So many of us, on beautiful Saturday afternoons like this one, are enjoying the growing local food networks established and run by farmers, gardeners, community activists and “foodies“. Most agree that supporting local business and infrastructure – of which food is a central part, is a good thing. The very personal issues around food – around access, personal responsibility and choice, is where many differing opinions surface. Differing opinions is a great thing of course. It allows for engagement, for a more thorough investigation, for a whole-istic perspective. All Jacked Up is a documentary that follows five teens whose life issues – like all of ours, is intimately tied to our modern food supply. Check it out.
I’ve always been curious about asparagus because of its looks. The fact that it stands up so straight, and has a curly like ruffle top makes me ponder the miracle of it growing up from the ground, and also has me wonder why it tastes so good yet looks so strange, even dinosaur like. I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover! Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to emerge from the soil after a long winter filled with root vegetables, and with its emergence comes health benefits that directly correspond to the needs of our bodies in the spring season: cleansing and renewing.
Here is a simple, fast and tasty way to cook your asparagus, which I hope will inspire your taste buds to continue eating vegetables in their peak season when they taste the best, and are cost friendly.
Sautéed asparagus with poached eggs and parmesan cheese:
Place olive oil or sunflower oil into your pan; turn on stove to medium heat
Snap off ends of asparagus stalks, and rinse with water
Place stalks into your pan and sauté covered for 10 minutes or until tender
*Try roasting or steaming your asparagus.
Place a few inches of water into a pot; turn stove on to medium heat
Wait for water to reach the point where it’s not simmering yet, but it almost is
Crack your egg into a small bowl
With a large spoon make a whirlpool with the water, then place the egg into the water and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
Remove the egg with your spoon and place on top of your asparagus bed
*Feel free to scramble your egg-it’s tasty too!
Grate some parmesan cheese on top, crack some pepper and enjoy your creation!
*Parmesan can be quite pricey; try adding goat cheese or feta instead.
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! I’ll post again next month, when our focus shifts to summer peas. – Flora
As we prepare for our Food & Garden camp this summer, we are highlighting innovative leaders that are stepping into sustainable practices, and opening their doors for the rest of us to learn from. Mast Brothers Chocolate – is a great example. Two brothers from Iowa, that came to New York a decade ago to study culinary arts and film, decided to make their passion and committment to creat something sustainable and beautiful – for the sheer adventure of it, by opening a chocolate factory in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Their story, that includes sail boats and sustainable farming and equal exchange, is a beautiful one. But one of the things I most love about them, is their wrapping. They individually wrap each bar in butcher type paper, covered in designs made by themselves, their friends and their families that they print in-house. While much of the world focuses on perfection and mass quantities of a sellable something, the Mast brothers focus on creating a high quality product, with a human touch. The beauty, and the inconsistency, is part of the craft they actually seek.
Today at Butter Beans, as we reviewed some feedback from students in one of our student food committees (these groups are set up for interested students to talk about lunch – about the menu, about our sourcing, our recipes, about growing – all things relating to our food chain – students have wonderful curiosity!). and one student posed the question that touched on this very topic of craft: “Why don’t your lemon bars (we serve dessert on Fridays) all look exactly the same like they do in a store?
I loved this question. It reminds me of our purpose, it reminds me of our connection to this idea of craft. In the case of Butter Beans, our purpose is to serve delicious school food made from scratch with love and sensibility about the balance of flavors, color, nutrition, accessibility, and seasonality. Our purpose is to help create a link between school communities and the food we eat, and we do this by first and foremost, serving delicious food.
If you’ve made a tray of cornbread or brownies at home – you have probably experienced an edge that came out thinner than an opposing edge. This kind of irregularity, happens sometimes when left to human hands, and we believe this human touch is worthwhile. We want our kids to get their hands dirty, to experiment with flavors and colors for the sake of doing so. We want to encourage curiosity about how things work, get created, grow, taste, and transform. We want children (of all ages) to feel inspired by their casserole, even if it didn’t come out quite as expected, to feel pride when serving up their homemade tomato sauce they learned to make from scratch, and to celebrate their growing carrot – whether it grew straight and strong, or whether it bumped into a few stones below the ground and grew curvy to get around them. And, we want children to ask questions about why their cornbread slice, or lemon bar slice, was thinner than their neighbors. The more questions, the better. It allows for added curiosity, for understanding and appreciation of all that goes into creation.
We are excited to be partnering with the Mast brothers this summer where our campers will get their own behind the scenes tour and tasting of the only chocolate factory in the city dedicated to an old world chocolate making process that takes 37 days to complete. Check them out! And if you know any 7-12 year olds who would like to join us on our summer adventures through our food chain, send them our way. We’ll be sure to send them back to you with tasty samplings to share.
We are excited to be partnering with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm this summer during our Food & Garden camp. We will be visiting their 6000 square foot green roof organic vegetable farm on the shoreline of the East River and with a sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline located atop a warehouse rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn! We will learn about the workings of the farm and get our hands dirty planting, transplanting or harvesting fresh summer produce. They have a green market, and a CSA. Visit them this weekend to shop their market and meet their hens!
Visit our website to learn more about our summer camp – an unforgettable fantastic summer experience for 7-12 year olds.