July 3, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
As a child, I looked forward to the beginning of summer for the usual reasons: The end of another school year. The beginning of long, lazy, hot days of doing nothing but swimming, jumping rope and riding my bike. No schoolwork! But, most importantly I looked forward to it for THE return of THE Strawberry Cream Pie at The College Hill Bakery in Beaver Falls, PA.
I loved that pie more than any other summer dessert and I still remember patiently waiting for my mother to serve it to my father, brother and me at the end of our family meal. I slowly ate it, savoring every wonderful sweet, creamy, crunchy bite and praying that Mom would allow me to have seconds.
I consider myself fortunate to have many food memories from my childhood but that pie from that small bakery in that small town, remains at the top of my list. This is my homage to that pie made, I hope I did it justice. I hope you enjoy it!
PS. If you don't feel like turning on your oven...this tart works really well with a graham cracker crust too!
May 25, 2019 | Posted by The B-Team
A rainbow of fresh chiles has hit the tables of the Union Square Farmers Market, just down the street from the B-Team's New York headquarters, and dried chiles are staples in our cooking (and Bobby's, of course!). Want to learn to master chiles in your own kitchen? Follow this handy guide, excerpted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook, and you'll be a chile whisperer in no time...
May 3, 2019 | Posted by The B-Team
It might not come as a surprise that Cinco de Mayo is one of our favorite days to cook up a feast. We (of course) love the chiles and all of the bold flavors in Mexican food, so we look forward to taking a quick break in our work day to enjoy a Cinco de Mayo party at the office, a tradition that started back in 2015. Since the holiday falls on a weekend this year, we're rounding up five of our go-to recipes for an easy Mexican/Southwestern-inspired feast at home.
Here's what's on the menu!
April 10, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
I do not really like eggs, but I like ham. I like it in a house, I would eat it with a mouse (which, unfortunately, is a real possibility in Manhattan). I will eat it here or there or anywhere…I will eat it plain but, truth be told, I really prefer ham glazed. Second only to turkey, a glazed ham is an iconic holiday centerpiece, and was always served for Easter dinner when I was growing up.
April 1, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok
“What’s your favorite restaurant in New York?”
This is without a doubt the most frequent question that I’m asked by my family and friends.
Contemplating between three (okay, maybe a dozen) restaurants to recommend was always a struggle until I stumbled upon High Street on Hudson. Situated on the boarder of the West Village and Meatpacking District, High Street is a cozy all-day restaurant and café founded by Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin around their love of bread. Their causal menu offers exactly what I want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and after just a few bites of the trio of homemade loafs – sourdough, Anadama, and a baguette – I finally had a surefire answer for anyone looking for a dining rec. But with that answer came a burning question for me: what is the secret behind the bread?
Eager to learn more about the deliciousness that is baked in-house daily, Steph and I were lucky enough to sit down with Melissa Weller, the Head Baker at High Street who recently joined Ellen and Eli as an operating partner after previously leading the baking programs at Sadelle’s, Roberta’s and Per Se. Melissa is a leader in the industry and in my opinion, makes some of the best bread and pastries in New York.
Melissa scores the dough right before baking to help it open up and become less dense.
Think sourdough with a deep-golden crackly exterior encasing a soft, chewy and slightly tangy interior. Melissa's snickerdoodle cookies are laced with smoked cinnamon and her spelt scones feature a filling of smooth rhubarb-raspberry jam. The Anadama bread, which is a traditional yeast bread from New England, is made with a variety of locally sourced grains, molasses and visible pieces of cracked corn. A thick slice of it serves as the base of High Street’s Avocado Tartine, which is easily my favorite item on the breakfast and brunch menu.
High Street on Hudson is unique in that it has a bread oven on-site. Here, the sourdough has just finished baking at 550 F.
To say that Steph and I were excited to spend a morning with Melissa and hear about her story and the bread program at High Street was an understatement. Over an array of pastries, we jumped right into and talked all-things bread.
