Tag Archives: Cooking

Pumpkin Muffins!

On Monday, October 6, 2014 the Hayward Rec Center on Laguna Street in San Francisco made delicious Pumpkin Muffins!







As part of our CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Program on Monday afternoons, the youth spent the time reading the recipe, figuring out the measurements and putting them together for a delicious treat!
Here is the recipe:
Pumpkin Muffins

3-1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups of pumpkin puree


1. Mix all the dry ingredients first then add the wet ingredients and blend until smooth.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins by greeasing with vegetable oil or butter and sprinkling lightly with flour. Shake out excess flour.
3. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with icing if desired.

Cooking Classes in Hayes Valley Apts Begin

Cooking Classes began at Hayes Valley Apartments on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Under the expert instruction of Adrian Gaino and Ezekiel McCarter, both CommunityGrows staff, the afternoon class put together a delicious coleslaw. 6.17.14-Cooking-HVApts_IMG_6879
Tracye Taylor, staff of the African American Arts and Culture Center brought her summer youth group for the afternoon lesson. An engaged and thoughtful group, they chopped and mixed cabbage, carrots and raisins together. Then they added vinegar, honey, and mayonnaise and salt and peppered taste.
Coleslaw, as it is most commonly prepared, is only about 250 years old. This is because Mayonnaise was a mid-18th-century invention.
The term “coleslaw” arose in the 18th century as an anglicisation of the Dutch term “koolsla” (“kool” in Dutch rhymes with “cole”) or “koolsalade” which means “cabbage salad”. The term “cold slaw” was used until 1860. Vegan coleslaw is rich in fiber.
There are many other variations of the recipe which include the addition of other ingredients, such as red cabbage, pepper, shredded carrots, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple, mixed with a salad dressing such as mayonnaise or cream. A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares. Other slaw variants include broccoli slaw, which uses shredded raw broccoli in place of the cabbage. Cream, sour cream, or buttermilk are also popular additions.
Everyone enjoyed this healthy, easy dish and added it to their list of accomplished recipes!

Men with Fruit!

5.19.14-Cooking-AppleCrisp-Smoothies_IMG_6638Both our male staff members at CommunityGrows were dishing up great food on Monday, May 19, 2014 at two of our sites, Rosa Parks Elementary School and Hayward Rec Center in San Francisco. Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager, led a lesson in making Apple Strawberry Crumble and Ezekiel McCarter, Rosa Parks Garden Assistant, created yummy Fruit Smoothies.
Using some of the fruits from our gardens, the youth helped chop up apples and strawberries for the Crumble and then measure out the ingredients for the crumble topping. A lesson in math and a lesson in creativity (as well as patience).
The Rosa Parks Excel youth finished their work in the garden and retired to the cafeteria where Ezekiel help them make the smoothies. Both classes were rewarded with delicious fruit creations. 5.19.14-Cooking-AppleCrisp-Smoothies_IMG_6594
5.19.14-Cooking-AppleCrisp-Smoothies_IMG_6609For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.

Try this at home: Sushi!

On Monday, April 21, 2014 we made sushi with the after school K-5 graders at Hayward Rec Center on Laguna Street in San Francisco. The sushi was marvelous! In fact, it was so easy we may never buy sushi again. See below for the easy recipe.
After going over the Seed-to-Mouth rules and washing hands, the first half of the class was spent julienne vegetables and cooking the rice. Then the rice was prepared and everyone had a chance to put their sushi rolls together. Hakim Tookes, one of our CommunityGrows BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens), assisted Cooking Instructors Adrian Gaino and Adrian Almquist and volunteer extraordinaire, Frances Bradley. A delicious afternoon enjoyed by all. Umm.. Umm.. Good!
Sushi Recipe


Nori seaweed
3 cups sushi rice
3-1/2 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

    (use whatever you’d like)
    Bell peppers

1. Put the rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 min. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 min.
2. Mix vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved mix it in with the cooked rice. (we used honey).
3. Prepare the toppings by chopping them into thin, long slices.
4. Spread the rice on half of a sheet of nori with a wooden spoon. Add your toppings on top of the rice and roll tightly. Put a little water at the end of the nori to seal the roll like a letter.
5. Cut the roll by sawing back and forth with a web knife. Serve with soy sauce, ginger and wasabi and enjoy!

BEETS make Salsa

2.25.14-BEETS-Salsa_IMG_5453On Tuesday, February 25th the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) had a great discussion about sodas and sugar. We guessed how much sugar was in various sodas and were surprised that there was so much. We talked about how sodas don’t actually satisfy hunger the way solid food calories do and that soda add a lot of calories. These liquid calories, we learned, have made soda and other sugary beverages a huge contributor to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and tooth decay. It was a wake-up call.
The next part of the afternoon we broke up in teams of twos and got to make our favorite salsas. Then we had a contest to see which salsa was the overall best, most original, and most creative. Everyone had a good time chopping up ingredients and tasting the salsa entries. A great way to end the afternoon.2.25.14-BEETS-Salsa_IMG_5534






Say “Cheese” Please!

2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5192On Monday, February 10, 2014 the Seed-to-Mouth afterschool cooking class at Hayward Rec Center on Laguna Street in San Francisco made Ricotta Cheese. The youth began by de-stemming oregano and rosemary and chopping the herbs finely. They also washed and separated romaine lettuce. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5064Then they watched as Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows garden educator and cooking instructor, brought the pot of warm milk (heated to 200 degrees) to the table and added lemon juice and salt.

