This term in the Kitchen we are focussing on summer produce. I have been discussing with the students how I plan the menus after I walk through the garden with Sue to see what ingredients are at their peak to be harvested. This week we have loads of things to use including tomatoes, eggplant, zucchinis, potatoes, herbs, greens, corn and eggs.
Based on these ingredients, I then decide what combinations work well in a dish. This week we are combining tomatoes and basil again with the additions of eggplant and oregano to make a beautiful Pasta alla Norma. We are using lots and lots of greens (spinach, silverbeet, bok choy, beans, sping onion and parsley) in a Green Rice dish that the kids absolutely love. We are using kale to make crispy and delicious Kale Chips, and then the combination of potatoes, zucchini and corn to make Fritters which we are serving in hollowed out large zucchinis.
As Purim is on the horizon, this week we are making Hamentashen in class with a fragrant dough spiked with orange juice an zest and speckled with poppyseeds. Next week, post Purim, we will be using some of our gorgeous finger limes in an exercise of contrasts – teaming them with white chocolate for a brilliant sweet and sour cookie.
It’s hot in the kitchen, so picking up on some of the meditation we dabbled in last year, we are beginning classes this week with a breathing exercise where students are asked to close their eyes, put their hands on their ribs and breathe in deeply feeling the cool air filling their bodies. I then ask them to exhale with their mouths open and tongues out, making a whooshing sound as they let go of any frustrations, irritations or bothers. We have been doing 4-5 rounds of this and the kids are enjoying it.
In other exciting news, we just got a fabulous pizza oven installed in the Garden. The next two weeks will be spent curing it slowly and then we will be using it for all sorts of dishes in both Kitchen and Garden classes. Sue and I looking forward to experimenting with the kids in what we can cook in there.
Enjoy the recipes and Chag Purim Sameach,
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g butter plus 1 tablespoon for the end
4 Spring onions, finely chopped
1 portion of greens, washed, dried and finely chopped (approx 8 large leaves) – we use silverbeet, spinach and kale
1 bok choy, finely shredded
A handful of green beans, chopped into small pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock (1 cube in 3 cups cold water)
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to garnish
Het the oil & butter in a heavy based pot. Add the spring onion, garlic, bok choy and greens.
Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the rice and keep staring for 2 minutes or until the rice is coated.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Once all the liquid has evaporated, stir in the extra tablespoon of butter.
Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped parsley.
Kale Chips with Tamari & Sesame
A big bunch of kale, stems removed, and leaves cut into chip sized pieces (make sure the leaves are well washed and completely dried)
1.5 tablespoons of Tamari
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Preheat oven to 150C. Line trays with baking paper.
Place the (dry) kale leaves, Tamari, sesame and olive oil in a large bowl and toss until well coated.
Place the kale leaves in a single layer (this is very important! – because if the leaves overlap they will steam and become soggy instead of roast and become crispy) on the baking trays.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp (but not burnt – only the very outer edges should have coloured).
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g butter, softened
1 (heaped) cup of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons of orange juice
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds – optional
2 eggs (plus 1 extra egg, lightly beaten for brushing the hamentashen before baking)
Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix to form a ball.
(If it looks too wet, add flour, if it looks too dry, add a little more orange juice).
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to 5mm.
Use a glass or a cup to cut out circles.
Place a half a teaspoon of jam in the centre of each circle of dough, then pinch each corner to form a triangle around the filling.
Brush the hamentashen with eggwash and place on the lined baking trays.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until a light golden brown and allow to cool on wire racks.
Zucchini & Potato Fritters
4 medium potatoes, (8 small), peeled and grated
4 spring onions, finely diced
1 cup corn kernels, cut off the cob
2 cups zucchini, grated, tightly packed
2 cups wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp paprika
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
salt & pepper
oil to fry
Squeeze out the excess water from the grated potato and zucchini. (Use a tea towel and twist).
Place the potatoes and zucchini in a large mixing bowl with spring onion, corn, flour, baking powder, paprika and salt and pepper. Mix.
Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir to combine.
Heat a little oil in the electric frypans over medium heat. Drop in tablespoonfuls of mixture. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Pasta alla Norma
2-3 eggplants, cut into 2cm cubes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 jar tomato passata
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano leaves, finely chopped
700g pasta – we are using penne
a little shaved feta or parmesan to serve
½ cup basil leaves, chopped or torn
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the eggplant cubes on lined baking tray, spray with oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve ½ a cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot and add the crushed garlic and gently sauté (be careful not to burn it).
Add the tomato passata, the oregano and some salt and pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the eggplant and toss it through the tomato sauce for a couple of minutes.
Add the pasta with ¼ cup of pasta water and toss to combine until all coated.
Place on serving platter and top with basil leaves and grated cheese then serve.
Finger Lime & White Chocolate Cookies
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
200g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
zest of 2 finger limes
pulp of 4 or 5 finger limes
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime (zest it first!)
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 175C.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add the egg, lime zest & juice and finger lime zest & pulp to the butter/sugar and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms then add the white chocolate chips.
Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture and place onto lined baking trays. Flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on trays for a few minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.