Friday, October 8, 2010

Tomatoes Galore!

Production has been in full swing this first week of October! From Mulberry Farms and Trover Farm in Illinois, we received 2000 lbs of tomatoes!! With this much fresh produce, we have to move quickly. About 300 lbs of marinara has been made so far, and there is plenty more to come.
So how do we do it? Well luckily there are no more skinning and seeding tomatoes. As you can see below, we just put whole tomatoes in the kettle. 

Here are the lovely and talented staff putting the tomatoes in the kettle

After a couple of hours, and some blending, the sauce has reduced enough to make a great marinara. After the sauce is cooled, it must be sous vide, or sealed in an vacuum sealed bag, to ensure a fresh, safe product for the Maplewood Richmond Height kiddies.
So what’s next you ask? More marinara, definitely some applesauce, baked apples, and other great fall treats!
Have you tried making your own marinara yet? No need for a steam kettle at home!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Apples to apples

Ever played the card game, Apples to Apples?  This week we played our own version: Apples to apples to more and more and more apples.  The game is ongoing, seeing as we are chopping away at 750 lbs of Golden Supreme, Jonathon, and Golden Delicious as we speak, but we have taken significant strides; last week we processed 500 lbs of apples into 362 lbs of product.

They never even saw it coming.

What could we possibly be doing with so many apples?  Two things: baked apples and applesauce.  The former is made by slicing raw apples and tossing them with a sugar n’ spice blend, and the latter is made with a subtle zing of zested lemon.   

Soon to be applesauce!
First, however, comes the manual labor.  The apples for baking are simply cut into sixths, whereas the apples for sauce are cored, peeled, then sliced.  After 500+ lbs of apples, we now consider ourselves professional corers, peelers, and slicers.  We are also quite sticky. 

With visions of apple peels dancing in our heads...
Highly structured taste tests (everyone nearby grabs a spoon and nods in approval) have bolstered our confidence in preparing apples for the masses.  Our product is nutritious, tasty, and kid-friendly.  Motts has nothing on us.      

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

End of Summer Whirlwind

 We've been crazy busy down in the Salus Processing Center trying to utilize as much fresh local product as possible! Highlights of production include:
Peaches blanched and ready for peeling, pitting and slicing.
Finished product - peach slices for fruit cobbler!

  • 700 lbs of peaches were processed into slices for the salad bar and use in fruit cobbler.
  • 300 lbs of potatoes were processed into wedges.
  • We shucked and halved 400 ears of corn for the August 17th lunch.
  • Carrots were processed into coins and sticks for use on the salad bar and on the hot line.
  • Stewed tomatoes and peppers are in full production!

Apples are starting to come in, and we've been loving the new applesauce recipe from Josh Goldberg, a 2nd grade student at MRH. He won the 2010 Recipes from Home contest and Josh's Awesome Applesauce will be featured on the school lunch menu throughout the year. He will be at the Maplewood Farmers Market at Bottleworks today from 4:30-6 showcasing his recipe and providing samples.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Yesterday we worked on  tomatoes that are being prepared for stewed tomatoes. It was about 130 pounds that we did.

Also we did recipe testing. The name of those recipes are Zucchini-corn casserole, Cheddar and Monterey Jack Panini and Pork Tacos. Doesn't that sound good!? Cheddar and Monterey Jack Panini were really good but we all agreed that it would taste better with meat. Pork Tacos meat was the best taco meat ever so it made the whole thing come together. Zucchini-corn casserole it was too spicy, so we may need to adjust that in the future.  All in all, a pretty productive day !!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Urban Farm Adventure

The Adventures of the Urban Farm were we plant and grow Healthy Food for others. We fed the chickens and then started weeding the area so that the weeds won't harm their fresh veggies. That was about an half an hour. Then we started to lay hay down close to the tomato plants to protect them from more weeds forming. That was about twenty minutes. We started to replant bayleaf from a plant pot to soil. We also planted greens but before that we weeded the soil. We planted them in a straight line. Then we sprinkled them with water after we put a thin white silk cover over the greens. Lastly, we planted peas into small pots and sprinkled water over them. Almost everything the Urban Farm grows will be sold to restaurants. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Greens, Potatoes, and an "Amazing Enchilada" : Week of July 12

This week was full of Greens, Potatoes, and Recipe testing.  Cleaning, blanching, and cyrovacing were the typical days work.  On Monday we worked specifically with Green Beans.  We cut the end off, then blanched them.  Once they were blanched we cyrovaced, labeled, and stored them.  We did a lot of work on Monday.  We got through 250# in the first day!!!!

