Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Tag: Recipe

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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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.

Beet Ketchup

Beets and ketchup may seem like an unlikely pair, but this intriguing sweet and tangy flavor combination, will truly make your taste buds come alive. If you’re a newcomer to beetroot, it’s a wonderful way to introduce this vegetable, that is by no means fancy, and is often misunderstood.

Bright and zesty with a hint of spice, this home-made ketchup is great slathered on any sandwich, over a side of sweet potato fries, and is a fantastic barbecue sauce for grilling.  Serve, as a dip for spring rolls, or over eggs—the possibilities are endless.

How do you prepare beets?  Do you have a creative way that encourages children to taste them?  I would love to hear your story.

To find out how students in the cooking classroom explore beets, click here.

Beet Ketchup

Beet Ketchup with Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized beets, diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup honey

1 ¾ cups balsamic vinegar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

¼ tsp powdered mustard

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until liquid reduces by half, about 1 hour.

Remove spices and place ketchup into a blender and purée until smooth.  The consistency will be thick, smooth, and shiny.

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.

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

Springerle IMG_0079A classic glazed gingerbread with a peppery kick!  This hand-pressed cookie, formed from a traditional Springerle wood mold, rivals an artisan ceramic tile. An absolute work of art, it is truly a spice lover’s favorite that will steal the show at any holiday treat table.

Springerle

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine cookbook.  Springerle cookie molds can be purchased from House on the Hill.

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

½ cup molasses

2 tablespoons rice syrup

Glaze:

Mix ½ cup confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon water until smooth.

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and white pepper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter until creamy.  Add sugar and mix until completely incorporated.  Add egg and mix well.  Add the molasses, rice syrup and then mix until combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat together until fully incorporated.

Remove dough and flatten it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Springerle dough

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place dough on a floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin roll out the dough about 1/3 inch thick, then lightly dust with flour.  Using a cookie mold, press over the dough and trim the edges using a knife.

Springerle tiles

Set the cookie shape on the prepared baking sheet leaving about a 1-inch space between each one.  Bake 7-12 minutes, remove from baking pan and set on a cooling rack.  While still warm, brush the glaze over the cookies with a pastry brush.  Makes 12 cookies, (3 by 3 inch size)

Lemon Energy Treats

Lemon "Energy" TreatWhile “better-for-you” energy bars are part of an on-the-go lifestyle, most are hiding a hefty (and expensive) amount of sugar, oil, and calories.  It is no surprise that obesity rates have increased in a society when meals are a rare occurrence in a busy schedule.

The healthiest nutrition bars do not contain added sugar and are full of ingredients that provide slow sustaining fuel, with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruits.  A homemade version is even healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, and is incredibly simple to throw together, for a fraction of the cost.

Lemon “energy” treats are primarily dates, sesame seeds, and almonds, and are generously flavored with fresh lemon juice, that add a bit of zing to compliment a blanket of snowy white unsweetened coconut.  The later gives this energy treat its pronounced taste that pairs well with the floral-scented lemon.

The inside of this lemony treat is soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the flecks of creamy dates.  Dates not only replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, but also contain the right amount of sugar to bring glucose levels up. It is no wonder that Muslims break their daylong Ramadan fast with this nourishing fruit.

The very best energy boost ultimately comes from healthy living.  People who eat real foods, (not processed) drink ample water, and exercise daily will have plenty of energy, the natural way.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon “energy” treats come from a Whole Foods Recipe that I tweaked, just slightly. I substituted toasted almonds for walnuts, and then added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, using a blender to purée it, instead of a food processor.  A small-sized ice cream scoop is handy to portion these energy treats into even 2 “ round shapes. Oh, and one more thing, these raw energy delights are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pitted dates, (I used Medjool dates)

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 lemon, zest

1-2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

Place dates, almonds, sesame seeds, lemon juice, zest and water in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy. If using a blender place 1/2 of the mixture into the blender and mix until creamy and repeat with the other half. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop mixture in coconut and roll into a ball shape.  Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen 2” sized balls.

Pear Compote with Chai Spice Cookie

This dish captures the flavors we love about fall, sweet juicy pears, notes of ginger, and honey, complimented by an aromatic chai spice cookie.  It is the perfect antidote for warming up a cold night.

Pear compote not only keeps well in the refrigerator, but it’s also a dessert that is good for your body and has a multitude of health benefits.

Top it over pancakes or oatmeal, or layer it with yogurt and granola for an afternoon energy boosting treat.

A special blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and white pepper, along with tiny flecks of crystallized ginger is what gives these soft and chewy, chai spice cookies their unique taste.  Combined with pear compote, this autumn favorite is a great way to celebrate the season.

Give it a try!  Click here for the Pear Compote recipe, and here for the Chai Spice Cookie recipe.

Roasted Peach Crêpes with Blueberry Compote

Is there anything better than savoring the sweet taste of summer with luscious, tree-ripened peaches that are oozing in flavor, all wrapped up in a French crêpe like a present, at a lingering pace over breakfast?  S’il vous plait!

Peach trees are the Chinese symbol for longevity.

Still in season, peaches are brimming with nutrients that make them a healthy snack, breakfast, or treat.  It’s no coincidence that peach trees are the Chinese symbol for longevity.

Even better, roasted peach crêpes are easy to prepare, and with minimal effort, crêpes can dress up any occasion from simple to luxurious with an endless variety of sweet or savory combinations. This classic dish is a true gift from the heart, enjoyed best with the ones you love, to set off a leisurely weekend day.  Click here for the recipe.

Caramelized Watermelon Salad

Nothing tastes more refreshing than a slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.  Originally from Africa, watermelon is the iconic symbol of the season, considered as American as apple pie, it announces the picnic table tradition of celebrations, with its sweet, juicy chorus of flavor, that will make your heart beat and taste buds sing.

One of my favorite ways to eat watermelon, is to slice off a thick wedge and devour its ruby-pink flesh like it was an ear of corn, with its sweet watery juice dripping from cheek to cheek, held firmly between my sticky fingers, I feast on it right down to the rind, while standing alone in front of my kitchen sink.

A visual beauty, this seasonal masterpiece is a feast for the senses that showcases the summer flavors of watermelon and tomatoes, a combination when paired together— is a taste sensation.

Another more civilized way to enjoy watermelon, is to give it a quick caramelizing sear in a sauté pan, to bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit, and then pair it with bold peppery arugula, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and creamy feta cheese, a wonderful sweet and salty flavor combination that is a seasonal delight.

This dish is easy to prepare, and if you want to share it, well, that is up to you.

Click here for the recipe.

Blue Corn Blueberry Pancakes

Fresh in season from the farmers’ market are summer blueberries.  These dark blue polka dots burst into a flavor explosion of blueberry heaven, when you bite into them.  And they come with benefits too.

Blueberries are a super food filled with nutrients that strengthen the immune system, improve memory, promote heart health, and offer a generous dose of antioxidants that help to slow down the aging process.  Yes please!

The possibilities for how to enjoy blueberries are limitless.  A  kid-friendly treat, snacking fresh from the container makes them a healthy fast food.  Sprinkle in cereal, salads, or smoothies, add blueberries to baked goods, or toss them into a sauce pan to make a topping. To celebrate the summer berry season, try this family-friendly recipe for Blue Corn Blueberry Pancakes.