Remember the Cat Cora interview I did last week about Lunch Break for Schools? Well, it kicked off this week, so I headed on over to Tavern LA to interview Chef Suzanne Goin on her involvement with the project and to pick up one of the lunches she prepared for the occasion. I had a jaw dropping experience. Not only is Chef Suzanne friendly and open and a mom of 3 young kiddos (including a set of twins!), she has done amazing work with schools around Los Angeles. If that weren’t enough I took my sandwich to go for Sylvie and I to share and it was so good we drove all the way back for another one. Seriously. I will do my best to share the ingredients of this sandwich and I’ll tell you all the amazing stuff she has done after the jump…
The Lunch Spread 1 of 6Look at the goodness! There's the amazing vegetable sandwich, blood orange, beet and cumquat salad, a tangerine and a chocolate chip cookie.
First Bite 2 of 6Was a hit, by both Sylvie and myself.
Giving The Beet Salad A Try 3 of 6Her favorite part was the blood orange and the cumquats were 'sour, tangy, peel' in her mouth.
A Lady And The Tramp Adaptation 4 of 6We each got a half, but it was so good Sylvie had to take a nibble out of mine.
Chocolate Fingers 5 of 6The cookie was so huge that we split half and it was plenty.
Look at those veggies 6 of 6You can see how they are sliced in this photo. I think the slice of the vegetable is very important.
As a lover of fresh foods and healthy eating the Lunch Break for Schools is right up Chef Suzanne Goin’s alley and why she chose to donate proceeds from her special Monday menu for this project. That’s cool in and of itself, but then I asked if she has worked directly with any local schools and boy has she ever. At one school she worked with 3rd graders and on her first day she blindfolded each student and had them taste test a store bought strawberry vs a farmer’s market strawberry — there’s an eye opening first day! She planted a garden each season with strawberries, beets, string beans (that grew up the chain link fence for a little beautification), carrots, lettuces, kale, onions, and more.
During each harvest she would cook with the kids, but as the school had no cooking equipment, every recipe she came up with couldn’t be cooked. I can imagine coming up with one or two ideas, Suzanne came up a ton, including guacamole, agua fresca (a soda alternative), lassi (yogurt fruit drink), smoothies, salads with dressing, and seasonings. By the end of the year the kids were transformed — they were proud of the vegetables they grew and excited to eat the healthy foods they made. They’re proof that this program works and we need get involved any way we can, even if it’s by dropping by a participating restaurant and grabbing a delicious lunch this week.
One thing Chef Suzanne pointed out is how perfectly paired Hidden Valley Ranch is with Lunch Break For Kids and educating kids on healthy eating and the importance of vegetables. If you think about it, ranch dressing is the gateway to vegetable wonderland — what kid does’t like to dip a veggie into into it?
Here’s my attempt at the vegetable sandwich she made:
Ficelle – skinny baguette
lettuce – baby romaine
cuccumber, rainbow carrots, sugar snap peas, radishes, asparagus, avocado, celery – all raw and sliced thin.
Some type of Meyer lemon dressing (perhaps just Meyer lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper). All the vegetables except the avocado were very lightly tossed with this dressing. A thin layer of ranch dressing spread onto each side of the baguette before it was filled with the dressed veggies, and some avocado chunks were placed throughout.
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