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Avocado Basil Panzanella

Avocado Basil Panzanella

Growing up, I always had breakfast. My parents, although both extremely busy, made sure that I had juice, bread or cereal, and a glass of milk before going to school. It was really important to them, so you would think that I have a habit to make sure that I eat breakfast now.

Something happened in college, laziness, that made this all change and now it’s a struggle now to get breakfast back into my system. I’ve come to realize that it’s mostly because of the time that I have to take to plan, prepare, and make breakfast that turns me off from wanting to do it. But it’s been way too long since I have consistently had breakfast for more than two days. I feel my body yelling at me every day for not having some form of nutrition in the beginning of the day.

So, I’ve decided to challenge myself, and possibly challenge some of my friends, to start our day with a more healthy habit.

Starting today, July 14th, I will be making, eating, and enjoying breakfast for four weeks straight. No cold pizza or super unhealthy donuts, but healthy, balanced meals to hopefully get me in the habit of eating breakfast at least 5 days a week. To kick it off, I will have a play on a tartine I used to make while I lived in DC. It was super easy but it took a long time to prepare and also was expensive to make.

The Avacado Basil Tartine required super amazing fresh ingredients. Problem was, when I made it for one or two people, it was a waste of time, resources, and ingredients. I would have to buy a whole bunch of basil, a whole tomato, a whole avacado but only use a few slices and leaves from the ingredients. I’d end up at the end of the week with a half eaten tomato, a brown avacado, and a bunch of wilting basil.   It was another reason to hate breakfast. To make sure that it didn’t ruin the most important meal of the day, I decided to turn this into a panzanella, or bread salad. In this form, I was able to also prep all the ingredients earlier, mix everything quickly and then take it with me on my commute to work.

In case you where wondering what the flavor profile was like.  When you take your first bite you first get the intense crunch from the bread, light tartness from the tomato and vinegar, peppery freshness from the basil, earthiness from the fresh ground pepper and it all ties together with a creamy sweetness from the dressing and avocado.  Voila. Breakfast on the train that the next person will surely be jealous of.  Now, a muffin or donut from the vendor on the corner is still good, you won’t be craving it.  I promise.  Plus, make sure you bring some extra forks if you eat this at work, people will try to eat it.

From start to finish (with pre-toasted bread) you can mix this in minutes.  Make the dressing and toast the bread the night before, that way you can cut corners.

About the challenge?  Follow me on twitter @brbeating to find out what I had for breakfast that day.  If I miss a day, I give you permission to publicly berate me.


2 cups of stale bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tsp olive oil plus 2 tbs for dressing

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbs honey mustard

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1½  cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 medium avacado, cubed

1½  tbs fresh basil, chiffonade

salt to taste


preheat oven to 350°f

toss bread with 2 tsp olive oil and garlic powder and toast in oven until slightly toasted, about 7 min

whisk remaining oil, mustard, pepper, vinegar, and oil in a bowl and set aside

mix all ingredients together and season to taste

-serves 4-


roasted ramps with sunchokes

roasted ramps and sunchokes

As many of you know, I love the farmers market.  It’s one of the many things that I love about being in an urban environment.  So it might be a shock to many of you that last week was the first time that I’ve been to the farmers market this year.  I know, shocking. Hell must be freezing over or pigs might be flying.  The only logical reason is that I must have had a minor lapse in sanity.  But all is well now, I promise.

I’ve been itching to get to the market for a while now.  But with the presence of ramps on our menu at the restaurant, I knew I had to get my butt to the market as quickly as I can.  I love ramps. For those that haven’t had ramps before, they look like a scallion with broad flat leaves. They are essentially wild leeks that you will  read about every year in the foodie-verse.  Their season is unfortunately super short, and really only native to the North East/East Coast.  You’re talking about a season of about 5 weeks.  6 if we are lucky.  The flavor is a combination of garlic and onions and doesn’t really require anything but salt and pepper and a light oil.  That’s why it’s a perfect side that is packed full of flavor and easy to make at the same time.

oh ramps, how I love you so...let me count the ways...

Now while I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with these ramps yet, I knew that I had to get some.  When I was scoping out which vendor to purchase these ramps from, my eyes where caught by these gnarly looking tubers.  Awesome!  Sunchokes.  It was then and there that I decided I wanted to make a side with just roasted sunchokes and ramps.

I roasted the ramps and sunchokes together and then removed the ramps mid way to allow the sunchokes to finish cooking.  This ensured that the sunchokes had some of the ramp flavor without the ramps overcooking.  The sweetness of the sunchokes mix perfectly well with the smokiness of the roasting and the aroma of the ramps.  Perfection in simplicity.



