On Tuesday, March 11th, Rosy Ontiverros donned an apron and a chef’s hat in the kitchen of Lincoln Middle School in Portland to prepare and serve samples of a healthy Mexican dish to 130 sixth graders. Rosy was one of 3 volunteers to prepare and serve a traditional, healthy meal to sixth graders at Lincoln Middle School as part of their Chef to School program.
Rosy prepared bite-sized tostadas with the help of Blair Currier (Local Foods Specialist at Portland Public Schools) and Sarah Bostick (Refugee Farmer Specialist at Cultivating Community). The team of three cooked a large vat of Maine-grown black beans and when tender, the beans were pureed with an immersion blender to make a healthy, homemade version of “refried” beans. A dollop of pureed beans was plopped into the bottom of each bite-sized corn tostada and then topped by layers of locally raised chicken braised in locally grown tomatoes and chipotle sauce, shredded romaine lettuce, shredded radish, mozzarella cheese, and salsa.
A team of middle school girls joined Rosy when the lunch bell rang to pass out a sample of Rosy’s delicious creation to each and every 6th grader in the school. As fast as the prep team could make the samples, the students served them along with comment cards which each student filled out and brought back with enthusiastic requests for more samples! Rosy’s bite-sized tostadas were quite a hit at Lincoln Middle School and she laughed in delight as students clamored to be the first in line to receive a second helping of her food.
Rosy will not be the resident chef the next time her tostada recipe is made at Lincoln Middle School, but some of the vegetables that she grows will make it into school lunches this fall. Rosy and the other farmers of Fresh Start Farms will be providing the Portland Public School kitchens with garlic scapes, zucchini, summer squash, kale, collards, chard, kohlrabi, golden beets, daikon lettuce, watermelon, lettuce, and delicata squash this year.
Bon appetit, buen provecho, and happy eating!