Tag Archives: Seed To Mouth Cooking Class

Salad Day at Rosa Parks!

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Rosa Parks Elementary School began another year of Salad Days with students at the school.  This day starts with gleaning the garden and adding produce to donations from Whole Foods to make up many deep serving pans of salads. Parents from the PTA and Green Team (that works with CommunityGrows garden team) spend the early morning preparing the fruits and vegetables for the salad.
Then it’s off to the cafeteria to replenish and augment the salads in the cafeteria line. Many kindergarteners want seconds of salads, beans, carrots and apple slices. It is great to see the culture developing of good eating and healthy nutrition at  Rosa Parks Elementary.


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!

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.

Seed to Mouth 6/25/08

Yum! Today was stir fry and noodles day. It was a big hit! And luckily we made a lot of food, because at 5pm, the room was packed with 20 hungry youth, all looking forward to the meal cooked by their friends. Everyone liked what we made, and broccoli was popular! Always a great thing to hear, seconds for veggies. 

Veggie Stir Fry Over Noodles

  • two packages rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 5 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • sweet or snow peas
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 bunches bok choi
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. bring a pot of water to boil
  2. add noodles, stirring occasionally on medium heat until soft
  3. heat oil, onions, garlic, soy sauce and ginger in a wok on medium heat for 2 minutes
  4. add carrots and broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes
  5. last add peas and bok choi and cook for 2 minutes
  6. add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste
  7. serve over hot rice noodles

Seed to Mouth 6/18/08

Today we had a fabulous cooking class making tortillas from scratch, heaped with delicious pinto beans, rice, and fresh-made salsa and guacamole! The youth also made a yummy salad harvested from the garden, so the tacos were full of healthy goodness. Everyone had a great time being in charge of their own element of the dinner, with about 3 people to each cooking team. This gave each group the opportunity to spice their own food, and get full credit and responsibility for their part of the meal, and it was tasty indeed. The extra treat was getting Nora’s mom to be our visiting cooking teacher for the evening! She was a great help and inspiration with the tortillas, what a success!

Flour Tortillas
(makes 12)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water or more if needed 
  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder
  2. With a fork, gradually work in the oil until it is all mixed
  3. Add enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes
  5. Divide the dough into 1/4 cup portions and form them into twelve balls
  6. Roll each ball flat round about 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 inches thick
  7. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat
  8. Place the tortillas one at a time into the dry hot skillet
  9. Cook until brown on one side, then turn and brown the other side
  10. Remove from skillet and keep warm wrapped in a cloth towel