bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy, Rhinebeck NY

One of our favorite places to browse and shop in the Hudson Valley is bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy, the creation of Gregory Triana and Sean Nutley. With every visit comes a new surprise, a new arrival, and a fun chat.

On the store’s website, bluecashew is described as “fusing utility & design into a well- merchandised specialty kitchen experience.” This is definitely the case. The store carries a beautiful selection of both unique and classic cutlery, baking and cookware, barware, stemware, and small appliances, at all price levels. A carefully selected and thoughtfully displayed cookbook section complements the merchandise.

On one of our first visits, we also noticed a dedication to offering sustainable and “green” merchandise – and the store design reflected this as well.

In fact, the store won a Retailer Excellence award for its design last August.  One of our favorite features in the store is its wall made from reclaimed wood.

We recently had the chance to check in with Sean Nutley about what’s new in the kitchen these days, especially in the area of sustainable goods.

The words “green” and “sustainable” are being tossed around a lot these days, what do they mean to you? 

Broadly speaking, we like to try to find sustainable ways of meeting of our needs today – this means without compromising the future, and using more of what the earth has to offer. We try to do more creative synchronizing with resources available, reusing and reinventing uses for items we already have.

What are the top products in your store that can help cooks be more sustainable?

We love J.K. Adams Co. wood products, a company from rural Vermont that’s been in business for over 65 years. The company has employed many generations of local people in their area, and does beautiful work. They make a great spice rack, in fact.

Chilewich recycled vinyl products are beautiful and a smart use of recycling.  The company offers its own take-back program, so customers can turn their used products back in to the company for reuse.

We’re also fond of govino recycled plastic beverage glasses, which are made from a food-safe, BPA-free polymer. This material reflects a wine’s color and aromatics like crystal does, but it’s recyclable (#1), and reusable. There are many times when glass stemware just isn’t an option, so this is a great solution. And they’re so great looking.

USA Pan recycled stainless steel produces bakeware for the home, patterned after its commercial products. It’s made from 65% recycled aluminized steel. It’s manufactured in Pittsburgh, so it’s great to know it comes from an area that relies on steel production to fuel its economy.

Tell us about your attempts at being sustainable in your remodel.

This was something we worked very hard to do. We used recycled mushroom wood, and we refitted all the fixtures from our High Falls store when we relocated in Rhinebeck.  The flooring is recycled Formica, and we used plywood for the ceiling tiles. People ask us all the time about our ceiling, since it’s not the usual white ceiling tile.

Green products aside, what’s the one surprising thing you think cooks might add to their kitchens that they might not have thought about?  

Gadgets play a big role for us. Customers always come back and say, “Wow, everything is so much easier now that I have…” Knives are often a big change in customers’ kitchens. They can’t believe how sharp the Messsermeister knives are, and how they make cooking easier.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

Balthazar, a Phaidon title, is still in my personal top 10 all-time favorites.

Suvir Saran’s two books; American Masala and Indian Cooking at Home.

Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrotia Randelman is a very beat up book on my shelf.

Way To Cook is a staple, as well as Joy of Cooking.

Great selections with a broad range. Which ones are your bestsellers?

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual has been a huge hit! Again Phaidon cooking titles like Balthazar, Mark Bittman titles, and Deborah Madison titles are all very popular.

So what does this tell you about what people are currently cooking/eating?  

People are definitely trying to find ways to develop healthier eating habits.  It seems people are cooking at home more often too, which we love to see.

We love to see that too, Sean. Thanks so much for this peek into what you and your customers are up to right now in the world of cooking and cooking supplies.

Take a look around bluecashew!

And we invite our readers to let us know if you have a store in your area specializing in green kitchen goods, in a comment below.  We might even ask you to do a guest post for us. Thanks!

A Local Gathering to Promote Local Foods in Schools

Last night we attended a gathering we told you about earlier: Cool Aid! a fundraiser at the Onteora Middle School/High School Cafeteria, in Boiceville New York. Cool-Aid proceeds will fund the purchase of a walk-in freezer for the central kitchen of the Onteora Schools.

