Cooking Matters w/ Sarah Nelson
Next, we're going to bring up guest sara nelson from eighteen reasons, which is a local food organization that doesn't that really helps us find really excellent food here in san francisco and come on up there in, let me let you explain it better, ok, thank you, thank you, I'm you know my name is sara and I run a non profit called eighteen reasons that space here in san francisco, but there are organizations like it all over the country that do similar work on the main, the main thing we dio we've two completely different programs that air connected by a common theme, which is teaching cooking. We have a cooking school on eighteenth street in the mission here in the city where we teach classes on everything from basic knife skills to cuisines from around the world have dinners with farmers and ranchers on wine makers, and then outside of our classroom, we teach a free program called cooking matters that helps low income families learn to eat healthy, delicious food on an affordable bud...
get. So all of our programming is really linked around the idea of empowering people's food decisions. Whatever those decisions are, whether you're trying to make a whole meal for your family for ten dollars or trying to choose a really great bottle of olive oil that you have the knowledge and skills that you need to make those decisions and there are cooking schools all over the country and there are also programs like cooking matters everywhere that try to help people in hands on ways learn healthy, exciting quick cooking cooking skills and recipes on dh what I've what I've brought today are some ingredients to make a recipe that we make in our paid classes as well as in our free classes and I want to talk a little bit about how we run our class is what we teach and also about our ingredients can you and also spend a little bit of time explaining like why did you guys wantto fill this space like what was missing, what my background is in grant writing and actually still work for a farmer's market? So I worked for the biggest farmer's market operator in the country that runs almost seventy markets and we were doing cooking demonstrations at farmers markets which were really fine people love them, but it's such a quick experience you know, you walk by sea, the chef cooking you know that you get a sample, you grabbed the recipe move on, you don't get to actually try to do it yourself, so I wanted to start a different kind of organization that would allow people to really get their hands dirty in the kitchen or clean and then dirty in the kitchen on and have that hands on experience because for a lot of people that's how they learn best is getting in the kitchen actually trying to make the recipe making it you know, that day in class and then in our cooking matters program, we send folks home with a bag of groceries to make the recipes at home so they get a chance to practice between every class and we found that well, what we do that's really different is that hands on experience in every class everybody cooks and every class we eat together, we clean together and that we're really focusing on the home cook. So our classes air not about trying to be a professional shaft or trying to chop like someone from the food network or something like that it's really about, you know, quick recipes that you can make yourself so for example are cooking fundamental siri's instead of focusing on sauteing for three hours are our series is called one meal many tricks because when we're making one meal, we use many different techniques we might saute and brace and poach and multiply all in one meal, so we teach our class that way. Well, you're calling out these different techniques that you're learning and, you know, specifying this is an emotion this is how it works this is that we're doing, but you're also ending up with a salad and a main course and a desert in every class we're focusing on, you know, how people actually really cook at whatever level of engagement they want to be involved in cooking and that that is so insightful and I I really appreciate that you've taken that approach because I feel like I have the same issue with trying to teach people how to eat healthier it's like, you know, and I've done that at the farmer's market got that sounds amazing sample sample take the recipe and bold and the paper gets stuck at the bottom of my bag and I never see it again and I found that I had the same issue with eyes like drive by blogged readers, you know? They're like, oh, those were some great tips, I'm told they're going to do that and then you know proof they're gone and nothing really changes and that's why it's so great to do things like this, where it's like you can actually work with people through the process because it's not easy, but but but sometimes all it really takes somebody like hold your hand and show you look, look it's, not that hard and then and then you feel empowered, you changes changes, tough changes definitely tough and people who come to us want to change already, right? Someone who's reading your blawg probably wants to make that change already they've taken at least that one step but keeping them engaged while they make those changes is tough and we try to do it with a really positive message so we never say in our class is oh, you shouldn't eat this you shouldn't eat that are you know french fries are a bad choice or things that you sometimes hear nutritionists tell people which is just breaks my heart because people don't learn that way they don't learn by being told don't do this don't do that, you know instead we talk about adding things into your diet, you know, eating trying more fruits, vegetables like a common question we might ask is how could you add more vegetables into your