Cooking with Student Chefs at JEH Rec

Starting in January, students at the JEH Rec Center are learning to cook foods from around the world. At the beginning of each five class session, students pick 4 countries to inspire the recipes they'll cook. Not only will students learn new culinary skills, but by investigating the ingredients students will begin to think more critically about where their food comes from and how it impacts their health.

Step 1: Read the recipe (included at the end of this post) and investigate the ingredients. Before they even begin cooking, the students answer these three questions about each ingredient:

  1. How far did the ingredient take to get here today?
  2. In which seasons can you grow the ingredient in Maryland?
  3. How does the ingredient help our bodies?


Step 2: Learn a new skill-- safely using a box grater. 


Step 3: Work as a team to prepare the dish.

DSC00191 Step 4: Share with friends and family!


Torta de Espinaca (from Colombia) Spinach cakes


  • ½ pound spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup mozzarella  cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • salt, cumin and pepper
  • olive oil


  1. In a saucepan put water to boil and when boiling turn off heat and add spinach to sweat for 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Then pass them through a colander and drain all the water.
  3. Place in a bowl and cut slightly with a knife.
  4. Dice onion and tomato, then sautee until softened (about 5 minutes)
  5. In another bowl mix the eggs with the flour, salt and pepper
  6. Grate the cheese and add to the spinach.
  7. Add the egg mixture and mix gently.
  8. Add the sauteed onion and tomato mixture
  9. Pour mixture into greased pan, cook for 3 minutes on each side

Keep an eye out for recipes from Egypt, India, and Germany!