Tuesday we were supposed to go to the Slow Rocket Urban Farm, but because of the inclement weather, we didn't.  Instead, we finished up the Green Beans and started on the Potatoes.  We continued the same system with the Green Beans that we had before.  We started a new system with the Potatoes though - we brought out the slicer.  The slicer is dangerous, but greatly needed machine.  Imagine you getting cut with a sharp knife, then multiply that pain by 25.  That's the pain that the slicer's blade can cause.  So we must keep our fingers away from the blade at all times.  Their is a handle that you use to do the slicing.  We hold that and slide the potato left to right and the blade slices off potato into a scalloped potato slice.  We blanched them after they were finished, and cyrovaced them. At the same time two of us also used our Potato Peeler.  You can put 20# of potatoes into the hole that's on the top.  Then we shut the door that is on the side of the machine so that the potatoes don't fly out.  The machine has a nozzle that attaches to the sink.  So we turn on the water, and set the timer.  Then the machine goes to work. And trust me, you can hear the machine work.  We used these potatoes for our mashed potatoes! Tuesday we got through all the rest of the 600# of green beans and 170# of scalloped potatoes !!!

Wednesday we  were able to go to the Slow Rocket Urban Farm.  There we transplanted tomatoes, and fed the chickens.  Once we got back to Salus we did some recipe testing.  We made Scalloped potatoes, Enchilada's, and Creamed Spinach.  We also tasted the Yogurt that we made the previous week.  The scalloped potatoes turned out to be a little bit too salty.  But the Enchilada's were amazing.  The Creamed spinach was alright.  And the Yogurt was good, but not flavored.  So, for plain yogurt it tasted just right.

On Thursday we did more Potatoes!  Yay!  We brought back out the slicer and scalloped some more potatoes.  While others cleaned potatoes and put them through the peeler.  While the potato action was happening we also had some green action!  We have Kale and Collards.  We cut of the stem and then cut them in half.  Then we blanched and cyrovaced each of them. We got through 64# of greens, 150# of mashed potatoes and 130# of scalloped potatoes!!! 

Friday we  were working with potatoes again.  Using the slicer once again, but this time we cut two parts of the potato off so that it would not roll around when we put them on the blade to be sliced.  We were also taking our previously peeled potatoes and making more mashed potatoes.  They smelled delicious!  While we were doing that Lief and Chef Steve were making three recipes!  We will be testing Garden Pasta, Corn Bread, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  Evaluations will be coming shortly.  Stay tuned!!!!

And were back.....
The Garden Pasta was fantastic!  A lot of different textures.  " a little bit plain, but has a burst flavor" says Jillian.  Overall we give it 3 stars.  A high 3 stars.  The corn bread was Delicious!  The perfect type of corn bread!  5 stars!  And last, but certainly not least the Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  Amazing burst of chocolate!  It's so sweet you don't even see the Zucchini!  It's the PERFECT way to make kids like Zucchini!  It's fantastic!  It was a GREAT recipe testing day!  Well deserved, and very delicious!


