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All About Local Cucumbers, Plums and Melons!

How many different ways can we use cucumbers? As the star ingredient in all of our cooking classes last week at Boys and Girls Club at Cherry Avenue, cucumbers became a refreshing treat in a surprising summer heat wave. The kids prepared everything from Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup garnished with lemon mint ice (in star shaped ice cubes!), to Grilled Chicken Shwarma with Greek Ranch Dressing, to Greek Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette to homemade Quick Pickles. The key lime color of the Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup with green ice cubes led to a little hesitation, but once we said our concoction might taste just like a smoothie the kids decided to taste…and from the majority, a big thumbs up!

The Grilled Chicken Shwarma was the biggest hit. The kids seasoned the chicken with spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika and chili powder before grilling to nearly perfection. We sautéed onions and local green peppers in olive oil as an accompaniament  and created a cooling balance of the Greek Ranch Dressing (made with cucumbers and Greek yogurt) to be dolloped on top….

And then we prepared lots of Greek Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette using cucumbers and local tomatoes…

And who doesn’t love pickles? Lots and lots of smiles at the end of both days….and many free samples prepared for other members of Boys and Girls Club at Cherry Avenue to try.

And then….Plums and Melons! This week at Boys and Girls Club at Cherry Avenue we took advantage of in-season local plums and cantaloupes. The kids prepared Baked Chicken with Plums and Nutty Granola and Yogurt Parfaits.

We were told the chicken was yummy and as Miss. Alicia said, plum perfection! The chicken was first browned on the stove top and then covered in a very sweet yet savory plum sauce before placing in the oven. Local sliced plums were scattered in the baking pan to add even more “plumness” to the dish….

And for our second class, Nutty Granola and Yogurt Parfaits!  We made homemade granola using oats, walnuts, almonds, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, olive oil and honey. We then layered the granola in between layers of vanilla yogurt, plums and cantaloupe diced very small…Another success!

As we stepped outside after class and the rain was coming down, one of the kids said, “I wish it were raining granola!!” And we all started laughing…..a rainy day didn’t seem to matter anymore.

And last but not least, thank you so much to the Local Food Hub and all the local producers who made our cooking classes possible!

Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Tomatoes and Plums from Critzer Family Farm in Nelson County

Cantaloupe from Destiny Farm in Nelson County




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