Tag Archives: lunch

summer plans

30 Jan

IMG_0004Winter is still here, but summer is not that far away!

Come get a head start on your summer plans by visiting us this Saturday at PS 321’s Summer Camp Expo to learn more about our fun-filled food & garden summer camp!

Not only will our Co-Founder and Camp Director be there to answer all of your questions, we will also be sampling our homemade camp snacks like our famous granola bars and giving out some seed packets for garden inspiration.

Our summer camp is all about food! How to grow, harvest, cook, compost, where it comes from, who is behind the scenes, how much energy it takes to get to us, and why it’s good for us. All while having fun in the sun, and enjoying the summer-time to it’s fullest.

For those who sign up for camp at the PS 321 event, we’ll give you an additional $75.00 off, along with our 10% off promotion.

See you there!

simply miso

25 Jan

3323901811_7c96a70cdfThere are some days where nothing beats a warm miso soup. The flavor of fermented soybeans, and the feeling of warmth soothes all woes.

Known for it’s anti-aging, intestinal support, and immune boosting properties, miso soup is a wonderful tonic for our fast paced world. When sitting down to a bowl of miso soup, you just can’t help but slow down.

Here is a simple miso soup recipe adapted from both epicurious and naturalnews.com:

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried wakame
  • 1/4 cup shiro miso (white fermented-soybean paste)
  • 6 cups filtered water, or you can make Dashi
  • 1/2 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Directions:

Thinly slice scallions, and drain/cube tofu. Combine wakame with warm water to cover it by 1 inch, and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain. Place water, scallions and wakame in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add tofu cubes then simmer for 10-20 minutes until tender. Remove 1.5 cups of broth from saucepan and place in a bowl. Let broth cool a bit, then add in the miso and mix. Place the miso and water mixture back into your saucepan, let mingle, then serve right away!

Photo courtesy of Robert Banh

easy green salad with goodies

23 Jan

photoNeed some veggie inspiration?

Here’s an easy green salad recipe which will help inspire your daily veggie intake.

Take this recipe with a grain of salt since we used what we had on hand. Feel free to use the ingredients available to you (don’t go to the store just to buy blue cheese).

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1.5 cups of pre-washed mixed greens
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 thin slice of red onion
  • 2 small mushrooms
  • 2-4 small slices of blue cheese
  • 3-4 cracked olives
  • Sprinkle of sunflower seeds

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • quarter size dollop of dijon mustard
  • dime size scoop of honey

Directions:

Prepare your salad:

Place pre-washed greens on your plate. Pull out your favorite cutting board and knife. Take out a carrot, rinse and cut into matchsticks. Slice a thin circle of red onion, cut in half and slice into bite sized pieces. Cut mushrooms in thin slices, then cut slices of cheese, add cracked olives, and finish with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.

Prepare your vinaigrette:

Add oil, vinegar, mustard and honey into a small cup. Either shake with a lid, or whisk with a fork until emulsified. Pour vinaigrette over your salad in a circular motion, and you have yourself a delicious salad featuring all sorts of nutritional powerhouses. Your taste buds, and body will thank you!

Transforming hospital food: a conversation with Chef Frank Caputo

17 Dec

IMG_1848During a breakout session at the Blogher 2012 conference this past August, we found ourselves in a room of health professionals discussing the current state of hospital food. As hands were raised, and points brought up, we heard from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) that they were breaking ground on an organic farm near their hospital in the middle of the dessert!

Naturally, we approached them and exchanged information. We wanted to learn more, so we organized an interview with their Chef, Frank Caputo to discuss the birth of their inspiring farm, and the impacts it will have on their community.

Butter Beans: What is the mission of CTCA?

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is the home of integrative and compassionate cancer care. We never stop searching for and providing powerful and innovative therapies to heal the whole person, improve quality of life and restore hope.

Butter Beans: Why have you made healthy food one of your goals? Why are you emphasizing nutrition as an integral part of your mission?

We know that there is a correlation between good nutrition and better health. For me personally, I think the biggest demand is from our patients because they want better nutrition, they want better ingredients, the information is out there for them to see. They’re always asking us if their food is all natural or certified organic and that lends itself to how we cook. We cook from scratch and we know what’s in our food. My team and I work very closely with our Registered Dieticians in the Nutrition Department to make sure our patients have the best food available for their nutritional needs.

IMG_1724-1Butter Beans: Tell us more about the goals of your organic farm program.

One of our goals is to promote good health in general. We encourage our patients to adopt a more plant-based diet and limit their amount of red meat.

Another one of our goals is to educate our patients on nutrition, food, sources of food, and the quality of our food from the very beginning. We will introduce the philosophy of seasonal foods to our patients. They’ll be able to learn techniques on growing seasonal foods.

Our organic farm will allow us to re-localize our own food source. We are bringing the food that we use even closer to us; therefore, we’re cutting out the middle man – it’s literally coming out of the ground to the patients’ plates within minutes to hours.

Butter Beans: Have you used the farm as an educational tool in your hospital?

