Following dumpling ingredients, from farm to frying pan, in sixth grade

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in agriculture, Chinese New Year, cooking classes, cooking with kids, dumplings, social studies | 0 comments

 

IMG_0913Laura Cameron’s sixth grade class at BUGS, a charter middle school in Windsor Terrace, was having a hard time accepting the fact that favorite foods like bread and pasta come from–gasp–plants.

If the food didn’t strictly look like a vegetable–and of course, processed foods like store-bought pasta do not–it was hard for them to imagine how that particular food had gone from farm to table.

IMG_0927Moreover, it was hard for these children to imagine how historical peoples from around Asia, which they were studying, had managed to figure out how to turn a wild grass like wheat into the domesticated and versatile product it is today, and how to turn the hardy brown grain into the finely-ground white flour we use in thousands of products.

So, they reached out to our team at Butter Beans for assistance. Our educators were happy to roll up our sleeves and come up with a hands-on lesson plan to help them make these connections. Our first and last thought: dumplings.

Dumplings, which we prepared with wheat-based wrappers and served alongside rice for contrast, are an incredibly IMG_0904fun and educational food to prepare with groups of children. A few things we like about doing dumplings with kids of all ages:

  • Dumplings are part of the worldwide family of “pocket foods,” including ravioli, pierogi, empanadas and many other dishes, so almost every kid can find some connection to this dish via their own home culture.
  • While dumpling wrappers can be handmade, they can also be purchased cheaply (about $2.50 for a packet of 50 at Whole Foods), making it an activity unlikely to break the school budget, especially if each kid makes a single dumpling.
  • When preparing dumpling filling, there are many different ingredients and techniques involved, ensuring thatIMG_0943 every kid stays busy and gets to contribute. While we teach all of our students the same knife skills that adults might learn in a cooking class (with kid-safe knives, of course), some students might also find that they’re more comfortable working a grater or even using scissors to break down herbs.
  • All of our recipes are vegetarian–the best fit for our health-aligned mission, as well as NYC’s diverse population–and this one provides an especially appealing vehicle for vegetables that are simply minced and tucked inside. That said, they also allow kids (and parents) to see that they can easily add flavor to veggie-based dishes without using animal protein, i.e. by adding garlic and ginger and by creating a punchy, salty sauce using just soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

 

When cooking in the classroom, family involvement makes all the difference

Speaking of cultural connections: Not only did this lesson kick off a Chinese New Year celebration, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note how important it was to have parent involvement in this activity, which involved constructing over a hundred dumplings with four groups of students in a sink-less school classroom. Parent volunteers made this flurry of tasks possible by staffing the pan-frying station, clearing dishes and providing pep talks. (Full disclosure: Belinda DiGiambattista, founder of Butter Beans, was one such parent.) 

 

Being able to invite parents into the classroom space is a rare opportunity for us educators. We want them to see theIMG_0922 hard work that their kids are doing and to feel a part of the community. We also know that as partners in caregiving, educators have an important role to play in helping parents to expose their kids to foods they might not try at home. For example, parents don’t have the benefit of peer pressure, which can often convince picky toddlers or teens that being courageous in the kitchen is cool. After seeing their children open up and try new foods in class, many parents said that they were excited to try this recipe at home with their children, and some even left with to-go kits of leftover filling and wrappers to try it again that very night. When it comes to convincing New York kids to try new plant-based foods, it truly does take a village!

By, Ryan Cherecwich, M.Ed, Butter Beans Wellness Educator

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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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Matzo Ball Soup and Roasted Roots

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, holiday, local food, Recipes | 0 comments

This week our chefs will be celebrating Passover with a traditional Jewish dish. Passover is one of the most widely-celebrated Jewish holidays. It is seven days long and usually ends with a Seder dinner which includes lamb, eggs and matzo! Matzo, which can also be spelled Matza or Matzah, is unleavened bread made from spelt, wheat, barley or rye flour. It is consumed in its un-risen form to honor the Jewish people who didn’t have time to let their bread rise before they fled Egypt. Today, we usually see matzo in large flat “crackers” or in matzo ball soup. Enjoy!

