Schoolhouse Journals September 2013
By Chef Christopher Dobrowolski
Back in class already! This month has seemed to just fly by. Here in Arizona we can happily say we made it through another hot summer. I have a couple of topics for this month’s edition, and I want to start with something that I am passionate about, our children’s school lunch program across the US.
Here are several sad facts about what our children are being fed on a daily basis.
- According to the USDA a typical school lunch far exceeds the recommended 500 milligrams of sodium; some districts, in fact, serve lunches with more than 1,000 milligrams.
- The USDA also reports that less than 1/3 of schools stay below the recommended standard for fat content in their meals.
- Last year 21 million students relied on free and reduced lunch as their primary meal of the day. Up to 65 percent of their daily calorie intake comes from school provided meals.
- Unbalanced nutrition leads to decreased performance in school, obesity, diabetes, and a whole slew of other health problems.
So where am I going with this? There are states out there that have recreated the culinary wheel for school lunch, and they are doing it for less money! Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina and Colorado are states where all, or nearly all, school cafeterias are now serving meals that meet those new standards. In fact, at the end of this past school year 79% of all participating school districts across Colorado had reported they were meeting and/or exceeding the new standards! This represents a significant achievement for the first year of implementation. Bottom line, do the research and see where your state stands. These kids are our future leaders, we should demand better.
Now that we have the other news out of the way let’s talk about something fun for fall. This is my wife Laura’s favorite season. She loves it for lots of reasons, not to mention the perfect weather, but in our house fall means lots of family gatherings! Both of our sons’ birthdays are this time of year, one on Halloween and the other during Thanksgiving week, so we love to celebrate this time of year. I love autumn for Brussels sprouts and Chard… and I guess my boys too.
Seems as if those two items, (Brussels and Chard, not my boys!) are a love/hate relationship for most people around the globe, so I am going to give up two great recipes, one for each. We will start with chard. This doesn’t take measuring cups and such.
- 20 Full stocks of Chard, wash and slice into ¾ inch ribbons (leave stocks on or not)
- ¼ cup The Glenlivet
- 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
Get your pan nice and hot and add butter. Once the butter is melted add the garlic and sauté lightly until golden brown. Add your Chard and sauté until slightly wilted then add your Glenlivet and sauté until tender. Finish with salt and pepper and you are ready to eat.
- 2 Pounds cleaned and cut in half
- 1 Pound of raw chopped ¼ inch smoked bacon
- ¼ Cup Turbanado Sugar (Sugar in the raw, coarse granules)
- ¼ Cup chopped garlic
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fine Flat Leaf Parsley
- Smoked Sea Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Get your bacon cooking at medium heat until nice and crispy. Render off the fat and dispose of half. Next steam the Brussels sprouts until al dente. Ok, this is where it gets really easy; while the Brussels and Bacon are still warm toss them gently with all the remaining ingredients and season with the smoked sea salt and pepper to your liking. Sit back and enjoy! I don’t know about you, but I love bacon and Brussels.
Feel free to find Schoolhouse on Facebook and check out our “Fall Kick Off”, a Scotch paired dinner!
Thank you again for reading and taking action in your state to make sure our children grow up happy and healthy. Someday the rolls will be reversed and they will be caring for us.
Sincerely, Christopher Dobrowolski, Schoolhouse Restaurant