favorite dish? Whatever that is chicken soup greats like how can you make that healthier? More interesting get some vegetables in there now is that that really simple approach of just adding more vegetables into your diet can make such a big difference that and stopping soda seriously, people will stop soda on day one of cooking matters and they've lost ten pounds by the six week of the class I've seen into yeah, it has a huge effect yeah drinking many, many calories exactly awesome! So so we work really closely with a market called by right market, which is a grocery store that grew out of a corner store liquor store back in the seventies into a fresh organic grocery store that's about the size of this room and has an unbelievable selection of produce and different items in it were across the street from them and their owners on our border director so we were really lucky to have that relationship and by right market like a lot of similar markets has been instrumental in helping to support local farms and local producers you know farmers markets are amazing and they are so much work for farmers right they have to get up at four o'clock in the morning drive to the city stand there all day sell protease and grocery stores can help those small farmers can take it to the next level I say ok instead of just selling at the market on your your time you drop off that the store we could reach a lot more people so a lot of farmers who started off in farmers markets then can go to that next level and sell a grocery stores like by right? Eso should talk about the food that I brought yeah well does anybody have I mean I feel like one of the things we're talking about here is is really the difference between a store that really cares about the quality of their prod produce and the quality of the food they're getting and the opposite you know the people where it's just about selling as much as possible and it sounds like it's really a lot of work, but also I'm curious how we can identify stuff like that as well. Yeah, I mean, some grocery stores will have no signs at all. You have no idea where the produce is coming from, right? And some will say california mexico like that, at least tell you the state with the country on dh, then some stores like by raid or rainbow grocery. Some of the whole foods they're starting to do this also will say what farm it's from which is so exciting because you can see, you know, the farmers name on the on the greens, on the vegetables. And you could you know, when to get to know some of the farmers a little bit. You know where that's coming from. And you learned, for example, that happy boy farms, which is a little farther south, is growing zucchini right now, whereas till material farms, which is more north on the coast, is growing collard greens that grow in the colder weather, this is the warmer weather. You kind of know where things are coming from. A different times of year writes yes. So let's talk about what, what all this amazing food looks like and how it's different from what we might normally think of is a zucchini. So the I brought a whole bunch of ingredients today to make our black bean and veggie case ideas, which is something we make on almost every first day of cooking matters. It's just a really simple recipe that appeals to everybody you can add in the different things that you like or don't like, and I brought a variety of different ingredients from different producers that I will show you, so we're going to start with the tortillas because it's like kind of the most basic thing. Um, so these are handmade tortillas from prima vera, which is a local maker up in a not so my county that makes tamales and tortillas by hand on. And if you've ever made tortillas by hand, you know that there's a face of the tortilla, which is the part that you made with your hand and then there's the other side and you should always put the face up, I just learned this are tortilla making teacher on dh tortillas of this amazing, you know, staple ingredient that's been used throughout latin america for generations really, really healthy food, they process corn to make tortillas with lie, which brings out all of the calcium and other nutrients that air in corn, that if you just eat the corn by itself, aren't there so amazingly, people figured out thousands of years ago how to make corn more nutritious on and then is how to make it until delicious tortillas and ask you guys a question has anybody actually had fresh tortillas like fresh from can somebody how is it it means, isn't it amazing it like it boggles the mind the first time and I spent a lot of my childhood actually in mexico and I grew up with these amazing tortillas they were just like there, so you didn't see them plane, you know, there's so good and then I would come home and, you know, we buy some tortillas at the grocery store sometime back what is this nasty thing? So, yeah, I just I just wanted to emphasize, like when you're talking about the difference between a handmade fresh tortilla and, you know, one of those ones that's just scored it out on a on a machine it's night and day in terms of both the nutritional value, because when you're making it that old fashioned way, you are getting all that extra nutrients but just tastes no, I mean, I could smell the is from here put it on our smell a vision, you know, they smell amazingly delicious and fresh on were made probably yesterday up in up in sonoma and really make a big difference they also sell the masa the dough if you want get into making your own tortillas, which is one of those things that's so amazing and then like, wait, what am I going to do that? But I bought it or to your press, I have to confess I've never used it, but I'm going to now, so I you know, I learned for tomorrow, I