Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lettuce Celebrate Leafy, Leafy Greens!

'Tis the season... for Leafy Greens! Through the months of November and December, Lafayette School joined in a district-wide Farm-to-Table celebration of edible and nutritious plant leaves from the garden. Lettuce grab a knife and fork... and lettuce enjoy the latest hit from the LMC Vegetable Files, Leafy, Leafy Greens, a parody of Yellow Submarine by The Beatles:

We Love Them, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: Who Were the Beatles? by Geoff Edgers (920 EDG). In February 1964, a British rock-and-roll quartet-- sporting groovy haircuts and mod suits-- stepped off an airplane at Kennedy Airport and were greeted by thousands of screaming fans. Two days later, The Fab Four from Liverpool-- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr-- made a television appearance on a popular variety program, The Ed Sullivan Show. It was difficult to hear the performance over adoring shrieks from the audience, but seventy million viewers tuned in to watch and listen: Beatlemania had arrived in America!

How Does Your Garden Grow? The Environmental Club tends the late-season Lafayette Garden.

Leafy Green Artwork: Swiss Chard It Is, Maties!

The Environmental Club samples Swiss Chard harvested from the Lafayette Garden.

Crunch the Broccoli (like little trees!)... The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce (FIC COT). Don't be scared, a favorite book says... be prepared. And so Rory Rooney, the smallest kid in his class, makes preparing a way of life. Rory is even sort-of prepared for bully Tommy-Lee, who begins most days by throwing Rory out of the back of the school bus. But Rory isn't prepared when he inexplicably turns green and finds himself in an experimental hospital ward. Is this astonishing green tint caused by his genes... or a virus... or something he ate? Or maybe, it's something even more extraordinary. Could this be a sign that Rory is a superhero? 

More Leafy Green Artwork: Spinach, Aye!
Popeye! Popeye!  The Super-Strong Cartoon Sailor Man Eats Leafy Greens.
Here, There, Everywhere: Leafy Greens Display at Southern Boulevard School.
Growing Up, Up, Up: Students show off Lafayette's Mobile Edible Garden Wall, a vertical feast of arugula, Swiss chard, beets, basil, parsley, and tarragon.

From The Beatles... to The Beets: The Environmental Club harvest a handful of nutritious garden treats.
Even More Leafy Green Artwork: All Hail the Kale!
Fresh Arugula is fun... Butterhead, the best we've seen. Tender Kale, one of our faves... Full of Beta Carotene. Mrs. LaChance, a Lafayette Library Aide-- and a certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach-- serves up a recipe using kale, one of our much-loved leafy greens:

Massaged? Has she gone mad? Hear me out! I love kale for all that it is, but sometimes I find its texture… well… kind of tough.  I learned this technique of “massaging” either olive oil or a vinaigrette into the kale, with clean hands, for a minute or two. It loosens up the tough fibers in this power green, and, in my opinion, makes it even more delightful to eat. I then serve it simply, with shaved parmesan and some toasted pine nuts. But anything goes-- see what’s fresh in the produce department, and add it in!

Massaged Kale Salad

1 head of kale, cleaned (curly, dinosaur, any type will work)
Salt and pepper
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
zest of the same lemon
¼ cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (pistachios work well too)

Remove tough stems from the leaves of the kale. Chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with the olive oil. Now, get in there with your clean hands and rub the oil into the leaves for about a minute or so!  Now, wash those hands! Add the lemon juice and zest, then top with the cheese and nuts... and dig in!

Other suggested additions:
Other types of lettuces or greens
Shaved or grated carrot
Chopped beets
Chopped red, yellow or orange peppers

From Garden to Table: Fifth Grade Teacher and Environmental Club Advisor Mrs. Worden harvested late-autumn greens from the Lafayette Garden and prepared them as part of a delicious and nutritious dinner! Chomp and chew... it's like a dream... with a plate of leafy greens!

Health by the Head and Nutrition by the Handful: Leafy greens are usually low in calories and fat-- and high in fiber and protein per calorie. They also provide our bodies with folate, manganese, and vitamins C and K. As we roam the grocery store... we all munch a bunch and ask for more!

Leaf through a Green Book: Green by Laura Seeger (P SEE). In this 2013 Caldecott Honor Book, die-cut pages, magical illustrations, and rhyming text celebrate the many shades of the color green. From the fresh, blooming green of the forest on a warm spring day, to the luminous green of a flickering firefly, to the succulent green of a fresh-cut lime, to the shimmering aquamarine of a tropical sea, there are amazing greens in the world around us. Green is the perfect book to check out during our season of leafy, leafy greens!

Winter is Coming: The Environmental Club Puts Hay on Garden Beds.

Another Leafy Green Treat from Mrs. LaChance:
Are you tired of hearing about kale? Or are you embracing its fibrous dark green goodness? Wherever you are on the kale scale (....sorry, couldn’t resist), try making these kale chips! Versions of kale chips can be found on grocery store shelves, but the homemade ones taste better (in my opinion) and they’re so darn easy to make. Let me know how you do!

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale, rinsed and dried
2-3 teaspoons of olive oil
pinch or two of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale, and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.
Spread leaves out onto a baking sheet (I like to line the baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up). It’s okay if some leaves overlap.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (alternatively, place kale leaves in a bowl and toss with oil and salt before placing on a baking sheet).
Bake for 12-15 minutes, watch so that the leaves don’t get too brown (too much brown = bitter). Leaves should be light and crispy (and still mostly green) when ready.
*also delicious sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese or sesame seeds!

We all love to eat the leafy, leafy greens,
Leafy collard greens, leafy mustard greens.
We all love to eat the leafy, leafy greens,
Raw or lightly steamed, leafy, leafy greens!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful display of nutritional experts, artists, and performers coming together to share information about leafy greens. Certainly, the best I'VE seen!!