Why grow a garden? One reason is because we love to eat yummy food. Check here for favorite Farm King recipes.
Chef Rachael rocked it again! – Risotto With theFava’s
We never quite know in advance what we will be able to harvest, so having specific recipes to make in the Thomas Starr King school garden is a bit tricky. Instead, a starch is chosen and we do our best to build flavors to go with it. This week, we were THRILLED to be able to work with ten beautiful artichokes and a whole bunch of golden beets! Many of the students had never tried either, and it was great to hear what they thought. The consensus was that the artichoke tasted nutty and the beets were sweet.
The kids also picked and peeled a LOT of fava beans. They are abundant in spring time.
We ended up making a beautiful risotto with the fava’s, some mint and rainbow chard. (And – ahem – a healthy dose of chili powder.) That was served to our sous chef/gardeners with a salad of mixed greens and edible flowers garnished with beets and artichoke hearts that were first steamed and then marinated with gorgeous flowering thyme, olive oil and apple cider. Delicious.
If you want to make risotto, try this simple recipe.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups aborrio rice
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh fava beans, shelled
1 cup fresh mint, torn up
1 cup rainbow chard, torn up
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is well coated with the oil and starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add a cup of the water and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of water at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes total. Six minutes before it is done add all the vegetables/beans/herbs.
Makes ten servings.
2 pounds zucchini
6 each, asparagus
½ teaspoon salt (more as needed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Nasturtium flowers for garnish
Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the asparagus in to long thin strips.
Then shred the zucchini. (We used a spiral slicer, but a box grater or
shredding attachement on a Cuisinart would work, too.)
Combine those with the salt, olive oil, vinegar and minced garlic.
Let rest (unrefrigerated) for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight
Taste. Add more salt or vinegar if needed.
Before serving, toss with mint and flowers (if using).
(In the garden, we tossed this with lettuce to serve it as a full salad.)
A copious amount of beautiful vegetables have been harvested throughout the month of May. We used everything we could to make some delicious meals! – Jacqueline
Sauteed Dinosaur Kale: Chopped kale, garlic, and lemon juice.
Party In My Mouth Salad: Speckled lettuce with beets, purple carrots, green onions, fresh oregano, chives, and green beans. Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing: Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Cabbage and Appleslaw in Yogurt Sauce: Diced fennel bulb and leaves, chopped red cabbage, diced Pink Lady apples, plain yogurt, raw honey, and apple cider.
Roasted Garlic Hummus with Marinated Olives: Chickpeas, roasted garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.
Pan-fried fish with herbed “tartar” sauce and a simple green salad
Note about ingredients: the tilapia, oil, butter, yogurt, flour, dried
spices and salt can all be bought at fairly reasonable prices at
Trader Joes. All the other ingredients or reasonable substitutes can
be picked from the garden, grown in your own garden, or bought at the
various farmer’s markets in Los Angeles (www.farmernet.com for
searchable list) or also bought at Trader Joes.
*Tilapia filets for as many people as you care to serve, preferably
tilapia farmed in the US (check the package or ask the fishmonger)
*1 or 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, or breadcrumbs (recipe below) or a
combination of flour and breadcrumbs
*Optional: 1/2 cup milk or milk with 1 or 2 eggs beaten in (this is
helpful if you are using coarsely ground breadcrumbs)
*Optional: a pinch or two of dried spices such as curry powder if you
want an Indian flavor, or dried thyme if you want a French flavor, or
cumin if you want a Latin flavor
*olive oil (or canola, corn, grape seed, vegetable, safflower or
sunflower oil. You can also use animal lard such as bacon fat, or
clarified butter, also called ghee. See note at end of recipe.)
for the sauce:
*any fresh herb you like – mint and hot pepper for an Indian flavor,
cilantro for a Latin and/or Indian flavor, or fennel, thyme and
parsley for a French flavor, or rosemary and sage for an Italian
flavor, or any combination of these. I believe we used all of them in
our preparation, except thyme.
