Summer Camp Wrap-Up: Memorable Moments Part 2

Posted by on Aug 20, 2017 in Thanksgiving, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

Cultivating fun and friendships during summer camp has made our culinary adventure fly by! Here are some of our most memorable moments during the second half of camp. 

A memorable summer filled with food, friendships and fun.

An unforgettable NYC summer filled with food, farms, friendships and fun.

We kicked off week four of camp focusing on “Pollinators and the Environment.” Curious minds led us to adventures visiting our flying friends high above the city, learning that without pollinating midges chocolate wouldn’t exist, and discovering that ecologically-friendly restaurants  can make the tastiest dishes!

Bowing or "dabbing" to the Queen Bee at Broadway Bees.

Appreciating a bee’s hard work by bowing or “dabbing” to the Queen Bee!

Broadway Bees – We met our friends from Harlem Grown again to see what all the buzz was about at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Forget the penthouse suite, the friendly flying residents have the best view! Located on the rooftop 723 feet above ground, these hive hotels comprise the highest bee apiary in the world.    Our pollinating pals teach us that not only does their hard work supply about 1/3 of our global supply, but even as kids and insects, no matter how small we are, we can all make a positive impact and contribute positively to our ecosystem.

Reflecting on each camp day with our "Rose, Thorn and Bud."

Reflecting on each camp day with our “Rose, Thorn and Bud.”

 

Hand sorting cacao beans to make the finest artisinal chocolate!

Hand sorting cacao beans to make the finest chocolate!

Everyday during our daily wrap up and at graduation, we reflected on our camp experiences by sharing our “Rose, (favorite part of the day), Thorn (not so favorite), and Bud” (something to look forward to).

Wrapping and decorating our very own chocolate bars!

Decorating our own unique chocolate bar labels.

Fine and Raw Chocolate –For Manhattan session 2 campers, it was of little surprise that the majority of “roses” was  the chocolate factory tour! A local Bushwick chocolatier,  Fine and Raw Chocolates led us on a bean to bar tour, sorting cacao beans, de-shelling them and even wrapping up and decorating our own chocolate bars.

Not only did we discover delicious elote-on-the-cob, but that the plates are made from corn, too!

Not only did we discover delicious elote-on-the-cob at Habana Outpost, but that the cups are made from corn, too!

 

 

 

 

Habana Outpost  Forks made out of potato starch, plates made out of sugarcane fiber and cups made from corn.  These are some of the fun facts campers learned from their tour of the Brooklyn eatery, Habana Outpost.  Known as the first solar-powered restaurant and one of the most sustainably-conscious restaurants in the world, we were lucky to not only have some delicious elote there, but also experience first hand how we can be environmental changemakers!

Campers learned to use the finest ingredients at L'albero dei Gelati's new Crown Heights location. Including these fresh seasonal strawberries for scratchmade gelato!

Our friend Monia hands us the freshest seasonal strawberries for gelato at L’albero dei Gelati’s new Crown Heights location.

L’albero dei gelati-  Our friends at L’albero, shared that we can bring the authentic taste of Italian gelato into our own backyard by sourcing ingredients from local farmers.

Across the globe, we can have a shared vision of crafting something delicious through a combination of tradition, creativity and cultivating an appreciation for farmers and natural foods.

 

 

 

Turning negative thoughts and picky eating upside-down with our favorite yoga teacher, Skyler!

Turning negative thoughts and picky eating upside-down with our favorite yoga teacher, Skyler! Mindfulness of food and body was practiced daily at camp.

Becoming Master Chefs by using all six parts of the plant!

Becoming Master Chefs by using all six parts of the plant!

During week 5 of camp, not only did we amp up our nutrition by focusing on using all parts of the plant, but also our culinary creativity with cooking challenges!

Foraging with Wildman Steve Brill for a forest feast! We found some wood sorrel, a lemon-tasting plant, to add some flavor to our water bottles.

Foraging with Wildman Steve Brill for a forest feast! Searching for Wood Sorrel to add a lemony-kick to our water.

