Days Four and Five at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp - Session Two

Days four and five of camp are always so exciting!  After three days of working and playing together and learning from our guest chefs, our counselors and the farmers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market it is time to take Bay Leaf Kitchen on the road and go up to Eatwell Farm!

We arrived at Eatwell in time for lunch. The kids were so excited to see all the open space around us and were full of questions. After lunch we met up with Lorraine and Nigel who lead us on a tour of the farm. On the tour we harvested and tasted watermelons, strawberries, mulberries, tomatoes to name just a few!

After some fun water games, the kids divided into groups where they each got to work on a different cooking activity. One group took their "shopping list" out into the fields and foraged for the ingredients Chef Fran, from Bluestem Brasserie, would need for our dinner.  One group headed into the farm house to learn how to make dinner rolls with Lorraine and one group set up shop in the outdoor kitchen and got to make strawberry jam!  

image.jpg

As the day started to cool off it was time to come back together in one group to meet Chef Fran who, along with Erin Euser and the founders of Bluestem Brasserie, Stacy and Jed, took the time to come up to Eatwell to teach us all how to make a meal, using seasonal ingredients and recipes developed for their restaurant!  

The campers divided up into groups, again, to each tackle a different component of our dinner.  Thanks to the group who did the harvesting and to Chef Fran, we had the ingredients all ready for us to prep and assemble.  One group mixed the spices for the lamb meatballs, one group tackled a fresh peach, arugula and mozzarella salad, one made thinly shaved summer squash and squash blossoms with goat cheese and another group made prosciutto-wrapped melon.

The counselors cooked up the meatballs over an open fire pit and we all sat down to enjoy a, truly decadent, meal under the open sky in our outdoor kitchen.  Even the Eatwell folks came to joined us.  I definitely saw Cameron and the twins going back for seconds!

image.jpg

Once dinner clean up was done we gathered around the fire, roasted homemade marshmallows and ate s'mores while the campers made us laugh with their exceptionally creative skits!  There were dance routines, scripted mini-plays and even one group of campers who did extremely accurate counselor impressions!  Fun was had by all and, as the sun started to set over the fields, we all shuffled off to our tents to get some, well-deserved, shut eye.

image.jpg

The next morning we all ate a hearty breakfast and started to get camp cleaned up for the trek home.  It wouldn't be a day at Bay Leaf Kitchen Camp, however, without some kind of big meal! As it was our last day, Elianna organized a secret ingredients lunch challange and we got to see what the campers had learned over the last week as they put their heads together to create their own recipes for our lunch that day!

I think we were all blown out of the water when we saw what each group came up with.  It was a delicious lunch of quick-pickled carrots in tomato cups, mixed green salad full of fresh veggies and fruits, cold "tomasil" soup and a melon and strawberry drink that was made by hand-crushing ice with the fruit.  It was so refreshing!

image.jpg

After our al fresco lunch over, we said our goodbyes to the folks at Eatwell Farm, cleaned up our space and loaded up the bus to head back into the city.

We will miss the campers so much but we are so excited to look towards what's next at Bay Leaf Kitchen!  Stay tuned for Fall Programming announcements and more photos, stories and tidbits from life, here, at Bay Leaf Kitchen!

 -Rachel

image.jpg

Day Five at Bay Leaf Kitchen Camp

We awoke on our final day of camp to the roosters crowing and the first light of dawn fading. The kids were up and ready for the day's lesson first thing in the morning so we ate our breakfast of Eatwell Farm's fresh eggs, roasted potatoes and French toast with berry compote made by the campers for a great early start!

After breakfast, we headed over (very quietly) to watch Lorraine and Nigel milk the cows and then each camper got a chance to have some quality time with their beautiful horse, Stella.  

The campers learned how milking machine functions and met Lorraine's beautiful horse, Stella.

The campers learned how milking machine functions and met Lorraine's beautiful horse, Stella.

After visiting with the cows and with Stella we divided back into our four teams (mint, parsley, basil, and lavender!) and started on lunch. Each group was responsible for one dish and got to decide from what ingredients they would forage to how they would season it. The campers and their counselors headed back out into the fields to harvest and then lunch prep got under way. Two groups decided to augment their vegetables and fruits with some beans so we ended up with a truly well-balanced lunch including two types of bean dip with crudités, a caprese salad with mint, basil and fresh tomatoes (Isaiah's favorite), an heirloom bean salad (beans from Tierra Vegetables) with assorted leafy greens and a fruit salad decorated with fresh flowers.

The fruit salad, the bean dip and Lily, holding the caprese. 

The fruit salad, the bean dip and Lily, holding the caprese. 

After lunch and cleanup we gave credits for the day (a chance for campers and counselors to thank eachother for specific things that made them feel good or were particularly helpful) and then we all got the opportunity to ask Lorraine more questions about Eatwell Farm. There were a lot of questions about the baby chicks and we learned about how important it is to pay attention to where our eggs come from. 

Upon departing, Lorraine and Nigel surprised us all by announcing that we would EACH get to go home with an Eatwell CSA box! We didn't think that Lorraine and Nigel could be any more generous than they'd already been with us; the fact that every camper and counselor got to go home with a box of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs was just the icing on the cake for us! We loaded up our tents and cooking supplies (CSA boxes in tow) and headed back to the city to tell all our friends and family of our wonderful adventures!

We can't wait to see what next session's camp has in store for us!   

Some shots from our last day at the farm!

Some shots from our last day at the farm!

Stay tuned for more fall programming announcements and look for us on twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@bayleafkitchen) for fun updates about what's cooking!  

-Rachel

Day Four at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp: Eatwell Farm

Yesterday we gathered our cooking supplies, packed our sleeping bags and headed out of the city for our overnight trip to Eatwell Farm!