learned at eighteen seasons in our tortilla class to make them by hand and the rangers, you know, the press, but it's not necessarily easier once you get really fast at it, theo got a press, you know, try it out for sure, and there could be really fun to make, so, you know, we're starting off with our base or tortillas on dh then I brought a few different kinds of beans I kind of got carried away in the being ill, and I brought beans from these two different coming companies, so soaking dry beans is one of those it's one of those cooking things that the court takes so long, but actually it doesn't take long, it just takes forethought, right? Just the night before you have to think about it like shopping the job, so you know, soaking dried beans, driving a lot cheaper than canned beans, they taste a lot better and they don't have all the added sodium they're not mushy and gross and then message. You don't get the digestive problems that you would get from can means, by the way, I think when I talked to people, I like being the best means of the best, and they're like new I'm like, but but what happens with the reason that can beans are inclined to produce unwanted results is they're sitting in their own liquid and thea lee go sacha rides, which are what cause digestive upset? Just gettinto? They're just still in there, whereas if you soak them, the ellicott sack raids air, water soluble and you can, it'll suck out into the liquid, but then you can dump that off, wash it out, and then all that goes away. And so you get this amazing, delicious creamy being two light years better than what's in a can and again, like so much cheaper, you know, and I'll like, make a huge batch of beans for the entire week and then and then it's like part of your, and then you can just use it for a zillion different recipes. I've also heard if you soak them or cook them with a little bit of seaweed that helps probably seemed so good. We talked about series a little early, I've heard that that helps with the flatulence. Problem. So I brought beings from two different companies. I brought two kinds of black beans or black bean case it is, theoretically, these air midnight black beans from a farm called rancho gordo, which has this amazing label, this sexy woman on itcause beans, you know, sexy thing. These guys are up in napa and it's, an incredible company started by a guy who knew nothing about beings but wanted to grow heirloom tomatoes and didn't really do well at that, so decided to grow beans instead, one of those random stories, and this company has grown into producing all kinds of different heirloom beans, and what they mean by that is they're not hybridized. They're not really meant for giant commercial production and sticking cans like they're really different kinds of the answer, these air, little little midnight black beans. They also started importing heirloom beans from mexico because they realize that a lot of these heirloom beans air still grown in villages and other countries, that why not just buy them from there and support these small farmers, rather than trying to replicate the whole system here? So they grow beans here in california, and they also work with small farmers throughout mexico to help them, you know, import their beings into america, so he says this is rancho gordo and their beans and then this the's other beings which are called black valentine little black beans this's from these air from a company called community grain and they grow their beans in near lodi in the central valley and the community greens was started by a restaurant in oakland who upon italian restaurant that wanted better quality pasta that air quality flower and we're thinking about local flower and whole grains, whole grain flour, whole grain pasta, a lot of what we think our whole grains in this day and age have been separated out the different president grains and then put back together later in the processing so that they officially have all the parts of the green in them. But look what community grains does is keep that grain whole throughout the whole process so that the three different parts of the green interact forever the way that they're supposed to because a lot of what's in nature we still don't know why it's there like why different nutrients are put together in something like a grain or a beat or the color green or something, and once we take all those ingredients apart and try to eat them separately or like put them into a vitamin and swallow them, we don't even really know what we're missing like once we suck them out of that beat or that green or that wheat stock what are we leaving behind? Because a lot of nutrition is still so unknown and when you take the whole grain we cover that the entire last section we're just like the intact grains versus whole grains and all that so so community grains makes pasta mostly they make amazing whole wheat pasta and if you've ever had whole wheat pasta that is terrible, which is most of it I encourage you to try community grains what they're doing is amazing in their pasta is delicious, but they also grew being so I brought some of their beings these black valentine's and then because black beans air kind of dull and like, ok heirloom beans black means great I brought these snowcat beans, which are a lot a lot prettier looking the kind of different colors just to show you a little more excitement in the being worlds that there are all these beautiful different colored beans to get into on and they all you know, beans all tastes a little different they all have slightly different uses but are also interchangeable in some ways I could use these beings for my case it is and they would taste a little bit different, tom so you're all of maybe in any being questions yes uh I have a ton