The walk-in freezer will allow the cooks at the school to effectively extend the growing season for locally sourced produce, reduce waste of plentiful fresh foods, and increase nutrition by freezing fruits and vegetables picked at the height of their nutritive value.

We’re here to say the event was a great success!  Maxanne Resnick and a large group of volunteers worked to bring the idea to life.  This group included students who helped serve and did an impeccable job keeping the tables clean.

The line-up of local chefs provides a look at the array of culinary talent and the intriguing regional cuisine in this area.  The chefs included Dan Leader, Giovanni Scappin, Curt Robair, Bill Warnes, Ric Orlando, Devin Mills, Pika Roels, and Kevin Katz.

The chefs were paired up with a regional farmer of their choice and two students, and together they served up tasty and healthy foods that anyone, especially kids, could make.

Each hors d’ouevre was $2 each, and trust us, we ate like kings.

The live music, silent auction, food crafts for kids, juicer and smoothie bars, plus an array of other presentations made this an event for all ages. Watching the members of the community chat and enjoy great food together made it fun and memorable.

Check out some photos from the evening.

More details about the chefs.

Frontier was happy to help sponsor the event, and we hope this idea might inspire you to find ways to help schools or any other institutions in your area move towards using more fresh ingredients from local sources.

Please let us know about your local food projects!

Meet Liz Hopkins, chef at the Frontier Café

In a recent blog post about our LEED® Silver certificatied renovation, we showed you a photo of the beautiful café at Frontier’s Norway facility.

A real bonus for our café is its wonderful chef, Liz Hopkins. Liz creates the healthy organic lunch offerings our employees enjoy each day. Talk about an employee benefit you don’t find just anywhere! Besides being the chef at Frontier, Liz makes beautiful jewelry that we look forward to seeing at our employee craft fairs. She’s a dragon boat enthusiast too. Versatile gal.

Liz Hopkins, chef at Frontier café. Photo by Kathy Larson

Liz took time out from her duties in the Café kitchen to talk to us about her work at Frontier.

Tell us a bit about what you do at Frontier. What was your background that prepared you for this?

I’m the chef and café manager in the employee Café at the Norway facility.  When I was in my early 20s, I worked at a resort hotel in Arizona and was taught the basics of cooking, so that’s how I knew I could handle this.  A lot of what I do is also self-taught.

What are your favorite go-to spices when you work in the Café?

I really like Simply Organics Vegetable Seasoning, and basil is a favorite spice of mine.  Seriously, I use the Simply Organic Vegetable Seasoning in almost everything: grilled veggies, salad dressing, and salads.

What have you learned about spices from working in the Café that you can share with us?

I have learned to experiment with herbs and spices.  It’s important for people to remember you can add a small amount of a spice to your cooking, and then build on it. You can always add but never take out. Soon you’ll learn what you like.

Can you tell us a few quick tips that you use all the time? Any spices that match certain foods perfectly? (For example, we love the veggie seasoning on the fish you serve at the Café.)

Dill goes with fish.

Thyme goes with chicken.

Basil is always good with tomatoes.

Simply Organic Vegetable Seasoning goes with anything, and I use it on grilled veggies a lot.

For more savory flavor, use oregano or rosemary.

Also, I’ve learned that if food looks good, it usually is. People eat with their eyes! It’s really true.

Do you have any dishes you prepare that seem to be crowd favorites in the Café?

People seem to like my potato pancakes, grilled tofu, roast beef w/smashed potatoes, grilled veggies, and garden burgers. Lots of varieties of sandwiches are popular.

Can you share one of your favorite recipes with us?

GARDEN BURGER

1 cup finely shredded carrots

3/4 cup of cooked brown rice

1/2 cup shredded cheese (what ever flavor you like)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion  (I use a green onion)

1/8 cup finely ground sunflower seeds

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1/4  teaspoon ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon ground coriander

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon tamari

Mix carrots, rice, cheese, onion, sunflower seeds, bread crumbs, parsley, ginger and coriander together in large bowl. Mix well.

In another bowl, mix egg whites (beaten) with tamari.