Monday, July 12, 2010

7/7/10: Farmers Market

At the Farmers Market I met many people, saw many smiles, and had a lot of wave hello's.  What a social place it is.  Between people walking up already knowing what they want, and the people who have never bought SLU's things and asking questions of curiosity.  It's a very interesting place.  While I was there I had a brief interview with Jeremey Parker of Missouri Grass Fed Beef, LLC.  At first, I was a little bit thrown off about having Meats at the Farmers Market.  I didn't understand the transportation aspect of it. So, I asked Jeremey.  That is actually how I started off the interview.  He simply told me, " This freezer stays at about 5 degrees below zero.  So when I unplug it to bring it to the market, it barely gets to 0 degrees.  Then when I do arrive here, I plug it in.  The meat's are fine in this freezer."  "Meat's work as its own ice pack."  His response cleared up a lot for me. We then started getting into how he got into this business.  He seemed to focus on it just being in the family, he is the 4th generation  So, I take it that it's just something that runs in the family.  I asked how he maintained a steady income for his family, and he said that his wife works at a bank.  We then went into how he handles his cows.  He commented and said this " We use no growth hormones, steroids, pesticides,  or antibiotics.  We do rotational grassing and use no bi-products, and we have fresh water sources."   Missouri Grass Fed Beef has about 100-120 animal, 120 mother cows.  The calfs are 12 months old when they are butchered.  However, they do not process their cows on site.  They take the cows to Swiss Meats in Herman Missouri.  There is a USDA processer on site.  The do not process on their farm because it is cost prohibiting.    I give Missouri Grass Fed Beef, LLC  2 thumbs up - and I only say 2 thumbs because that's all I have!
      Also at the farmers market I talked to Lee Abraham of Berger Bluffs.  They have Onions, tomatoes, and Blackberries (that are delicious!)   I also spoke with Nicola from Ozark Forest.  She had Orange Mushrooms they grow at the base of a tree.  She had Yellow one's too. Amazing.  Lastly, I spoke with Ivan from Ivan Fig Farms.  Ivan has the only fig farm in the St. Louis area.    They only grow in his Hoop House, and he said they grow on tree's.

7/9/10 Recipe Testing Day #3

Today was yet another day of preparing green beans, which I've explained before, so I won't go into detail about it again. We did that for about three hours, then we cleaned up and moved on to recipe testing. The dishes of the day were Olive Oil Orzo, Greek Goddess Mac N Cheese, Applesauce Cake (with raisins), Pasta with Greens and Feta, and Inside-Out "Fried Chicken". Starting with the Pasta with Greens and Feta, there was just enough flavor, but not too much flavor, I'm not sure how to describe it in more detail, but it was good. Next was the Mac N Cheese, which contained what I assume to be cherry tomato bits, some kind of green, and a cheese sauce. It was full of flavor, and everything blended together well, so look forward to that being in the school cafeteria! After that was the chicken, which I personally think wasn't too great, because there was almost no flavor, and it was served cold, so maybe it'll be better next time. Lastly, the Applesauce Cake (simply cake with applesauce mixed in to give it a unique texture). The cake was served hot, so we didn't get to try it cold, but it was still pretty tasty. My only complaint about it was the raisins, so it might be worth leaving out the raisins next time, because not everyone likes raisins.

Try these recipe's at home:

Olive Oil's Orzo  - Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes - Serves 6

10 ounces dried orzo (1/2 cups)
One 6-ounce bag prewashed baby spinach (about 4 packed cups)
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup pitted kalamta olives, chopped
1/4 Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain immediately return tot he hot pan.
2. Add the spinach and toss until the leaves wilt
3. Add the pine nuts, olives, Parmesan cheese, oil, vinegar, salt, and garlic powder and mix until well combined.
4. Serve hot or refrigerate for several hours and serve chilled.

Greek Goddess Mac & Cheese - Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes - Serves 6

12 ounces dried spiral shaped pasta such as gemelli or cavatappi ( about 4 cups)
2 1/4 cups 1% low fat milk
3 table spoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
2 cups pre-shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
One 6-ounce bag prewashed baby spinach (about 4 packed cups)
One 1-pint container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup kalamta olives, coarsely chopped, or one 2 1/4 -ounce can sliced black olives, drained
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the milk, flour, garlic powder, and dill in a medium saucepan until well blended.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. When the pasta is done drain and immediately return to the saucepan.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, olives, and cheese sauce and stir to combine.  Reheat if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place in individual bowls and top with feta cheese.

Inside-Out "Fried" Chicken - Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes - Serves 4

Vegetable oil cooking spray
8 pieces skinless bone-in chicken, breast, thighs, or drumsticks
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees , Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl large enough to hold all of it. 
  3. Pour the oil over the chicken and rub it into all pieces.  Set aside.
  4. Combine the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and seasonings in a separate large bowl. 
  5. Dredge the chicken through the breadcrumb mixture. 
  6. Arrange chicken on prepared pan so the pieces don't touch.
  7. Bake about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
  8. The internal temperature of chicken should reach 165 degrees
  9. Serve hot.
Applesauce Cake - Prep time: 20 minutes - Cooking time: 45 minutes - Serves 8 to 10

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups applesauce
1/2 raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter.  Add the brown sugar and continue mixing.
  2. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla, then mix until well blended and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Add the creamed mixture alternately with the applesauce. 
  4. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.  Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf or tube pan and bake until fir to the touch.  About 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool in the pan then turn it out, and dust with powdered sugar.

