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Monday, July 29, 2013

Cooking With Kids

At Eat’n Park, we’ve made a commitment to helping children and their families make healthier choices. One of the ways that we do that is through volunteerism. Read on to see how Jamie Moore, our Director of Sourcing and Sustainability, shared his talents with a group of local students.

One of the organizations that I actively volunteer with is called Slow Food Pittsburgh. They recently partnered with the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on assisting with hands-on cooking classes for their high school interns through a program called "Learning for a Greener Future".  Cooking is a great life skill that these young adults can take with them as they grow into independent adults. I was excited and honored to be one of their instructors for the afternoon. 

"Learning for a Greener Future" Students
On July 11, I got a chance to teach the young adults some simple but useful cooking techniques with a recipe that will wow their friends. I decided to teach them how to make a veggie hoagie that utilized the following locally grown vegetables: zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce and red peppers.  

Since these students are going to be heading off to college or starting a place of their own, I made sure that I showed them ways to save money when cooking. One of the cost-cutting ideas I showed them was how to roast a red pepper versus purchasing them already roasted. It’s so easy - all you need is a gas stove top or a grill. Simply put the pepper on the open fire or grill and continue to turn until the pepper is charred black. Place it in a paper bag and let sit until its cool. Once cool, the skin from the pepper can easily be pulled off.

Roasting red peppers
After all of the veggies were sliced and roasted, we assembled the hoagies by layering the vegetables onto a large loaf of ciabatta bread.
Assembling the hoagies
Once all of the vegetables were on the sandwiches, I showed the group how to make homemade vinaigrette, which is another cost-saving option.  
Making homemade vinaigrette
After the hoagies were done we sat together and enjoyed them as well as an awesome carrot zucchini cake that Alyce Amery-Spencer a member of Slow Food Pittsburgh made the night before. 

I enjoy teaching young people how to cook because it’s an essential skill that they won’t forget. Plus it aligns with Eat’n Park’s LifeSmiles program, which aims to empower both children and their parents to make healthier choices.  

Below is the recipe for these hoagies. Enjoy!

Until Next time,

Director of Sourcing & Sustainability

Roasted Veggie Hoagie
Yield: 1 large Hoagie (serves 4 – 6)
  • 1 yellow squash, ¼” slices
  • 1 zucchini, ¼” slices
  • 1 eggplant (Japanese or small eggplants), ¼” slices 
  • ½ of a Red onion, ¼” slices
  • 3 plum tomatoes, ½” slices
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 head of bitter lettuce (Frissee or Arugula)
  • ¼ lb. Brick or Munster Cheese (or any cheese that you prefer)
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. thyme or other fresh herb
  • ¼ cup red wine vinaigrette (Recipe below)
  • Humus (Recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the first 5 items according to the instructions above.  Add the sliced squash, eggplant and yellow squash to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Arrange these vegetables on sheet trays and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, flip vegetables over half way through roasting.

Set aside until assembly of the sandwich.

In the meantime, prepare hummus and vinaigrette (recipes below). 

To roast the red peppers, first wash and dry them. Turn one burner on the stove and place pepper in the center. Continue to char the pepper until they are 80% blackened.  Place charred pepper inside of a paper bag.  Let set for 10 minutes. Remove the charred skin and seeds and slice into ½” strips. 
Slice ciabatta bread in half long ways. Spread hummus on the bottom half of the bread then layer with sliced onion, zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, cheese and red peppers. On the other half of bread, spread Dijon mustard then tomatoes and lettuce.  Drizzle vinaigrette over the lettuce and place on top of the bottom of the sandwich. If you’re going to toast the sandwich in the oven don’t put the top with the lettuce and tomato on until after. To toast sandwich, turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  

Slice sandwich into 4 or 6 slices.   
Red Wine Vinaigrette
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil

In a small bowl add the first 4 ingredients and whisk together with a wire whip.  While stirring slowly add olive oil and whisk until oil has combined with the other ingredients.
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 cup roasted tahini
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • Salt
Place beans, garlic, half of the lemon juice, tahini, water, olive oil, and a big pinch of salt in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, pulse in more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Taste, adding more salt and lemon juice as needed. To serve, place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

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