Tag Archives: Cooking

Chef Chauncy at Hayward Rec Connect

IMG_4654Hayward Rec Connect and the Buchanan YMCA kids were abuzz on Monday, November 16, 2015 with excitement to cook with Chef Chauncy Yarngo. Chauncy Yarngo is from the Kpella tribe in Liberia who came to America at a younger age and has become a professional chef in the United States. Chef Chauncy currently works part time at Facebook Headquarters and full-time with the 2nd largest catering company on the West Coast, Best Beverage Catering. He will be taping a reality show called Bringing It to the Table on the Food Network soon. He has cooked for some famous people, including President Obama, Steph Curry, Danny Glover and Janet Jackson, to name a few.
On this day though, it was all about the kids! He started out by preparing a plate with grapes and pears in the shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving and passed it out to the youth to enjoy. Then he prepared a delicious Brussel Sprout stir-fry that everyone gobbled up. He started by showing how the Brussel Sprouts grow on a stem and how to harvest them. IMG_4663Then he halved the Brussel Sprouts and stir-fried them with coconut oil, salt and blue cheese crumbles, topping them off with a sauce of balsamic vinegar and honey and macadamia nuts. Such a delicious and nutritious treat! IMG_4668IMG_4675IMG_4677Later in the hour everyone got to enjoy a non-sweetened smoothy made with apples, strawberries, coconut milk and bananas. Thumbs up all around! IMG_4703IMG_4714Chef Chauncy is looking forward to taking his experience back to his native land, Liberia. “I’m good at bringing people together and making them feel good about themselves through the food I cook. I like donating my time helping people less fortunate than me, like the homeless. I have a great wealth of experience in cooking international cuisines but I love cooking Liberian food and favorite to eat is fufu and pepper soup.”IMG_4716
For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.

We’re at the Edible Schoolyard at Hunters Point!

9.17.15-WMBGC-Community-Grows-(22-of-116)Thanks to a grant from the Department of Children, Youth and their Families (DCYF), CommunityGrows is honored to be working at the Edible Schoolyard at Hunters Point at the Willie Mays Clubhouse. We started teaching garden classes on September 3rd once a week, and soon we hope to be cooking there with produce from the garden.

9.17.15-WMBGC-Community-Grows-(24-of-116)The Edible Schoolyard at Hunters Point, established in 2008, is a 2000 square-foot organic teaching garden and kitchen program and the first after-school program in the country to become a founding affiliate of The Edible Schoolyard Project, which started in Berkeley by Alice Waters.

Working with the Willie Mays Clubhouse we hope to involve the youth in all aspects of tending the garden – along with preparing, serving and eating the food – as a way to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and develop lifelong healthy eating habits. The goal of the Edible Schoolyard at Hunters Point is to be the healthiest place for youth in San Francisco!
9.17.15-WMBGC-Community-Grows-(21-of-116)The Willie Mays Clubhouse, located in Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP), is where alcohol, tobacco and junk food are the most commonly sold products. Plus, only 5% of the food sold is fresh produce. As a result, BVHP residents are hospitalized more than residents of other neighborhoods for almost every disease, including diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Adrian Almquist, our CommunityGrows Gardens Program Manager, has been working with the youth to harvested lots of peppers and tomatoes, which youth have been taking home. They have also been harvesting Gravenstein apples from a garden tree and serving slices for snack. Youth planted sunflowers, beans, lettuce and carrots together. Lesson have been about life cycles, food webs, and the importance of pollinators with a focus on bees. After the lesson, one 2nd grader told Adrian, “I know now that bees are really important for the environment”.
9.17.15-WMBGC-Community-Grows-(25-of-116)We look forward to continue working here and supporting Bayview Hunters Point.

Photos for this blog post were taken by Laura Turner, an intern with us for a few days, sponsored by Momenta Photography Workshop-San Francisco. Laura is an undergraduate journalism student at American University in Washington D.C. Her photography website is here. See more of her photos from Willie Mays Clubhouse here.

