Coming up with a culinary subject for our winter class in January was proving to be challenging. I couldn't help but hear my dear friend's voice ringing in my ears, "...in season vegetables..."
According to the Fresh Harvest Dates by the NC Cooperative Extension, vegetables in season in January for Carteret County are collards! What can this California girl teach her students about collards that they don't already know? Nothing. Collards are out. Back to square one.
What to do? I know! How about we have a class on something we can grow in January - just inside! The microgreens idea grew from there. (See what I did there?)
After dozens of emails back and forth with my friend Ryan of Harlowe Custom Microgreens, we had an idea for a collaboration: he would talk about microgreens and how to grow them, their nutritional value, and I would show the class how to eat them!
That day we loaded up the SUV and went from farm to farm to gather ingredients. I prepped a basil and lemon marinade for the chicken and then made some hummus for a side dish. I roasted the chickens and got them ready for transport. I also made a basil aioli.
With his partner in crime Rebecca, Ryan showed the class exactly how to grow our own arugula or pea shoots. We had vibrantly colored pots to choose from which included everything from soil to seeds to recipes. All we needed was water (which Ryan also provided in the form of a spray bottle) and some sunshine.
Everyone was having so much fun playing in the dirt and asking questions about microgreens that I didn't want to interrupt them for my demo (but I did because I was hungry).
After gathering everyone around the kitchen, I showed them all the cool produce that I purchased that day at the farms. From Willis farmstand, we purchased mountain apples, cucumbers, a variety of cabbages, and a few kohlrabies. From my friends at The Farm at Bogue, we purchased mixed greens, rainbow carrots, heirloom tomatoes, cherry and plum tomatoes, parsley, mico-cilantro, and a few varieties of pea shoots. They even gave me some scrap veggies for my pet turtle!
Then I got to the root of the matter and demonstrated a few knife skills and presented a salad in a cucumber bowl, inspired by the house salad created by my current chef at 34 Degrees N inside the Beaufort Hotel. Then I got everyone paired off with a station, their own cutting board, knife, and apron so that they could make their own vegetable creations.
We had veggie stuffed naan bread, giant salads, small salads, and scraps of veggies everywhere! It was awesome. I helped those who needed assistance and showed others different ways to present salads and cut vegetables that they use regularly a little bit differently.
We discussed other ways to use microgreens and herbs and I gave everyone recipes, tips, and tricks to help them at home. It really was a great time.
If you would like recipes for the microgreen herb oil, the basil and lemon marinade, or want to have your own cooking class for you and your friends, drop us an email or give us a call.
Until next time, stay fresh, eat local!