Wildman Steve Brill – “These are the coolest plants ever!” said one camper as “Wildman” Steve Brill guided us on another foraging adventure throughout Central and Prospect Parks.  With his delightful storytelling and humor, Wildman Steve taught us how to hunt for wild edible plants.  Some plants in our “forest feast” that we were able to identify and sample was Persling, Poor Man’s Pepper, Burdock and Wood Sorrel, a tart-lemon tasting herb that we mixed  in our water bottles! We found and took home some “Common Plantain” which can be baked into chips  and even used as a natural remedy for mosquito bites.

With zucchini muffins, Chef Rowena from Eat2Explore shows us that baking with plant parts is fun!

With zucchini muffins, Chef Rowena from Eat2Explore shows us that baking with plant parts is fun!

Growing pesticide-free produce all year round in the city is impossible, no?  Not at Gotham Greens!

Growing pesticide-free produce all year round in the city is impossible, no? Not at Gotham Greens!

Gotham Greens – How far did the basil for our pesto travel?  When communities create the space for urban gardening, not only do we get fresher produce, but we create a cleaner air by eliminating the carbon emissions during transportation. Our campers had the opportunity to taste various pestos made from basil freshly picked from the rooftop garden, learn about the benefits of eating locally and take basil home to make our own rescued carrot top pesto.

 

The Pasta Heiress Sarah Rafetto taking us on a tour of the Rafetto's Pasta Shop, the West Village store her great-grandfather built!

The Pasta Heiress Sarah Raffetto taking us on a tour of Raffetto’s Fresh pasta; the West Village shop her great-grandfather built!

Raffettos – Ask our campers in session 3 who they think has the yummiest pasta in NYC, and of course the answer would be Raffettos Fresh Pasta!  In 1906, Marcello Raffetto built his homemade pasta shop in the heart of the West Village.  We were lucky to have his great granddaughter Sarah Raffetto welcome  and guide us through the kitchen with fresh pasta samples and even see how the store’s very first antique pasta cutting machine makes different shapes!

Chopping up summer squash for our Pasta Primavera!

Chopping up summer squash for our Pasta Primavera!

With summer coming to a close, we wanted to use as much summer harvest as possible before the aromas and flavors of fall fill the market shelves. With the thematic focus on seasonal superfoods during our last week of camp, we  celebrated the summer harvest and the healthy benefits it gives us!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ample Hills churns only the freshest local ingredients!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… farm-fresh ingredients!

Ample Hills – We love ice cream!  Not only is Ample Hills a creamery and bakery, it is a registered dairy plant that uses the best local ingredients.  Our campers got to experience the joy of churning milk base and organic sugar into ice cream and sharing it with new friends.

 

Meeting the farmers who supply our food and these edible flowers at Union Square Farmer's Market.

Meeting the farmers who supply our food and these edible flowers at Union Square Farmer’s Market.

Union Square Farmer’s Market – We took a short trip to the farmer’s market to explore the colorful produce and discover what foods are in season.  During our tour, we had a chance to visit the farmers who grew our food, hear their stories, and become sustainable stewards in our community!

A lovely day at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm!

A lovely day at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm!

Brooklyn Grange – On our last day, both our Brooklyn and Manhattan campers shared a lovely day at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop farm exploring the rows of blooming and ready-to-pick harvest.  Setting the scene with the Manhattan skyline interspersed with awakened sunflowers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,we reflected on this truly unique experience that our city children have.

There may not be a lot of space in our urban backyard, but one unique lesson that Butter Beans Camp teaches us is that we can all be resourceful with what Mother Earth, farmers and soil superhero worms provide. With their help and as Butter Beans families, we can learn to live sustainably and gain an appreciation for the food that fuels us.

Thank you farmers, thank you chefs.

Thank you farmers, thank you chefs.

 

 

 

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Chicken with Israeli Couscous

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in cooking with kids, families, healthy food, Recipes, school food | 0 comments

pearl-couscousWe recently received a request from one of our school lunch parents (who also eats with us in our cafeteria at UNICEF headquarters) if we could share our Chicken with Israeli Couscous recipe with them since they both love when it shows up on our menu at lunch.

