We had two new dishes to try at our third week of cooking class: a quick version of Bolognese and a salad with lemon vinaigrette. The students were curious about this first new dish, which Ariannie Morales was calling “Bowl and Eggs.” I told them it was really a gussied-up version of pasta with meat sauce, which made them ooh and awww. “I love pasta!” Ariannie said.
Of course, because this is a healthy cooking class, we had to throw in some vegetables, this week it was zucchini, which the students said they had tried in salads, but had never eaten cooked. Kyle Hunter and Nathan Delva took great care, slicing the zucchini lengthwise and then in half moons, while Ariannie managed to chop the onion without tears. Was it because she was wearing a mask?
Ariannie got the onions and zucchini sautéing in the skillet, watching carefully until the onions were translucent, as the recipe called for. Did she understand that word, she was asked. “It means it’s kind of clear and see through,” she said. “Exactly!” said Miss Maureen.
Kyle took over at the stove, squeezing the sausage out of its casing, without a bit of squeamishness about handling raw meat. We used turkey sausage instead of pork, which cut the fat and calories in half. Kyle remembered that he had to stir the meat until it turned brown from his last week at the stove, and broke apart the sausage with confidence.
Meanwhile, Nathan and Ariannie made the salad dressing and learned another new word: emulsify. Ariannie slowly poured the olive oil into the cup of lemon juice, while Nathan stirred, watching it blend together, change color and become thick, or emulsified. “I’ve never really seen salad dressing being made before,” said Arianne. “That was cool.”
Nathan took his turn as the skillet, adding the can of crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and a bouillon cube. He wondered how that hard cube would get soft in the sauce, and finally, with the help of Miss Belinda, understood that it would dissolve in the heated liquid. The final addition was the sour cream, which gave the sauce a velvety texture.
The pasta was boiled, the cheese was grated, the table was set, and the meal was ready to come together.
The kids served themselves, heaping the pasta onto their plates. And the reviews came in strong.
“I love the Bowl and Eggs,” said Ariannie, laughing.
Both boys had seconds and everyone wanted to bring leftovers home to their families.
“It tasted savory and had a rich taste that I really liked,” wrote Nathan in his journal.
“I tried something new today and it was delicious,” wrote Kyle. “Trying something new is sometimes a good thing.”