Kids From Other High Schools Come to Visit

We had students from more than five different schools visit this week. Here we all are, making three different kinds of chicken.

We had students from more than five different schools visit this week. Here we all are, making Chef Cindy’s Super Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies.

by John Marquez and Cristian Gonzalez, Alexias Vierra, Stephanie Lopez, Jessica Nuñez, Diana Aguayo

Yesterday we had visitors from several different nearby high schools and middle schools. We also had a couple little sisters with us who are younger than that. They were learning how to be cool like us. (Just kidding!)

It’s spring break right now, so we don’t have to be in school. but we’re helping out Chef Cindy. If we volunteer for this class, Chef Cindy says we’ll get a chef’s coats with a Ground Zero Café logo and our names on it.

None of us had really taught before, we didn’t know how difficult it is to teach!

We learned some new things yesterday, like you don’t need to wash chicken before you cook it. Lots of recipes tell you to do that. But it really just spreads bacteria around. Chef Cindy says that it’s now a health department thing not to rinse chicken.

Yesterday, for breakfast, we had eggs with spinach, zucchini, farro and cheddar cheese and salsa. We also had granola, yogurt and fruit

Here, Stephanie and Jessica are sauteing onions and chicken pieces for Spanish style chicken with tomatoes.

Here, Stephanie and Jessica are sauteing onions and chicken pieces for Spanish style chicken with tomatoes.

For lunch we made roasted chicken with carrots and onions, Italian chicken, Spanish chicken, Spanish rice, polenta, baked corn chips, guacamole and jicama sticks.

Here's the chicken with roasted veggies, in the oven. Notice we didn't peel the butternut squash. The skin softens as it bakes and is a great source of fiber!

Here’s the chicken with roasted veggies, in the oven. Notice we didn’t peel the butternut squash. The skin softens as it bakes and is a great source of fiber!


For a treat, we made Chef Cindy’s Super Awesome Chocolate Chip cookies. Chef Cindy says it’s OK to have desserts, just not to have them every day, all the time.

Jessica: It was a little frustrating because the new kids don’t really know all the things that we know now. I realize now how much we’ve learned in the last two months. I didn’t know how to sauté things. I didn’t know how to use knives.

Stephanie: I didn’t know about knives either!

Cristian: My family owns a restaurant and only family members work at the restaurant, so we don’t really need to teach anything. It was weird to have to explain things.

Alexias: I don’t know how to teach. I show things better. I can’t say it verbally, it’s easier to just show someone.

Diana: I brought my little sister to the class. I taught my sister how to use the knives. My sister also learned to eat different. Usually, she won’t eat eggs with anything in them. Today, for breakfast, we had eggs with all that stuff in it (farro, zucchini, herbs, cheese and salsa). My sister tried it and she said it was pretty good.

John: It was difficult organizing a group of people. We’re in a compact place. We had barely any room to cut. I cut my finger. That was the first time I got a cut in this class. (Not bad, after more than two months of cooking!)

Here’s Chef Cindy’s cookie recipe. Make these! These are the best cookies EVER.

Cindy’s Super Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

We’re not saying that you should NEVER have dessert, only that you should have it less often. Once a week is a good rule of thumb. When you eat dessert, make sure it’s wonderful. Don’t eat garbage when you decide to splurge. Are Chips Ahoy cookies really worth it?

I’ve made these chocolate chip cookies forever. The oatmeal gives them a little more heft than the traditional “Tollhouse” chocolate chip cookies.

The secret here is that you cream the butter and sugar by hand, and then pull the cookies together also using your hands. Because you’re handling the flour less, fewer strands of gluten form. The more gluten strands; the tougher pastries usually come out. So these cookies are crunchy on the outside, but remain decadently rich on the inside.

This recipe can be doubled.

4 oz of butter, softened but not gooey soft
1 cup packed brown sugar,
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 cups of the best chocolate chips you can afford
1 cup oatmeal
1 ¼ cups all-purpose white flour

Mash the sugar and butter together in a large bowl with a fork. Don’t use a mixer! You want the butter and sugar to be combined well. The ideal is not chunky, but not whipped super smooth either.

Beat the egg in a small bowl and add it to the creamed butter mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add the vanilla and baking soda. Mix.

Add chocolate chips, oatmeal and flour.

Mix with your hands, pulling and pushing the ingredients until they come together. The mixture will be very dry. Don’t overmix.

Pull off little balls of dough and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden and crispy.

Makes 30 cookies.

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