On our pastry board: Pistachio Croissant, Cinnamon Cardamom Roll, Spelt Scone, Orange Almond Poppy Cake, Kouign Amann & Smoked Cinnamon Snickerdoodle
CB: You were previously an engineer turned pastry chef. What’s a day in the life like for you as a baker?
MW: I am up by 4am and get to the restaurant between 5:30 and 6:00am. First I check on the bakers and I check to see how the day’s bake is going. We bake off everything in the morning and I want to make sure it’s all going smoothly. By 8am I have a necessary cup of coffee. Then I start to look at our daily production – we mix and ferment our breads and doughs in the morning and are shaping by noon. When the production is heavy, I help divide and shape our breads or pitch in and do anything else that will help the team. Throughout the day I work with Mary on new dishes and recipe test. I also check in with the front of house and check to see how the retail display is selling for the day. I head home around 6pm. I help my son with his homework and get him to bed and then I will get back on my laptop and finish emails. I try to go to sleep around 9.
CB: You mention that finding the right balance between bacteria and yeast is the way you added more “oomph” to the bread at High Street on Hudson. Can you tell us more about your sourdough starter and striking that perfect balance?
MW: Sourdough starter is a natural yeast culture made from water, flour and the natural yeasts in the air. There is also bacteria that perpetuate themselves in the starter. The more frequently you ‘feed’ you starter, the happier the natural yeasts will be and they will grow, flourish and help to raise your bread. If you slow down your feeding, the bacteria will take over and the natural yeasts wont be able to raise the dough quite as high.
CB: The Anadama Bread has gorgeous pieces of corn throughout. That’s not something we see every day in bread and we love that! How do you incorporate the corn?
MW: Our Anadama is made with a cracked corn porridge. We cook the cracked corn in advance of making the dough. Then we fold in the porridge after we have mixed the dough, just as you would when folding nuts or dried fruit into bread dough.
CB: We’re very into experimenting with different flours and were thrilled the learn of that variety you use – from organic stone ground rye flour to whole wheat to sprouted Einkorn flour – in your breads. What flour would you recommend for someone just starting out with homemade bread?
MW: If you are just starting out making bread, I would start with 50% stone ground bread flour and 50% flour of your choice. It really depends on what is available to you. I love that GrowNYC Grains has such a large variety of different flours and so I would go with stone ground rye or emmer or einkorn.
CB: We love your Orange Almond Poppy Cake and were surprised to learn that it happens to be gluten and dairy free. Why is that?
MW: It’s richness comes from the almond flour, which also makes it gluten free. I add shredded coconut and a whole orange, which has been cooked and pureed, to the cake.
CB: If you could only make or eat one type of bread or pastry every day for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
MW: It would be a bagel, of course. They are fun to make and can be eaten with eggs, fish, cheese, bacon – all of my favorite things.
March 25, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
A few weeks ago I posted this beautiful photo below on Instagram taken in Central Park with the caption, “trying to find the beauty in the chaos.’ If you live in NYC or if you have ever lived here, then you know exactly what I meant.
New York City is definitely one of the best cities in the world (and that is why I have chosen to live here) but is also one of the most expensive, noisy, overcrowded, filthy, competitive and did I mention noisy, overcrowded and competitive?
Every single day is filled with pressure: Work projects, competitive co-workers, subway overcrowding, public transportation delays, piles of garbage and rats...everywhere! There are nonstop traffic jams, street closures, long lines for everything. Don’t forget the newly added bike lanes and THE highest rents for some of the smallest spaces in the entire country. There is stress and then there is New York City stress.
March 12, 2019 | Posted by Elyse Tirrell
One thing that I can always expect when visiting my fiancé's (!!!) parents' home in Ireland, as soon as we arrive from Dublin airport, is a proper Irish breakfast. Also known as a "fry-up," this breakfast is complete with brown bread and Irish butter and endless pots of Barry's tea. There are poached eggs, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, a selection of different Irish sausages, and Irish bacon (also known as rashers). It's such a warm and festive welcome after an overnight flight, and always a moment that I look forward to.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we are putting together a Brunch dish inspired by the flavors and ingredients that make up the Irish breakfast, and combining them into a sort of one pan meal. Roasted tomatoes are blended to create a simple sauce and green onions serve as a garnish and flavorful vinaigrette.
