2017-10-26 / Life in Leelanau

Nutritional food taught in classroom — with pie

By Jennifer Murphy
Special to the Enterprise

In an age of standardized testing and science-focused curricula, one teacher at Glen Lake High School is making sure students have time to learn about one of the most practical skills of all: preparing healthy meals.

Maple City resident Amy White holds a master’s degree in education from Michigan State and has spent her entire career teaching health and home economics classes at Glen Lake Schools. One of those classes is called Food & Nutrition. The first part of the course focuses on easier projects such as learning kitchen tools, roasting vegetables, and a bit of baking.

And that baking unit, as it should in Leelanau County, includes preparing an apple pie from scratch.

“The apple pie is really challenging because pastry is hard,” White said. “We do lots of baking in the Foods 1 class.”

Baking becomes somewhat competitive in White’s class as community members and teachers “judge” pies baked by student teams.

Judges included “Chef Gene” Peyerk, owner of Leelanau Pie and Pastry and former Glen Lake food service director; government teacher Kris Herman; and technology instructor Dakota Chase.

White holds a love for foods of all kinds. “I try to make what I teach and how I live my life congruent,” she said.

White uses produce from her garden in many of the meals she prepares. This season that includes Swiss chard, kale, squash, and tomatoes.

One dish she looks forward to making is Sri Lankan kale. “It’s delicious,” she said. “It’s finely chopped and sautéed with unsweetened coconut milk, cumin, mustard seeds, and onion.”

Along with making squash bisque and many soups flavored with sausage (one of her favorites), White experimented this year creating different types of pesto, including one with sage and parsley.

“I’m a pasta person. Pasta is a great dish. It got such a bad name, but if you use lots of veggies in your pasta and then put your protein in there, then that’s it,” she said.

On the sweet side, one of her newest dishes includes pears spiced with cardamom.

“You always think of cinnamon and nutmeg, but I just love cardamom,” she said. One of her choice sources to creative flavoring for Fall (and year-round) is a book her nephew gave her called “The Flavor Thesaurus,” which is based on the idea of pairing foods with unusual flavors. “I just love that book because if you want to be explorative, it gives you something to work from.”

Chef Gene’s Two-Crust Apple Pie and Filling


4 cups flour

1 ½ cups fat (1 cup shortening plus ½ cup butter)

1 teaspoon salt

Mix together in Kitchen Aid using the paddle. Start on slow and increase the speed. Mixture should be crumbly.

Add in slowly 5-6 ounces cold water (1/2 – ¾ cup). Do not add all the water at one time. Mix together, then turn out onto floured surface and fold over a few times. Mixture should hold together, but may have a few loose crumbs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Refrigerate.

Apple Filling

Peel, core, and slice 2 pounds of apples (about 5). Place in saucepan with 2 tablespoons water and stir with wooden spoon until apples begin to soften.

Add to the apples:

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

Continue to mix and simmer.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 4 tablespoons cold water in a small cup.

Slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the apple mixture. Allow mixture to reach a simmer again for at least one additional minute.

Divide pastry in half, roll out one half and line pie pan. Place filling in pan and top pie with other half rolled crust. Be sure to cut slits in crust for venting. Bake in oven 30-40 minutes at 350 until crust is golden brown.

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