10 ramps

8-10 sunchokes cut into 1/4 inch pieces

2 tbs olive oil or vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste


preheat oven to 425°f

mix in a roasting pan or casserole dish and roast for 5 minutes

remove ramps and toss sunchokes and return to oven until fork tender (about 3 more minutes)

return ramps to the pan and stir for a 1 minutes

season to taste

-serves 2 as side-


Help Me Design My Business Cards!

a view of my bookmarks. yes that says "gossip"

I’m getting business cards for brb…eating.  I know, it’s official.  I’m not going to just be a kid who likes writing about recipes, but I will now be a blogger with a business card.  How sexy is that?

While getting my friend to help me create a design for my business card, I realized-Hey, this is the chance for my friends who read my blog to decide what my identiy/brand should look like.  They should choose what the pictures of my business card should be.

So, I finished/edited all of my pictures, posted them on facebook, and now am putting it in your hands.  I’m really not sure if this is the most efficient way to do it, but my countless hours during lectures looking at facebook made this my go too space to hold the voting.

And now I put it in your hands.  Go to this album and pick your top FIVE (5) photos by leaving your vote in the comment.  I’ll tally them up and pick the top 5 photos to use for my business card.  So now, your probably like “Hey Scott! What do I get out of it.  You’re making me do all this work.”  Well here is my answer.  I will pick a commenter (ok, maybe two) at random and give you…ready for it.?… a business card of your choice.  Hey, I’m on a budget.    Maybe between now and then I can figure something to give out.
But yes, get your vote on by July 16th.  Or at least look at all the pretty pictures.

Oh, and seeing all the photos in one album makes me realize even more:  I need new dishes for plating.


nourish the movement-cooking demonstration/fundraiser with Scott Lu

join me @ the caaav fundraiser

First I start a food blog, and then I audition for a reality show (I still think Paula Deen and a bearskin rug would be a great show concept…Food Network/Cooking Channel.  Just hear me out!), and now I get to do a cooking demo for a group of people.  My “do by 2010” list is starting to get shorter and shorter.  That’s pretty exciting.  The “Cooking Demo” wasn’t actually something I thought I would do this year, but I was asked and I’m honored to be able to do this fundraiser for an organization that has been so important to me.

I was first introduced to CAAAV ten years ago as a naïve teenager at an event in Chinatown against shady landlords that where beginning a move to force low income tenants out of their houses in order to make space for high income lofts.  Originally my thought after the event was “cool, I’m kick ass. And I am changing the world because I participated in this one event” but CAAAV soon let me realize that this was a small action in relation to a larger movement that CAAAV has and continues to push in New York City.

Over the next ten years I was able to see the impact that CAAAV had on youth, immigrants, workers, and families.  I’ve seen youth come together to win battles against landlords trying to kick out their own families for economic gain.  I’ve seen women come together to organize against abusive employers and win back their compensation, dignity, and justice.  I’ve seen communities come together to demand that translators be present at hospitals to ensure proper medical care.  And it is because of the amazing leadership of the organizers, members, and staff that we celebrate these victories now.

This work is hard and cost money, especially in this financial crisis.  If you are in NYC, please help me support this great organization and its amazing work by coming to “Nourish The Movement”.  There is going to be drinking, cooking, funny stories, and…did I say drinking?  The event will start at 6:30 at the Downtown CAAAV office [46 Hester St.  Take the F to East Broadway or B/D to Grand St.]  See the flyer above for more information.  To RSVP, email or call 212/ 473.6485 or twitter @brbeating.  So many ways to RSVP, which one will YOU choose!?

Oh, if you can’t make it or are not in NYC, you can still donate.  Go to  I’m donating the food cost to the event, if you want to help support me in that, send an email to me:


i support haiti

haiti- photo courtesy of the daily mail

I’ve taken a break today on providing some lighthearted story from my past.  I think the events that have taken place in Haiti are too severe to just ignore.  The earthquake on Tuesday was devastating to the people of Haiti and opened millions’ of peoples eyes to a country that is constantly called “the poorest country in the western hemisphere” by the media.  This is very true of a country that is ravaged by malnutrition, poverty, and a sordid past.  I think one thing that is really important for us to understand, however, is what the cause of Haiti’s current economic state has affected it’s ability to not only survive as a nation, but also survive after this huge tragedy that has killed thousands.

