Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The chefs of Ms. Wilkinson's 3rd grade class make salsa

Today, Ms. Wilkinson's 3rd graders made salsa. We used ingredients donated by Gelson's as the tomatoes that the students had planted as 2nd graders had been harvested.

Each child cut some cherry tomatoes and cilantro and could taste them separately as well as in the salsa. Some children measured olive oil and lime juice or cut onions and used the garlic press. Every child had the opportunity to taste the jalapeno pepper that was cut by one of the volunteer parents.

We discussed the origin of salsa. Most students know that it's from Mexico (where it was named by Spanish explorers), however the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans made salsa.

As part of our efforts to be sustainable, we composted the veggie scraps and used IKEA reusable plates and reused our

plastic knives.

Thanks to Lara Hilal and Winter Armm who helped with the lesson.

Salsa Recipe

8 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions
1 jaapeno pepper
1/2 bunch of cilantro
3 T. olive oil
3 T. lime juice

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ms. Schwartz's 3rd grade class makes salsa

Today the 3rd graders in Ms. Schwartz's class made salsa roja using ingredients from the school garden and Gelson's Markets.

We started the lesson with an explanation of salsa roja and salsa verde and the origin of salsa, a demonstration of the ingredients and the recipe. Salsa as we know it was named in Mexico in the 1500s by Spanish explorers but it has its origin with the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs.

Each child was given a reusable IKEA plate and a plastic knife. They then cut several cherry 100 tomatoes and cilantro into small pieces. They had the chance to sample the tomato and cilantro before it was combined in a classroom bowl with garlic, onion, lime juice and olive oil.  Some children measure and prepared these other ingredients. They were also given an opportunity to taste jalapeno pepper.

Most of the children ate the salsa and everyone ate the chips!

We use reusable plates for many of our cooking lessons at school in order to create less waste. The vegetable scraps were composted.

Thanks to Winter and Lara for assisting in this lesson!

Salsa Recipe (for a large group-alter for just a few)

8 tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 slices onion
2 cloves garlic
3 T. lime juice
3 T. olive oil

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ms. Bihari's 3rd graders make salsa roja

This week Ms. Bihari's 3rd graders made salsa roja as part of the Marquez School seed to table curriculum.  As 2nd graders these children had planted tomatoes and cilantro in their class salsa gardens. Tomatoes are warm season veggies.

We used some tomatoes from the former gardens and purchased the remainder of the ingredients with a gift card donated by Gelson's Markets.

Before "cooking" we discussed the following things: salsa roja means red sauce and it was named by Spanish explorers in Mexico; salsa verde would be green sauce; salsa was made a long time ago by the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans; we would be composting the vegetable scraps from our cooking in the garden compost bin; we'd be using 3 T. of olive oil in the sauce and 1 T. = 3 t.

Thanks to Carolyn Hasselkorn, a community volunteer who helped with this lesson.

The procedure: each child had a reusable IKEA plate and knife which they used to cut the tomatoes and cilantro. Some children prepared the onion, garlic, olive oil and lime juice. Then everything was mixed together.  The recipe can be tailored to any number of kids...

Salsa Roja

8 large tomatoes (ideally of different colors-can also combine with cherry tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 T. olive oil
3 T. lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper-we didn't use this in class

Adding the olive oil and lime juice. Note the reusable plate.

Colorful salsa

Adding the veggie scraps to the compost bin

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Ms. Farrell's 3rd Graders Make Salsa

Today Ms. Farrell's 3rd graders make salsa rojo-red salsa. They harvested some tomatoes that they had planted as 2nd graders. The rest of the ingredients came courtesy of a Gelson's gift card.

Each child cut some tomatoes and cilantro. Some children also measured olive oil and lime juice or cut green onions and crushed garlic.

Mrs. Farrell stirred the ingredients together and then everyone was served!

After eating,  some of the children took the scraps of tomatoes, cilantro and onions to the compost bin.  The salsa waste was also composted because it didn't have much olive oil.  Ms. Farrell's class will plant the roots of the green onions later this week.

