whole food explorers

Posted by on Jun 5, 2015 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, exercise, families, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal food of the month, wellness | 0 comments

IMG_2754This past week we had the pleasure of hosting a kids food exploration class at Whole Foods – Upper West Side in celebration of National Fruits & Vegetables Month.

Our class consisted of a melange of using our 5 senses to experience these new and unusual foods, along with stretching our bodies as we learned about the important nutrients present in these delicacies.

We were truly impressed at not only the turnout that we received, but also how enthusiastic and open minded our food explorers were!

On the menu we explored these tasty recipes:

  • ramp butter
  • pickled and blanched fiddlehead ferns
  • santa claus melon & basil soup

Our brave food explorers mixed together freshly chopped ramps, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and whipped it all up into a delectable spread for their fresh pieces of bread. Boy, was that butter a favorite!


FullSizeRender-2Then they ventured onto the fiddlehead ferns, unfurling their leaves and learning that they can grow 6 feet tall! Tasting it blanched, then pickled our explorers shared their observations of the different preparations on their food explorer handouts. 

Lastly, we ended our food adventures with a chilled melon basil soup made from santa claus melon – named that way since it’s usually the go-to melon available during christmas time. They couldn’t get enough! 

We are ever grateful for our friends at Whole Foods UWS for inviting us to excite and expand the palates of our participants in celebration of National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month!

Stay tuned for more food adventures to come!

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campfire stories: celebrating autumn at Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in agriculture, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, Food & Farm program, gardens, healthy food, local food, lunch time, nutrition, seasonal, seasonal food of the month, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

Walking past the open doorway of a cozy classroom in Queens last week, one could smell delightful blends of cinnamon and nutmeg, curry and cumin, fresh basil, thyme, and sage. A brief peek inside the classroom door would reveal eight budding chefs expertly transforming raw vegetables into creative culinary delicacies – pumpkin curry, carrot-top pesto, rainbow fried rice, apple pie parfaits… dishes that capture the vibrant flavors of autumn.

This group of 6-10 year olds made up the talented crew of the inaugural Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp at the United Nations International School (UNIS) of Queens. With culinary prowess, the Fall Harvest campers spent one week (October 6th-10th) caring for the school’s abundant garden and harvesting veggies for their home-cooked lunches.

Each day the group explored new ways of growing, cooking, and eating food in a way that nourishes our bodies, our communities, and the planet. We thought you might want a brief snapshot of what the week brought for our campers, so here are some of the highlights not soon to be forgotten by the campers or counselors of Butter Beans Fall Harvest Camp:

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Monday October 6th : Campers sowed seeds in recycled cartons and discovered how to “eat the rainbow” at mealtime, learning the nutritional merits of different colorful foods.

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Tuesday, October 7th: On a visit to the historic Queens County Farm Museum, campers took a hayride tour of the farm and picked pumpkins which they later used to make pumpkin butter – from scratch!

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Wednesday, October 8th: Campers collected seeds from the UNIS Queens garden to store for next year’s garden and spent an active, rejuvenating morning exercising with yoga instructor Ginger Merritt.

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Thursday, October 9th: Campers transplanted herbs from the garden beds to pots in the UNIS Queens greenhouse. With the help of guests from Home Depot’s Community Impact Program, campers also built their own planter boxes to take home!

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Friday, October 10th: To celebrate the last day of camp, campers took a trip to the Queens Botanical Garden where they explored “Plants We Eat” through QBG’s bee yard, herb garden, and edible garden beds.

In the kitchen and garden, Fall Harvest Campers discovered the fun of cooking with colorful foods, eating in season, using all the parts of the plant, growing food with sustainability in mind, and supporting our local food communities. We can’t wait to see what these brilliant food and garden experts cook up in the future!

Wishing all the members of the Butter Beans camp family a festive and flavor fall!

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asparagus soup

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in fast food, healthy food, local food, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal food of the month | 6 comments

IMG_1200Soup in Spring?

When asparagus season starts, it’s easy to get really excited and buy a whole bunch of these detoxifying spears.

But when it feels as though you have exhausted all of your recipe options, it’s time to take out your immersion blender and make some soup!

Here’s how:

Serves 2 – Prep time 5 minutes – Total time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus, 6-8 spears
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Crack of pepper
  • Dollop of sour cream/creme fraiche/plain yogurt (optional, but recommended)

Directions:

1. Prep ingredients: Rinse asparagus, snap or cut off tough ends of the spears, then cut in half. Dice your onion.

2. Cook: Add water to a pot, then place asparagus in the water. Cover, and bring to a boil then to a simmer. Steam for 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness of spears). While asparagus is steaming, add oil to a pan and caramelize your onions for 5-7 minutes.

