Welcome to SLU’s Gardens to Tables culinary camp blog! This week in camp is arranged for our younger chefs, ages 5-8. The theme for this week is ‘Let’s Go on a Picnic,’ centering most of our culinary creations around fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables especially from the garden at SLU.
On Monday, the campers started off in the garden, helping Marilyn and our garden vistas plant various seeds. The campers took a tour of the garden and learned how to use their green thumbs! Once finished, the campers headed up to the kitchen to cook lunch: turkey spinach sliders, creamy ranch pasta salad with tomatoes and broccoli, and refreshing watermelon slushes to finish off lunch. Yum!
After lunch and a quick run around outside, the campers headed back up to the kitchen to cook some more! In the afternoon, the campers explored Mexican picnic food with veggie taquitos and Mexican butter cookies. The taquitos consisted of a flour tortilla wrapped around spinach, zucchini, diced bell pepper, and Monterey Jack cheese! Not only did these look fantastic, but these taquitos will be baked, not fried, for a healthier alternative!
The key to success in the kitchen: Teamwork!
On Tuesday, the campers took their first field trip for the week to the Botanical Gardens and Schlafly Garden! Mrs. Marilyn from our garden at SLU was able to give the campers a fun tour of the garden. We smelled herbs, watched the coy fish, viewed the infamous ‘Corpse Flower,’ and played in the maze! Although it was hot, the campers loved playing and learning at the Botanical Gardens. After the Botanical Gardens, we headed over to Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood to take a tour of the small garden at Schlafly. Jack, the gardener, gave the campers a quick tour of his garden which produces a small amount of produce and herbs for Schlafly’s restaurant. The campers were able to taste fresh kale and ripe tomatoes from his garden!
After both tours, the campers headed back to SLU for a quick picnic lunch of grilled cheese, fresh salad greens, and an array of freshly cut fruit! Once the campers were finished eating, they headed to SLU’s garden to handpick fresh blackberries. Miss Holly led a demonstration on how to properly pick berries. She explained about how color and the ease in which the berry releases from the vine indicate if it is ready to be picked or not! Once finished in the garden, we headed back up to kitchen to cook! The campers made individual blackberry cream cheese fruit tarts using their hand-picked blackberries. The campers also prepared a delicious chipotle dip for their taquitos!
Happy Wednesday campers! Today was Disability Awareness day, a favorite here at Culinary Camp. Today the campers started their morning in the garden where they visited four different stations to learn about different disabilities and how they affect daily activities.
Micheal from Paraquad spoke to the campers about his disability. He informed them that although he may be in a wheelchair, he can perform the same tasks just as well as another could. Micheal can dress himself, go to the park, cook dinner, and even drive a car! The campers were able to experience what it’s like to operate a wheelchair and use adaptable kitchen tools such as a one-handed can opener.
The campers also made chicken feed for the chickens in the garden and learned about which garden animals and insects were friends and which ones were foe.
After the garden, the campers headed up to the kitchen to cook lunch for the day. Today was an Italian picnic lunch. The campers prepared Italian Stromboli with whole wheat pizza crust, italian turkey sausage, and mozzarella cheese. They also made their very own lemon honey vinaigrette to dress the arugula and basil salad, and the campers enjoyed a three fruit salad of canteloupe, grapes, and strawberries. It was a fantastic picnic lunch!
In the afternoon, the campers explored Greece and made Mediterranean picnic food for the appetizer party. The campers marinated chicken in lemon, garlic, olive oil, and parsley for their chicken kabobs and made a Tzatsiki sauce using Greek yogurt and cucumbers. To finish, the campers also made a traditional chickpea salad using Feta cheese, cucumbers, and red onion.
Today was a great day of cooking, learning, and fun!