of beans in my cupboard slash pantry that's not really a country that I haven't used for so long because for a while I would just soak them overnight and then I would cook them they're usually black beans I believe and they were still hard and I will cook them forever what was I doing wrong I think it always takes longer than you think my hours people are forty five minutes yeah keep hooking up in my state I bought a pressure cooker because I can cook beans in ten minutes over the pressure cooker and it was like if you cook a lot of beans is like the best fifty bucks you'll ever spend in your life is using getting a decent pressure cooker because it is it does take a long time even if you soak them and but yeah if you like literally ten to twelve minutes the pressure cooker and bam you're done you put the beans in the pressure cooker yeah with like a lot of liquid and I dry or so you know I soak them overnight then dump off those soaking liquid philip I usually use three times water to beans and then and then use the pressure cooker so they it's by that they pumped up you know when you dehydrated being first to get wrinkly or when you re hydrated in first to giving going then they pump up and that's when they're ready to cook oh yes oh cooking beans you know it does take a while to cook them but if you're doing other stuff or fever pressure cooker something kind of crazy that my boyfriend who is an engineer created was to put dry beans in a jar like a third of the jar philip the rest away with water put the top on but not screwed on and put in the pressure cooker and cook ten minutes in the pressure cooker and then you you come up with a darby ins they're cooked so crazy it's crazy how engineers do weird thing and I was like it's gonna blow up they're going to broken glass everywhere now it was fine but if you do have a pressure cooker it's a great way to cook I know he made a sodastream also my house is kind of crazy but if you do have a pressure cooker it's really fast way to cook being otherwise keep cooking them beans are done when you can rub them in the skin comes off yeah yes and if that burns your hands as our italian teacher says just welcome on your legs like this she likes to pull pasta out of the pot when it's burning hot and then just like that when it's amazing that ok so I brought these big hunk of cheese this is oaxaca cheese which is similar to mozzarella it's a it's a melty cheese if you're making case idea you want your cheese to melt on oaxaca cheese very, very obviously comes from oaxaca in mexico very similar to mozzarella. You can use them interchangeably. A lot of people here use like monterey jack or cheddar. You can use whatever melty cheese you like to make. This city is I got this cheese at my neighborhood market near my house in the mission's ah kind of latino neighborhood where I live and they're all these amazing markets there's one called las palmas the mexica test in where you can buy fresh masa you can buy organic blue corn masa was really fun if you want to be blue tortillas and they have a huge pieces of cheese and just have them slice off a piece. So, as you know, dario was talking earlier about exploring, you know, different ethnic markets in your neighborhood. It could be really fun to go in and, you know, check out of the fifty different kinds of chilies and just point at random cheeses in the window and get one and try different then they tend to be a really, really good price point, so you may tease, um, and then I brought I brought a few different vegetables. You could really use any vegetables you like in case ideas. I brought these about the zucchinis, which are pretty pretty basic from happy boy farms, which is amazing, amazing farm they grow all kinds of different things and they're a little farther south than a lot of farms in the bay area so they get things like zucchini a little earlier um they have a salad spinner that's the size of a hot tub it just makes me so happy way could we get in it andan these air the's air collard greens who is this lady? I really love collard greens and I know the kale is cool now and we're supposed to like kale I like that but collard greens are just my favorite they're so sweet and they don't they're not all wrinkly like kale on and they're usually I feel like I had this like a bad idea in my mind about collard greens because they were always cooked to death with like honey really sweet machine I never liked them until I discovered that I could buy them fresh and cook them a little bit and then yeah they rival kill immensely they're amazing on and really greens air pretty interchangeable and when I worked for the farmers markets we had a lot of a lot of asian markets in the south bay where we had a ton of vietnamese and chinese clientele and there'd be these vietnamese and monk farmers with just huge displays of fifty different kinds of greens you say what's this and they say, oh this is okra but it's the leaf but this is you being but it's the leaf like, they have all these amazing green and you say, what do you do with it? And they always had two answers. One was sauteed with garlic, and the other was a cook in a soup with pork, and that we're going to talk me that you could take any green and sauteed with garlic or cooking in the super pork and it's going to be, you know, just as good and pretty interchangeable, and all greens have slightly different flavors. They come around at different times of year, but you can take you know, you're back choi or your call agrees your spinach, or what have you and used them pretty interchangeably and get different flavors. And, of course, probably the best thing you could possibly eat, right is dark green, leafy vegetables. So these air collard greens and these air from a farm called toma