Friday, July 9, 2010

7/8/10 Greenbeans!

Yesterday was a very green day, it was green beans as far as the eye could see, about 800 lbs. worth! Pretty much the whole day consisted of slicing green beans to prepare them for various over processes. We all started with the slicing, which I noticed we all have our own methods of slicing, and about two hours later two of us moved to another area to blanch and shock the cut green beans, it was a team work based activity, really. We did this for about an hour, then we moved back to the slicing area to prepare more for the next day, because we get to do all of the same processes and more today! Today we will be bag, cryovac, label, and freeze all of the green beans that were blanched and shocked yesterday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Yesterday was a fun day, we got to make yogurt and mozzarella cheese with Steve, one of the chefs. We started with boiling two gallons of milk (not quite boiling temperature, but pretty high, about 190F) in separate pots, one gallon per pot. After we heated those, we took the pots over to a sink filled with ice and set them in to cool them off. We measured a cup from each (again, into separate bowls) and added a cup of yogurt into each bowl, and we stirred the mixtures around until it was all blended, then we poured them back into their respective pots. We then measured the mixtures into small, quart sized containers for storage (I'm not sure what these are going to be for exactly) and put them away. After this, we moved back over to the stove area to make the mozzarella! We started by heating some water and adding some kosher salt (a LOT of kosher salt!). While the water was heating, we broke apart the milk curd that was to be used for making the cheese. To form it into actual mozzarella, we took about a handful of the now-broken milk curd, put it in a strainer and submerged it in the hot water, stirring it around to give it shape. After about a minute or so, you take it out and stretch it around until you get a consistency you like. We rolled it out on a pan and cut circles to store for later, and any leftovers we got to eat. Hot mozzarella is salty, but it is oh-so-delicious. We repeated this process about three times or so. then we finished the day by washing some potatoes that had arrived. After that we cleaned up and went home.


A week ago Thursday was another recipe testing day. Each of the three student workers that were there had 2 recipes to accomplish. The recipes were Humus, Chicken Tetrazine, Scalloped Potatoes, Thai Fried Rice, Baked Pasta with tomato sauce, and a Meat Sauce. I was in charge of making the Chicken Tetrazine and Baked Pasta, Staci had Thai Fried Rice, and the Meat Sauce, and Orlen had the Humus, and the Scalloped Potatoes. For the Chicken Tetrazine I had to cut the chicken into tiny bite sized peices. Then cook it with the cream sauce which added a rich flavor. I added the mushrooms into the skillet to cook with it. While I did this I made the noodles that would be mixed into the chicken and mushrooms to finish off the Tetrazine. Next was the baked pasta, I made the Ricotta sauce, and prepared the noodles. We didn't have any extra tomato sauce but Staci, and Chef Steve let us use some of their meat sauce (which was basically a tomato sauce with some italian sausage in it) to finish it off. Watching Staci make her Thai Fried Rice was neat. She had fried the rice around an egg then mixed it together. Next she added a mixture of vegetables, and finished it off with chili sauce. It was really spicy. Orlen had prepared the Humus (which I'm not quite sure how) but it was kind of a paste/dip that had more of an unique taste to it. He had also prepared scalloped potatoes by slicing the potatoes into thin round layers, and by baking them. When we were all done we cleaned up and tasted the finished products. Nothing was bad, though some of it needed a bit of salt, and Orlen didn't like the Humus. Overall it was another successful day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Today we visited a local Urban Farm. It was called "Slow Rocket Urban Farm", which is located on Cherokee Street. For the next four weeks we will be continuing to help them with weeding, seeding, and other farm type jobs. We created new mounds for squash to grow, as well as spread mulch around for seedlings. We saw the chickens they had; which roamed around the farm. We finished early and visited a community farm someone had taken over. They already had greens growing. We finished up and played with the Farm owners dog Gill.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tuesday had a little bit more planned than chopping carrots. We started off the same as Monday; getting the cutting boards, and knives set up for finishing off the carrots. It wasn't long before the full carrots had deminished. Next came shocking. Staci, and Alexis set up by the kettles, while Orlen and I drained the water from the carrots. One kettle was heated while the other was filled with ice. After Orlen and I got all the carrot slices in dry containers we brought them over to Staci and Alex for shocking.
First they would cook for a few minutes, and then they would be moved to the cold water to stop the cooking process. Orlen and I quickly took over shocking duty and Alexis and Staci began cryovacing them.