Serves: 6 to 8
Green Onion Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced green onions (dark and pale green part only)
½ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon clover honey
1.Combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, green onions in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the oil, blend until emulsified, season with honey. 2.Scrape into bowl. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
6 large plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cold Kerry Gold Herb & Garlic Butter, diced
1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay the tomatoes in an even layer, cut-side up on the pan and drizzle the top with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Roast for 30 minutes, turn over and roast until very soft and most of their liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes longer.
3. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a medium sauté pan and cook until the color deepens, and the sauce thickens a bit more, about 10 minutes, stir in the butter. Cover and keep warm.
8 small yellow new potatoes, scrubbed
3 Irish breakfast sausages
3 slices Irish bacon
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered (or halved if small)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Kerry Gold Herb & Garlic Butter, diced
12 large eggs
Sliced green onion, for garnish, optional
1.Put potatoes in a medium pot, cover by 2-inches with cold water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a skewer inserted, meets with no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a cutting board, let cool for 10 minutes then slice into ¼-inch thick slices.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large (12 inch) cast iron pan or nonstick pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown on all sides and just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool slightly then slice crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices.
3. Add the bacon to the pan in an even layer and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove plate lined with paper towels, let cool slightly. Cut into dice.
4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer the mushroom to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
5. Add the potatoes to the pan in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the sausage evenly over the potatoes, then add the mushrooms over the sausage, then the bacon over the mushrooms.
6. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy, season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the potato mixture and dot the butter over the top of the eggs. Bake in the oven until puffed around the edges and almost set in the center (the pan will hold the heat and it will continue to cook a bit after you take it out an before you slice it) about 12 minutes. Remove and let sit 5 minutes before slicing. Also, great served at room temperature.
7. Spread some of the roasted tomato sauce onto a plate, top with a slice of the frittata and spoon some of the green onion vinaigrette over the top of the frittata. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired.
February 10, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
As a child of the 70’s, a few boxes of cake mix could always be found in my mother's kitchen pantry. Even though Mom made most desserts from scratch, the one box mix that she used often was the yellow cake variety. She made the mix according to the directions on the back of the box (water, eggs, vegetable oil) and then used the cake as the base for double layer birthday cakes, Boston Cream Pie, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and one of my favorites Jello Dream Poke Cake!. If she was really short on time or just not in the mood to be creative, she would bake the cake in a 9 x 13 baking pan and frost it with a canned icing or just simply dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. My brother and I happily ate them all!
As I grew older and my interest in baking piqued and my tastebuds got more refined, I realized that I didn’t love boxed cake mixes any more Sure, when it comes to convenience, you gotta give props to cake mix. But when it comes to flavor, texture and just about everything else, I am willing to bet that in a blind taste test, no one would ever pick a cake baked from a box over one baked from scratch.
I hadn’t used a yellow box mix in several decades but decided to give it a try again. Perhaps my memory had failed me? Perhaps the brands of my childhood had improved? I made the two best known grocery store brands exactly as directed on the box: water, eggs, oil. Let’s just say that I am still not a fan. No tea, no shade.
Since I had good luck with Trader Joe’s Banana Upside-Down Cake for my last baking "In the Mix" post, I decided to give that brand a try again for this test and so I purchased the Yellow Cake and Baking Mix with Madagascar Vanilla Bean. As I stated in the last post, the way to improve the flavor and texture of a boxed cake mix is to swap out oil for butter, water for a flavored liquid (coffee, milk, fruit puree) and to add a good spoonful of a pure flavoring such as vanilla or almond or rum to mask the artificial flavor of the mix...None of those things were necessary with this mix because it calls for butter (an entire stick, melted), eggs and milk and I am convinced that is one of the main reasons that the flavor and texture of this cake mix is very close to cakes made from scratch. The mix also includes real Madagascar vanilla beans and you can actually see the tiny vanilla bean flecks emerge in the batter and taste the floral notes. I imagined the cake would bake up soft, tender, and fragrant with vanilla and you know what? It kinda did. On its own, unadorned, it was delicious.
