Friday, September 27, 2013

The discovery of a monarch caterpillar in the butterfly garden

On Thursday Eva Herndon from Ms. Yoshida's class found a caterpillar on a strawberry plant in the butterfly garden. Eva is really observant! The caterpillar is now visiting Ms. Yoshida's classroom. We hope that the kids can watch it develop into a monarch butterfly. Think of the potential science lessons generated by this one caterpillar!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chef Johnny Prep Visits Ms. Smith's Class and Ms. Conn's Class on 9/18

On September 19, Chef Johnny Prep, John Prepolec, visited two fifth grade classes. He made a marinara sauce using ingredients grown in the Marquez Edible Garden and then served it on some pasta.  Along the way he shared a bit of cooking knowledge! The sauce was delicious! We're looking forward to his next visit to Marquez. Meanwhile, I'll visit to see if there are any other recipes that use ingredients from our garden!

Prep's Light Marinara Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup onions, diced
1 Tbsp. garlic clove, chopped
4 cups tomatoes, large dice
1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tsp. sugar (or to taste to balance the acid in the tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté. Stir occasionally.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are clear and translucent.  It is ok if they are a little brown but don’t burn the garlic.

2. Add the tomatoes and the basil and season again lightly with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until tomatoes start to break down into a sauce, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

3. Add the chicken and the sugar and continue to cook for 10 minutes ( or more if tomatoes haven't broken down enough) over medium heat.  Stir occasionally and press down on the tomatoes to help them break down into a sauce.  At this point you can use a stick blender or food processor to puree the mixture if you want a smoother sauce.

4. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt, pepper, and sugar to balance the flavor properly. Add only in small portions.

More Second Grade Cooking: Ms. Conner's Class and Mr. Jacobs's Class Harvest Basil and Make Pesto!

Today Ms. Conner and Mr. Jacobs brought their students to the edible garden. The children learned the names of the vegetables and herbs in the raised bed. Each child harvested a basil leaf, smelled it and broke off a part to taste. The remainder of the leaves were washed and became part of the pesto.

In the classroom we discussed the ingredients for pesto.  Children went to the cooking table to pick out the ingredients to show them to their classmates. Then children took turns measuring the various ingredients and adding them to the food processor.

They liked the pesto which was served on a small piece of baguette!

Here are some vocabulary words from today's lesson: baguette, pesto, basil, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, minced, food processor, chef, spatula. Vocabulary from the garden: tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro. The children also measured liquid and dry ingredients.

Note: Extension to the lesson. Pesto originated in Northern Italy. The word pesto comes from an Italian word, pestare, which means to crush or pound. The ingredients in pesto are traditionally crushed with a mortar and pestle.

Basil Pesto Recipe

3 cups basil leaves
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
very small amount of salt
very small amount of pepper
(a splash of lemon juice-didn't add that today)

Note: this pesto would be great with pasta! Let your kids help you make it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Second Graders Make Pesto from the Marquez Garden

Today Ms. Fein's class and Ms. Yoshida's class visited the edible garden for the first time and then returned to the classroom to make pesto.

In the garden, they investigated the plants in one of the beds and learned their names--one of which was basil. They picked some basil and smelled it. The basil had been planted by last year's second graders in May. Some kids also saw a lizard and a ladybug!

Back in the classroom, children participated in making pesto by measuring the grated parmesan cheese, olive oil and basil and putting them in the food processor. They also added minced garlic to the mixture. (This was a recipe without nuts). They then ate bread topped with the pesto.

The children thought the pesto was delicious and several said that they would make it at home. The recipe follows:

Basil Pesto

3 cups fresh basil leaves
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
splash of lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor or blender chop up the garlic until minced. (You can also mince by hand).
2. Add basil leaves.
3. Add cheese.
4. Add olive oil.
5. Squeeze in 1-2 drops of lemon juice and add touch of salt (very little) and pepper to taste.

Note: the kids can help "cook" by measuring, picking basil and taking the leaves off the stem, taking the skin off of the garlic, placing the garlic in the food processor, measuring the cheese and operating the food processor by pushing the button.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First day back in the Marquez Edible Garden

Today we weeded and otherwise cleaned up the garden. The highlight of the morning was the visit to the butterfly garden of two monarch butterflies! They loved the purple flowers of the butterfly bush.

The two beds that were planted with tomatoes, basil and peppers are doing well. The basil is ready to be made into pesto and the tomato and pepper plants are still growing. Thanks to Kurt for "squirrel-proofing" the beds this summer.

The butterfly garden is amazing! Lots of herbs and flowers! The butterfly bushes and milkweed are especially colorful. What a nice "legacy garden" from last year's second graders to this year's class.

We are looking forward to planting some cool season vegetables with the second graders as soon as we can.