors, citrus fruit esteemed in many cultures as a symbol of happiness — is not hard to love. Even though many citrus fruits are common, there are a few lesser known examples in our harvest basket that stand out. From the wild-looking, yet extremely fragrant Buddha’s hand, to the tiny oval kumquat with its sweet rind and intense tart pulp — make our lips pucker, to the bowling-ball sized pomelo that hangs on trees spanning across the landscape to an impressive 50 feet high.  The citrus harvest basket is brimming with diverse learning opportunities that weave together lessons about folklore, health, environment, and more.  It imparts a sense of wonder and appreciation that inspires students to retell the citrus anecdotes from memory throughout the year.  Retelling a story is a valuable sequencing skill that supports reading comprehension and writing skills in the classroom, and is notable, since cooking classes only meet one hour a month, and in some cases, less than that.

Good to the Bone:  As we turn our spotlight over to the science lab, fourth graders  discover that minerals come from the earth, and humans absorb these minerals through the plants they eat.  As scientists, they explore the nutrients in citrus fruit, and learn that aside from the immune boosting benefits of Vitamin C, it is chock-full of minerals that help our bones, teeth, and muscles, to name a few.  And last but not least, folate, a nutrient that improves mood by raising the serotonin levels in our body, can help explain why we feel so good after eating citrus fruit.

Getting Pithy:  One of the many virtues of citrus is the entire fruit is usable– the pulp, the juice, and aromatic peel, complete as nature intended, and as it turns out, is the perfect ingredient for the recipe– Fruit Roll Ups.  Click here for the link to the recipe.  Student chefs put their cooking skills into action using four colorful varieties of citrus fruit– the Cara Cara, Moro Blood, and Navel Oranges, along with the Satsuma Mandarin. As they section, slice, zest, peel, and juice, their way through the recipe, our excited chefs discover after eating the soft pulp leftover from juicing, that the hollowed out navel orange morphs into a drinking cup!  Finally, we mix and match citrus vocabulary words, like pithy, zesty, and juicy in a citrus acrostic poem, where students create phrases using the concepts they learned from the Science of Cooking Class.  Mindful eating, along with citrus poetry is a great ending to our class.

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Confetti Spaghetti

Bold colorful peppers and vine-ripened tomatoes always welcome me back to the kitchen classroom in the late summer, where I teach elementary school children how to cook real food inspired by the garden.

We kick off the season with the recipe, Confetti Spaghetti, highlighting the harvest’s bounty of bright jewel tones that look like the fireworks sky on the Fourth of July– a party on a plate that tastes like a celebration in your mouth.

And, oh so healthy too, these vibrant colored fruits and vegetables have a generous infusion of beneficial vitamins and minerals that nourish both the mind and body.

It’s no wonder that students eagerly swarm like bees to honey, to the cooking lesson. Excited fingers slice, dice, and roll fresh leaves of basil into cylinders that are thinly cut into a chiffonade.  This early hands-on nutrition lesson is not only fun and engaging for children, but will have a positive impact on the choices they make about food for many years into the future.

Confetti Spaghetti is one of the most versatile recipes you can have in your repertoire.  Feel free to choose your favorite seasonal vegetables, red, orange, even purple, and experiment with different flavors and textures or whatever is available to you.  Click here for the Confetti Spaghetti recipe.

Tomato Confit

Confit sounds fancy, but don’t let the word fool you, its origin is quite humble, pronounced con-fee, it comes from the French verb confire, which means to preserve.  Confit, one of the oldest methods of preserving food before refrigeration, is a process of slow cooking fruits, vegetables, or more commonly, meat.

When summer is at the height of the tomato harvest, confit is a wonderful way to capture the taste and essence of this late season fruit before it disappears.  Tomato Confit has an intense concentrated flavor that is sweet like jam and smooth as velvet, it’s so tasty you want to slather it over anything and everything, trust me.  One of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy tomato confit, is to simply spread it on crostini and top it with some fresh chopped basil.  So good!  Click here for recipe.

Full of nutrients too, tomatoes are truly a gift of health that your body will appreciate and thank you for later.  So what’s not to love?  Why not give this easy to prepare Tomato Confit Crostini recipe a try!

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut-squash-soup-jpgOn stormy weather nights when I crave something warm and comforting, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of butternut squash soup to assuage the winter chill. This soup is easy to prepare and with a handful of simple ingredients, it will turn into something creamy and soothing. A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds adds a little burst of color and crunch. Soup On!

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

6 cups vegetable stock or water

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 pound sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

6 cups vegetable stock or water

3/4 cup coconut milk

Season with salt and white pepper

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions, and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock or water to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the butternut squash and sweet potato, return to a boil then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash and sweet potato is soft.

Pour the soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Add the coconut milk. Return the blended butternut squash and coconut mixture to the saucepan, then, bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.

Confetti Spaghetti

Bold colorful peppers and vine-ripened tomatoes always welcome me back to the kitchen classroom in the late summer, where I teach elementary school children how to cook real food inspired by the garden.

We kick off the season with the recipe, Confetti Spaghetti, highlighting the harvest’s bounty of bright jewel tones that look like the fireworks sky on the Fourth of July– a party on a plate that tastes like a celebration in your mouth.

And, oh so healthy too, these vibrant colored fruits and vegetables have a generous infusion of beneficial vitamins and minerals that nourish both the mind and body.

It’s no wonder that students eagerly swarm like bees to honey, to the cooking lesson. Excited fingers slice, dice, and roll fresh leaves of basil into cylinders that are thinly cut into a chiffonade.  This early hands-on nutrition lesson is not only fun and engaging for children, but will have a positive impact on the choices they make about food for many years into the future.

Confetti Spaghetti is one of the most versatile recipes you can have in your repertoire.  Feel free to choose your favorite seasonal vegetables, red, orange, even purple, and experiment with different flavors and textures or whatever is available to you.  Click here for the Confetti Spaghetti recipe.

Meditation On A Citrus Fruit

The cheerful colors, fragrance and sweet taste of seasonal citrus fruit, bring a burst of sunshine in the middle of winter that enliven our senses, as we welcome the New Year with positive energy.

To celebrate the citrus harvest, students begin cooking classes with a time-honored tradition of meditating on a satsuma mandarin orange.  Through mindful eating practices, students learn how to awaken a deeper appreciation of the food they eat, and become more conscious of the connection it has to their health and environment.  As we pause and refresh our breath, we close our eyes, and savor the beauty of the mandarin, with gratitude for its nourishment, and its sweet nectar that embrace all our senses.  And with the knowledge that it belongs to a greater whole—the land, sun, and sky—we fully appreciate the splendor of this gift of nature, in this precious moment of calm and stillness.