As I mention above, one of my favorite cakes that my mother made me as a child using yellow box mix was the Jello Poke Cake (I know, I know but as I said, it was the 70's). I decided to make an updated version of a poke cake, perhaps the original poke cake, actually, the mother of all poke cakes: Tres Leches Cake. Tres leches literally means, “three milks” and tres leches cake is an ultra light sponge cake soaked in a sweet milk mixture.
In order to get that spongy almost angel food-like texture, I separated the 2 eggs called for in the directions instead of adding them whole.For additional flavor and moisture, I added a few overly ripe bananas that I had hanging out in the test kitchen, some dark rum and an extra splash of pure vanilla extract (not that it is needed but I love vanilla.).I combined the yolks with the bananas, milk and butter and whipped the whites to soft peaks and folded them into the batter.
After baking and cooling the cake it was soaked in three milks overnight and then slathered with lightly sweetened whipped cream right before serving. Macerated berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce adds that banana split thing...
This cake is moist and creamy and decadent and delicious. Itis perfect for Valentine’s day or any time you want to serve an impressive looking dessert that, thanks to the help of a cake mix, really is easy as pie.
February 10, 2019 | Posted by Elyse Tirrell
While Valentine's Day is not a day that my boyfriend Gary and I put much weight on, I have to admit that it feels nice to to give it a small bit of acknowledgement with a special meal for two. Rather than heading out to a fancy restaurant, my goal is to put together a beautiful meal at home that is a bit more extravagant than the usual weeknight dinner - but one that also won't take hours to get to the table.
I'm taking a bit of inspiration from my boss, and topping thick slices of charred New York Strip Steak (kind of like this Gato dish) with a red chimichurri instead of the more popular green. It's herbaceous, it has some heat, and it deliciously complements the juicy beef. Plus, "Red" is very much in theme on February 14th, isn't it?
What to serve on the side? Well, Gary (my boyfriend) was born and raised in Ireland... With that in mind, can you guess what I landed on? Potatoes, please! Whenever we visit his family in County Kildare, his mom goes all out with welcoming feasts which include a minimum of four delicious potato dishes. They're always a hit.
For Valentine's Day, I'm going with Cacio e Peppe Roasted Potatoes. The creamy Yukon Golds are baked, smashed, topped with heaps of grated Pecorino Romano and black pepper, baked again and drizzled with olive oil
Check out the simple Reverse Sear NY Strip with Red Chimichurri recipe below. I think my Valentine will love it, and so will yours.
February 10, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
I love baking from scratch. In fact, the last time that I probably used a boxed mix was when I was in college (many moons ago.) It was a brownie mix and I ate those brownies while still piping hot directly out of the pan with a spoon. They were delicious. Then again, that was almost 30 years ago...
Lately, though, I have noticed an onslaught of high-end boxed/bag mixes on my grocery store shelves, in specialty markets such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and in upscale kitchen supply stores like King Arthur Flour, Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table that have piqued my interest. The labels list high quality ingredients such as pure cane sugar, Dutch processed cocoa, bittersweet chocolate and real vanilla extract. Even the old school brands such as Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker have up’d their game and now feature gourmet versions such as Red Velvet, Triple Chocolate Fudge, Butter Pecan, Rainbow Chip and Tres Leches.
The directions are easy: Add eggs, fat (oil or butter) and water and mix and viola, in less than an hour, you can have warm delicious cookies or quick breads or muffins, brownies, cakes and cupcakes. No chopping or creaming or folding needed and no fancy equipment or mixer required. If you own a mixing bowl, a measuring cup, a whisk or a mixing spoon, you are pretty much good to go.