terrel, which is down near watsonville, it's run by a woman, the farmers a woman which is awesome unions adriana and she does not come from a farming family at all. She just decided she wanted to be a farmer, never went to college, graduated from high school, started a farm and produces just incredible vegetables and tim tomatoes tomatoes like make frank bring a tear to my eye there so good so good so sweet they're coming they're coming soon it's almost it's almost june I'm she farms what are called a dry farm tomatoes where you take tomatoes and they're called early girls variety where you water them in the beginning of the season and then you don't want them for the rest of the season and because they don't get water they don't get big and watery there's little and sweet and really a sweet concentrates the flavor so her tomatoes are just spectacular and all of her all of her vegetables are incredible and she sells to farmers markets she's at the alameda farmer's market here in san francisco every saturday at a lot of different markets but also sells to grocery stores and seeing her colleague greens by right market. It makes me really happy because I know that she's got different diverse streams of income she's selling it market she's selling wholesale she's probably doing pretty well cause she's got these different income streams I'm so these air her collard greens and then I brought another kind of green just for fun on these air called speaker rallo greens, which is an italian word means something I think it's a form of kale yeah it's yeah it's related to broccoli they kind of the kind of taste like broccoli they really smell broccoli and kale I think are related to this sort of like broccoli stalks yeah they're all on the same day with broccoli, kale, cabbage all those vegetables are related right? But these greens are a kind of heritage italian green that were revived by a firm called marquita farm that grows a lot of things that a lot of other people don't grow including these spectacular little greens that air kind of related to broccoli not really to be eaten rather a little tough when they're raw but they're so sweet and delicious if you just cook them up even for a minute so I brought these just refined to kind of show the whole a variety of different greens that there are out there and and different vegetables and how you can explore different vegetables in the same recipe just by you know, pointing at something on the shelf and asking what is that one of these things? So what we dio in our classes we bring in our beings that are cooked and just saute at the vegetables really quickly and some olive oil and maybe a little chilly or some jalapenos in there if you want to feed to be spicy which we d'oh most of our food is really spicy and then just make our little k city is with our cheese and beans are vegetables on and then we'll often make a salad or guacamole on the side heat up the thirty a d o d oh yeah you know heated up with a little bit of a little cheese on it and then put the vegetables put another treaty on flip it over you know most mexican restaurants will have those steamers for the turkey and the cheese goes in the steamer which just makes it so amazing and delicious but we don't have a giant steamer or a person who wants to reach into the giant steamer and cry about the tortilla any team isn't so we just do them in a pan so this is, you know, it's a recipe that's really simple but has a lot of stories behind the ingredients and you can make you can make this recipe by, you know, grabbing a can of beans and a pack of tortillas and some vegetables from your freezer and throw together in ten minutes or you can get really invested in looking at you know, where do these beans come from? Me these tortillas why did these guys start growing these crazy greens? You know what is what is the difference between collard greens and other kinds of greens or even collard greens in the winter really are my favorite because for whatever reason this kind of greens really likes the cold they like the cold weather and they'll get a little red around the edge and they're just so so so we'd so eating a collard green in the winter versus the summer can be a completely different experience and then, you know, we don't have tomatoes or peppers quite yet, but we do know is their keys and it's really exciting in the spring after seeing a lot of cabbage and kohlrabi and you know not to knock kohlrabi it's so it's our chefs favorite vegetable, but, you know, after all of the kind of sweet potatoes and cabbage that got you through the winter to see things like zucchinis and different greens coming into the market in the spring is is really exciting, so I saw this today was very happy I love that you just harp on this for a little bit you're so excited about the food and that's like one thing that's really amazing about when you shop this way and when you eat this kind of food first of all it's so delicious it's really hard to ever go back you're like, why would I ever go back? But beyond that, uh, you know, people wonder like, how could you get so excited about vegetables all the time? And one of the main reasons is the seasonality because you go through the year and you haven't seen zucchini in so long and you're like, why did these weird lady also excited about too keen eve it's? Because you know, I was excited about, you know, kale before cabbage before and now the zucchinis back, and so it never gets dull. It really is always exciting and and even different years, you know, certain things will be better. They'll be more of one crop or less of another crop. And, you know, it could be because that's, like always an adventure and never gets old, does always new farms coming in and doing new things. And it's really, really fun.