Tag Archives: Brooklyn

’tis the season for giving!

19 Dec

chalkboardjarsThe holiday season is in full gear, with seasonal drink and food specialties, elaborate holiday window displays, and twinkling lights wrapped around trees, fences, and neighborhood lamp posts.

But trying to find the right gift for your friends and family can often lead to a hectic shopping experience. We are here to help! Here is a list of some thoughtful gifts to inspire and delight your gift recipients:


  • Canal House Cooks Every Day by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. The most recent publication from this quarterly cookbook series reflects the seasonality of ingredients. Their collection of recipes designed for the home chef is accompanied by richly colored photos and illustrations.
  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. After gaining a huge following from her food blog of the same name, Deb set out to create a one-stop resource for her fellow urban foodies and cooking enthusiasts. With recipes ranging the gamut from grapefruit olive oil pound cake to pumpernickel grissini with horseradish creme fraiche dip, this collection will cover all your cravings.
  • The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte. Another renowned food blogger, Sara focuses on nutritionally balanced meals, employing leafy greens with hardy whole grains. Often excluding meat, these recipes are the perfect gift for someone who is interested in Meatless Mondays.
  • The Family Dinner by Laurie David. Known for her work as the producer for An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie has written a great book about the importance of eating together as a family. She provides some wonderful recipes, tips to educate your children on green living, games and activities to get conversations going, and lots of wonderful advice from leading food experts.

DIY Kits

  • Goat Cheese Kit from Belle Chevre This DIY project makes it easy to become an artisanal cheesemaker. Included in the set are all the supplies needed to make your very own goat cheese, as well as simple step-by-step instructions.
  • Pale Ale Beer Brewing Recipe Kit Craft your very own microbrewed beer in the comfort of your own home. With this kit, you have the tools needed to create a gallon of your own of delicious beer, comparable to the likes of your favorite pale ale.
  • Back to the Root’s Grow Your Own Mushrooms Grow multiple crops of pearl oyster mushrooms in your own kitchen. This eco-friendly kit allows you to cultivate mushrooms that are often hard to find in the average grocery store.

Local Handmade Goods

  • Morris Kitchen’s Syrups This Brooklyn-based small-scale syrup factory delights the palate with flavors like ginger, preserved lemon, rhubarb, and spiced apple. Use these versatile and tasty syrups in cocktails, baked goods, or even salad dressings, and be sure to visit their website for more great recipes.
  • Grady’s Cold Brew Coffee Offering a New Orleans-style coffee concentrate that’s hand brewed and bottled in Kings County, this velvety-smooth concentrate is perfect poured over ice, mixed with water or milk, or even used in your favorite brisket recipe.
  • Empire Mayonnaise Co Any one of their uniquely flavored mayos will be a welcomed addition to your favorite sandwich. With varieties like black olive, seasonal clove orange, and white truffle, the local ingredients are easily detected by your tastebuds.
  • Liddabit Sweets’ The Snacker By purchasing this not-so-ordinary chocolate box, you receive the perfect amount of sweetness, saltiness, chewiness, and crunch all neatly compiled into the perfect individual chocolate bar.
  • Spoonable Check out their incredibly delicious caramel spreads, all made right here in good ole Brooklyn. Choose from salty caramel, Brooklyn butterscotch, spicy chili, flowery lavender, chewy sesame and peppered orange!

Other ideas

  •  Woodgrain Eco Notebook and Folder With the combination of clean lines and a nature-themed aesthetic, this notebook and folder are the perfect gift for a coworker. Made of recycled paper and printed with soy ink, these beautiful office essentials can easily liven up your workday routines.
  • Chalkboard Spice Jar Ideal for the kitchen enthusiast, these jars make it easy to find out exactly what’s in the spice cabinet. Because the chalkboard is erasable, they have an endless life span, and can switch from holding cinnamon to ground ginger to turmeric with the ease of an eraser.
  • Chemex Coffeemaker Perhaps one of the coolest looking coffeemakers around, this is not only a beautiful gift, but it is also super functional. Ranging in size from three cups to 10 cups, this coffeemaker takes brewing your ordinary cup of java and turns it into a sensory experience.
  • Make your own holiday cookies and pick up a fun vintage platter, or for more inspiration check out this fun list of homemade holiday gifts.

For more ideas, visit the Eat Boutique Shop and Food52’s online store for other food-related items. Also make sure to take a look at the Fab.com website for inspired gifts and seasonal knickknacks, and New York Magazine’s comprehensive Annual Holiday Gift Guide.

And what better way to wrap these gifts than with your own handmade holiday tags. Check out this list of creative DIY gift tags to make your gift even more special. Happy giving, and holidays to all!

Photo courtesy of Baking Bites

hurricane sandy clean up efforts

16 Nov

This past Monday we took a trip to the Rockaways in Queens, one of the communities seriously affected by hurricane Sandy. We wanted to help out those in need, so what better way than cooking up some food, and donating necessities.

