Sprouts at Dianne Feinstein Week #2: Slicing and Spices!

Our after-school classes are well under way! For this week’s class at Dianne Feinstein, we reviewed the knife skills and kitchen safety protocols we learned last week, familiarizing ourselves with each of our own knives, and sampled a few different spices!
Skills and Techniques
Before beginning our recipe of the week, we reviewed the knife skills and kitchen safety protocols we discussed last week. We started off by washing our hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, making sure to sing Happy Birthday twice. Next, we discussed pinching the blade with an alligator and using a “claw” shape with our non-dominant hand when holding the produce to stay steady and not cut our fingers! Practicing knife safety is vital to avoid injury and help the kids become more confident in their chopping skills. A couple other guidelines included leaving the knife down on the cutting board whenever we are not chopping and clearing off our cutting board periodically to make sure we had enough space to chop!
We used these knife skills immediately when dicing the summer squash, red onion, and garlic for our veggie stir-fry. Following the prep work, we had some fun with spices, smelling (and tasting!) smoked paprika, cumin, and Italian seasoning – many for the first time! While there were some that the kids enjoyed more than others, we all agreed to try at least one bite of everything once they were done cooking – one piece each of the smoked paprika-, cumin-, or Italian seasoning-seasoned squash.
Finally, we sauteed the veggies on the stove, remembering to be careful to not touch the hot pan and to evenly stir the veggies around so they don’t burn! We also talked about the different cooking times of different produce, and practiced sprinkling salt and seasoning evenly so the flavors would be evenly distributed.
We finished the class off with eating the three different flavors of squash, along with our caramelized onions and garlic!