3. Blend and serve: Add your caramelized onions into the pot with the steamed asparagus. Insert your immersion blender (or pour contents into your food processor), blend until smooth. Serve in bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of sour cream, top with a little salt and pepper.

Enjoy this seasonal soup hot or cold, and have fun experiencing asparagus in a whole new way!

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asparagus soup

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in fast food, healthy food, local food, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal food of the month | 6 comments

IMG_1200Soup in Spring?

When asparagus season starts, it’s easy to get really excited and buy a whole bunch of these detoxifying spears.

But when it feels as though you have exhausted all of your recipe options, it’s time to take out your immersion blender and make some soup!

Here’s how:

Serves 2 – Prep time 5 minutes – Total time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus, 6-8 spears
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Crack of pepper
  • Dollop of sour cream/creme fraiche/plain yogurt (optional, but recommended)

Directions:

1. Prep ingredients: Rinse asparagus, snap or cut off tough ends of the spears, then cut in half. Dice your onion.

2. Cook: Add water to a pot, then place asparagus in the water. Cover, and bring to a boil then to a simmer. Steam for 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness of spears). While asparagus is steaming, add oil to a pan and caramelize your onions for 5-7 minutes.

3. Blend and serve: Add your caramelized onions into the pot with the steamed asparagus. Insert your immersion blender (or pour contents into your food processor), blend until smooth. Serve in bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of sour cream, top with a little salt and pepper.

Enjoy this seasonal soup hot or cold, and have fun experiencing asparagus in a whole new way!

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on the joys of caramelizing brussels sprouts

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, lunch time, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal celebrations, seasonal food of the month | 0 comments

4103982312_050c2881dcCaramelizing brussels sprouts is pretty fun! Have you ever tried it? If you haven’t ventured that way yet you should with a little inspiration from us, and our seasonal table top that our kids get to read while eating lunch at school.

What makes caramelizing so fun? Maybe it’s the concept of bringing out the flavors of the sprouts natural sugars, and the sweet smell that they emit as they brown. Or the anticipation of biting into one after all the work you have put into it? Either which way, we love caramelizing, and here is how you can learn to love it too:

Option 1 : Steaming + caramelizing

Ingredients: 

  • Brussels sprouts, rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions: 

Steam sprouts in boiling water for 4 minutes, or until bright green. Place steamed sprouts on cutting board, cut in 1/2. Over medium heat, heat up olive oil in a pan, then add your halved sprouts, flat sides facing down. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt. Let cook for 4 minutes. Check for doneness by flipping one or two over to see if they have browned. Once all browned, flip them on the other side for 4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and enjoy!

Option 2: Slicing + caramelizing

Ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts, rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions:

Cut sprouts into thin slices. Over medium heat, heat up olive oil, then add your sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cook for 4 minutes. Flip them over, cook for another 4 minutes and voila, perfectly caramelized brussels sprouts in no time!

Photo courtesy of Nick Saltmarsh

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on the joys of caramelizing brussels sprouts

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, lunch time, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal celebrations, seasonal food of the month | 0 comments

4103982312_050c2881dcCaramelizing brussels sprouts is pretty fun! Have you ever tried it? If you haven’t ventured that way yet you should with a little inspiration from us, and our seasonal table top that our kids get to read while eating lunch at school.

What makes caramelizing so fun? Maybe it’s the concept of bringing out the flavors of the sprouts natural sugars, and the sweet smell that they emit as they brown. Or the anticipation of biting into one after all the work you have put into it? Either which way, we love caramelizing, and here is how you can learn to love it too:

Option 1 : Steaming + caramelizing

Ingredients: 

  • Brussels sprouts, rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions: 

Steam sprouts in boiling water for 4 minutes, or until bright green. Place steamed sprouts on cutting board, cut in 1/2. Over medium heat, heat up olive oil in a pan, then add your halved sprouts, flat sides facing down. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt. Let cook for 4 minutes. Check for doneness by flipping one or two over to see if they have browned. Once all browned, flip them on the other side for 4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and enjoy!

Option 2: Slicing + caramelizing

Ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts, rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions:

Cut sprouts into thin slices. Over medium heat, heat up olive oil, then add your sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cook for 4 minutes. Flip them over, cook for another 4 minutes and voila, perfectly caramelized brussels sprouts in no time!

Photo courtesy of Nick Saltmarsh

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