Lettuce Wraps? “What is that?” asked the Comly Culinary Kids. Cheyanna Rivas asked, “Where are the tortillas?” She was surprised when she saw how we used the lettuce as the wrapper.
The girls got down to business and started chopping, shredding, and mixing marinade for the turkey. It all came together so quickly. LiLa Mora said, “This was my first time handling carrots and green onions. It is really fun shredding carrots, but it makes a mess.” This was Maeve Taffe’s first experience with celery, and she chopped like a champion. The apples gave Erica Gogan a run for her money. She didn’t know what the core was, so a quick science lesson on seeds and fruit began. When the apples were all sliced, Erica said, “I have a plan, let’s use the grater.” But by then the apples were all sliced.
The kitchen started to smell amazing. Maeve Taffe declared, “I know I am going to love this.” Erica Gogan was the first to sample the turkey lettuce wraps. Her face lit up and said, “This is the best meal I ever ate.” Maeve Taffe told us her mother doesn’t eat carbohydrates and this would be the perfect meal.
The talk around the table ended as each Culinary kid, started eating. The plates were cleaned and round two was started. “This apple orange salad is amazing!” said Cheyana Rivas. “I could eat this everyday.”
LiLa Mora said, “I thought this would taste like soy sauce, but it really doesn’t.” Erica Gogan remarked, “This is a mix of Chinese food and Mexican food. My favorites!”
All in all, the Comly Culinary Kids agreed this was the best meal they prepared. Best of all — fingers can be used!
— Lorrie Craley
We started our class with four of our junior chefs, but three had to leave early, missing the meal. This week’s class gave everyone the opportunity to julienne an apple, and a lively discussion about adding salt and pepper to fruit, and eating so much parsley. “This is actually really good,” said Arianna Cooks, who took her salad in a to-go cup. Only 6th grader Jaden Mosley was left to prepare our main course, and he had to do the cooking himself. “It smells so good,” he said. At the table, he decided it tasted even better, having seconds. “This is delightful!”
— Maureen Dodson and Jane Berkowitz
This was the most anticipated meal since the first look through our recipe books. Wrapping turkey in lettuce! Making a salad with fruit! It seemed so new and interesting. The meal lived up to expectations.
Eliany Chavarria declared, “Like isn’t enough... I think it’s delicious.” She analyzed, “I like the cold, crunchy lettuce with the warm, soft turkey.”
A’Zon Young led the salad review with, “the parsley is leafy so it offsets the sweet, crunchy fruit.”
Later, as the swirl of clean up surrounded him, Tyrone Baker sat eating every last crunchy bit of salad before offering up his plate for washing.
— Susan Lore, Annamiek VanLaar, Edith Bobb
Bayard Taylor Elementary
Part of becoming a good cook is learning to juggle multiple jobs at once. In our Week 6 class at Bayard Taylor, our fifth grade chefs demonstrated they now have the skills to juggle two recipes simultaneously for a single meal. And they got a double bonus for their efforts: They liked BOTH the Turkey Lettuce Wraps and the Apple, Orange & Parsley Salad. In fact, they liked them quite a lot.
“This is the best meal so far!” Mirelyz Perez exclaimed as she dug into the turkey. “I want to take some home!” “I want my cousin to taste this,” enthused Gabriel Ortiz. “He loves turkey!” To make sure both the salad and turkey would be ready at the same time, we decided to tackle the salad prep first. None of our chefs had ever “julienned” anything — or even heard the word — but they were quick learners and reduced the apple to match sticks in nothing flat. Segmenting the oranges was a little messier, but it didn’t delay us much. “I love fruit salad,” Zusanna De Jesus noted, as she used her hands to mix the apples, oranges and parsley with the dressing.
Then it was on to the turkey, and the mix of fresh spices and vegetables that would make it richer and more flavorful. Zusanna quickly mastered the grater for the carrots and Gabriel proved again that he’s a chopping whiz with the celery. When it came time to mix the soy and seasonings into the turkey, Zusanna was taken aback at first at the wrinkly pattern of the ground meat. “It looks like brains!” she exclaimed, but it didn’t look that way for long. That’s because Gabriel was eager to get the vegetables and meat cooking. The first skillet we tried was too small for all the ingredients, so we split them into two pans, with Gabriel handling the meat and Mirelyz the vegetables. They smelled great when Zusanna combined them and made sure they were thoroughly mixed. Then it was off to the table our chefs had set in the cafeteria. They weren’t quite sure what to do with the lettuce, but after a quick demonstration they were eager to try. “It’s like a taco, only with lettuce,” Zusanna noted. “This is the best meal so far,” Gabriel said. “This gets a 9 out of 10.” “I think it’s a 10!” Mirelyz said, jumping in to get the last word. All were eager to take leftovers home, and they agreed that this could be the menu for our final, family meal. As Zusanna said: “My grandma needs to taste this.”
— Nancy Smith, Linda Molloy and Peter Landry
With a mix-up of students and subs, we began the class with 4 chefs: Vincent Vadeanu, Sophia Heavens, Laziz Davronov, and Hamza Alnatsheh. This week, everyone contributed to our plan of action for our two recipes: Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Apple, Orange & Parsley Salad. Initially, Vincent diced the garlic, Hamza shredded the carrots, Laziz and Sophia chopped the celery. “I am so impressed to see you all doing your jobs so well,” Susan Munafo commented. “You’re ready for a real restaurant!” added Jane Pupis.