Quiche at Plaza East

7.23.15-PlazaEast-Quiche_IMG_2560On Thursday, July 23rd, youth from Plaza East put together two beautiful quiches with the help of CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist and volunteer, soon-to-be staff, Jay Jordan.
7.23.15-PlazaEast-Quiche_IMG_2590Everyone was excited to work with Jay and pitched in to de-stem kale, chop onions and crack eggs.7.23.15-PlazaEast-Quiche_IMG_2599 Each youth got a chance to do all the steps of the recipe, and assemble the quiches before they went into the oven. 7.23.15-PlazaEast-Quiche_IMG_2598In thirty minutes, the quiche came out of the oven and were enjoyed by all.
Here is the recipe:
Kale Quiche


2 tablespoons butter
1 oinion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh kale
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and kale. Cook slowly stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft.
3. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
4. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper and stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until center has set.

Pizza at Plaza East

6.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_1903On Thursday evening, June 25, 2015 CommunityGrows held their second cooking event at Plaza East Apartments in San Francisco. We had a large crowd of youth and families who helped to make delicious pizzas from scratch! 6.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_1843We made our own dough and cut up mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini, and added kale and spinach from the food bank in the area. 6.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_1859Here are some great photos from the day.6.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_18726.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_1892Thank you Ms. Martha Hollins, Shannon Watts and Monica Bhagwan from Leah’s Kitchen for helping out and making the evening a success!6.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_18256.25.15-PlazaEast-#2_IMG_1909 Check out more photos on our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.

Summer Cooking at Hayes Valley Apartments

Thanks in part to support from Aetna Foundation and a Community Benefit Grant from Kaiser-Permanente, CommunityGrows held its first of six Seed-to-Mouth cooking classes at Hayes Valley Apartments on Friday June 12, 2015. Ziek McCarter, CommunityGrows Garden Assistant led the class of youth from the neighborhood and the Western Addition Beacon Center. 6.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_1405Ziek started the class quietly getting to know everyone, finding out how their summer is going, what their garden names are. His garden name is Ziek Zuccini! He also asked them what they’d like to cook this summer.
6.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_14256.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_1450Then the class made quiche. After washing hands, everyone helped chop onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and crack eggs and grate cheese. 6.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_14616.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_1463Youth helped clean up and then enjoyed a great slice of pie. A wonderful afternoon with a great bunch of youth. Thank you Ziek Zucchini! 6.12.15-HV-COOKING_IMG_1476For more photos see our Flickr Photostream here.

Plaza East Cooking

6.11.15-PlazaEastCooking_IMG_1334On Thursday evening June 11, 2014, Plaza East Apartments hosted CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Cooking program for resident families and youth. Thanks to a grant from Supervisor London Breed, through the Department of Children, Youth and Families, CommunityGrows is able to offer six nights of cooking from 5:30-7:30 PM through August. The dates are June 11th and 25th, July 9th and 23rd, and August 6th and 20th. CommunityGrows is doing these classes in partnership with the Buchanan Youth Center at Plaza East, under the leadership of Martha Hollins, Program Coordinator and with the assistance of Monica Bhagwan from Leah’s Pantry.6.11.15-PlazaEastCookin_IMG_13716.11.15-PlazaEastCookin_IMG_1376
On Thursday June 11th we were honored to Shannon Monique from GreenStreets join our CommunityGrows crew to help lead the class, and assist Adrian Almquist. We had over 20 youth and five adults helping to prepare minestrone soup, which we had with fresh baked bread from the oven. It was a delicious dinner and great success for our first time at Plaza East. Thank you everyone for your support and participation! 6.11.15-PlazaEastCookin_IMG_1389
6.11.15-PlazaEastCookin_IMG_1387For more photos see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here. Here is the flyer for future reference.

Plaza East Flyer by blwenger

First Salad Day at John Muir Elementary School!

On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 we celebrated the first ever Salad Day at John Muir Elementary School. Thanks to a grant from Kaiser-Permanente and a generous donation from Bi-Rite Grocery, CommunityGrows staff was able to serve up a delicious salad that so many K-5th graders enjoyed!
4.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_0721The morning began with preparations in the third floor parents lounge. As mothers did their laundry, Janine Gee, our terrific CommunityGrows volunteer, joined staff members Ziek McCarter and Adrian Almquist in peeling carrots, cucumbers, and apples, and slicing strawberries. Mixing these fruits and vegetables with delicious greens created a salad everyone would fall in love with! Three hugh bowls were filled and brought down to the cafeteria for lunchtime. Thanks to over twenty years of garden classes in Koshland Garden, the youth were thrilled to celebrate the first-ever Salad Day at their school. It was such a joy to see them line up and even ask for seconds.4.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_07354.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_07504.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_0758

4.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_0746Thank you to the John Muir Parents’ Group and Principal Chris Rosenberg, as well as partners Kaiser-Permanente and Bi-Rite Grocery, for making this such a successful event. More salad days to come!
4.7.15-JMES-Salad_Day_IMG_0768Here are some more highlights from the day on our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.