We finished off the day testing pizza again, we also brought out the lemon tarts that the group had yet to try. They were a success but the crust is going to need a different recipe.


Monday was somewhat of a long day. We prepared the kitchen with green and white cutting boards to cut about 100 pounds of carrots. It started off slow but cutting the carrots sort of became an art. We knew this was only the first step but cutting the carrots took up most of our day. Before we knew it time flew by and it was 12. Jamie, and Megan had begun cooking pizzas for tasting. We were done with the carrots for the day but it wouldn't be the last of them. We stopped cleaned everything and placed our cutting boards and knives back in the storage closet.

When the pizzas were ready we test tasted them. We were finding the best crust, and sauce. I think the majority winner was Sauce 2, Crust 2.

Monday, June 28, 2010

6/25/10 Sweet and Spicy

Megan, and I were paired up for recipe testing day on Friday. Our first project was the Lemon square bars which included items such as whole milk, all-purpose flour, eggs, lemon, lemon juice, lemon zest, and confectioners' sugar. We started off making the crust which was then placed in the fridge. While it was cooling we mixed everything else to make the filling. We removed the crust and placed it in the oven, and let the filling cool down. We'd put the filling in soon.

Next we got our barbeque sauce going... For which I got all of the ingredients together; onion, garlic, vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, honey, beef stock, ketchup, dry mustard,  worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. We cut the current recipe in half so it seemed our ratio might have been off a bit (a terror to come). Megan had the beef stock boiling as I sliced, and measured everything else out. We finally mixed the ingredients together and let it cook. When we tasted it, it was quite bitter, and left a weird after taste. Not the best recipe in my opinion.

We went back to finishing our lemon bars. I held the oven open as Megan poured the filling over the crust. Next was the Pasta Primavera which aside from the Linguine called for: olive oil, vegetable oil, snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower flowerettes, red and yellow pepper (we only had red), a baby carrot, shitake mushrooms, fresh basil leaves, fresh chervil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Megan got the noodles cooking as I sliced the mushroom heads, cut the flowerettes from the broccoli and cauliflower, and readied everything else. We got everything sauteed, emptied the linguine into the pan after turning the heat off, and let vegetables and noodles mixed together. We added the sliced basil, and the parmesan cheese at the end.

Last came our vegetable stir fry which was supposed to have pork but we didn't have any. Megan mixed the orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoison sauce, and everything else that would be needed or the sweet and sour sauce as i cut the carrots, and broccoli. We cooked the carrots, and broccoli and finished it off with the sweet and sour sauce.

We tested everything partially in between and then at the end. We then cleaned dishes, mopped and swept the floors, and cleaned and sanitized the counters. The day was great.

6/25/10 3 "Wonderful" Recipes

On Friday, Ms. Jamie and I worked together to make three wonderful recipes. Quesidillas, Watermelon Salsa, and a Black Bean Dip.

We started with the Watermelon Salsa. Which included lots of watermelon, onions, anaheim chile, balsamic vinegar, and garlic salt. Our other recipes included some of these ingredients, so we had to cut up enough to be used again. Next was the black bean dip. The dip was pretty simple; it included black beans and frozen corn.

Last, but not least were the quesidillas. The ingredients were basically the same as the Black Bean Dip. There was red pepper, chili, onion powder, corn kernels, and shredded cheese. Once we got all the ingredients together we made the quesidillas.

When everything was done it was time to clean. There were a lot of dishes to wash, then there was the sweeping and mopping of the floor, and finally wiping down the counters. I was the runner helping with everything until the job was done. Friday was a very busy, and successful day!

6/25/10 Blueberry cobbler, crisp, and strawberry shortcake.