Vincent and Sophia prepared the marinade for the turkey while Hamza and Laziz cleaned up and washed the lettuce leaves.
After our practice last week with segmenting the orange slices, preparing the salad was much easier. Laziz displayed his segments proudly. Then it was time for more chopping. “Make sure to cut a flat surface on the apple so it won’t slip,” Susan Munafo suggested. This left lots of extra pieces. “Can we eat the leftovers?” pleaded Sophia.
Next it was time to mix up the salad and saute the veggies and the turkey. The students noticed how the turkey turned a brownish color while cooking. “Is it okay to turn now?” asked Vincent. “It really smells delicious!” Laziz commented.
The students set the table. The salad sat, waiting for them. Everybody got a spoonful of turkey on their lettuce pieces and attempted to make a wrap.
“This tastes like a taco but healthier and tastier!” Hamza cried. Vincent said, “This didn’t sound like Chinese food but it sure tasted like it!” Along with our volunteers, Susan and Jane, Latrisse, our kitchen manager loved it, and asked, “Can I have the recipe, please?” We reminded them that they will have all of these recipes in their books when they take them home to prepare for their families.
Not sure if this will be our favorite for the last meal but it certainly was for Laziz. He ended with this comment: “ I liked the moisture of the turkey with the crunchiness of the lettuce.”
Our students are becoming food critics as well as chefs.
— Susan Munafo
Kensington Health Sciences Academy
Some quotes from our week six class, in which we made Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Apple, Orange, and Parsley Salad:
“We made Turkey that was so good and healthy because it had a lot of protein. We also made a fruit salad that was delicious too, as well as healthy. I really loved it. I will make it at home.” — Elsa Rosario
“I think the turkey and the fruit salad was really good. We had a really good time making it, and it wasn’t that hard to make.” — Jarolyn Paredes-Hernandez
“I could taste the ginger.” — Nayeliz David-Santiago
Philadelphia Montessori Charter School
We had 5 for class today. This meal was a favorite. Best comment: “Is there any more lettuce?”
— Bonnie Benson
Today we all made turkey lettuce wraps and an apple, orange, and parsley salad. Since we had a pescatarian in our group we also made tofu lettuce wraps as well. The girls had never had tofu before and were very intrigued by this spongy and tasteless food and interested in how it can be turned into something tasty. Leila Anderson described it as “the best meal we have had so far”. I think the girls really enjoyed it and were all great at trying the new foods!
— Mari and Olivia Bartram
My students absolutely loved meal that we made this week. I think this meal may make the cut for the final meal. They all loved the flavors. To many of them, it reminds them of food that is cooked in their homes. They thought the apple orange salad was refreshing and had a great flavor, although many of them added just a little more salt to enhance the flavors a little more.
— Wendy Vandenburg
Our cooks really hit their stride this week. With both a main course and a salad to prepare, we expected to be pressed for time. Much to our surprise, cooking assignments were completed with time to spare. The children worked well together as a team. As Lu’Nique Deedon put it, “I helped my friends, and they helped me.” Together they delivered a meal that pleased everyone.
— Sallie Anderson and Pat Kelly
St. Augustine Academy
Brianna Arroyo did not have to be told what julienne meant, and started immediately preparing the apples for the salad. However when assembled, adding olive oil to a fruit salad was immediately met with a chorus of, “this is weird” by all the students. The turkey wraps saved the lesson with the ginger and soy sauce adding delicious flavor to the meat.
Ann Strohacker & Welcome Furber
Lewis Elkin School
It is remarkable to see how cooking skills have grown in the short time the class has been meeting. The Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Apple, Orange & Parsley Salad came together quickly, and all agreed that this was their favorite dish so far! For the first time, there were no leftovers... two thumbs up from all!
— Bette Begleiter
The turkey lettuce wraps were a hit. The apple/orange salad even more so.
“Hmm this is good,” said Victor. “This tastes better than I expected,” said Shanamar.
The wraps were very messy as the iceberg lettuce leaves tore apart easily. However the kids liked the flavors.
— Judi Levine
Robert B. Pollock Elementary School
We have a new favorite recipe at Pollock! The students loved the turkey lettuce wraps and apple salad. Students were eager to discover new foods. Joseph Alejandro in Grade 6 asked, “What is Bibb?” and was eager to wash, cut, and prepare the lettuce. The students also enjoyed sitting with the table dressed and serving meals “family style,” as Amera Sirleaf in Grade 5 described.
— Olivia Bates
Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences
Some comments from our class where were learned to prepare turkey lettuce wraps and apple orange salad:
“My favorite ingredient we used was the turkey because we finally got to use MEAT.” — Jayla Velazquez
“The meal was marvelous. It was nice and savory.” — Marialis Rodriguez
“I can’t wait to tell my grandma how good it [the food] was.” — Rosary Torres
— Tijuanda L. Riddick
It is so obvious how well the chopping skills have gotten now that we are in week 7. The apple matchsticks looked beautiful! It was the first time Khaliyl Ali and Allanah Bumpers mixed ground turkey by hand. Khaliyl thought it felt soft, cold, and disgusting all at once! But they were all extremely pleased with the end result. They devoured the lettuce wraps and enjoyed the fruit salad as well, and are excited that this is the meal they will cook for their families next week.