*fresh hot pepper such as jalapeño, serrano, habanero or any other hot
pepper, or dried pepper such as cayenne or chile de arbol
*juice from fresh halved lemons to your taste
*full-fat yogurt (“whole milk” yogurt)
*any good looking salad greens that you enjoy
*a good frying pan, such as cast iron or any frying pan you have
*a good solid spatula
*a mortar and pestle (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, make
friends with someone who does, or you can also simply use a knife to
slice your herbs finely. If you don’t feel comfortable using a knife,
ask your parent to help you. You can also crush the herbs with the
back of a wooden spoon, or smoosh them with the heels of your hands.
*an apron, a hot-pad, and wear a long-sleeved shirt. Do not wear flip
flops, wear close-toed shoes, for your safety.
*optional: an oven-proof platter to keep cooked fish warm in the oven
if you have a lot of other fish to fry.
Method (in this order):
- wash your salad greens if they seem dirty, gently, not under running
water but in a bowl of cold water so they don’t wilt, and place in a
clean kitchen towel set inside a colander or strainer to drain while
you prepare the rest of the meal. Get a salad bowl and utensils
- then make your yogurt sauce: put your selection of herbs together in
the mortar with your hot peppers and a pinch of salt, and pound and
grind hard with the pestle until you just can’t stand it anymore, or
you have a fine paste, whichever comes first. (You can also use a
food processor like a Cuisinart or a blender for this step, but be
sure to add some lemon juice and/or oil in with the herbs and salt
before starting the machine.)
- holding the lemon halves cut-side-up so the seeds dont fall in, add
a good squeeze of lemon to the herb mixture and then pound and grind a
- scrape the herb mixture into a serving bowl and add yogurt to taste.
Then taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice or salt or yogurt
if you see fit. Set the finished yogurt “tartar” sauce on the table
for when the fish is done.
- now prepare your fish: sprinkle the sea salt on to each side of each
filet of fish to your taste and place on a platter.
- put the flour and/or breadcrumbs into a bowl and mix with any dried
spice you may or may not have decided to include.
- optional: if you will be using coarse breadcrumbs, pour a little
milk into a separate bowl, or if you want the fish extra crispy, beat
an egg or two in a bowl with a fork and then pour a little milk into
that same bowl and beat again. Put each filet of fish into this bowl,
one at a time, and fully coat each filet with the liquid then return
each filet to the platter.
- put each filet of fish (one at a time) in the bowl with the flour
and/or flour/breadcrumb/spice mixture and use your hands to fully coat
the fish in the flour mixture on both sides, then put them back on the
platter until you are ready to fry them.
NOTE: THIS NEXT PART REQUIRES GREAT CARE AND YOUR FULL ATTENTION
BECAUSE YOU WILL BE USING HOT OIL THAT CAN CAUSE PAINFUL DEBILITATING
BURNS. GET AN ADULT TO HELP YOU IF YOU ARE AT ALL CONCERNED.
DEFINITELY USE AN APRON TO PROTECT YOURSELF and wear a long-sleeved
shirt and closed-toed shoes for your safety. DO NOT wear flip flops
or open-toed sandals for your safety.
- place your frying pan on your stove burner, and turn the burner on.
Wait 2 minutes, then very carefully pour enough oil into the pan to
cover the bottom.
- at the first hint of smoke, very carefully lay as many fish filets
as will fit in one layer into the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the
first side until the filets have some brown color to them on the
bottom and then very carefully flip them over.
-Cook them for another 2 minutes on the second side and then start to
use your index finger to press on the thickest part of the fish filet
to see if the meat springs back. If the meat doesn’t feel soft to the
touch anymore but is a little firmer now, it is done. A good rule of
thumb is ten minutes of total cooking time for every inch of filet at
the thickest part. This means that if the fish is about 3/4 of an
inch at it’s thickest part, your total cooking time will be just under
8 minutes, or about 4 minutes per side.
