September 19, 2012

Nearing the end of our Summer Session!

This past Saturday marked our second to last Cooking Sprouts session for our summer season! With the little sprouts back in school, and the best weather a group of sprouts could ever ask for, we had a stellar day from start to finish. Perhaps what made us excited even more, were our newest additions to the team- little and big sprouts alike!

We began the day by doing a quick fruit-tasting blind taste test. With closed eyes, each sprout was given a fruit and had to guess what they were eating. Sprouts tasted everything from watermelon to pineapple. Why were we doing this? You'll find out a little later...
We then moved onto our garden duties, and we began planting new vegetables to prepare for our Winter Session! The sprouts learned how leafy, green vegetables can grow well despite the tiniest bit of frost-- and so, we sprinkled seeds for spinach, kale, and lettuces into our beds. We also discovered that despite our little drought, our brussel sprouts were spared! The sprouts relished in anticipation at harvesting them for our next session!

And, of course, the menu. We whipped up veggie heavy pork and chicken stir fries, a thai melon salad and also a melon soupto compliment, and perhaps the most exciting (and reason as to why we did our fruit taste tests!): snow cones made with fresh syrups we made from scratch! With so many ingredients in the mix, we bypassed activities, separated into groups, and just chopped and minced away!

We also salvaged another red beet from our  garden, and chopped it up for the sprouts to taste!

Some of the vegetables were a mystery, even to big sprouts, so Big Sprout Cam had to teach us about those.  

The sprouts loved making syrups for snow cones!!


Here were some of our recipes for the day:

Thai Melon Salad

[Serves 4]

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 large fresh thai chile, with seeds, finely minced, or to taste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tbsp. sugar, plus or more if needed
2 small ripe melons
10 fresh spearmint leaves, torn into thin strips
3 tablespoons chopped salted roasted peanuts (optional)

In medium sized bowl, combine the lime juice, chile, fish sauce, and sugar with 2 tbsp water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cut each melon in half and remove the seeds. Using a melon baller, stop out the flesh to  make about 4 cups melon balls total. Add the melon balls to the dressing and toss. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes and up to several hours. To service, toss with the mint, divide among four bowls, and sprinkle with peanuts.

Fresh Fruit Snow Cones

1 lb. fresh fruit (strawberries, blackberries, pineapple)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey

    1.    In food processor or blender, blend strawberries with agave until smooth. Pour purée in plastic squeeze bottle.
    2.    Shave ice (use an inexpensive snow cone machine found at discount stores).
    3.    Serve purée on shaved ice.