When we sat down with our cooks to go over the recipe for the day, they were a bit wound up, but as Lucas proclaimed over the noise, “Two red onions!” It finally getting us on track.
We showed them a method of peeling garlic that has been going around the internet where you separate the bulb of garlic into cloves, put them into a metal bowl, top it with another bowl and shake like crazy. Unfortunately the process isn’t as easy as it appears. It was fun even though nary a clove was peeled. With some harder shaking, a few cloves shed their coats and many had splits that made peeling easy. I explained how the garlic gets ‘angrier’ the more you chop it, which was why we didn’t want to smash the cloves to get the peels off. When garlic is roasted whole, the sugars in the cloves caramelize, leaving you with a sweet garlicky perfumed product, but the finer you chop it, the more the volatile chemicals in the garlic combine making the flavor harsher and stronger.
Nicholas cut the potatoes into even quarters. He had learned the importance of having them all the same size from the butternut squash in the Moroccan stew. “We want it to all cook evenly,” he said.
As soon as Lucas started to slice the onions into wedges, there was a mass exodus to the bathroom as everyone’s eyes welled up. Katherine bravely finished cutting them.
Expert herb-chopper Jalia took care of the rosemary. We had decided to make the dish a “one pot meal” and added broccoli to the mix which Aniya separated into florets. I regularly roast broccoli at home and know that besides the garlic, lemon goes great with it. Annette learned to peel a lemon and slice the zest into strips which was added to the mix. Our chefs then spread the veggie mixture onto a parchment covered sheet page and tucked the seasoned chicken pieces into the mix. We popped it into the oven and waited for the chicken, garlic and veggies to cook.
While the chicken and veggies were in the oven, we sat down to talk to the kids about making the lentil soup with the ingredients we sent home last week. We were thrilled to hear that four out of five of our cooks successfully prepared the soup! Lucas told us how he rinsed the lentils, chopped the veggies, and simmered the soup. “I didn’t like the chickpeas, but the rest of it was really good,” he said. Nicholas and Aniya made their soup for Thanksgiving. They both did it all by themselves and their families really enjoyed it. “I made my mom cut up the onion and my brother laughed at me and called me a cry-baby,” Jalia said. But her dad, the head chef in her household, liked the soup and she was happy. Unfortunately, some of Annette’s ingredients went missing for some pasta (she has four older siblings) and she wasn’t able to make the soup.
The kids also voted on their favorite recipe from the past six weeks to make for the family dinner next Friday. The pork tenderloin and applesauce (and chicken) won by a landslide. They all begged to make multiple recipes and promised that they would work really hard and not get distracted. We begrudgingly told them that we didn’t think there would be enough time, since we would have to have everything ready by 5. They were also disappointed that next week is the last week and wanted to know if we could continue after the holidays. Your support through the Vetri foundation can help make that a reality. Thanks.
When we checked the chicken, it wasn’t quite done and the temperature in the oven didn’t feel like 400°F, so we upped the temperature and waited impatiently for the chicken to crisp up.
When it was finally done, the chicken, garlic and roasted veggies got rave reviews. “The broccoli’s my favorite!” Jalia exclaimed. Nicholas asked for extra broccoli too. How often do you hear that from 5th graders? We will be including that in the family dinner too. If you have kids, roasted veggies ARE the way to go.
We also had leftovers so each chef had a package to bring home to show off their skills. The recipe for the Chicken, Garlic and Potatoes (without the 1 bunch broccoli and the zest of 1 lemon that we added) can be found at My Daughter’s Kitchen.