2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5135While the milk sat for ten minutes, student Nia Stith, read from the book, What Food is This? by Rosmarie Hausherr. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5099This book was a clever and informative collection of riddles about food which offers not only plenty of fun but also interesting facts about where foods come from, how they grow, nutrition, the food groups and the food pyramid, and tips on healthy eating. For instance, “What food comes from grass that an animal has eaten?” That would be milk, which can be made into fresh butter, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream! Today it was ricotta cheese.
After the story, Adrian poured the milk through cheese-cloth into a strainer and carefully squeezed it dry. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5168One batch was infused with the herbs and one was left plain. The kids then made sandwiches with hearty harvest bread and lettuce leaves. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5214It was wonderful to share the process of making cheese with everyone. A great scientific experiment!
Here is the recipe:

Ricotta Cheese

Miso Soup for the Masses!

On Monday January 27, 2014 CommunityGrows led the after-school youth at Hayward Rec Center in San Francisco through the paces to make a hearty miso soup.  They stemmed and chopped kale, cut up carrots, sweet potatoes and onions, boiling and peeled hard boiled eggs, and added soba noodles.  Everyone was busy creating and contributing to the adventure.




While the soup cooked Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows Garden Educator read the book, “How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food,” by Chris Butterworth. 1.27.14-Cooking-Miso_IMG_4903

The story highlighted one of the best parts of a young child’s day—opening a lunchbox and diving in. It explored with great drawings how the delicious food got there? From planting wheat to mixing dough, climbing trees to machine-squeezing fruit, picking cocoa pods to stirring a vat of melted bliss, the story was an engaging look at the steps involved in producing some common foods. Health tips and a peek at basic food groups also completed the discussion. For more photos, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
The recipe follows.

Miso Ramen

4 hard boiled eggs
10 cups water or more
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chard, kale, or spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
miso paste, to taste
Ramen noodles
seaweed, Hijiki or Nori
1 tablespoon soysauce

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, potatoes, and carrots until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add water. Cook on medium-high heat until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Boil eggs until hardboiled about 12 minutes
4. Boil Ramen Noodles until tender in a separate pot, and drain.
5. Add cvhard to soup and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and add miso to taste. Add noodles. Peel boiled eggs and cut in half.
6. Garnish with nori seaweed and half a boiled egg.

Dinosaur Kale and Happy Tummies

1.21.13-Cooking_IMG_2966On Monday, October 21st, the Hayward RecConnect-San Francisco kids devoted themselves to ripping stems from Dinosaur Kale and chopping the leaves into small pieces. They cut onions, zucchini and carrots as well, to add to a delicious minestrone soup.

Well versed in the art of washing hands, caring for utensils and other cooking rules, these youth also amazed us with their knowledge of vegetable names. They knew that Dinosaur (Lacinato) kale with its dark blue-green leaves, and crinkly, bumpy texture was so named because it resembles dinosaur skin. All the more exciting to eat their vegetables!
While waiting for the soup to cook, Adrian Almquist read a story about the different kinds of food groups and everyone got a chance to name how these foods are grown and used.
Then the soup was ready and we dived into a scrumptious meal.
Then the soup was ready and we dived into a scrumptious meal.

World Food Day Celebrated at Rosa Parks

10.16.13-RP-SaladDay_IMG_2736Today, October 16, 2013 is World Food Day and Rosa Parks Elementary School with the help of CommunityGrows Garden Educator, Ezekiel McCarter, join the global movement to end hunger by holding a salad day. Early in the morning a class gleaned the upper garden for kale, chard and fava beans. 10.16.13-RP-SaladDay_IMG_2706

10.16.13-RP-SaladDay_IMG_2702Then to the kitchen where parent volunteers washed the vegetables and added lettuce, carrots, cabbage, onions and apples, much of this produce donated by Whole Foods Company, to make trays and trays of salads. The green team of Rosa Parks, that helps raise funding for CommunityGrows to teach at the school, also has a special salad dressing that everyone loves with lots of apples in the mix.10.16.13-RP-SaladDay_IMG_2719

Then the students began arriving and were offered salad which they gladly heaped onto their plates with lasagna and other healthy foods. It was a joy to see the kids ask for seconds and clean their plates. Also impressive was the way each child came to the recycling area and took their time to dispose of their different containers. Very impressive for K-5 students.

Umm Umm Good!

8.2.13-Cooking-HVS-AAACC-BEETS_IMG_1857Friday, August 2,2013 CommunityGrows staff Adrian Gaino, assisted by volunteer Akiko Fujii and Jah’Torri Bettis of the African American Arts and Culture Center (AAACC) lead a group of enthusiastic students through the making of one of our favorite recipes: fried rice. So easy and delicious. The BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) helped out in the kitchen after vegetables were chopped.

Everyone got to decorate and take home a recipe book of all the recipes that they prepared this summer.
Here is the simply delicious recipe for your culinary enjoyment!

Fried Rice
2 Tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup corn or peas
4 cups cooked rice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup cashews
1 green onion, chopped
salt to taste, optional
3 eggs

1. Heat oil in preheated wok on medium-high heat. Add ginger, stir until fragrant. Add onion, stir-fry for about 2 minutes until softened.
2. Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add red bell pepper corn/peas and stir-fry for 1 minute.
3. Add rice in middle of the pan. Stir until heated through (about 2 minutes) using a spatula to turn and move the rice round the pan.
4. Stir in soy sauce, and pepper. Stir in cashews. Stir in green onion. Taste and add seasoning if desired.
5. Scramble eggs separately and add to the fried rice.