On Friday Rhonda and I made blueberry crisp, blueberry cobbler, and strawberry shortcake. For the strawberry shortcake we made biscuits that had a little hint of sweetness and hand cut the strawberries and mixed with sugar and served them on a plate usually were supposed to put a dollop of yogurt or cool whip on top, but we didn't have that available. We taste tested it and it was good. Blueberry cobbler vs. blueberry crisp. Our second and third recipes were blueberry cobbler and blueberry crisp. The cobbler had a cinnamon and whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, and corn starch. But with the crisp we used honey, oats, brown sugar, and lemon. The difference in ingredients prove to be much needed texture that the cobbler didn't have. The blueberry sauce was just an sauce to go with meat. We didn't have any, so we didn't get to taste it. We used sugar, corn starch, water, cinnamon, and blueberries. We stirred them until they became a sauce.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Carrots Carrots Carrots!!6/24/10

Yesterday was a very fun yet busy day. The carrots came in and we went to Student Services which was held by Susan Gale. There were lots of carrots to be washed and stored away, but with team work we got the carrots done in no time. First we had to pull the stems off of the carrots and make sure there was no dirt in sight on them, then they were put into a bucket which was filled with water and put into the refrigerator. We started washing carrots until we went over to Student Services with Mrs.Gale. Over at student services, Staci, Anthony, and I got packets which will help us prepare for any career we plan on pursuing in the future. Ms. Gale was really nice and explained to us how to speak during a job interview, things that shouldn't be done on the job and are considered rude, and even how to write letters to supervisors and people we plan on working with in the future. After we got back from Student Services, we finished the carrots and made sure the kitchen was clean after we were done. The carrots are now stored away in the refrigerator until further usage.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pizza Dough Making and more 6/21/10

On Monday at SLU we had a busy day doing lots of different things. We made the pizza dough for our recipe testing day on Friday, cleaned the kitchen with the powerwasher, and finished cyrovacing our blueberries. We needed up with a grand total of 105 pounds of blueberries. Great job guys! :) Making the pizza dough was pretty simple there were three recipes using the same ingredients, but different amounts. One recipe used sugar the other didn't, and one used whole wheat flour, but at the end of the day our dough didn't rise long enough. So back to the drawing board. Maybe we will have better luck tomorrow when we remake the dough. Everything wasn't all fun and games though, we had to do some dirty work. I didn't get to do the powerwasher, my coworker Anthony told me it was alot of water but it was pretty fun. With the cryovac, we weigh everything by the pound, so with our blueberries we put 5 pounds in each bag. Once the blueberries are in the bag they're put into the machine flat the air is vaccumed out and the bag is sealed. After all the blueberries were sealed, we labeled each bag and put the blueberries in a crate to go in the freezer. We will use these blueberries for cobblers and a blueberry sauce for our MRH menus this coming year.

Blueberry Picking :) 6/22/10

Up early to be picked up at 7:30... Thar's right, another round of blueberry picking. Everyone was in the van, Jamie, Megan, Rhonda, Staci, Alexis, and I, well everyone except for Leif who was in Boston. The Farm we were going to this time was about an hour away Huckleberry Hollow in St. Clair Missouri. Seems like the other students and I passed out during the trip. When we got there the farmer gave us buckets that had the amount of quarts written on the side, now it was time to start picking. There were way too many beetles to count, knocking our bunches as we picked. Buzzing filled the air each time. There were many more places to pick here from the other farm, and many varieties of blueberries. It begun pretty warm but got extremely hot, though it progressively got warmer. The sun became annoying, as I starved for shady places to pick though I couldn't really seem to stand still. In the end Rhonda and Megan picked the most berries giving us a grand total of 41 quarts. We were even picking with less people and were only 6 quarts short of our total from last time. We gathered all of our berries to be taken back and took a picture with the farmer. To our surprise it turns out he graduated at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blueberry Picking 6/17/10

We the student workers, our bosses Jaime and Rhonda, and Millie Chair person of the HELP grant; all got up nice and early to go blueberry picking at Reinhardt's Berry Patch in Alhambra, IL.