Add this to dry ingredients and mix well.

Cover, place in refrigerator for one hour.

Scoop into patties and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min.

What do you like to cook or bake at home for your family?

We like Mexican dishes, and I make a rhubarb crisp we like. To be honest, I cook more at work than I do at home!

Cool Aid! A Farm to Table Family Event, Boiceville NY

One of the most wonderful things about living in New York’s Hudson Valley is our proximity to so many dedicated local organic farmers and to the creative chefs who use that produce in their restaurants.

One group of these chefs and farmers is planning an interesting benefit that we’d like to share with you; it might just inspire you in your own community.

Cool Aid! is A FARM TO TABLE FAMILY EVENT to be held on Monday, May 23rd in the Onteora Middle School/High School Cafeteria, in Boiceville New York. Cool Aid proceeds will fund the purchase of a walk-in freezer for the central kitchen of the Onteora Schools in Boiceville, NY.

Here’s where it gets interesting. A walk-in freezer will allow the cooks at the school to effectively extend the growing season for locally sourced produce, reduce waste of plentiful fresh foods, and increase nutrition by freezing fruits and vegetables picked at the height of their nutritive value.

The school feels this will aid their ability to deliver healthy foods to their students, without a huge outlay of money. In planning this fundraiser, they looked for a way to do something educational, interactive and fun, linking school-age kids with area chefs and farmers.  Since the school enrolls students kindergarten through 12th grade, the goal was to get all levels involved.

Here’s what they came up with: An event in which eight local chefs will be paired up with a regional farmer of their choice and two students, who will help execute the assembly of a tasty and healthy food that’s easy for kids to make and fits perfectly into a student’s lunchbox.

The line-up of chefs provides a look at the array of culinary talent and the intriguing regional cuisine in this area.  The chefs include Dan Leader, Gianni Scappin, Curt Robair, Bill Warnes, Ric Orlando, Devin Mills, Pika Roels, and Kevin Katz.

In order to make the event accessible to all families in Ulster County, it’s a free event; families can purchase as many tickets as they wish for each hors d’ouevre, for $2 each.

Live music by the school’s band will be performed throughout the event. A silent auction is planned, featuring such items as autographed cookbooks from some of the top chefs in the country, including Tom Collicchio, David Burke, Daniel Orr, and Bill Telepan.

Students have designed the event’s logo and website (to follow shortly).  The event will also feature food crafts for kids, juicer and smoothie bars, healthy snack alternatives presented by Onteora Home and Career students, a presentation by Hudson Valley author Joanne Michaels on gardening, nutritional information with Lysa Ingalsbe, RN and holistic health coach, and a photo booth.

Upon learning about this event, Frontier joined with others as one of the sponsors.

We hope sharing the details of this event might inspire you to find ways to help schools or any other institutions in your area move towards using more fresh ingredients from local sources.

Please let us know if you’re involved in any projects like this one, we love hearing these stories.

Come on in!

Frontier headquarters, Norway, IA

Welcome to the Cayenne Room, the Frontier Natural Products Co-op blog.

For the past two years, we’ve enjoyed bringing you information via Facebook and Twitter, and this blog is our way of continuing that engagement with you, our customers. As a company, Frontier seeks to lead the way in bringing nature — and peace of mind — to those who use our products. We’re happy to have yet another outlet for doing so.

You’ll meet the people who make our products, sell our products, and use our products.

We’ll bring you information here you won’t find elsewhere: about food, recipes, health, and nutrition.

We’ll also give you an insider’s perspective on our sourcing and our Well Earth program. We’ll be exploring ways for you to live a natural lifestyle.

And of course, we’ll be examining the true meaning of one of today’s very widely used words: sustainability. As a leading supplier of organic herbs and spices, we’re inspired daily by our goal to leave future generations with a healthier world than the one we live in today. We’ll share that journey with you.

Now, it’s your turn. We’re listening. Please take a moment and let us know what you’d like to see in our blog. It can be a thought about some of the topics listed above, or some additional ideas of your own.

Thanks for joining us!