The Riverbank Certified Farmer’s Market wrapped up for the season recently with a variety of events for guests to enjoy, including a cooking demonstration in the community center hosted by Riverbank High School Culinary Arts teacher Emily Cowdrey and a few of her students. During the demo guests learned how to make pesto along with a few different ways to savor this tasty sauce.
Darlene Barber-Martinez brought the cooking demo to the Farmer’s Market this year which gave Cowdrey and her students another chance to practice their culinary skills.
“We did a few different kinds of pesto,” said Cowdrey. “We did have samples of everything we made.”
They made a pesto with pistachios, nuts and mint as the main herb. Another option of pesto presented at the demo was the basil, walnut, arugula, along with some olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and salt.
“We did it by hand using a mortar and pestle,” added Cowdrey. “We made the pesto on spiraled squash noodles, also on some cooked pasta noodles and we made a pesto veggie dip by mixing it with yogurt with zucchini slices to dip in.”
The demonstration lasted about 30 minutes and this was the first one that Cowdrey has participated in outside of class.
“It was a good learning moment,” stated Cowdrey. “We had fun and it was great to see my students participating.”
The dish that was favored during the demo was the pesto with mint and pistachios on the squash noodles and a close second was the yogurt dip.
“It went very well,” said Martinez. “She used vegetables such as yellow squash and zucchini. She made a few different pestos and showed the versatility of the pesto. The squash was shredded with a utensil that made it look like it was a pasta.”
Cowdrey will be teaching Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Arts for the second year at RHS and she will be engaging the culinary students at RHS with new tasks, trips, and challenges for the new school year. With a few more field trips planned and the addition of more healthy recipes, Cowdrey is hoping to get a garden planted or at the very least an herb garden for the class this school year. She will also be having a ‘Chopped’ style fundraiser in the spring and is looking to form an advisory group for a program that she will be looking for community members to join.