After they recreated it at home they shared with us that it was a big hit!

Here is how you can bring the Butter Beans lunch experience in your home with this tasty dish:

Serves ~5
INGREDIENTS: 
  • CHICKEN BREAST, chopped into cubes, marinate & sear – 1 LB
  • WG ISRAELI COUS COUS – 1 C
  • BLACK OLIVES, sliced – 8 T
  • ROASTED RED PEPPER, small dice – 8 T
  • PARSLEY, chopped – 2 T
  • SALT TO TASTE
MARINADE: 
  • SHALLOTS, small dice – 1.5 tsp
  • GARLIC, small dice – 1.5 tsp
  • SALT – 1.5 tsp
  • LEMON JUICE – 1.5 tsp
  • DRIED THYME – 1.5 tsp
  • EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – 3 tsp 
DIRECTIONS: 
Chicken: 
Marinate the chicken for 24 hours in the shallot and garlic marinade. Once marinated, preheat the oven to 350F. In the meantime, coat a pan with olive oil and sear the chicken until nicely browned, then place the seared chicken on a sheet tray and into the oven until cooked through approximately 20-25 minutes. 
 
Couscous: 
Cook like you would pasta. Bring water to a boil, add couscous, stir, then simmer for 10 minutes, until al-dente. Drain and set aside. 
 
Final Step: 
Mix the chicken and couscous together, then add in the olives, red pepper, parsley and salt to taste. Enjoy!
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Campfire Stories: “Compost Week: Life, Death … and Poop!”

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Thanksgiving, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

Kids love it when grownups allow them to say the word “poop.” You’ll hear that word a lot at Butter Beans summer camp. But never fear, parents–our “poop” has a purpose.

“You mean that dirt is mostly worm poop?”

“Wait… everything we eat comes from worm poop?!”

These are the kinds of “a-ha” moments you’ll hear during Compost Week, often tinged with equal parts disgust and delight. When campers are hovering over the compost bin, which is home to a thriving worm community, poop-related epiphanies tend to unfold. Our slippery ambassadors of the soil also prompt the children to look at the dirt outside on field trips more closely, to learn about the relationships between composting animals and our food, and to see the circle of life in a new light, through the eyes of a red wiggler worm.

As it turns out, once you begin talking about compost, you quickly find that you are talking about everything else: where food comes from, where it goes, what does and doesn’t get recycled, and what happens to living things after they die. (Sometimes this means you’re edging into spiritual territory, and other times, you really are just talking about poop.)

Students sample wontons with Eat2Explore

Students sample wontons with Eat2Explore

During Compost Week, our discussions became so rich and multifaceted that we decided to help the children map out the connections they were making during an afternoon at camp.

During center time, in which children work in small groups, we arranged materials across a few tables to help students consider and record their thoughts on this frequently-asked question: “Where does our food come from?” The children had just enjoyed a guest chef lesson with Rowena Scherer, founder of the new just-for-kids meal kit company Eat2Explore (check it out!), in which they had made veggie wontons, so we made wontons the food of focus.

"Where does wheat flour come from?" The Butter Beans food detectives are on the case.

“Where does wheat flour come from?” The Butter Beans food detectives are on the case.

For our concrete, hands-on learners (and what kid doesn’t fit that description?), we placed visual “clues”: the package for the wonton wrappers, the recipe, and a drawing of a worm in soil to encourage them to think about “where” as the place where the plants themselves originated. (Kids later rightly pointed out that the wonton concept originated in China, but strictly speaking, the wonton wrappers hailed from Jersey.)

On a second table, we arranged activities and materials to help students consider and record their thoughts about the first question’s flip side: “Where does our food go when we’re done with it?” Here, we placed the scraps from our wonton cooking lesson, along with some plastic packaging from the produce and other assorted cooking lesson castoff materials. We established bins for compost, recycling and landfill, labeling them with happy worms (for materials that can be composted) and unhappy worms (for landfill) for younger students who are not yet reading or writing.

