Vegetables get thumbs up from WHS students

Published 10:55 am Thursday, December 9, 2010

Contributing Writer

Washington High School senior Shaquoya May on Wednesday gave a thumbs up to a small plate of vegetable antipasto and confetti quinoa that she sampled in her Foods I class.
“It’s good for just vegetables,” she told her teacher, Elaine Roberson. “It’s better than I thought it would be.”
May, who enjoys cooking at her family’s home off Slatestone Road, said she would probably try the recipes at home.
That was the point of a lesson that drew chef Jacqueline deChabert-Rios, an instructor with East Carolina University’s hospitality-management program, three student chefs and Jennna Little, a child nutrition intern, to Washington High School.
The lesson, Eat Right with Color, was intended to encourage the students — who said they mostly ate fried chicken and French fries for lunch — to eat a variety of vegetables every day and learn about tasty recipes for preparing those vegetables.
After hearing a discussion of the nutritional value of a variety of vegetables, the students were treated to a cooking demonstration by deChabert-Rios, who showed them how to prepare the vegetable antipasto and confetti quinoa that impressed May.
The visit was part of a national effort by first lady Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity by encouraging young people to eat a more-healthful diet, according to event organizers.
Part of the first lady’s efforts included a call for chefs to volunteer in their local schools to create healthy meals that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets while teaching young people about nutrition and making healthy choices.
DeChabert-Rios said she hoped to return to Beaufort County schools in the future to encourage healthful eating.
“With the focus being in nutrition education and by equipping them with basic culinary skills, students will gain knowledge they may have not previously had,” said Sarah Hodges, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools. “Empowering students to make healthy decisions and creating lifelong healthy habits to end the epidemic of childhood obesity is the ultimate goal of this program.”
Said deChabert-Rios: “When you eat more fruits and vegetables, you get nutrients that you need to be healthy.”
Roberson agreed. “It’s extremely important. The foods they eat are going to affect their nutrition for the rest of their lives,” she said.
The message was well-received by May and her fellow students, who were so impressed with the food they hoped to prepare the recipes themselves in a future class session.
But, as May noted, the vegetable dishes would taste better accompanied by a good steak.
Vegetable antipasto
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flax oil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/8 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/4 pound green beans, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cut small cauliflower florets
1/2 cut small broccoli florets
1 zucchini, cut crosswise into pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/4 leek, thinly sliced
For the marinade, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, oils, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic and powered mustard in a small bowl and stir well.
For the vegetables, toss the vegetables with the marinade.
Place the vegetable and marinade mixture into glass jars and marinate in a refrigerator for eight hours. Alternatively, put the jars in a dehydrator and warm for six hours at 105 degrees (F).
Serve chilled, at room temperature or warm.
May be stored in an air-tight container in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Confetti quinoa
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
1 cut quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
One cup frozen, chopped mixed vegetable such as peas, carrots, green beans and corn.
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock or water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Stir in the quinoa, salt and pepper.
Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot with a lid.
Cook until the liquid is evaporated and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove lid and stir in the vegetables with a fork.
Place the lid back on the quinoa and vegetable mixture so that the heat from the quinoa cooks the vegetables.
Editor’s note: Quinoa, a species of goosefoot, is a grain-like crop grown mostly for its edible seeds.