We donated baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed peas to the Broad Channel community, and low sodium canned goods and cleaning supplies to the Rockaway Rescue Alliance, who prepare and deliver homemade meals to those in need. We brought dry goods and warm sweaters to the St. Francis de Sales Church on B-129th street, then we got to doing what we do best, serving food with a smile.

When we arrived at the church we met a woman who had organized relief efforts in the aftermath of 9/11. She was bright, energetic and knew what she was doing. She asked us what we were good at? We responded, “anything really.” She invited us into the “warming station” tent and had us organizing water for people to drink, then all of a sudden we were serving up hot chili, corn bread, mashed potatoes, chicken marsala, rice and beans to the long line of people waiting to eat.

While serving the food, we met wonderful volunteers who had great big hearts and smiles. Those waiting in line were people of all ages, races and backgrounds and were all so grateful for the hot food and the warm tent. It’s amazing to witness how the combinations of hot food, coffee and tea, and a caring community can warm up so many people in such hard times. We were grateful to have been able to help out, and highly recommend all of you readers to join in and help too.

For those living locally, they are looking for volunteers to help serve food, cook, sort, clean. You name it, and not just in the Rockaways and Broad Channel, but also in Staten Island, Red Hook and of course New Jersey. Here is a live list of ways that you can help.

If you would like to donate food, supplies, sweaters, gas, coats etc… please reach out to us, as one of colleagues grew up in the Rockaways and she travels there frequently.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

what makes a balanced plate?

1 Aug

frame_sports1Summer holds countless possibilities.

This summer we have had the pleasure of teaching nutrition and wellness classes to the Park Slope Sports Academy, soccer camp. It has been a blast connecting with their soccers champs so far!

We taught a few lessons on why it’s important to feed ourselves with healthy snacks through out the day, ending the class with a tasting of a super healthy Butter Beans snack like strawberry, banana and kale smoothies, and our hemp and sunflower seed granola bars.

Yesterday, we gave a dynamic class on what constitutes a balanced plate, and why it’s important for us to eat a variety of foods, in moderation. Our class was filled with yoga poses, nutrition facts, a scavenger hunt, an interactive balanced plate activity, and a handout to bring home!

Our handout was comprised of a balanced plate with the 4 components (vegetables, grains, proteins, fruits) with the option of dairy + the 2 other components (water + exercise) left blank. We had our students write down their favorite meal, and dissect the ingredients in that meal. Then they plugged in their ingredients into the balanced plate. For those campers that used “mac n cheese” and “pizza” and “cheese burgers” as their favorite meals, we discussed ways they could make those foods more balanced, and came up with ingredients that would make for delicious additions.

It was inspiring to see the students think critically about their favorite foods, and organize their ingredients into the components of the balanced plate. Besides the obvious favorite meals, we did get some interesting ones like lamb curry, sushi and roasted chicken with potatoes!

A big thanks goes out to our friends at the Sports Academy for having us as your wellness + nutrition experts! Looking forward to continuing our collaboration, and spending the rest of summer with you.

Photo courtesy of Park Slope Day Camp

Working for ice cream

13 Jul

Imagine getting off your bike to find a delicious pint of freshly churned homemade ice cream waiting for you!

That’s what our campers did during their tour of Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. They took turns pedaling for their delicious summer treat, and had a blast!

Ample Hills is not your average ice cream shop. The founder, Brian Smith has his own vat pasteurizer, where he cooks his milk, eggs, cream and sugar, which makes his ice cream shop the only dairy plant in NYC. Brian also sources his dairy and eggs from local upstate New York farms, making each scoop unbelievably fresh.

Could this be the highlight of our campers summer? Perhaps, but we have so much more in store! Stay tuned…

Photo courtesy of amplehills.com

fresh ricotta cheese at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gala

14 May

6283567937_c86f775779We had the honor of participating in the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gala last Tuesday, May 8th alongside other Brooklyn based food vendors and Children’s Museum friends and supporters. At the gala we put on ricotta cooking demo which turned out to be a huge hit! Those that stopped by our table were surprised at how tasty and easy it was to cook up a batch. We placed a dollop of ricotta on top of our raw garlic crostini and garnished them with fresh basil. Many folks that tried our cheese made sure not to talk while chewing so that they could experience the sheer joy of tasting the ricotta.

Here’s how you can be your very own rockstar-ricotta cheese maker:


  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon + a pinch of salt


Place whole milk, cream, and 1 tablespoon of salt in a pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the mixture from the heat and add lemon juice. Leave this mixture to stand for about 20 minutes, then pour the liquid over a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Allow the mixture to drain for about 1 hour, then place in a bowl or jar. Add a pinch of salt and enjoy in your favorite pastas, topped on homemade pizza, spread on crostini, mixed into pancakes, drizzled with honey or just eat it with a spoon!

Since ricotta is made fresh, it should be eaten right away. However, if you end up with too much ricotta you can also place it in a container in your fridge. This fresh cheese takes on a whole new flavor when baked in the oven for a few minutes. Once baked, add a drizzle of olive oil and rosemary, then spread it on toast. Buon appetito!

Photo courtesy of amberdegrace