The sky was covered in clouds, and it was raining the entire trip there. By the time we got to the farm the rain had come to a "temporary" halt.We met the farmer, who got us set up to start picking. They gave us boxes to place the blueberries in, and canisters with rope to carry on our necks to carry the berries we pick then dump them into the full boxes. The weather was really nice when we started picking; the air was cool, and the sun was covered by the clouds so it wasn't hot. All was well even as the light showers began. Then things got worse, the rain picked up, and formed into a downpour. Stacy, and Alexis were the first two under the tent. Leif was next, and I followed with our full box of blueberries, not wanting to stop empty handed. Our clothes were soaked. After a few minutes I took off my hoodie, grabbed another basket, and started picking again. After a while the rain quit, and the day was nice again. Soon after that another distraction appeared; the neighbor's dog. His name was Toby, and he wanted to play. We pet him, and played fetch for a little bit, and tried to get back to work. At the end of the day we came out with a haul of blueberries. We had almost 50 quarts!

During the next few days the blueberries had been cleaned and frozen in a single layer so they wouldn't stick together. Friday we took them out to cryovac them and freeze for use in MRH school lunch next year.

Italian Sasuage 6/18/10

    We made home made Italian Sausage as a step toward integrating homemade pizza into the  school lunch  menus.  We took ground pork added some yummy spices and watched it simmer over a low heat.  We continuously kept it moving and flipping to ensure that it wouldn't have any opportunity to burn.  Once it got a little brown we cranked up the heat and still never let it sit in the same place.  We made sure to slice it with our spatulas as we cooked it so it could be sprinkled over pizza as a topping.  Once it was that perfect brown we took it off the stove and we were ready for a taste test, and man was it GOOD!  The kids having it on their pizzas are LUCKY!  We are also testing pizza sauces.  We are doing so by taking gutted (only the shell) Roma Tomatoes and mixing them with those yummy spices we mentioned before, we let the stew of tomato shells and spices simmer over a medium heat and it slowly broke down into a paste that smelled like heaven.  We used about 13 pounds of Roma's to make our two different options of sauces.  One was a tomato basil , and one was your original fresh tomato.  Both award winning in my opinion.  There is no doubt, these pizza's are going to be a hit!

Here's our recipe, make some Italian Sausage in your kitchen, today!
Serving: 1 
4 ounces ground pork
1/2 garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cracked fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground Spanish paprika

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cook until brown.

Mint Lemonade- 6/15/10

Last Tuesday at SLU we all made lemonade, homemade mint lemonade. Anthony, Staci, Leif, Ms Rhonda, and I all went over to the Nutrition Food Lab to make lemonade for the Maplewood Farmers Market that happens every Wednesday at Schlafly Battleworks. First we had to find fresh lemons but unfortunately we didn't have enough, so we found fresh squeezed lemon juice which was very helpful. On the first try the lemonade was perfect, but we had to think about everyone else's taste buds and not just ours. It was a little sweet so we added more lemons, and at the end of it all the lemonade turned out perfect. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 Recipes from Home Winners

The second annual Recipes from Home contest wrapped up with the end of the school year. Recipes from Home is designed to give kids input into the school lunch menu. They submit recipes that use local produce, which are then judged by Les Dames d'Escoffier, a group of female chefs in St. Louis. Five recipes are chosen to be cooked in the test kitchen by the student and chef.

These recipes are then taste-tested in each MRH school and voted on by the student body.

The 2010 winners are:
First Place - Josh's Awesome Applesauce by Josh Golberg
Second Place - Fruit and Spinach Salad by Ethan Steingruby
Third Place - Carrot and Grape Slaw by Ramaneshwer Ghandi
Fourth Place - Lemon Ginger Green Beans by Race Simmons
Fifth Place - Not Your Grandma's Spaghetti (Squash) by Ellie Lunte

Congratulations to all our winners! Each of these recipes will be featured in the MRH 2010-2011 School Lunch Menu. All 5 recipes are up on the HELP website at

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fresh Showings

There were two showings of Fresh the movie in Saint Louis tonight, and HELP was lucky enough to be included on the panels of both. Dr. Mattfeldt-Beman spoke at Saint Louis University, and Rhonda Smythe spoke at the Herb'n Maid event at White Flag Productions. We were happy to contribute to the conversation and hope to provide people with the information they need to get new programs started!

Herb'n Maid put on a fabulous fundraiser for Operation Backpack to keep kids fed over the weekend. Food and beverages were provided by sustainable restaurants and providers, including our favorites Kakao Choclates, and Schlafly.