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Matzo Ball Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C matzo meal
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 qt vegetable stock

Directions

Beat eggs and mix with matzo meal, olive oil, water, and salt. Add more matzo meal in small increments if necessary to firm dough.

Roll into 1-inch matzo balls using damp hands.

Bring vegetable stock to a boil. Drop in matzo balls. Lower heat slightly to simmer. Cover and cook 25 minutes.

Roasted Roots

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots
  • 3 parsnips
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 1⁄2 lemon

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut carrots and parsnips into matchsticks. Tear dill from stems and squeeze lemon juice. Toss with oil and roots. Roast for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy your matzo ball soup and roasted taproot veggies together!

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Panzanella Salad with Tomato Grilled Cheese

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in after school, cooking with kids, healthy food, lunch time, school food, wellness | 0 comments

Today our Junior Chefs will be putting together some gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and a Tuscan Panzanella Salad for a side. Both dishes will feature tomatoes, a favorite of ours! Tomatoes are a red food, known for keeping our hearts healthy and diets full of antioxidants. We will use just two different types of tomatoes today but did you know there are over 1,000 types in the world? What are your favorite kinds? Feel free to share below!

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Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley

For Vinaigrette: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 lemons juiced, 2 T red wine or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Tear baguette into cubes. Toss bread with olive oil in bowl,

spread onto baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

3. Hand out and chop cucumbers and tomatoes. Dice onion.

4. Pluck parsley from stems.

5. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with bread cubes.

6. Squeeze lemons. Mix and whisk together ingredients for dressing.

Tomato Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 slicing tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb grated cheese
  • olive oil
  • 4 T butter + extra

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Directions:

1. Brush a bit of olive oil onto bread

2. Slice tomatoes and cheese

3. Layer bread, cheese and tomatoes to build sandwich

4. Heat a little bit of butter in a skillet until melted, grill    sandwiches for 2-3 minutes

5. Serve with Panzanella Salad and Enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!

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Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day: Cabbage Stew and Pot o’ Gold Potato Salad

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in cooking classes, cooking with kids, holiday, nutrition, seasonal, seasonal celebrations | 0 comments

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! St. Patrick’s Day is the celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick! He is said to have brought Christianity to the people of Ireland and so the Irish celebrate his life by feasting, usually on cabbage, ham, and potatoes. Today our little chefs will make a traditional Irish meal of cabbage stew and potato salad. Between the cabbage loaded with Vitamin B and our special antioxidant-rich purple potatoes, we can be sure we’re getting a meal that is not only delicious, but nutritious as well. Enjoy!

CAAABAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

CABBAGE STEW

Ingredients:

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ cabbage
  • ½ c chopped canned tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water (if necessary)

Directions:

  • Start with stew by cutting celery, carrots, onion, garlic and cabbage.
  • Heat oil in pan and add celery, carrots, onion and garlic to sweat.
  • Add tomatoes and cabbage  in the pot, season, cover and simmer  20 minutes.
  • Serve warm!

POT o’ GOLD POTATO SALAD

Ingredients

  • 2 medium purple potatoes
  • 1 Yukon gold potatoimages
  • 2 medium pink potatoes
  • 1 apple
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1 T celery seed
  • 4 T honey
  • 3 T mustard
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 6 T olive oil

Directions:

  • Make potato salad by dicing cooked potatoes and placing in salad bowl.
  • Dice apples, pick parsley and add to the potatoes.
  • Add celery seed, red  wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard and honey to mixture.
  • Whisk and mix to combine.
  • Enjoy!
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our famous turkey tacos!

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in cooking with kids, healthy food, lunch time, Recipes, school food | 0 comments

Taco Beef Mexican Food

Across all of our schools our students look forward to their Taco Tuesday’s!

We are excited to share our most beloved recipe with you all so that you can recreate them at home.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 heaping T of dark chili powder
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Directions: 

Heat oil over high heat, then reduce to medium heat. Add onion and salt. Cook until translucent. Add peppers and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Then add turkey meat and seasonings. Cook until golden brown.

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