The children learned that red sauce was first called that by the Spanish who visited Mexico in the mid 1500s. Salsa originated with the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. It has a long history!

When discussing the recipe, we mentioned that 3 t.=1 T. or, 1 t. is 1/3 of a T.

Thanks to Kim Chase and Pam Barry for volunteering today.

Our Salsa Rojo Recipe (for a class but you can make smaller amounts)

8 tomatoes
2 scallions
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper (we left this out)
3 T. olive oil
3 T. lime juice
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Individual Recipe

Each child has several cherry tomatoes which they cut into small bits, They tear apart several cilantro leaves. Add touch of garlic, onion, olive oil and lime juice.

Today's harvest from the plants the kids planted as 2nd graders

Getting ingredients with Gelson's gift card

Adding tomatoes and cilantro to the mix
Stirring the salsa ingredients together

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The 2018 Marquez Garden Celebration

Our annual garden celebration was held on May 30. Twenty one students in grades 1-5 made presentations to donors, parents, students and guests. The guests included Pacific Palisades honorary mayors, Billy and Janice Crystal and representatives from donor Gelson's Markets. In addition to the presenters, some students were assigned to be tour guides.

First graders talked about growing lettuce in recycled plastic bottles and starting seeds in their salad bed;

Second graders talked about composting, growing salad and salsa gardens and starting seeds under grow lights;

Third graders talked about their butterfly garden and their monarch butterfly chrysalises and butterfly, using grow lights and the Three Sisters Garden;

Fourth graders talked about native plants in our Native American Garden and how the Chumash used them. They showed a smudge stick made from white sage and wove deer grass.

Fifth graders talked about experiments growing wheat as well as growing lettuce that Thomas Jefferson planted when he was alive.

After the presentations the presenters and the tour guides showed people around the upper raised beds, the 3rd grade butterfly garden and the Native American Garden on the main patio.

Prior to the presentations, we were entertained by members of the Marquez Jazz Band lead by Mr. Dane.

Thanks to the parents for the refreshments, and the students and the teachers for making posters and preparing presentations for the event. 

This year 17 classes participated in the gardening program. A new high!

The garden celebration day concluded with a kale smoothie and veggie give-away after school courtesy of Gelson's Markets.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Ms. Chaides' 4th Graders Review Native Plants

This week Ms. Chaides' 4th graders reviewed the names of some California native plants that are used by local Native Americans.

We played a game: I brought in pieces of various plants and asked them to identify them. I also gave hints about others.  I brought in pieces of California poppy, white sage, monkey flower, deer grass and California sagebrush.  I had the students write down the names of the plants on a piece of paper.

I also introduced a new plant, woolly blue curls. Once we had the names listed, I put down identifying facts on the white board, not in order, and asked the kids to match them to the name.
Some creative students also drew pictures of the plants.

I think everyone knows that deer grass is woven to make baskets.  There is a large deer grass plant in front of school and many in the patio native garden. The second easiest plant to remember might be white sage, which is located right outside their classroom and which is tied in a bundle and burned during ceremonies.

At the end of the lesson I served kale chips, an always popular treat. Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take 1 or 2 bunches of kale washed and torn in small pieces, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss with olive oil and salt. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until crisp at the edges.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Marquez 2nd Graders Celebrate International Compost Week

This week each 2nd grade class visited the compost bins and added either green scraps or brown scraps to the them. This reinforced the lesson in Compost Stew the book that their teachers had read to them.

We now have two bins in the upper yard area-one is a worm bin and the other is a tumbler. The worm bin seems to be the favorite one for the children to use-perhaps because of the red wrigglers in it. They enjoyed looking at the worms. Many of them enjoyed touching them.  Their "bedding" is primarily strips of newspaper, small pieces of cardboard and dirt.

The composting process reinforces the lesson on decomposers of many months ago. Worms eat decaying plants, all fruits and vegetables that are kitchen scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds,etc. but not dairy or meat products.

The hands-on experience of each child adding something to the bin ensures that they'll know at least one thing to add to the compost bin.

We discussed that composting is a way of recycling food scraps instead of putting them down the disposal or throwing them out in the trash.

Checking out the worms