I think that these mixes are really kind of perfect for the person who has limited baking experience or simply doesn’t like baking (umm, hello our boss Bobby Flay.) They can also serve a purpose for the busy man or woman who loves having a freshly made “homemade” dessert at the end of their meal or for the Mom or Dad who wants to bring something a step-above store bought for their kids bake sale at school but doesn’t have the time to make it from scratch. So, being the curious person that I am and more importantly, being a lover of all things baked and sweet, I decided to try some of the different mixes in stores today.
In the past few months, I have tested high-end versions (ranging from around $12 up to $25 a box.) and also more affordable, easier to find versions (ranging from about $3 to $8 a box.) I have tested cookies, biscuits, muffins, quick breads and cakes and in the coming months I will share my results along with a recipe that I have created by using the mix as a base.
Since a new Trader Joes’ just opened on my block in Manhattan (lucky me!) I decided to give a few of their boxed baking mixes a try first. I started with their banana bread. I love a quick bread and one of my all-time favorites is banana. I have a killer recipe for homemade Brown Butter Banana Bread (given to me by a dear friend by the name of Susie Vu) that is pretty much perfect. I knew that this (box) version had no chances of living up to that (homemade) version but that isn’t the point of this post. Here is what I wanted to know: Does it taste good? Does the banana flavor come through? Is the texture dense or light as air? Is it moist? Is it worth the money? Does it taste good enough to serve to a good friend?
The bread comes together easily: Pour the dry mix into a bowl, add eggs, oil and water. Whisk until just smooth then pour into a loaf pan and bake (the box says for 40 minutes) however, our office test kitchen oven baked it in about 30 minutes. I took it out when a toothpick inserted into the center came out with a few moist crumbs attached. It had a lovely golden brown color and a moist, slightly dense crumb. What it did not have was the smell or taste of banana. The ingredient list does contain banana flakes which I am assuming are dehydrated bananas processed into flakes. As a banana bread, I did not love it and it did not pass my test but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet!
The next day, I decided to do a version of the recipe listed on the back of the box for Caramelized Banana-Upside Down Cake. Since this recipe included bananas (for the topping,) I knew at least this version would taste of banana. But how would the bread mix itself stand up as a cake?
The first thing that I did was swap out good old H2O for strongly brewed coffee (adding a flavored liquid in place of water in these mixes is one of the best tips for increasing the flavor.) The coffee flavor is not in your face, it really just rounds out the banana and adds a deep toasty flavor that I love. I also added a good dose of pure vanilla extract (because vanilla is like salt in that it brings out flavor in things that don’t really have any flavor) and a good dash of ground cinnamon (for that Bananas Foster thing) I kept the oil in the mix because the topping was very buttery and because oil, in my opinion, will always yield a moister cake than butter.
The recipe on the box called for making your own caramel by combining butter and brown sugar in a pot…I had some leftover dulce de leche in the refrigerator from a milkshake recipe that I had tested for Bobby’s Burger Palace a few weeks ago so I combined that and unsalted butter and a good pinch of sea salt in a pan and cooked it until melted and bubbly. I transferred the topping to a well-sprayed 9-inch square cake pan and then topped the caramel with sliced, very ripe, banana (important for flavor). I spread the batter over the topping and baked until golden brown and a few moist crumbs on the toothpick. The box suggested 55 to 65 minutes, once again, my office oven baked it in about 40 minutes.
I let the cake rest on a baking rack for about 10 minutes to allow the caramel topping to set slightly then I carefully inverted it onto a platter. Not being able to wait just like with those brownies all those years ago, I ate it while it was still very warm. The verdict? It was delicious and I would be happy to serve it at my next brunch or dinner party and yes, even to a good friend. Give it a try and let me know what you think by sending your reviews or questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 28, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok
I’m not one to get preachy about eating a certain way, but I honestly do love replacing a routine chicken dinner with a vegetable-dense meal on Mondays. Not only does it make me feel great, but it gets me to the weekend farmers’ market, which more likely than not, means I’m bringing home an arm full of vegetables that I’ll either roast with olive oil, salt and pepper or imagine into something like Chickpea Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Mushroom Bolognese.