Carrot Muffins in the Afternoon

carrot-nut-muffins-27800013rca-ssOn February 23, 2015 our after-school program at Hayward Rec Center made carrot muffins. As usual, we began our class with reading the rules and washing our hands.
2.23.15-CarrotMuffins_IMG_0049We went through the ingredients and everyone got a chance to find out where they came from: vanilla from a flower, cinnamon from a bark, ginger from a root, raisins from grapes, etc. One of our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens), Vincente Rivera had everyone smell the different ingredients–vanilla was the favorite! Everyone participated in measuring out the ingredients and putting the batter together.
While they waited for the muffins to bake, Serena Padilla, our CommunityGrows garden educator read a book about Eating the Alphabet-Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. Then outside to get some exercise before the muffins were ready. Umm.. Umm.. Good! For more photos from the day, please visit our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.2.23.15-CarrotMuffins_IMG_0101
Here’s the recipe! (makes 12 muffins)
2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing with vegetable oil or butter and sprinkling lighly with flour. Shake out excess flour.
2. Mix eggs, applesauce sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, ix flour, salt, baking powder, and spices.
4. Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients.
5. Add carrots, raisins, and nuts
6. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Banana Splits

On February 16, 2015 the youth at Hayward Rec Connect after-school program in San Francisco made banana splits.

CommunityGrows staff was joined by Nora Brereton, former Director of Programs, who stopped in to say “hello”. After cutting their bananas, the youth chose what they wanted on their splits: Greek yogurt, raspberries, peanut butter, shredded coconut, and/or chocolate chips. It was a great afternoon pick-me-up and ask you can see everyone enjoyed it!
AFterwards, Adrian Almquist read a story about Will Allen Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. Will Allen works with Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has helped revolutionize urban farming. Thousands have learned from him how to grow food using raised beds, fish-farming, even “worm-farming” with the hardworking red wiggler worms. He taught city farmers to make tons of compost using food wast generated in cities. And he has shown that urban farms can be the source of good jobs for underemployed urban residents.
For his work, Will Allen was given a MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2008 and the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2012. Will Allen’s life reminds us of the power of one person with a vision.
More photos from the day can be found on our Flickr Photostream here.

Corn Chowder— Delicious!

On Monday, October 20, 2014, the CommunityGrows after-school Seed to Mouth Cooking Program at Hayward Rec Center in San Francisco, made delicious Corn Chowder!

The youth very industriously got down to chopping a variety of vegetables including celery, leeks, carrots, potatoes and shaving corn off the cob.
Assisting CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist and Adrian Gaino, was our amazing Seed to Mouth volunteer, Frances Bradley, who has been with us for a number of years. The Hayward Rec Center Director, Anitra Harper-Baker worked with other students helping with homework and enjoying playtime with legos.
While waiting for the soup to cook, Mr. Adrian read the story “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” by Maya Angelou. The group enjoyed the drawings and poem and talked about Halloween and things that frighten them. The poem illuminated how we can dispel fear by the power of faith in ourselves.
Another fun part of the afternoon was coloring chef hats and posing for photos!
For more photos check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
Here’s our recipe for Corn Chowder!


Oil or butter for sautéing
1 onion or leek
3 stalks celery
2 carrots
3 large red potatoes
3 ears fresh corn or 1 bag frozen
1 quart vegetable stock
1 quart milk
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2 (optional)
Bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste


1. Husk fresh corn, cut corn off cob and set aside
2. Simmer corn husk and bay leaf i quart of milk, make sure not to boil
3. Sauté onion, add diced celery, carrot, and potatoes
4. Add stock, bring to boil then simmer til potatoes and carrots are soft
5. Strain husks from milk, and add milk and cream to vegetables
6. Keep on low het, salt and pepper to taste