Red Rabbit is back in our international kitchen, cooking up an eclectic mix of culinary delights! This winter, a group of Red Rabbit chefs-in-training is learning all about the diverse foods found around the world -- and right in their own backyards in New York City, a hub of global cuisines! This semester, the Red Rabbit cooking program with Roads to Success at PS 333 is highlighting cultures that are important parts of our lives, as well as the lives of our neighbors, friends and classmates.
Throughout Red Rabbit’s cooking program with Roads to Success, students ages 5 through 10 have explored both familiar and new flavors through recipes native to various countries around the world. With hands-on learning, these young Red Rabbit chefs are discovering that food is something that connects people globally. Students work together in a class setting to learn about differences across global traditions, cultures and diets. Most importantly, students learn how to respect each others’ diverse backgrounds in a positive way, while exploring cuisines from places as far and wide as Italy, Greece, Thailand and Venezuela.
A semester so diverse in cuisines has meant many new flavors for these chefs’ young palates! Red Rabbit’s classes draw on students’ prior knowledge and familiarity with certain foods in order to build comfort with newer whole grains, fresh produce, and unprocessed foods. Plus, as we know from experience, when children prepare meals themselves, they’re more eager to try new things. By discovering new foods and flavors that they enjoy, children can choose to make healthy food choices within their own tradition and start to feel comfortable choosing foods that other cultures eat.
Last month, our multicultural cooking class prepared a delicious recipe originating from Thailand. We gave Thai noodles a healthy makeover by substituting the traditional rice noodles for raw zucchini and yellow squash. Thai cuisine is known best for its bounty of colorful fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs. Chefs from Thailand base their recipes on blending five basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and hot. This recipe is a lighter and more nutritious version of traditional noodle dishes popular in Thailand, packed with flavor and color. Red Rabbit emphasizes eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruits every day, which ensures that your body has everything it needs to be strong and healthy. Noodle-less Noodle Salad is a delicious and easy no-cook recipe for young chefs to make on their own or as a family. You can experiment with this recipe by adding any of your favorite vegetables. Most importantly, have fun!
Noodle-less Noodle Salad Yields 4-6 servings
· 1 garlic clove, finely minced
· 1/3 cup soy or peanut butter
· 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
· 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
· 2 tablespoons water
· 1 ½ tablespoons 100% maple syrup or honey
· ½ tablespoon olive oil
· 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
For the dressing:
· 2 medium zucchini, julienned* or cut into long matchsticks
· 2 medium yellow squash, julienned or cut into long matchsticks
· 1 large carrots, julienned or cut into long matchsticks
· 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
· ¼ red cabbage, grated or fine chopped and pulled apart
· 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
· 4 green onions, thinly sliced (cut green tops with scissors)
· ¾ cup mung bean sprouts
· Handful of fresh cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
*In the Red Rabbit classroom we use a handy tool called a julienne peeler that is inexpensive and a fun instrument to use in the kitchen to turn veggies into noodles. If you don’t have a julienne peeler, try this nifty hand-held spiralizer; or, cut the veggies in very long slices, then lay flat and cut lengthwise into long noodle-like strips.
1. Toss all vegetable ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Put dressing ingredients into a food processor or whisk by hand in a small bowl.
3. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well to combine.
4. Garnish with extra cilantro.
5. Serve cold.
Enjoy, and bon appetit!
Jennie Plewka, Red Rabbit Education Instructor
Kristin Hurley, Red Rabbit Account Specialist & Education Liaison