Cauliflower has undeniably been a craze the past few years. With products like artisan cauliflower pizza crust and Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi, this mild cruciferous vegetable surprises and delights as a low-carb alternative that kind of makes you forget you’re eating vegetables. Though the healthy swap is appealing, to me, the best part about cooking with cauliflower is that it’s a chameleon of an ingredient and when and sauteed with mushrooms in this recipe, becomes a hearty vegetable sauce that makes Meatless Monday satiating and exciting.
Luckily because of its pervasiveness, riced cauliflower is available at most grocery stores nowadays. Is the packaged variety ideal for making dinner on the fly? Totally. And it is Monday after all. But cauliflower is also easy enough to rice at home. Cut the cauliflower head into florets and in batches, pulse in a food processor until the florets take the size and shape of rice. I find the extra step of prep worth it in the end because ricing cauliflower from scratch yields a rice that is more tender and less dry than the packaged stuff.
Though I’m not going to say this tastes exactly Rigatoni Bolognese, it’s pretty darn close. And I think there are a few reasons for that. Sauteing basic aromatics of celery, carrots and onion as the base will instantly lend to the familiar flavors in a classic Italian meat sauce. Plus, the cremini mushrooms are firm enough that they won’t disappear in the sauce and once simmered in red wine, add the satisfying richness that I always crave from a big bowl of pasta.
As for the Banza rigatoni…yes, it really is made out of chickpeas! There’s no flour in sight. When I first tried chickpea pasta a few years ago, I was skeptical to say the least, thinking the texture would be mushy and the taste, too much like a legume. I was so wrong. When cooked until al dente, this pasta (which comes in a variety of long and short shapes) holds its own as a delicious source of plant-based protein that turns out to be a win-win for a filling meal.
January 21, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
Orange is the new black. SIxty is the new forty. Souping is the new juicing.
I have never been a believer in juice cleanses. I think that a human body is able to self-cleanse just fine. I also feel that there are more effective and long term ways to lose weight and feel recharged. When I am feeling sluggish and a bit overweight, I switch up my workout routine, reluctantly eat less gummy bears and chocolate bars ( i.e. sugar) and I eat more healthy food. The thought of drinking all of my meals for 3 days or longer is just not "appetizing" to me nor does it seem healthy. Actually, it’s not healthy. But, no judgements.
So, when I recently read that souping was the new juicing, I was excited, not because I was feeling unhealthy or needed to lose weight but because I love soup and any excuse to make it and eat it or in this case, drink it had me interested. Unlike juice, soups contain lots of nutritional value as well as fiber to fill you up and keep you full for hours. You can choose to eat your soup chunky with a spoon or puree it and drink it in a thermos or mug. Plus, creating a flavorful soup filled with all kinds of ingredients and a flavorful stock is much more creative to a cook, like me, than stuffing some vegetables and fruit into a juicer.
One of my favorite winter-time soups is minestrone, I have fond memories of my Italian grandmother making it for me as a child and my mother serving steaming hot bowls of it to my brother and me on snow days. Their version was the classic red variety with canned tomatoes serving as the base of the stock. But, I am thinking green, not only because of this cold, damp, dark winter weather but also because we are all about Swiss chard this week in the B-Team test kitchen. After juicing a bunch of it for Christie's delicious green mocktail...we found ourselves with lots of leftover green pulp. Instead of tossing it into the garbage, we decided to repurpose it and turn it into a delicious flavorful green vegetable stock. Genius? I think so. Green? Absolutley. Delcious? You be the judge.
Easy Being Green Minestrone
6 cups store-bought vegetable stock, we prefer 100% natural Swanson® Vegetable Cooking Stock
1 cup Swiss Chard pulp
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno chile
1 large zucchini, halved and diced
½ pound green beans, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 can white cannelini beans, drained, rinsed well and drained again
1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped or torn into bite-sized bits
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Grated parmesan cheese, optional
1.Combine the stock and Swiss chard pulp in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer. Using a paring knife, make a small slit into the jalapeno and add it to the stock along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot and remove from the heat and let steep while you prep the vegetables.
