Foodie for Life: Community Chef Louise
Community Chefs play a special role in making sure you, our Shareholders, feel confident in your ability to prepare some of the uncommon items you receive each week. Many of you may have seen a Community Chef around your site cooking up an exceptionally tasty dish. This week, we are highlighting Community Chef Louise Noel. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Louise is a self-declared foodie and community activist. Louise began her culinary journey at the early age of 15 as her grandmother's right-hand woman in the kitchen baking delicious breads, pastries, and desserts utilizing different types of grain. It was at this time that Louise developed a hunger for mastering the culinary arts. Later, Louise would earn a certificate in Culinary Arts, specializing in classical dishes and recipes.
Cooking quickly became second nature to Louise, which led to her involvement in community activism around food justice. Louise learned about Corbin Hill Food Project through her fellow activists and comments, “I was attracted to Corbin Hill Food Project because of its values-based mission to serve food insecure, vulnerable communities in New York City."
She also notes that being a Community Chef with CHFP for the past 5 years has helped her advance her own work in food justice by allowing her to give free cooking demos, or “foodie tours” as Louise calls them, with an eye toward highlighting the importance of the nutrition and benefits of local, seasonal produce.
Her most memorable moment from her cooking demos was from the Apollo Street Fair in Harlem. Louise recalled, “I introduced kohlrabi to a group of inquisitive, but hesitant foodie explorers. Their open discussion about eating the “funny looking cabbage” attracted other people passing by. Resistance was futile as all succumbed to my technique of the flavor filled, golden crusted kohlrabi fritters. At the end of the demo, converts were lined up anxiously waiting to sign-up for Farm Share.” Stories similar to this deepen Louise’s passion for cooking and working in her community. Louise maintained, “Corbin Hill Food Project has helped me achieve my objective of helping Shareholders gain confidence in their ability to make better food choices. I cannot stress enough how much I feel these individuals have benefitted from our customized approach to food wellness.” If you are interested in seeing Louise in all her culinary glory, speak to your Site Coordinator to set-up a cooking demo. This week, Louise will be at The Brotherhood/ Sister Sol on Wednesday from 3:30-6:00 pm!
This week we have an extra special fresh pick, spelt flour from Farmer Ground Flour in Trumansburg, NY. Spelt is an ancient grain that has been cultivated in Europe since at least the Bronze Age. Today, spelt is among the most favored whole grain, non-wheat flours on the market. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that works great when baking cookies and bread. Spelt is extremely versatile and can be substituted for other flours. If you are baking something that requires structure such as bread or cakes, you can use spelt to substitute for up to half of the usual flour. A great way to do this is to use spelt for 25% of the flour recipe, see how it turns out, and then try increasing the amount you use from there. For less structured baked goods such as pie crusts, you can try a higher amount of spelt. The following pancake recipe unlocks spelt’s full flavor potential and makes for an absolutely perfect breakfast for the rainy days ahead.
1 cup + 3 Tbsp spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp coconut sugar or 1 Tbsp maple syrup
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 cup of almond milk (unsweetened or vanilla), if you consume dairy, feel free to use milk
1 tsp of vanilla
1 Tbsp coconut oil for the pan
Optional Pancake Toppings
2 bananas, walnuts, and maple syrup
2 cups of berries and vanilla Greek yogurt
2 apples, almond butter, and honey
Cook time: 34 minutes
Recipe adapted from Jesse Lane Schelew, CNP
Serves 8 pancakes
1. Mix the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, coconut sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the almond milk, egg, and vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over mix.
2. Place the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes to set the batter.
3. Place ½ tablespoon coconut oil in the pan and heat over medium heat. Use ¼ cup of the batter for each pancake and cook in batches, adding additional oil as required.
4. Cook the spelt pancakes for a total of 7 minutes, flipping after roughly 5 minutes when the top is bubbly and the bottom is golden brown.
5. Serve hot with maple syrup or stack’em high with the toppings layer of your choice or your very own creation.