Bins for worm-friendly (biodegradable) and non-worm-friendly (landfill) materials.

Bins for worm-friendly (biodegradable) and non-worm-friendly (landfill) materials.

 

After we had laid out these materials, we divided the group into same-age teams, with our older, “big picture” thinkers taking the first crack at the first question, and our younger children pulling on plastic gloves and getting their hands dirty as they grappled with the second.

At each table, teachers and students worked together to chart their discussions using large chart paper. The results were inspiring.

Our worms and food waste chart.

Our worms and food waste chart.

In the first group, teachers listened and began to create a mind map on the wonton poster as the children explained to each other what a wheat plant looked like, and drew scallions reaching their shallow roots into the worms’ soil on the poster. Mental lightbulbs went off as they looked at pictures of soybeans and realized that favorite Asian foods like edamame, tofu and soy sauce all stemmed, quite literally, from the same plant.

In the second group, children talked about what kinds of foods from the pile would be good for the worms to eat (in other words, biodegradable), and which would not be good for worms (not just plastics, but also bread, citrus and dairy products). They felt proud that they had taken good care of our friends in the bin.

Julian and Sierra sort food and waste for the worms.

Julian and Sierra sort food and waste for the worms.

 

Then, the groups were encouraged to intermingle. The older children came to visit the compost sorting station, and began to record the younger students’ ideas on a T-chart, listing which ingredients were biodegradable and which were not.

 

Sage helps to record the best (and worst) foods for worms.

Sage helps to record the best (and worst) foods for worms.

The younger children then made their way over to the map of wonton ingredients, with the very youngest pre-readers representing their ideas through drawings. They got busy sketching the bees that brought the honey for our wonton, adding roots to all the plants pictured (and a few extra worms for good measure). We also observed them engaging in intense discussions about the accuracy of each other’s animals and plants, discussions that provided a detailed window into their collective thinking. (A pair of twin five year olds in particular disagreed about whether a queen bee, who now dominated the top right corner of the poster, should be depicted as flying, as queen bees were flightless. The illustrator of the queen bee solved the problem simply, she explained, by adding worker bees as her attendants to carry her through the sky on a magic carpet. It is difficult to overstate how much we love the magical realism of kindergarteners!)

For students who are not yet writing, drawings provide a window into their development as chefs and gardeners.

For students who are not yet writing, drawings provide a window into their development as chefs and gardeners.

Taken together, these activities provided not only a way for the children to collaborate and share their knowledge on the big ideas we featured during Compost Week, but also a way for us to pre-assess their prior knowledge of the complex food system, and thus to design better future instruction for them. 

All of our work at camp HQ also helped the children feel like experts when they capped off Compost Week with a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where they got to learn how the master composters there keep the circle of life going in large containers that dwarf our small classroom bin. Our guide, Claudia, helped them to answer the burning questions they still wished to answer, about worms (“How can you tell a baby from a grown-up?”) and gardening (“How do you make the compost go faster?”). She was thoroughly impressed by all of the knowledge they brought to the garden classroom table. (She also allowed them to say “poop,” always a plus.)

Claudia, our guide at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, answers kids' burning questions about compost.

Claudia, our guide at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, answers kids’ burning questions about compost.

For parents welcoming home campers from Butter Beans summer camp who come bearing stories of thrusting their hands into poop, and demand for the family to start its own worm bin in their sweltering New York apartments, we offer the same combination of “Sorry” and “You’re welcome” that we offer when sending home chef knives and high-maintenance seedlings, the other common trophies for a Butter Beans graduate. Taking responsibility for our food system, from soil to table and back to soil, isn’t pretty, nor is it low-maintenance. But for families and kids who think it’s important to dig deep, to figure out where all of this stuff around us comes from and where it’s all going, a Butter Beans camp classroom is an excellent place to kick off (or continue) that conversation.

IMG_3644Food waste after shot 

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