2. Combine the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped (you do not want a puree, you still want a bit of texture).
3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the vegetable mixture, a teaspoon of salt and a ¼ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture the vegetables begin to release their liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft and slightly browned around the edges and have reduced by half, about 10 minutes, making sure to stir every few minutes. This step is incredibly important to achieving a full flavored broth.
4. Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the zucchini, green beans, tomato and white beans, reduce the heat and cook for stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded, 20 minutes.
5. Add the Swiss chard and cook for 10 minutes longer. Remove the jalapeno and discard or coarsely chop and add it back to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cilantro and lime juice. To eat chunky: Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese, if desired. To eat or drink smooth: Remove the soup from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender (in batches, if needed) and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
The soup will last tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or tightly covered in the freezer for up to 1 month
January 17, 2019 | Posted by Elyse Tirrell
January: 'tis the season for resets and resolutions. It's not always easy to make these great new habits stick, especially when it comes to fitness. So how do we stay consistent ALL year round? Here’s what worked for me...
January 14, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Green juice does not have to be intimidating. Neither to drink nor to make. Since kale and spinach have been the “it” green for what seems to be forever and the most commonly liquefied into fresh-pressed juice, I thought about giving Swiss chard its well-deserved fifteen minutes.
Fact: Swiss chard is every bit as healthy as kale and spinach and is an extremely nutrient-dense vegetable. It’s super high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium and Magnesium, and I’ve always loved it. My mom, who I swear brought home a different vegetable every time she went grocery shopping when I was a kid, added chard to soups and sautes and even snuck some into smoothies. Once I started cooking, I began to appreciate how beautifully chard wilts down and its slight bitterness, which I find adds an extra layer of flavor to any dish it’s in.
If you walk right by Swiss chard in the grocery store and beeline for kale or spinach, I can’t say I’m surprised...thanks to popular culture, that is. Beyoncé helped popularize kale when she wore a sweatshirt with (K-A-L-E) written across it in a music video, and we’ve all known spinach with a little help from our sailor friend, Popeye.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, look for a leafy green with large, sturdy leaves, colorful stalks and vibrant veins. That’s Swiss chard. Once you know what you’re looking for in the produce aisle, I think you will find that chard is actually hard to overlook. It’s absolutely gorgeous. When it comes to the color of the stalk, green, red, yellow, purple and white are all possibilities; AKA “rainbow chard” when sold in a bunch.
I’ve been a fan of juices for several years and try to supplement *not replace* my meals with a big glass of green every few days. What I am not a fan of, is the price. A standard 12-ounce juice in NYC (think kale, spinach, parsley, apple, and celery) can cost between $8 to $12 before add-ons like ginger and turmeric that tack on an additional dollar or two. Yikes.
It all starts with the fresh juice.
I’m talking straight-up chard blended with a hint of cucumber, a squeeze of fresh lemon and water. That’s it!
So, how do you turn Swiss chard into the emerald green juice that won’t break the bank? There’s no fancy juicer required. Just a solid high-powered blender and a fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp will do the trick. But wait, don’t throw out the pulp just yet. Though most of the nutrients are in the juice itself, the pulp contains all of the fiber. Save it and add to soups as a natural thickening agent like Stephanie does in her Green Minestrone, or to the base of a homemade bone broth or even a vinaigrette.
Tightly covered, the juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. However, you can pour the juice into an ice cube tray and store in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the frozen cubes as you need them or mix a few into a smoothie to make any smoothie green. If you’re looking to supercharge your day, try a glass or shot of the juice each morning. Be prepared, though, it’s going to taste green. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, because when lightly sweetened with ginger-mint simple syrup, this juice becomes a delicious mocktail. Enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up or as a way to ease yourself into the green drink world. I wouldn’t be opposed to adding a splash of Prosecco for a fun brunch drink, either.
