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Cooking Up Greens!

Judy Prepares Chard Before the Class
Judy Prepares Chard Before the Class
On Saturday, The Food Project held a cooking class called "One Vegetable, Four Ways" as part of our ongoing Grow Well, Eat Well, Be Well workshop series. The class focused on cooking with an assortment of hardy, leafy greens and learning techniques to use many varieties interchangeably. Food Project staff Kathleen Banfield and high school senior Judy Merisier led the class.

To begin, attendees tasted four types of sautéed greens – collards, Lacinato kale, Tyfon-Holland greens, and Japanese Sharaku spinach, all cooked individually - and talked amongst each other to compare flavors, textures, and what they liked or disliked about each variety. The tasting sparked great conversations, as people had varying opinions about their favorites and which one was most bitter! To highlight variations of a simple stir-fry, participants sampled greens cooked with coconut milk, and then with curry powder - both were well liked and delicious.

After the tastings, Judy shared a traditional family recipe for Haitian Legume, which uses an assortment of vegetables. The group decided to give it a new twist by adding Swiss chard to the recipe. Since her mother cooks the dish from memory, Judy made several phone calls to her mother in order to finalize the written recipe that they followed. Though it was an intense process and Judy's first time making it on her own, the dish was remarkably flavorful, hearty, and well worth the wait!

Finally, the group learned to make homemade vegetable broth using kitchen scraps. Participants tasted two batches – one made with mushroom stems and the other with fennel scraps. They critiqued the flavor of each broth and then turned them into kale soup. As they cooked the two dishes, participants washed, peeled, chopped, stirred, and held great conversations along the way. Two of the participants who scrubbed loads of freshly harvested potatoes and carrots were nine-year-old best friends. Their excitement and focus during the class was a true testament to the power of cooking to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds.

Though the 90-minute class began at 1:00 p.m., several participants were still chatting over food as the clock approached 5:00 p.m. Thank you to those who joined the class, and we look forward to cooking many more recipes together.


Are you looking for new ways to cook greens? View a recipe booklet based on this class

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