What to do with your pumpkin innards

Posted by on Oct 30, 2011 in families, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

Halloween is Monday – have you carved your pumpkin yet?  If not, you may be wondering what do with all the orange slimy goodness that will soon be replaced with a glowing jack-o-lantern. Don’t throw it away!  There are many great things to do with those lovely pumpkin innards!  Here are just a few:

1.Roast Pumpkin Seeds:  this is an old standby, and there is a reason for it..they are a delicious nutritious snack loved by adults and children alike. Do you know the trick to making great pumpkin seeds? Here it is: First, wash the seeds thoroughly and remove all the strings and slimy residue from the pumpkin.  Now comes the trick:  Spread the seeds out on a paper towel and let them dry on the counter over night.  The next day, toss the seeds with a  little oil, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt.  The other trick is not to turn the oven up too high. Toast them at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour, stirring them around every twenty minutes or so.   You want them to be toasty and golden but not charred. (They’ll get crisper as they cool.)

Toasted seeds don’t have to be a once-a-year treat, either. Use the same technique to roast seeds from acorn, butternut or any other winter squash.

2. Make Pumpkin Soup:  For a fast and easy soup, put your pumpkin meat, with chicken or vegetable stock, chopped garlic, onions, thyme and salt in a pot and cook 30-40 minutes. Puree and top with grated cheese and/or toasted pumpkin seeds.  For a Caribbean twist, check out this recipe from Martha Stewart. Knowing Martha she can probably also tell you how to make a lamp out of the pumpkin when it’s dried out!  That Martha, what can’t she do?

3. Puree the leftovers (sans seeds) and freeze it for future recipes.

4. If you have an extra pumpkin that you don’t end up carving and want to cook with it – consider baking it and pureeing it for your next pumpkin pie. This link will tell you how to make the puree. Follow this link for a delicious pumpkin pie recipe.

If you don’t want to eat it, you can always make a “throwing up pumpkin” by strategically placing the pumpkin innards coming out of your carved pumpkin’s mouth.  Appetizing?  Well, no… but certainly in tune with the Halloween theme and kids always appreciated a little “gross out” this time of year!

So, what do you do with your pumpkin guts?

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olive oil – cooking class reflections

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in cooking classes | 0 comments

Olive oil is an ingredient in most of the food we make in cooking class. Not only is it very useful and tasty in countless kinds of dishes, it also has anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, digestive, bone, cognitive, and anti-cancer benefits! While pouring olive oil on cut pita bread to make chips that accompanied our kale salad last week, one student commented on how often we use olive oil in cooking class. She was surprised that one ingredient is used so commonly in simple dishes like salads, on pita chips, or simmering in a pan before sautéing vegetables. We discussed how olive oil offers many different benefits and uses in cooking. To make pita chips we coated the pita bread with olive oil to make crispy and delicious chips; whereas when we sautéed vegetables we used olive oil as an agent for flavor and cooking ease. We also talked about how sensitive oils are in general, to heat, light and oxygen and why we prefer to find oil in dark glass bottles or cans.

We smelled — and some brave little chefs tasted — the olive oil before we put it in on the pita pieces and baking them. The class agreed that it didn’t smell or taste like olives and no one wanted to eat it plain. But once the pita chips were done baking, all the students were able to identify the flavor of the oil.

The students’ interest in the oil continued when we added sesame and canola oil to the dressing for the kale salad. “There are so many types of oil!” When I asked for other examples of oil, one student said “black car oil,” but I assured him we would not be cooking with car oil. It was fun to compare the smell and taste of canola and sesame oil to olive oil as well as discuss how they are made differently. All of the students loved the smell of sesame oil and claimed it was the prominent taste in the kale salad.

Seeing the different kinds of oils reappear class after class has given and will continue to give the students an understanding of how and when to use different kinds of oil.

*Blog posted contributed by Julia, one of our wonderful after-school cooking class teachers. Look out for more cooking class reflections to come.

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Butter Beans on MSNBC

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in featured articles, raising children | 2 comments

Good morning – welcome to a great new week!

We were featured on MSNBC yesterday morning, and wanted to share it with you. A big thank you to all of our customers who inspire us, and allow us to be a part of the community that supports your children and families. It is such a pleasure to serve you.

Here is the link: http://www.openforum.com/videos/american-business-impress-your-customers

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cooking up goodness after school

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 in cooking classes, raising children | 2 comments

One of the best parts of cooking new things with young kids is watching their hesitations about new food disappear through discussion, tasting, and cooking. Little chefs will often look at a legume or vegetable they have never tried and immediately say “eww!” But after working as a group to make a dish, this opinion reverses and an appreciation for a new food forms. Such was the case in cooking class recently when we cooked quick bread, vinaigrette, and hummus. The students were enthralled by how easy it was to make the quick bread in a toaster oven and loved watching their bread rise and turn golden brown.

The hummus had a different effect. After learning that hummus is made with chickpeas many students remarked prematurely that they were absolutely not eating it! But with gradual steps the students overcame their initial hesitations and ended up loving it.

To begin we discussed where chickpeas are from and how they grow. Discovering that the chickpeas grow in pods on a plant caught their interest. Then we all got hands-on and tried a plain chickpea. Some students enjoyed them; others were still skeptical. We continued and combined all the ingredients for hummus in a food processor. When we pulsed all the ingredients together there were shouts of excitement! Watching the chick peas go from a solid to a paste increased their desire to taste what was happening right before their eyes. Pairing the hummus with the quick bread allowed them to taste the initially “unappealing” dish with the dish they were more excited about. The process of making and trying the hummus was a snowball effect. Each step got the students more involved and dedicated to something they themselves made. Tasting each stage of the hummus, gave the students a tangible understanding of the flavor development.

Witnessing the transformation,from “eww!”  to clean plates and “more please?” is a definite highlight of cooking with kids.






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Cooking Food and Fun for 3-4 year olds

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in cooking classes, families, raising children, Recipes | 0 comments

Greetings Parents of little ones!
For those of you in the NYC area, Butter Beans is hosting COOKING, FOOD + FUN for you and your 3-4 year old at the Commons Brooklyn (388 Atlantic Avenue between Bond and Hoyt) Wednesdays from 9:30-11am this November and December.
Classes are hands-on, delicious, and include movement, stories and music appropriate to the topic of the day.
This is the line up:
November 2nd – APPLES – Come learn how they grow, taste different varieties, and make our own applesauce
November 9th – VEGETABLE PRINTING – Have fun with paint and shapes made from seasonal fruits and vegetables
November 16th – RICE BALLS – so fun, so easy, so delicious
November 23rd – MUFFIN MAKING with seasonal fruits
November 30th – GREENS – come learn how they grow, taste different varieties and make our own kale chips
December 7th – HUMMUS and corn chips – a great snack for all ages
December 14th – GINGERBREAD COOKIES – it’s the season for sweetness, come celebrate the coming of winter!
Email Felicia@ButterBeansKitchen.com to register and reserve your spot. Classes are $25.
Happy autumn!
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