These last few weeks have slipped through my fingers but I promise the kids are still cooking. Herewith is a round up of our recipes to bring everyone up to speed. Happy feasting!
Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Grilled Cheese.
This is one of my favorite soups made many times before in slightly different forms. I wasn’t too thrilled with the one we made in class and I blame it on using vegetable stock over chicken stock. It was still delicious but didn’t have as deep a flavor I think chicken stock imparts. For this one we were exploring curry. Many of the kids knew they’d had it before but couldn’t necessarily place it. Finally on Thursday a student mentioned it smelled like Tikka Masala. Thank you scent memory!
The apple grilled cheese was of course a favorite. I used brioche bread and purchased a yellow cheddar and a Gruyere cheese, allowing the students to taste both cheeses and pick the one they wanted to use. Surprisingly most went for the Gruyere saying how much they preferred “white cheddar” over yellow. A few students weren’t too sure about apples on their grilled cheese– “trust me, this is a favorite combination for almost everyone.” (Especially if you throw in a glass a wine.) In the end, one of my students proclaimed these sandwiches were “definitely better than the grilled cheeses at school.” I replied that it’s probably because we’re using real cheese. Another said they had never tasted bread so delicious. (Which might be true because I had adults raiding my refrigerator all week and was provided a key to lock my fridge after that week.)
All recipes found at the bottom of entry.
When the year started I thought it would be great to have my students make something for Thanksgiving they could all share with their families. I originally wanted to make apple pies and even had fall-shaped cookie cutters for decorating the top crust. In the end, I went with a graham-cracker crusted crumble. A little more rustic looking and a little easier time-wise since we only have one hour and if we were to make a pie I wanted homemade crust. Also, do you know how many supplies you need to make 70 pies!?
I bought apple peelers for this and the kids had a blast peeling all the apples with ease. Highly recommended. I also bought apple cutters that cut wedges. These were a little difficult for young ones to maneuver with apples sometimes flying from beneath them. In the future I might add the apple cutting attachment on the apple peeler, getting it all done in one shot.
Otherwise, they loved the crumbles. Most were shocked at how tart cranberries are raw, but how they pop into something so sweet and juicy once baked. The students got really creative here. Whereas I said, just add a bunch of handfuls of filling and fill the spaces with cranberries (in the interest of time), a lot of students took great care to layer the apples, dotting the pie symmetrically with cranberries. None could believe how high we had to stack the apples, some literally putting 4 slices of apples in their crust (making smiley faces) and saying they were done. “Keep going! We need a mountain,” I kept saying.
So the kids happily brought their crumbles home and I had a baked crumble for each class to enjoy and taste what their finished product may be. This past week some of the students even told me they were bringing their crumble on the plane to their Thanksgiving feasts outside the city! I love it.
Cranberry-Caesar Salad with Turkey.
Last week was a shortened week for the holiday but I wanted to keep it holiday themed. Since we did our crumbles the week before (every student had a crumble to take home), this week was our “Thanksgiving leftovers.” Caesar salad was always one of my favorite salads growing up (and still is). When I was young, no anchovies please, not realizing they were hidden inside the dressing. Now of course, extra anchovies, please! So I thought this would be a fun salad to explore.
I’ve made a grapefruit caesar before so I knew I wanted to replace the tart lemon with some tart cranberry sauce. Turkey was the obvious Thanksgiving leftover protein here and we made croutons with stale bread. Equally delicious, or perhaps more delicious, would have been frying up some stuffing patties as the croutons (next time).
At the beginning of class I had a few girls come up to me: “Oh, I’m really sick.”
“No you’re not or you wouldn’t have been in school today.”
“No, I have that H1N1, you just can’t tell.”
“No, I mean I’m allergic to salad.”
“No you’re not, I have a list of everything everyone is allergic to.”
“Okay, I don’t eat salad.”
“Rule #1 is we all eat everything.”
“Fine, but I’m not going to like it.”
“Great, that’s rule #2.”
In the end these same girls were in awe of the pink hue this dressing took on, “It looks like a strawberry smoothie!” And it did. The cranberry turned out to be a great addition and then, “Where did all those wormy fish go?”
“They’re in the dressing.”
“I can’t even taste them!”
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash, reserve seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tart apple, plus (recommended: Granny Smith), peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon curry
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special Equipment: Immersion Blender
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, deseed, reserving seeds. Place facedown on a baking sheet and bake 40 minutes. Rinse seeds and lay out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake about 10 minutes, until golden and just beginning to pop.
Warm the olive oil in a saucepot on medium high heat. Saute onion and apple, 10 minutes. Add curry and stir to incorporate. Scoop squash flesh from the skin. Add flesh to saucepot. Add stock, bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or carefully with a stand blender). Serve, sprinkled with seeds or chopped apple.
Apple Grilled Cheese
16 slices thick cut potato bread, challah or brioche
Gruyere cheese (or cheddar), sliced
2 tart apples (recommended: Granny Smith), cored, sliced into 16 to 18 segments
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
NOTE: Other delicious additions include roasted garlic, caramelized onions, thick-cut bacon, and/ or sautéed mushroom
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay 8 slices of bread on a baking sheet. Top the bread with a few thick slices of cheese. Layer with apples then top with another single slice of cheese. Top with the second slice of bread, brush with melted butter and bake, 15 minutes, flipping sandwiches and brushing with more butter halfway through baking.
1 9-inch crumble
4-5 tart apples (recommended: Granny Smith, McIntosh, Cortland), peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons flour
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Make Filling: Toss filling ingredients until evenly combined, set aside, allowing flavors to mingle.
Make Crust: Mix crushed graham crackers, melted butter, lemon zest and nutmeg. Push into a 9-inch pie tin, coating into an even crust on bottom and sides, approximately 1/8-inch thick.
Make Topping: Mix filling ingredients with a fork until large crumbs form.
Assemble Pie: Add filling over crust. Sprinkle topping over apple filling. Bake or freeze.
A few hours before serving, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove crumble from freezer, remove any coverings and bake on middle rack 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees F, bake 30-35 minutes, until bubbly, fragrant and apples are tender. Cool on a rack at least 1 hour before serving.
(Optional) Reheat a slice in the microwave and top with a scoop of vanilla, caramel or cinnamon ice cream.
Cranberry-Caesar Salad with Turkey
4 anchovies, patted dry
3 large cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
3 tablespoons cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tarragon or apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh-ground black pepper
Make Croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Assemble bread on a sheet pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden.
Make Dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Note: If you trust the source of your eggs and know they are fresh (bought direct from a farm or Greenmarket) you may eat them raw. If not, boil egg for 1 minute before using.
Assemble Salad: Toss dressing with leftover salad greens, about 1 cup of shredded turkey and croutons.