Tag Archives: spring

homage to herbs

18 Jun

1224527043_e132d2f026Herbs are a delicious and nutritious way to add flavor to lots of dishes. They taste magical in various outlets; omelets, spritzers, on all sorts of meats, seafood, tofu, in ice cream, vegetables, pasta sauce, salad dressings, marinades and rubs, and in creative desserts.

As wonderful as they are as accompaniments to many dishes, have you considered using them to make an herb salad, containing only herbs?  Yes, it can be done, and the results will leave your taste buds as happy as ever!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of the following herbs: parsley, basil, chives, taragon, dill
  • 1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Wash all herbs in cold water and pat dry. Tear off the leaves and combine in a large bowl. Cut chives into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the rest of the herbs. To make the vinaigrette, mix the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper together, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture gets thick. Toss the salad with enough dressing to lightly coat each leaf. It is also fun, and pretty to add edible flowers (like nasturtiums) as a garnish, or serve as is.

Herbs not only taste great, but are also packed with important nutrients. We used the following herbs in our salad:

  • Parsley: Derives its name from the greek word for “rock celery,” parsley is packed with vitamins B, A, C, K, E, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium.
  • Basil: Prized in many cultures as the “holy herb,” basil is a great source of vitamins A + C, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium.
  • Chives: Containing the most vitamin A of all of their allium family members, chives are rich in vitamins K, C, B and minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and calcium.
  • Tarragon: Used to treat toothaches in Ancient Greece, tarragon is full of vitamins A, B, C, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.
  • Dill: Native to Southern Russia, this fernlike herb is a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin A.
Photo courtesy of Denise Defreyne

children asking for seconds on raw kale

30 May

6025692440_543276b369We taught a cooking class at PS 261 during their wellness week, and made a quick and tasty strawberry, banana and kale smoothie using greek yogurt and honey.

We started our class with a big stretch and a few jumping jacks to get us in the smoothie mood. Then we tasted kale raw, and asked for feedback from our students. Most of them didn’t really like the taste, they said it tasted like grass and other not-so-delicious things. We then explained all of the health properties of the fruits and vegetables we were blending, and stretched some more. We blended up the ingredients, and passed around smoothie cups for all.

They couldn’t wait to dig in! As you can expect, they all loved it. So we asked them if they could taste the kale in the smoothie? Some said yes, others said no. Then we asked if anyone wanted to bring back some raw kale to their classrooms as a parting gift. They all showed an enthusiastic amount of hands and fingers, and we passed out cups full of kale leaves. Some even asked for seconds, and we snacking on the leaves!

It’s a true gift to be able to spread the message to children that food has healing properties, and by eating well we become stronger, brighter and more brilliant!  Thank you to PS 261 for hosting us, we had a blast!

Photo courtesy of photofarmer

Flora’s seasonal recipe: welcome back asparagus!

30 Apr

2552865406_0f2739a78bI’d like to give a warm welcome to our long lost friend, asparagus. When spring arrives, I always look forward to the shoots and stalks that we get to enjoy during this transformative time of year. When you are in the practice of eating seasonally you tend to get really excited about welcoming back certain items into your kitchen, and boy am I excited for asparagus’ debut!

I love asparagus, not only for it’s nutty-sweet taste, but also for the nourishment I receive from them. Asparagus is full of vitamin K, B’s, C, beta-carotene, zinc and other trace minerals that helps clear our skin, and clean our blood. Thanks my friends!

When I have a bundle of asparagus waiting to be devoured, one of my first inclinations is to sauté them like we did last spring, but this spring I want to try something different, so I’m going to make a fresh asparagus soup for chillier spring evenings.

Here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch of local asparagus
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Roast your garlic, by placing your cloves (keep the peel on) in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes. Add your stock and bring to a boil. Snap off the bottom of your asparagus stems (save them for a shaved salad later), and simmer them in the stock for 10-20 minutes or until your asparagus is fork tender. Place your tender spears and vegetable stock into your blender (or keep it in your pot, and use an immersion blender), add the roasted garlic (peels removed) and blend until smooth. Top your soup off with a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. I added a touch of goat cheese to mimic the effect of creme fraiche, but the soup stands well on it’s own without the addition of cheese.

Happy spring eating to all!

Photo courtesy of Benson Kua

How to pull together an elaborate salad in a flash

25 Apr
Hungry for something refreshing that will leaving you feeling energized? Try our salad recipe!
For a time saving tip, we suggest chopping up the cilantro in advance and placing it in a container in your fridge so that you can use it on all sorts of meals. Cilantro helps cleanse our body, and aids us in digestion. This lovely herb also freshens our breath and helps promote a healthy liver, and tastes fantastic in most meals!
We also suggest buying pumpkin seeds in your bulk section, and either storing them in a glass container in your fridge, or toasting them right away, as they can easily go bad if left out. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which helps strengthen our cells, hair, skin and eyesight. They are a versatile seed, that tastes great in granola, trail mix, pesto, topped on fish, mixed with rice or ground up in a mortar and pestle.
Ingredients:
  • Beets, grated
  • Carrots, grated
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • Olives, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Salad greens
Directions:
Toast your pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a pan on your stove top. Make sure to toss them frequently so they get evenly cooked. Once fragrant, lightly browned and puffed up, remove them from your pan and place in a bowl to cool down (you will hear some fun crackling noises!). Place your salad greens in a big bowl (if using heads of lettuce, rinse, dry and chop them up). Rinse your beets and carrots, then grate them over your greens. Cut up your olives. Pluck off your cilantro leaves from the stems, and chop them up as well (or use our time saving tip).
Mix together with a simple honey-mustard vinaigrette (makes 1/2 cup):
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Want to learn how to make paella and horchata from scratch?

20 Apr

5398710559_181478068aJoin us Sautrday, May 19th from 9:30-11:00am for a special cooking event! Butter Beans will be hosting a parent + child (4-12 yrs old) cooking class at Ger-Nis Culinary + Herb Center. We’ll make a Spanish feast of spring vegetable paella with horchata from scratch. Our class costs $45 for a parent + child pair and includes a hands-on cooking experience. Join us for a morning of food, fun, and friends as we cook a delicious and nutritious meal together. From seed to table, parents and children will gain an appreciation for food, learn great cooking techniques and have fun!

To reserve your spot please email elana@butterbeanskitchen.com before Tuesday, May 15th!

Photo courtesy of Louis Bennett