ChopChop Test Kitchen: Teachers’ Corner
Chef Gail Arnold and Haynes Altobello share highlights from March’s cooking classes.
By Chef Gail Arnold:
Roast, blend, chop, slice, steam…words often heard when the subject is cooking. In a skills class for middle-schoolers, these terms were put to use as kids made roasted chicken, French apple pie, chopped vegetable salad, and herb vinaigrette.
Knife skills improved and confidence soared as each student chopped cucumbers, peppers, and purple cabbage; smelled the aroma of herbs and garlic as their chicken roasted; or beamed as fresh pies came out of the oven.
And what exactly went into making that pie to instill such pride? Measuring ingredients precisely, mixing dough without making it tough; learning to roll out crust to paper thinness; slicing apples uniformly and arranging them in concentric circles; and mixing just the right amount of yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon with the apples. Lastly, they baked the pie to a delightful golden color—the apples soft and juicy, the cinnamon just barely noticeable, and the crust tender as can be…am I making you hungry yet?
By Haynes Altobello
It was PARTY time in the Test Kitchen this month! Our Pizza Party Workshop and birthday party were both huge hits!
During the pizza cooking class, kids chopped a rainbow of fresh veggies for our Any-Vegetable Easy-Crust Pizzas and had fun arranging the prepped toppings in color order on a tray.
My favorite part of this pizza recipe is that it’s a no-yeast dough, so it comes together in no time, with no waiting for it to rise. (We all love that instant gratification when it comes to pizza!) We made personal-sized pizzas, so each student could select custom toppings.
To go along with our pizzas, we also made a green salad and Herby Vinaigrette. This was another opportunity to tailor a recipe to each student’s taste. We started with an acid taste test: The contenders were fresh, kid-squeezed lemon juice and red wine vinegar. The taste-testers dipped some of the pizza topping veggies to decide which would be best for their personal jar of take-home salad dressing.
Balloons, banners, and music were added to our already colorful space to give the ChopChop Test Kitchen an extra festive vibe for a birthday party. Per the request of the birthday girl, we made ChopChop’s ultra-rich and chocolaty Black Cocoa Banana Mini-Breads into cupcakes and topped them with Cream Cheese Frosting. The girls were like baking champions—scooping the batter to get it perfectly portioned and practicing fancy frosting techniques. Party guests also made No-Cook Raspberry Jam that doubled as a party favor. The kids loved decorating and labeling the jars to take home.