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Bread and Salt Academy Goes to the Farmers’ Market!

This week our interns got a chance to get outside and spend a morning at the Saturday Portland State University Farmers’ Market.

The sun was shining as we converged at the information booth. It was all of our attending interns first time at this highly regarded farmers’ market. The goal for the day was to get our interns into market, exploring the produce and making connections with local food producers. How were we going to accomplish this? Through an old-fashioned scavenger hunt of course!

We handed our interns their scavenger hunts and off they went! Their first stop was to find five food carts, examine their menus, and find something that they would like to eat. With the plethora of options at this market, this presented harder than initially thought. However, our interns were able to find some great offerings and think about what they would eat, as well as providing inspiration for flavor combinations that they could use.

Another stop on their journey took them to a farm stand where they learned that raab are the leaves, buds, and flowering parts on cruciferous vegetables. Raab resembles broccoli tops and is the result when cruciferous vegetables go to flower. Our lesson here? When our food flowers, you can still eat it! Also, did you know that rapini is the Italian word for raab?

While speaking to a butcher who raises livestock, such as elk and yak, we learned about some of the health benefits that come along with eating yak. For instance, yak contains 35% more protein and 75% less fat than conventional beef. Though the interns seemed a little apprehensive, the butcher assured us that it tastes similar to beef and that a yak burger is delicious!

Walking around the farmers’ market, there was so much to see and new varieties of produce to try. Our interns got a chance to sample cold pressed juice and were even shocked by the flavor of wasabi arugula. Furthermore, our interns were able to speak with farmers, which was a special opportunity to make greater connections to the food they will cook with. Likewise, they saw the benefit in engaging with farmers, butchers, and other producers, as they were able to ask questions and figure out what they could cook with new foods.

As we wrapped up our scavenger hunt, which everyone completed successfully, we were able to reflect on the day’s activities. From fresh food to starts for their garden to eating delicious food from carts, there was something for everyone at the market. Everyone agreed that they would return to a farmers’ market and were excited to visit one closer to their homes.

Dairy and Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

What’s brought me write this particular blog post was actually an assignment for school. Baking chocolate chip cookies for a Master’s in Nutrition program sounds like it’d be a bit counter-intuitive, but the assignment was to bake and work with a leavening agent. Naturally, I chose to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch., but these chocolate chip cookies are dairy-free and gluten-free so that adds a little something different to the typical recipe.

Just to show you how much I learned about leavening agents, allow me to drop some knowledge on you. The baking soda needed for this recipe will react with the acidic ingredients–brown sugar and dark chocolate chips–and cause a reaction that releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide that has been released causes the dough to rise and gives the cookies a more open interior structure. Cool right? You probably knew this already and that’s great, but it was all news to me.
So I rummaged through my cabinets to see what I had and I found everything necessary for some delicious gluten-free dark chocolate chip cookies that happen to be vegan as well.

 Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Ingredients (Makes about 10 small-medium sized cookies)

  • Brown Rice flour (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • Coconut flour (1/4 cup)
  • Baking soda (1/2 tsp)
  • Nondairy milk (1/2 cup; I used almond milk)
  • Coconut oil (1/3 cup)
  • Brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • Ener-G egg replacer (equivalent to 1 egg)
  • Dark chocolate chips (amount based on preference; I used ¼ cup)
  • Cacao nibs (1 Tbsp)
  • Salt (2 tsp)
  • Vanilla (1 ½ tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1 tsp; optional)

 

 

 

Instructions

  1. “Mise” your prep area as much as you can. This comes from “mise en place” and involves you getting all of your ingredients in place before you start anything. This allows you to see if you are missing anything and saves time when you are making or cooking other dishes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Mix the flours, baking soda, egg replacer, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

  1. Add the dark chocolate chips and the cacao nibs into the bowl and mix.

  1. Add into the bowl the coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
  2. Form cookie dough balls and place on a pre-greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.

There you have it. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. They may or may not be guilt free, but they sure should be!

Go ahead and try them out for yourself. One of these would probably be great with your morning coffee or tea about 30 minutes before a run or a morning exercise routine.

HEALTH BENEFITS

These are cookies and that shouldn’t be forgotten, but let’s take some solace in the fact that these cookies have at least some health-promoting components to them.

First, let’s look at the cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are a good source of magnesium, an almost-panacea when it comes to health. Cacao is also a decent source of iron and it is rich in antioxidants which help manage free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress so our body can function optimally and hopefully without disease.

Second, we’ll take a brief look at the vanilla extract. Vanilla, with its oils and constituents such as vanillin, is known to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and, particularly because of its essential oils, is known to be soothing and great for skin and hair.

Next, the coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids which are a great way to provide energy due to the quick absorption of these fatty acids by the body. Medium chain fatty acids also aid in and ease the absorption of nutrients so if someone is experiencing certain deficiencies or is low in certain nutrients, and can tolerate fat in their diet well, then consuming coconut oil might be a therapeutic consideration.

Last, but certainly not least, the cinnamon. Cinnamon…where to begin. As with anything that just seems so flawless, there are those that long to be the one to expose a flaw. Some would say that the jury is out, but I and most other botanical experts and natural medicine professionals continue to encourage cinnamon use for its antioxidant, heart-protective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune system-boosting abilities.

 

Sharing Bread & Salt

Students from David Douglas High School showed up for the B&SA after-school program the first day to check us out.

These students had taken food science classes, and cooking classes, all of them avid kitchen enthusiasts, and were looking for the next step, but they were a tad wary.

Understandable, right?

Maybe Bread & Salt might be that next step.READ MORE

How to Piece a Chicken

Day two and the interns piled in, excited and ready to begin using tools.

Only one of the interns had broke down a chicken before.

Sharpening knives intro, then the interns paired up and each broke a half chicken into 4 pieces.