The options are really endless once you’ve made the juice. Get your green on and give Swiss chard a shot!
January 4, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok
Welcome, 2019. But first, tea! That’s right. We’re swapping our morning coffee ritual for a delicious tea latte loaded with an antioxidant-rich spice that happens to be Bobby’s absolute favorite: cinnamon.
Why cinnamon? Well when we think about last year’s food trends, turmeric-infused golden milk lattes seemed to be the buzz at barista counters all over New York and LA. Like turmeric, cinnamon has many of its own medicinal benefits -- including properties that can fight inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and help keep your metabolism in check -- so we thought why not let this spice shine in a Triple Cinnamon Tea Latte?
Essential in our quest to making our cinnamon-centric drink was Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company, a tiny shop tucked away on charming street in Greenwich Village that is home to hundreds of loose leaf teas and spices. If you live locally, it’s totally worth checking out!
Since we’re choosing tea over coffee as part of our New Year health kick, we decided to fully take the plunge and go caffeine-free with Rooibos tea. If you’ve never had this South African herbal red tea, you’re in for a real treat. The bold flavor is reminiscent of a black tea, yet the distinct floral qualities make it the perfect pairing with not only our homemade vanilla bean date paste, but also the Indonesian Cassia cinnamon chips we add to the tea leaves as they steep. When you brew Rooibos tea as strong as we do (2 tablespoons of loose leaf per 4 ounces of water), it mimics the mouthfeel of an espresso. If you’re not on the tea train out of fear that it’s too weak, it might help to know that we steep this tea in a French press.
If you have cinnamon at home, it’s likely Cassia cinnamon, which is known for its mild flavor, low oil content and frequent use in traditional Chinese medicine. We also steep cassia’s counterpart, True Cinnamon -- a species from Sri Lanka also commonly referred to as Ceylon or “Baker’s Cinnamon” -- in our almond milk before frothing. With a distinctly robust, complex flavor and an equally rich history of harvesting the bark whereby it is skillfully peeled into what we know as cinnamon “sticks,” there is no doubt that true cinnamon is truly something special. Though almond milk is our choice as it adds a nutty flavor and cuts a few extra calories, feel free to use cow’s milk or another dairy-free alternative such as oat or coconut. The trifecta in our latte is Vietnamese cinnamon powder. Add it to the milk while steeping and garnish with an additional pinch. We think you will immediately realize it tastes like a nostalgic cinnamon candy, Red Hots!
Of course if you can’t get to the spice shop, use any cinnamon that you have on hand. Even just one variety will create for a lovely tea latte.
January 1, 2019 | Posted by Sally Jackson
Make no mistake, the bowl is definitely having a moment. Açai bowls, grain bowls, savory porridge bowls…all the cool kids are eating them (at least that’s how it appears on Instagram). Is it trendy? Yes. But is it also an awesome, endlessly customizable, easy method for delicious clean eating? YES. I’m definitely on the bowl bandwagon.
December 12, 2018 | Posted by The B-Team
Holiday season is well underway, and you know what that means: people are BUSY! With that in mind, I developed a festive recipe that's quick enough to serve on a weeknight (with some make-aheads), and beautiful and impressive enough to serve as the centerpiece for a holiday meal.
November 4, 2018 | Posted by The B-Team
The biggest food holiday of the year is only a few weeks away. Are you ready?!? The B-Team has compiled our recipes (stay tuned all month!), along with a list of our favorite kitchen tools to make the big day a whole lot easier. Sure, we could live without some of these gadgets...but we'd rather not!
October 25, 2018 | Posted by Sally Jackson
What’s pale yellow, great with Bolognese, and perfect for twirling around a fork? Not pasta, but one of my favorite winter ingredients: spaghetti squash.
October 24, 2018 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
Growing up, I got my first taste of pumpkin each year at the Thanksgiving table and not a moment before. I waited all year for my Mom’s famous pie to be served, my (rather large) slice piled high with freshly whipped cream. Fast forward many years later, and pumpkin spice flavored everything is everywhere!