Saturday I got to attend the Brooklyn Food Conference at Brooklyn Technical High School. It was amazing event that focused on healthy, mostly organic food choices and was actually free!
The only cost that incurred was the $8 lunch. There were several different choices and I picked the roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary, with collared greens and mac & cheese. It was pretty tasty- The chicken had a stronger rosemary flavor; the collared greens were fresh and bright and you could detect the wheat pasta used for the mac & cheese.
After lunch, we checked out the huge room of vendors, which was a little bit overwhelming but we quickly adapted). The vendors had great, healthy snacks that we happily sampled. There were milk & cookies, baked chips, chocolate covered berries and nuts, teriyaki salmon jerky, teas and other drinks.
There was also a section of freebies: Lime green & yellow bags, Food Bank for NYC bags, crunchy maple and pumpkin flax granolas, Luna bars, crispy rice bars, First Aid kits, notepads, and a set of 3 planters on our way out.
We also checked out several cooking demos: Preparing Foods with Essential Oils; Thai-Style Mushroom Tacos in Bibb Lettuce Leaves and A Taste of India. All of the presenters/chefs were knowledgeable, fun and charming.
In the essential oils demo, we got to take in the scent of lemon and basil oils which were infused into a rainbow slaw with basil vinaigrette. There were green and red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, mushrooms in the final salad.
Next was Thai-Mushroom Tacos, a twist on the original dish, Thai “Laarb” which is authentically made with ground pork served in lettuce leaves. This was presented to us by Jay Weinstein of the Natural Gourmet Institute. We were shown how to crisp Thai bean thread noodles which was very cool- A couple of seconds in boiling hot water and the noodles plump up into a crispy nest. Then, Weinstein sauteed the ground Shiitake mushroom with shallots, garlic, chili powder, lime juice, date sugar, and scallions. The piping hot mushroom filling were placed into lettuce leaves and garnished with fresh herbs and Sriracha chili sauce.
The last demo we stayed for was A Taste of India, where we learned about the making of a classic Indian dish (vegetarian), as well as the flakey Indian bread, Paratha. Chef Rich Lamarita (also from the Natural Gourmet Institute) made the Indian bread first, using chapati flower, fennel seed, ghee (oil), and warm water then rolled out and layered with ghee and fried. He then showed us the steps to create “Curried Lentils with Fava Beans and Swiss Chard.” It seemed like a pretty involved process with quite a few steps, but was very delicious.
All in all, a very well put together large scale event (that was free!), celebrating healthy and organic food options “to build a great sense of community around our gardens, schools, CSAs, food coops, farmers markets, faith community, healthy bodegas, green carts and businesses.”
I will definitely be back next year. And you’re welcome to join me!
Quote from Nancy Romer, General Coordinator