Last week my preschooler’s class made “Friendship Snack.” Each family was assigned a dried fruit such as dried bananas, apple rings, raisins, papaya, and cranberries. They mixed it together in class and divided it into bags for each friend to bring some home.
I decided to make a variation of this and thanks to Trader Joe’s I found dried pineapple, freeze dried strawberries with no sugar, unsulphured dried bananas, tri-color raisins, dried blueberries, dried mango, and thinly sliced coconut that wasn’t the coconut jerky kind one usually finds.
Now, you know our so-called school kitchen only has a microwave and coffeepot. We’re not allowed to bring home-cooked items, only prepared items, or items you make there.
So, I brought in my rice cooker, plugged it in and cooked the red quinoa according to directions, two parts water to one part quinoa. I hit cook, moved the rice cooker steam outlet away from the fire alarm, and voila! Thirty minutes later, the quinoa’s nutty aroma was wafting through the classroom. It was done: light, fluffy, and I didn’t even have to watch it.
An hour later when it was time for snack, I scooped the warm red quinoa into bowls, drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled the mixed dried fruit on top and garnished with parsley from the school herb pot outside. This was red quinoa, but they come in all colors.
At our farmer’s market, I can get black quinoa in bulk. But since it doesn’t specify whether it was processed in the same facility as tree nuts, I decided to opt for the Trader Joe’s packaged and vegan labelled type. Not only is this a vegan dish, and in keeping with the season, one of the teacher’s said it fit in her paleo diet.
So, what’s the moral? You CAN cook in a small kitchen, with the help of the right appliances. For my use of a hotpot, see my other entry on oatmeal as a classroom snack.