- once each filet is cooked, remove it to an oven-proof Pyrex dish or
other oven proof dish and you can keep it warm in your oven at 200
degrees until all the filets are cooked and you are ready to serve, or
you can just put it on a pretty serving platter for a few minutes
while you finish cooking the other fish.
- once all your fish is cooked, dress your salad greens with olive
oil, lemon juice and salt to taste, and serve the fish on the pretty
serving platter or oven-proof platter with the yogurt sauce and salad
in separate bowls. Enjoy!
***Clarified butter is butter from which all water has been
evaporated, causing the milk solids, which burn at a low temperature,
to separate and sink to the bottom of the pot. Butter without milk
solids, or clarified butter, can be used to fry with because it can
handle very high temperatures without burning, like many oils can. I
will show you how to make clarified butter when we make Mac and
RECIPE FOR Homemade (Herbed or Not) Breadcrumbs (we will use this
recipe for Mac and cheese also):
*optional: dried spices or herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, or
any other dried herb you like the smell of
*optional: fresh herbs chopped finely such as rosemary, thyme, sage,
or even garlic
*optional: extra virgin olive oil or butter
*a sheet pan for the oven
*optional: a fry pan if you plan to sautee the crumbs with fat and herbs
- break the stale bread into pieces with your hands and place in a
single layer on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the oven and turn
the oven on to 200 degrees. Leave the bread in the oven until it is
completely dry and has lost all softness and any trace of moisture, or
about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how stale the bread is.
- after the bread is completely cool, crumble it with your fingers
until no piece is larger than a pea, or crush it with the back of a
wooden spoon, chop it with a knife, or pulse it in a food processor,
depending on how fine you like your breadcrumbs. Coarse breadcrumbs
produce a more rustic looking and crunchy result, fine breadcrumbs
produce a sleeker look at will adhere more easily to food surfaces.
The breadcrumbs can now be tossed with some salt and put in a covered
container on the counter for at least a week, or in the fridge
- optional: add any dried or finely chopped fresh herbs or garlic to
the breadcrumbs to taste and mix. If you are using a food processor,
you can add the herbs, garlic and/or salt together with the bread and
pulse – you do not need to finely chop the herbs or garlic beforehand.
The breadcrumbs can now be put in a covered container in the fridge
- optional: heat a fry pan over a medium stove burner for one minute.
Add a splash of good quality extra virgin olive oil or a tablespoon or
two of butter or both, and wait another minute. Add the breadcrumb
mixture and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes, mixing around with a spatula,
until you smell a nice aroma and the breadcrumbs seem well-coated in
the fat. Turn the burner off and let the breadcrumb mixture cool.
The breadcrumb mixture can now be kept in covered container in the
fridge for at least a month, probably longer, if they last that long.
Homemade (herbed or not) Breadcrumbs can be used as a delicious treat
in all of the following dishes:
-on top of Mac and cheese
-mixed into salad dressings with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
-on top of roasted vegetables or grilled vegetables for extra crunch
-as part of a frying batter for tempura-fried vegetables
-as a seasoning and thickener for soups
-as a topping for baked beans
-as a coating for fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, or any pan-fried
meat or fish or bird
“Got Beans?” Recipe turned out just right according to the student census. We combined black, navy, and pinto beans with different types of lettuce, radishes, cilantro, cumin spice and lemon juice to conclude our bean salad.
Jacqueline helped the students prepare a carrot-licious cous-cous recipe coupled with sesame and ginger seasoned bok choy.
Lien guided the LACER students to make us AMAZING Vietnamese Spring Rolls with lettuce, mint, and cilantro from the garden. Check out the photo below. So delicious!
1/20/2011 – We have been doing a lot of eating in the garden. In the last two weeks, students have made hand squeezed grapefruit and orange juice, garden salads, homemade salad dressing with garden herbs, and the amazing grilled fennel in the photo below.