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Cooking

Cooking should always be supervised by an adult. Be sure to ask before trying any of these recipes at home!

November 30th – The Plant Parts we Eat

Plant-Part Stir Fry

This is colorful recipe includes 7 plant parts! Feel free to substitute the plant parts listed below for your favorite plant parts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 carrots, diced or shredded (roots)
  • 2-3 cups bok choy (leaves)
  • 1 bell pepper (fruit)
  • 1 cup broccoli (flower)
  • 1 cup asparagus (stem)
  • 1 small onion, diced (bulb)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (bulb)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (seed)

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

Child – chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces

Adult – while your child is chopping, measure out the ingredients for the sauce

Together – mix the sauce ingredients together

Adult – coat a large skillet with oil and warm to medium high heat. Add vegetables to the pan and cook for 10 – 12 minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for 3 additional minutes.

Together – sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the stir fry and enjoy

November 16th – Happy Herbing

November 9th – Pickles!

Make sure you ask your adult before making pickles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups distilled white vinegar 
  • 2/3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cucumbers (Ms Ashley used cucamelons but any cucumber will work)
  • dill
  • garlic
  • pickling spices (You choose! Whole mustard seeds, whole allspice berries, whole coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, crumbled bay leaves, broken up cinnamon stick, whole cloves.)
  • grape leaf

Make the Brine

Mix the vinegars, sugar, and salt over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Once dissolved, take the mixture off of the heat and let it cool.

Get ready

Wash your hands. Wash your jar. Wash the cucumbers. Wash the dill. Wash the grape leaf. Slice the cucumber into whatever shape you want. It just needs to fit in your jar.

Putting it all together

Put some dill and a garlic clove in the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar with cucumbers. Pour the cooled brine into the jar until everything is covered. Add a grape leaf to the top of the jar and screw on the lid. Turn them around so that everything is mixed well.

Wait for the pickling

Put your jars in the refrigerator and let them sit for at least one week before you eat your pickles!

In Season 2, Episode 7, Ms Frizzle and her class investigate the mysterious disappearance of Keesha’s prize-winning cucumber. During their investigation, they learn about microbes and discover that Keesha’s cucumber is not missing. Its been pickled!

If you’d like to watch the full episode, you can check out the DVD from our Alameda Free Library or, if you have Netflix, you can stream the episode now.

November 2nd – Silly Salad

Make sure you ask your adult before making silly salad.

Ingredients:

  • large leaf of lettuce for the face
  • cucumber slices (or carrot slices) for the eyes
  • grapes (or raisins) for the eyes
  • tomato (or bell pepper) for the mouth
  • corn (or beans) for the teeth
  • spinach leaf (or apple slice) for the nose

October 26 – Popcorn

Make sure you ask your adult before making popcorn.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • Oil or butter (enough to coat the pot)
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs, sugar, etc)

Directions:

  1. If corn is still on the cob, let the entire cob dry out for a few weeks and separate the kernels from the cob when dry. Remove silk or other debris.
  2. Place oil or butter in pot and turn on heat to medium.
  3. Put one or 2 kernels in the pot, cover and wait for them to pop! (1-3min)
  4. Once the test kernels have popped, put the rest of the kernels in the pot, cover and shake gently.
  5. When most kernels have popped, transfer to a bowl and season however you like!

What kind of corn does popcorn come from?

The corn which produces kernels that pop into the delicious snack we all know and love is a different type than the one we eat at the dinner table. Only one variety of corn can pop in the perfect way: zea mays everta. It looks very similar to a typical corn kernel, however this variety is the only one which has the ability to pop once put under heat and pressure.

The history of popcorn in the Americas

Corn is a staple in America and has been for a long time, but when was popcorn invented? Since popcorn comes from corn, specifically the zea mays everta variety, popcorn was never really “invented” by man, however there is evidence of popcorn all throughout the history of the Americas.

The oldest popcorn known to date was found in New Mexico. In 1948, small heads of the zea mays everta were discovered by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in a dry cave known as the “bat cave.” Several individually popped kernels were also discovered. These kernels have since been carbon dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old!

Additionally, there is evidence of popcorn in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala, as well as other places in Central and South America. Aztecs used popcorn for decorating clothes and ceremonial embellishments on top of eating! There is also evidence of popcorn consumption with Native Americans throughout North America. On top of the popcorn discovered in the bat cave in New Mexico, popcorn which dates back to nearly 1,000 years was found in a cave in Utah. The cave was thought to be inhabited by Pueblo Indians. Furthermore, French explorers who traveled to the new world discovered popcorn being made by the Iroquois Native Americans in the Great Lakes region.

As colonists moved around North America, and as the United States of America came to be, people adopted this snack more and more.

The modernization of popcorn

As the popularity of popcorn grew, so did the ways in which popcorn was created. Before the popcorn machine was created, people made popcorn in their houses, on the stove or fireplace. When was the first popcorn machine invented? In 1885, however, Charles Cretors invented the first commercial, large-scale popcorn machine, which increased the opportunity for the production of popcorn. Since the machine was mobile, the invention also increased the amount of people who had access to popcorn and thus the popularity of the snack in America.

During the Great Depression, popcorn and its popularity grew exponentially due to its cheap price which could be afforded by all. However, when television was invented and brought into many American homes, popcorn popularity dropped drastically since people visited these mobile popcorn machines less and less. In 1981, microwave popcorn was introduced to the American people, and at-home popcorn consumption once again spiked upwards.

Uses of popcorn today

Today, popcorn is still the delicious snack which was spread and loved throughout history; people eat approximately 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn every year. There are many twists to the classic popcorn that has arisen in recent years. Gourmet popcorn companies like Popcorn for the People strive to invent new ways to enjoy popcorn. Much like the Aztecs did in their time, people still use popcorn as decorations, especially during Christmas time.

 

Reposted with permission. Originally posted on Popcorn for the People on November 13, 2018.

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