On the trip up (about an hour away) the campers observed the trees and plants growing outside as we drove and tried to identify the different agriculture they saw. 

Beccan, Aiden, Luke, Izzy, Amanda, Mia and Carlos getting goofy on the bus ride. 

Beccan, Aiden, Luke, Izzy, Amanda, Mia and Carlos getting goofy on the bus ride. 

Once we arrived at Eatwell, we divided into our farm teams (mint, lavender, parsley and basil) and came up with cool group cheers: "Basil will rock the farm, we are full of fun and charm." After lunch, with our hats and sunscreen slathered faces, Lorraine and Nigel gave us a tour of the farm and let us roam around to pick mulberries, look at the ducks and get our fill of strawberries fresh off the vine! There is nothing like a warm, ripe strawberry. 

The campers found some of the freshest, juiciest strawberries I have ever seen. 

The campers found some of the freshest, juiciest strawberries I have ever seen. 

After our morning tour we had some free time. It was really hot so Lorraine set us up with a sprinkler and we all cooled down in the water (and made some good mud in the process). We played some games, worked on our journals and then got down to the serious business of planning dinner (what else?).

The campers brainstormed concepts for their group dish before setting out on the farm to forage for their ingredients! The bounty they came back with was truly astounding and they all used their cooking knowledge to figure out how the ingredients would work best together and how they much of everything they would need. 

Once ingredients were picked, we all gathered around for a fish fileting demonstration from our friend, Anna Larsen, founder of Siren SeaSA - a fresh fish CSA for the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the kids jumped right in and showed some real talent and a lot of bravery with their filleting skills and their willingness to try something so new! 

The campers developed their own recipes to go with the halibut that Anna taught us how to filet! 

The campers developed their own recipes to go with the halibut that Anna taught us how to filet! 

After a long day of activity we finally sat down to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor! We feasted on fish, cooked in fresh tomato sauce, mixed green salads with herbs and homemade dressing, coleslaw. fruit purées and medleys and roasted potatoes. 

After dinner and clean-up we all gathered around the fire pit for s'mores (made with homemade graham crackers and marshmallows and chocolate donated by Dandelion Chcoloates) and skits, written and performed by the campers. They were very funny and entertaining! After many laughs, we all settled into our tents for our night under the stars.

All in all, I'd say it was a very fine day!  

image.jpg

-Rachel

Day Three of Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp: Baking

Today we cooked up a storm for lunch including homemade hamburger buns, turkey zucchini burgers, lentil and chickpea fritters, spicy ketchup, quick pickles and salad with two different vinaigrettes. We started mixing our bun dough (so it had time to rise), and as we were proofing the yeast and camper called out, "this smells like life." 

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

The kitchen continued to smell great throughout the day because after lunch chefs Anna Deveri-Castellanos and Lenore Estrada from Three Babes Bakeshop taught us how to make fresh fruit cobbler. The cobbler finished just in time to enjoy with ice cream and share with our parents.

Summertime Berry Cobbler!

Summertime Berry Cobbler!

Looking forward to Eatwell Farm tomorrow!

-Elianna

Day Two of Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp: Farmers Market Adventures

It's only day 2 of summer camp but it already feels like it's going by so fast! This morning, we learned all about heirloom dried beans and brown rice. We counted out at least 20 different heirloom bean varieties in the mix! Next we went shopping at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for our lunch ingredients which was so cool because we got to talk to the farmers, like Charlie from Rolling Oaks Ranch, David from Happy Quail Farms, and Paul from McGinnis Ranch.

Campers in the farmers market! 

Campers in the farmers market! 

After shopping in the farmers market we headed back to the kitchen to make fajitas for lunch. It was so yummy. We made our own seasoning blends for the chicken, guacamole, salsa, granita and homemade fresh tortillas! 

"I-ran-out-of-names-guacamole!" Hee.

"I-ran-out-of-names-guacamole!" Hee.

After lunch we enjoyed learning about food writing from experts Zebot and Laura Martin Bacon from Zebot's Kitchen. In the afternoon, we made sugar cookies and a fruit compote for dessert! We also got to enjoy the granita that we made earlier in the day. We ended the day with a foodie Boulder Dash game lead by Chef Maggie. It was a lot of laughs and all in all, a great second day. Can't wait for what tomorrow brings!

-Amy

Day One of Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp

Wow! We just finished our first day of our first session of Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp and it was a BLAST!

The campers used the "kitchen rules" they'd just created to chop veggies for fresh spring rolls.

The campers used the "kitchen rules" they'd just created to chop veggies for fresh spring rolls.

The campers learned all kinds of skills in the kitchen. We talked about kitchen etiquette and rules and after a knife demonstration, we started making vegetable spring rolls using local ingredients like fresh mint and flowering chives from Marin Roots Farm and Hodo Soy yuba strips. A lot of the kids had never had yuba and were excited to find a new flavor that they liked!

Chef Daniel got messy with the campers while making homemade gnocchi. 

Chef Daniel got messy with the campers while making homemade gnocchi. 

In the afternoon, Chef Daniel from LUCE came to cook with us! He taught us how to make potato gnocchi from scratch and pesto with fresh basil. He also taught us some really cool, and helpful, kitchen lingo like "sharp behind" and even shared some of his own tips for being a great chef like "always clean as you go!"

All in all it was a pretty spectacular first day at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp and, to round it all out, we were included in an article that came out in Bon Appétit today naming us one of The 10 Coolest Cooking Camps In America

We can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!  

Keep cooking, everyone!

-Rachel

Beccan showing us his gnocchi hands :P

Beccan showing us his gnocchi hands :P