Friday, January 18, 2019

Chef's Tasting Table 2019 | Citrus Bonanza + A Cara Cara Jam Jar Dressing

This was the 2nd annual Citrus Chef's Tasting Table and I'm already looking forward to our 3rd next year. It's a BIG in-season fan favorite for all.

Pictured from the top:
Pummelo's (the large yellow grapefruits)

I visited both Diamond Lake and West Oak back to back this week; Without a doubt, we have 750+ citrus lovers in our district!

Now that we have their attention, get your eaters to think outside of the orange-wedge-box and make your own jam jar salad dressing! You can thank me later for helping you to get your kids to eat their greens.

A Cara Cara Jam Jar Dressing

1-2 Cara Cara oranges juiced (about 1/4 cup. And type of orange will work here!)
2 Tbsp vinegar (any kind you have on hand - Apple cider vinegar, White vinegar, Red/White Wine vinegar, Balsamic vinegar all works)
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp iodized or sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 garlic clove minced (optional)

Place all ingredients in a mason jam jar. Put the lid on and shake vigorously (a great job for kids!) until it's all mixed up. Enjoy on your favorite greens (my kids LOVE Gotham Greens), plus it would be delicious on fish too! Store in the refrigerator. 

To the mullies we go...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Chef's Tasting Table 2019 | Chocolate Avocado Pudding with a Quick Blueberry Syrup

Everyone at Jewel thinks I'm nuts.
I think I am.

We are still recovering from this massive avocado processing we did before break. Thank you to the moon and back Steve Juracka (Assoc Superintendent & Wellness Chair), Julie Marchese (school nurse and wellness committee) and my amazing Mom Brenda (retired kindergarten teacher and best sous chef ever) for helping me scoop, process and fill up endless cups in the lunchroom! This food education day could not have been pulled off without YOU ALL! 🤛🏻👊🏻🤜🏻

I forgot to take pictures of the finished tasting cups. Bleh. 

So, to wet your whistles, here are some pictures of the day before in the Mundelein High School Transition Center where the participants did an incredible job "plating" their chocolate pudding and garnishes.

We had mixed reactions 👍🏻👌🏻👎🏻 which always means we are on track for stretching these students’ taste buds and food bravery. I especially love when staff ask me for the recipe!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding + Quick Blueberry Syrup
2 🍌’s
4 🥑’s
1/2 c raw cacao
1/2 maple syrup (add more maple syrup to taste if needed for your eaters) 
1 c milk of choice (I used organic rice milk for allergy awareness)
1 T pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Blend everything until smooth in food processor. Ideally, chill in the refrigerator before enjoying with your favorite toppings.

I gotta tell you the story behind how the blueberry syrup came to be. 

I originally went to Prairie Wind Family Farm to pick up cranberries. With my sunglasses still on, I walked into the barn and looked in the coolers, but couldn’t find them and then decided to look in the freezer. There they were!

They weren't cranberries. 
They were blueberries.

Thankfully, Jen let me keep them. And what a perfect switch up it turned out to be! 

Previously frozen fruit is PERFECT to make a quick syrup (heating on the stove will render a thicker, more intensely flavored syrup) and so that’s just what we did together at the D120 Transition Center + West Oak.

Here’s how you can make it too and it’s super fun to make with kids!

Quick Blueberry Syrup

2 c thawed, previously frozen blueberries 
2-3 Tbsp honey
pinch of salt

In a bowl, muddle together (I used a potato masher) the 2 cups of thawed blueberries with some honey and a pinch of salt. Smoosh the berries until all the pulp and juice is released. Pour the blueberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a new bowl. Spoon this gorgeous liquid over anything your heart desires... vanilla ice cream anyone?

To the Mullies we go...