Monday, October 25, 2010

What's cooking, kids?

Today was a food day in my middle school world.  And what a food day it was.  I was given the task of creating something with the green tomatoes weighing down the vines in our GRO Club garden.

Friday morning, I casually mentioned to my co-sponsor that it would be a shame to waste all those beautiful tomatoes...  So she called me up on her way home from school and suggested that I make something with them for the kids in the club on Monday.  On Sunday, I headed over to school, scissors in hand, to cut some and make salsa.  Kids like salsa and chips, right?  And yes they did.  It was a huge hit today.  Thank goodness.
She had planned to make something with the broccoli.
The bees love what is left of the basil (I dodged them and cut a few leaves to use in my chicken recipe for dinner).
What other treats were in store for me today?  My C period French class are quite the little gourmands, I've discovered.  Three treats were on tap today.
The first was a box of vanilla and chocolate macarons from Trader Joe's brought in by Nicolas.
Non, he didn't make them himself, but he is researching the history of this little delicacy and I will share recipes in case anyone wants to make them at home.
Number 2 was a tray of pains aux chocolat prepared by Noëlle.  She explained how she made them and then we are sampled them.  Her great discovery was the difference when the croissant is brushed with egg white before baking.  She definitely liked the appearance of the brushed ones best, she reported.  I discovered this at the age of 49-- she is way ahead of me.  (Oh, how I longed for a cup of coffee from Foster's Market, but there was no time for that malheureusement.)

Next came Olivier's tarte aux pommes.
It was delicious.  Oui, vraiment délicieuse.  And just as we were getting ready for this treat, the candidate interviewing today for middle school director came in to observe my class.  I admit that I was a bit nervous.  No verb conjugating going on.  No deep discussions of The Little Prince.  We'd already covered Le Mot du Jour (la fête- holiday, in case you are curious) and we hadn't gotten around to checking homework and speaking French.  No, just Olivier explaining how he made the crust, sliced the apples just so and baked his tartes.  He made two.  This is a jeune homme who tends to be a bit quiet in class.  But he sure can bake.
Merci, mes élèves.  I intend to use all of this when I make a presentation at next week's NCAIS conference in Charlotte.  My session is called "Get them cooking!"  If today is any indication, I think I am making great progress, n'est-ce pas?

Fresh Tomato Salsa
(from Favorite Recipes with Herbs by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good, 1997, Good Books)

4 large plum tomatoes (I used 2 plums and 2 green tomatoes)
1/4 c. chopped scallions
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper, or to taste (I didn't use this for the kids)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Cut the red tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Cut halves into 1/4-inch pieces.  (The green tomatoes do not need to be seeded, just chopped.)  Place in bowl.
Add remaining ingredients.  Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours before serving.

Makes 2 cups

Bon appétit, mes jeunes gourmands!


Kiki said...

Hi my friend; I just clicked on your name on the comments to David's pumpkin upload and found this lovely blog....
I won't go into details but I'd sincerely like to congratulate you to obviously teaching a very valuable and fun lesson to your students! Cookery lessons in school; that's absolutely marvellous.... I love the enthusiasm with which you described the ideas and results of yourself and your students. If you can get only one child to become a 'food lover' instead of a simple and boring 'food consumer'; you have done a great job. And if you're a good teacher on top of this; you're a marvel.... You look like both to me! Mes félicitations... Gros bisous d'une Suisse qui habite in France
Kiki xoxoxoxox

Quay Po Cooks said...

There were no cookery classes during my school days but that was umpteen years ago haha... I agree with Kiki, you are teaching a lesson of joy to your students! If I am not mistaken, now they have cookery lessons i schools in my country.