West African-Inspired Salad

We initially didn’t eat want the healthy options on fast food menus, because it wasn’t going to be a happy meal. Today, chefs are creating healthy meals into exciting options. Such as Panera Bread announcing plans to eliminate chemical preservatives and artificial ingredients from their meals by 2016. It was an 11 year process of working with chefs and nutritionists to change how fast food corporations offer healthier options with tantalizing ingredients.

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Blueberry and Hominy Salad with Dandelion Greens

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a “Blues Crawl, a blueberry-theme dinner. The evening started with a Blueberry-Jalapeño Margarita from The Arlington Club. Then we proceeded to tasting Blueberry Tamales from Fonda Chelsea Restaurant. The main course was Blueberry-Coffee Rubbed Skirt Steak served with Tomato Confit and Mascarpone Polenta from The Delicatessen. The evening ended with LAVO NYC’s Blueberry Semifreddo with Essential Blueberry Sauce. All the savory dishes brought out blueberries’ tart and juicy flavor without tasting similar to a dessert.

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Duck and Turnip Stew with Dandelion Greens Garnished with Pickled Okra

Often when we think of Southern Soul food, we think of mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and potato salad–to name a few dishes. In reality, it’s about the first animal shot in the morning and served in a stew in the evening. Depending on the size, it’s served in various forms within the next few days. Bellies are salted and cured for preservation (Read: Bacon). Bones, such as poultry backs with little meat, are used for broth. Inners are fried to a crisp or simmered in broth. Fat is rendered into lard for baking or frying. Brains are served in rich root vegetable gratin dishes freshly made with butter, cream or buttermilk (that generation wasn’t lactose-intolerant). Generations ago, our grandparents feasted on wild possums, doves, turtles, squirrels, rabbits and deer. As Craig Samuel, co-owner of Peaches Restaurant in Brooklyn, mentioned, “…it’s the food that kept our grandmothers…[and families] alive…” Read more

The Bed-Stuy Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The Bed-Stuy Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Last week, was the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up. My canvas bag was filled with organic kale, collard, dandelion, bok choy, and Swiss chard greens. A large head of romaine, a small head of butter lettuce, green garlic and a dozen eggs were also included in the share. I dutifully took my bags home, and the next two hours were spent cleaning, cutting and packaging the greens. The next day, a salad was made with a mixture of butter lettuce and dandelion greens. Goat cheese, mulberries and a small red onion were tossed together in a bowl. A few tablespoons of Cilantro-Almond Pesto were mixed into Greek yogurt to make a salad dressing. That was an easy salad to make. Now, a few more bags had to be sautéed, simmered, stir-fried or served fresh. Read more