Tag Archives: buttermilk biscuits

cooking up goodness after school

21 Oct

One of the best parts of cooking new things with young kids is watching their hesitations about new food disappear through discussion, tasting, and cooking. Little chefs will often look at a legume or vegetable they have never tried and immediately say “eww!” But after working as a group to make a dish, this opinion reverses and an appreciation for a new food forms. Such was the case in cooking class recently when we cooked quick bread, vinaigrette, and hummus. The students were enthralled by how easy it was to make the quick bread in a toaster oven and loved watching their bread rise and turn golden brown.

The hummus had a different effect. After learning that hummus is made with chickpeas many students remarked prematurely that they were absolutely not eating it! But with gradual steps the students overcame their initial hesitations and ended up loving it.

To begin we discussed where chickpeas are from and how they grow. Discovering that the chickpeas grow in pods on a plant caught their interest. Then we all got hands-on and tried a plain chickpea. Some students enjoyed them; others were still skeptical. We continued and combined all the ingredients for hummus in a food processor. When we pulsed all the ingredients together there were shouts of excitement! Watching the chick peas go from a solid to a paste increased their desire to taste what was happening right before their eyes. Pairing the hummus with the quick bread allowed them to taste the initially “unappealing” dish with the dish they were more excited about. The process of making and trying the hummus was a snowball effect. Each step got the students more involved and dedicated to something they themselves made. Tasting each stage of the hummus, gave the students a tangible understanding of the flavor development.

Witnessing the transformation,from “eww!”  to clean plates and “more please?” is a definite highlight of cooking with kids.






Jambalaya! and quick buttermilk biscuits

22 Jan

This week in cooking class, students made Jambalaya and biscuits. Besides being wonderful to say (Jambalaya!), it really is a pot of vegetables with some rice – and kids love it. Jambalaya is from the Cajun culture of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. We paired the Jambalaya with southern style biscuits. Learning to cook is also about learning history and culture. Biscuits aren’t something we would serve up daily – as we prefer to eat and serve whole grain bread at lunch, however, buttermilk biscuits are delicious and connect us with a part of our culture in the United States. Most food does offer a story, a connection that enriches our meal experience.

If you’ve never made it, don’t be intimidated by the fancy name that Jambalaya carries. It begins with the trinity stock common in Creole cuisine: celery peppers and onions. A bunch of vegetables are added, along with some thyme, bay, paprika, cayenne and garlic, and rounded out with rice.  The biscuits – they are a breeze.

The recipes:

JAMBALAYA Ingredients:

1 large onion

2 green peppers

2 stalks of celery

2 fresh tomatoes, or 1 can with juice

2 small Italian eggplants (or 1 small regular one)

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

1 8oz package of mushrooms

teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

2 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 cup low-fat sour cream (optional – for topping)


Heat oil in a pan, add onions and sweat them until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add celery and green peppers, sweat for 5 more minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini, and all other vegetables including garlic until everything starts to soften and then add the vegetable (or other) stock and the rice. Bring it to a simmer, then cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let cook until the rice is absorbed.



2 cups AP flour (prefer White Lily brand)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter (very cold cut into small pieces)

3/4 cup buttermilk


Heat oven to 450F. Cut butter into the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk just to combine. Add more buttermilk if it looks dry – maybe 1 Tablespoon. Turn dough onto floured surface, and gently pat to 1/2″ thick. Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Place gently onto parchment lined sheets with edges touching. Bake for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!