We plan on using the farm to educate patients on growing and planting their own produce. We plan on having harvesting seminar groups and cooking demonstrations by 2014 as well as a hands-on learning center. Additionally, the patient garden area of the organic farm will provide our patients with the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

IMG_1813Butter Beans: Have you seen a change in the way patients feel while staying in your hospital? Do you think the fresh food is making a difference?

Absolutely, all the patients are excited about the farm. They were excited about it even before anything was on paper because they’ve heard me talking about it. There’s been this growing excitement. Now that it’s coming to fruition, they’re even more excited to see it taking place.

Butter Beans: What are the reactions of patients when given your food?

They’re extremely thankful. It lends itself back to their knowledge of food and also their knowledge of what we do here specifically in the culinary department. They can’t believe this is hospital food. We are certainly not the norm. They’re not just surprised, they’re beyond surprised. They’re so happy that we take the amount of time that we do and make the investment to provide food that has a high nutritional value, looks good, tastes good and is healthy for them.

Butter Beans: What inspired you to become the executive chef for CTCA?

Initially, I have to give credit to my mentor Chef Jack Shoop who, at the time, was working as the Executive Chef at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia. I was unemployed and looking for a job. He tried to convince me to work in the hospital for about three months and I kept turning him down.

After a while, Chef Shoop told me, “I know you, you are ready for this mentally, physically, emotionally, this is where you’re going to grow into who you really are.” I didn’t know much about nutrition or working in a hospital, but saw this as an opportunity to help others, learn and continue my education.

What you don’t know today, you want to learn for tomorrow. Real food – we’re all going in that direction. It’s just a matter of time before we all start getting back to the roots of our food, down to the simplest ingredients. And knowing what’s in our food. We are what we eat. If you eat junk, we know that’s not the best for our bodies. If we eat food that is good with high nutritional value, we know that can only help us – and not just if you have cancer. Healthy food helps us throughout our lives.

IMG_2058-1

Butter Beans: What was it like to cook your first meals with freshly picked local organic produce from the farm?

Our first harvest will be later this winter, but cooking with produce from McClendon’s Select farms is amazing. Chef Shoop used to say, “In order for the food to smile back, you have to smile at the food. If you’re not smiling at your food, how can the food smile? Knowing you have a product that came out of the ground yesterday – how could you not smile?” That was Chef Shoop’s philosophy.

Butter Beans: What are your thoughts on the Healthy Hospital Food Initiative in NYC? Have you been seeing changes in the quality and tastiness of hospital food in other states and other hospitals?

I think it’s great that the city is providing guidelines to its hospitals that will give patients access to healthier food while they’re undergoing treatment for any illness. Hopefully this will inspire others to follow suit.

Butter Beans: What were some of the unexpected hurdles in this project?

Well, one of the main questions was how were we going to irrigate a farm in the middle of Arizona! So, we constructed a one acre irrigation lagoon that holds 2.6 million gallons of water and used the abandoned Roosevelt irrigation canal system for our water source. And even before that question, though was finding a farmer – a farmer who had the skills, knowledge and capability to produce certified organic produce. Anyone can put a farm up, but how do you make it the best farm it can be and managed by someone who truly cares?

Butter Beans: What motivates you to do your best every day?

First and foremost, our patients and the people who serve our patients motivate me to do my best every day. I try to instill that same philosophy in my team. Do better today than what you did yesterday.

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A big thank you goes out to CTCA and Chef Frank Caputo for your vision and leadership in transforming hospital food in our country. May others be inspired by your story, and follow suit!

Photos courtesy of CTCA

simple stir fry

28 Nov

6720825115_dc0c063fedHere is a quick and easy dinner, if you are craving chinese food, and also a great way to use up veggies that are sitting in your fridge. Get creative, and use what you have to make your stir fry colorful and beautiful!

If you have leftovers, you can always pack it up to take for lunch the next day, or pack it in your child’s lunchbox.

Ingredients:

Brown rice:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water

Stir fry:

  • 1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, florets + stems
  • 2 medium/small carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 block of firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg, whisked (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • Sprinkles of sesame seeds

Directions:

Cook your rice first. Add water to a pot, bring to a boil then add your rice, and let it cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, prep your ingredients. Slice your cabbage, break apart broccoli florets and cut up stems, dice garlic and ginger. Cut your carrots up into matchsticks (Here is a great step by step instruction on how to do so). Drain water from your tofu block, then cut the tofu into thin cubes. Crack your egg and scramble it in a bowl. Heat up a large pan to medium heat, add sesame oil and let the oil get hot. Add garlic and ginger, stir and let brown lightly. Add your veggies, tofu, tamari and stir. Lower heat to medium/low and cover for 5-7 minutes. Move your veggies to the side, and add in your egg. Fold the egg into the veggies, then add your rice and mix it all up! Serve in bowls with chopsticks and top with sesame seeds (and if you have scallions, chop those up for a pretty garnish).

Photo courtesy of f_shields