Kitchen Notebook: Turkey Mushroom Tacos
Mushrooms and turkey take the place of beef in this healthful take on tacos.
Feltonville School of Arts & Science
“I loved learning how to make tacos. The texture was crunchy from the shell” - Germayoni Perez
“It should be Tuesday and then it would be Taco Tuesday,” the students joked.
— Susan Munafo
Lewis Elkin School
Our class had all eaten tacos before but mainly stuffed with pork and definitely never with mushrooms. In fact most of the class had never eaten mushrooms. Genesis Tenorio thought mushrooms were a fungi that was not edible. The baby bella mushrooms that we cooked with were a fungi that is safe, nutritious and lends a meaty flavor and texture to any recipe. Genesis was very surprised to learn that she actually liked the cooked mushroom in the taco. Juliana Ortiz reluctantly tasted one mushroom and then proceeded to pick out the rest. Bette and I were happy she tried it, because, of course, that is part of the mission of MDK – to encourage our students to try new foods. Mission Accomplished!
– Amy Steinberg & Bette Begleiter
“This is the day I’ve been waiting for!” announced Jaymian Sepulveda as he and Arturo Valente began setting the Jelly Donut Muffin supplies on the table. After mixing the ingredients, they began an assembly line to spoon batter and jelly into the cups. Once in the oven, the chefs began working on the tacos. We started with only one thumb up on the mushrooms in the tacos, but after tasting, we had only one thumb down. As expected, however, the muffins were the real star of the meal!
– Susan Lore, Edith Bobb, Teresa Leedie
“When things are really clicking, a cooking class can accomplish some amazing things. That was the case in our next-to-last class of the fall, when our chefs came focused and ready to do their best work. That was fortunate, since the next-to-last class is the “dress rehearsal” for the final meal, when students cook for their family and friends. And they were making not one, but two, recipes, including their first dessert.
To make the meal, we broke into teams, with one tackling the Turkey and Mushroom Tacos and the other preparing the Jelly Donut Muffins.
The tacos weren’t a complicated meal, but they involved managing two skillets at once, one for the mushrooms and one for the turkey, pepper and spice mix. Luis Ascencio, Jaden Harvey and Nathaniel “Nate Dog” Trewick proved skillful at keeping both pans on schedule — and got a lesson in how to make adjustments in the kitchen when we discovered we had forgotten the fresh onion (we successfully substituted onion powder).
The recipe was the first experience our chefs had had with mushrooms, and they weren’t sure how they would like them, since they had a musty, earthy smell. But they followed directions carefully, turning out a beautifully browned pan for topping the tacos.
The pan of turkey proved even more satisfying, especially after the bright red tomatoes were added. “This smells goooood,” Jaden noted. And when Nate Dog shook the spices over the mix, Luis noted he “looked like a professional” in our seventh class.
Meanwhile, Dairis Berge and Gyliani Ortiz were taking on the Jelly Donut Muffins and learning that baking is like the science chemistry because it depends on how the ingredients work together. They also learned that it’s important to measure carefully so that the ingredients are mixed in the right proportions.
When it came time to fill the muffin tin, they found out that batter can sometimes be hard to work with if it becomes “really sticky.” But they prevailed, using their fingers to put the sweet mixture in place.
They couldn’t wait to see how they would turn out, and to top them with melted butter and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
“This is good,” Jaden said, biting into his taco of meat and mushroom. “I can taste the heat,” Luis added, referring to red and chili pepper spices.
“I liked everything we made,” Nate Dog said. “I wish I was in fourth grade so I could do this again next year!”
— Peter Landry
This week we made turkey and mushrooms tacos and jelly donut muffins. The students really enjoyed preparing and eating this meal. There was lots for everyone to do. The kids were so excited to make something with sugar. They loved the twist on making a healthy jelly donut- muffin. This gave us the opportunity to talk about how we could make a few changes in a any of our fast food recipes. Taliah said “the muffins were banging!”. Most of the students tried the mushrooms but really just wanted the meat and cheese. No one in our class was a fan of mushrooms but a few said it was much better then they thought it would be. The students all really loved the class and the opportunity to learn and expand their cooking skills! They said it was their favorite after school activity and would love to do it again :)
— Mari Bartram