Haiti has not always become a poor country.  We are constantly inundated with images by huge corporate charities that flash images of poor and malnourished children to get donations for their cause.  However, Haiti was not always considered the poorest country in the western hemisphere until recently.  Haiti was once a self-sufficient country with its own agricultural system.  Haitian cuisine was filled with foods from both its Spanish and French colonial past and its own cultural development.  Food was created with local products including beef, pork, and goat.  Food had a Spanish twist with rice and beans as staple and many layers of flavor.  In the 1950s, Haiti provided much of the produce for all of the Caribbean.  Now, because of globalization, much of the products are shipped in from the U.S.  Cheap and un-sustainable products are brought in and have killed the agricultural and farming system.  Fruits and vegetables are shipped in.  Milk no longer exists, because there are no cows.  It’s cheaper to ship in beef from the United States, so how would the farms be able to survive?  Because there is no fresh milk, cheaper and less nutrient dried milk is shipped in by the U.S.  The cycle of malnutrition starts at a young age, and usually follows through a person’s life.  Since the affects of globalization and NAFTA, 25% of children in Haiti suffer from chronic malnutrition while 9% are acutely malnourished.  UNICEF says that when the number is 10%, emergency triggers are necessary in order to deem it a crisis and require some immediate attention.  Haiti never gets it.  Turns out money is more important than providing nutritious and sustainable food for a community.

Haiti has been through a lot, and this earthquake has forced the world to see the realities of natural disasters, but even more for a country that has been robbed of its resources, services, and support.  In a country that already faces a lack of services and supplies because of Capitalism and US control on trade, there is even more need for us to come together.  We need to take responsibility for causing many of the problems in Haiti, and help support however we can now.  Many organizations are doing a lot to support the work happening in Haiti, below I list a few that I recommend supporting.  Please, take a few minutes of your day, click a link below, and purchase some supplies or donate some much needed money.

Thank you.

Yele Haiti

Stiller Strong


30 in 30

Happy New Year to all.  Now, although I celebrate Lunar New Year more than I celebrate American New Year, I feel like I should do what I do every year.  Make a lofty list of resolutions, and not follow through with a good amount of them (look like a model by the age of 25[I’m 26]).  One thing that I did this year, that is different from any other year, is I took some of my organizing experience and came up with short term goals.  These are measurable and winnable.  So, one idea I got was to do 30 posts in 30 days.  I’m kicking it off today.  January 5th.  So from now, expect a post daily for 30 days.  Words of encouragement are gladly appreciated.  Now, off to the first post of 2010 and post 1 of 30.


…it’s BEAN a while…


the carnage and aftermath

the carnage and aftermath



ok…I know the title is cheesy.  Like way cheesy.  But I’m working and wanted to take a quick break to post something.  It’s not related to food politics, nor is it a recipe, but I wanted to put it up so folks can experience the confusion, and now slow gutteral pain that I am feeling.


 I’m a Jelly Belly addict.  I love them.  My roomate can attest to the wide eyed, school girl giddyness when you put me in front of a Jelly Belly self serve contraption.  I can actually create a mixture that will add to about 5 pounds and not be ashamed about it.  Nope, not ashamed at all.

I’ve been traveling for a bit and getting sick, healthy, and then sick again…(which is one of the many reasons I have failed at being a “blogger” and keeping this blog up to date) so I figured that today I will treat myself to a bag of sour Jelly Bellys to make up for the pain that I have put on my body and so on.  So I am sitting and enjoying my candy, excited for the first puckering, sour flavor of the pastel blue bean.  I am dissapointed, the texture is off.  It turns out that I accidentally bought the sugar free version.  But I am too much of an addict to let it go, now there are some things that go in my mouth that I require to be the most pure and perfect of them all, but candy is not one of them.  As long as it is sweet, delicious, and awesome…it will do the job.  So I eat like three more, then it turns into like ten more.  I begin to convince myself that sugar free isn’t that bad.  Then, with my food conciousness in hand, I was like…wait, if they are sugar free, maybe they are also gelatin free.  So I look at the back, and then I gasp.  On the back it says:

“Warning: Consumption may cause stomach discomfort and/or laxative effect, individual tolerance will vary; we suggest starting with 8 beans or less.”

Yep.  Right there.  In blue text with a coy red box around it.  It doesn’t even say what causes it, but you’ll get it.  So not only do you get screwed because you can’t truly taste the realness that we call a Jelly Bean, you have to suffer the runs on top of it.  

So as I write this after my lunch break, I begin to wonder…why?  Is it worth the gas, bloating, and diarrhea just to have a Jelly Belly?  This is one of those situations where the symptoms, in my opinion, are not worth the end result.  Speaking of end results, I’m feeling a rumbling in my stomach…and a weird after taste in my mouth.

Oh, and I promise.  A real post to come next week.


i hunger...i cook...i eat...i come back...i reminisce...i blog...enjoy.


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