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.