escada event benefitting food bank for nyc

Charities that revolve around food have always been close to my heart. It just always seemed like a natural fit- with my love of food and baking, and since my husband is a chef, it's something we are both passionate about. Food Bank for NYC provides resources, education, and support to New Yorkers in need. They work to warehouse and distribute free food to 1.5 million hungry New Yorkers every year, making it their mission to end hunger in our city. 

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I'm proud to work with Food Bank for NYC to make that goal a reality! For that reason, I was delighted to have them on board as the beneficiary of a recent event I hosted with Escada. Guests came to shop the new collection, with a portion of proceeds going directly to the organization. Complimentary makeup application from Sisley Paris and fashion consultations from celebrity stylist Javier Pedroza were also available. We had a wonderful turnout, and were able to raise significant money for Food Bank for NYC. It was a great kick-off to my working with them, and I look forward to what the future holds!

fresh food box demo

 
 

The fresh food box program from GrowNYC is a food access initiative that provides fresh, seasonal & local produce to underserved communities in our area. The program offers the cost benefits of buying in a group, the variety of a CSA share, as well as the flexibility of week-to-week purchasing. Read more to find out about pick up locations and cost here. Check out the video below to see my husband and I demonstrate a couple ways to put these fresh ingredients to deliciously good use!

fresh food box recipes

As part of our partnership with GrowNYC, my husband and I wanted to demonstrate a couple ways to use ingredients found in the Fresh Food Boxes offered to the public. We were in heaven with all the fresh, local, and seasonal items, and couldn't wait to get cooking. Since I have the sweet tooth in the family, I decided to bake some summer berry & lavender crumbles, which I topped with a dollop of buttermilk honey cream. Derek put all of the fresh vegetables to good use, along with some grains from a local farmer, and whipped up a healthy yet satisfying wheatberry & summer harvest salad. Continue reading below to get our recipes, and be sure to check out the video demo we made for the project as well. I hope this inspires you to head to the farmers market, pick up some fresh ingredients, and get to cooking yourself! I believe everyone should have access to local, seasonal produce, and I'm proud to partner with GrowNYC as they strive to do just that!

Summer Berry & Lavender Crumble with Buttermilk Honey Cream

Berries:

  • 6 cups berries (I used local Greenmarket strawberries, raspberries & blueberries)
  • ⅓ cup cane sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Crumble:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender (I used local Greenmarket lavender for baking/tea)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, diced

Cream:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup honey (I used local Greenmarket honey) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place six crème brûlée dishes on a sheet pan. In a bowl, toss together the berries, cane sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Divide the mixture evenly among the dishes. Combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, lavender, ginger, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until mixed thoroughly. Add the butter and mix together with your hands until pea-sized crumbles are formed. Distribute the mixture evenly over the six dishes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crumble has browned. In a chilled bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, creme fraiche, and honey until thoroughly combined and mixture starts to thicken. Chill in freezer until crumbles are done baking. Serve warm with a dollop of buttermilk honey cream and a light sprinkle of lavender. Makes six crumbles.


*Can be made vegan by using coconut oil instead of butter, and subbing vegan ice cream for the cream.
**Adapted from my Individual Blackberry, Basil & Ginger Crumbles.

 

Wheatberry & Summer Harvest Salad with Sautéed Garlic Scapes

Wheatberries:

  • 2 cups wheatberries, soaked for 6 hours (I used local Greenmarket wheatberries)
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Greenmarket Vegetables:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, julienned
  • ½ cup cremini mushrooms, julienned
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, quartered & cut into ¼ in. pieces
  • 1 summer squash quartered & cut into ¼ in. pieces
  • 1 cup romanesco, florets only
  • 1 cup rainbow swiss chard stems, small diced
  • 2 cups rainbow swiss chard, fine julienned
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 ec. garlic scapes, trimmed

Sort through pre-soaked wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones. Rinse well under cool running water, and place in a large saucepan. Add water or vegetable stock & herbs, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour, until wheatberries are tender but retain their bite. Drain and rinse, then let cool to room temperature. Add the cumin & coriander, and season with salt & pepper.

Heat up a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, adding just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms first, sautéing for 1-2 minutes. Add scallions & garlic, cooking for another minute until fragrant & tender. Add zucchini, squash, romanesco & swiss chard stems, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the swiss chard, sherry vinegar, cayenne, salt & pepper, and the cooked wheat berries. Mix thoroughly and cool to room temperature, adding cilantro last. In a separate sauté pan heat up about 1 tsp olive oil, then add the garlic scapes. Cook until browned and tender, about 1 ½-2 minutes. Plate the wheatberry & vegetable salad, topping with sautéed garlic scapes. Serves 4-6.

grow nyc

I'm proud to partner with GrowNYC, a New York-based nonprofit with focuses on the Greenmarket, recycling, gardening, and teaching. They provide free tools & services anyone can use in order to improve our city & environment. GrowNYC offers a network of farmers markets to all New Yorkers, allowing all to have access to fresh, seasonal & local produce. They have set up scrap & textile collections throughout the city to help effectively reduce waste. Community and school gardens have been built and rejuvenated through GrowNYC's volunteers and grants. They aim to create environmental stewards by offering sustainability programs, Greenmarket tours, nutritional education, and more. GrowNYC's main focus areas are those with high poverty, low consumption, and limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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