April 2015

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Who doesn't love spring?  After a long and difficult winter for much of the United States this year, we all long for sitting outside, enjoying some much deserved relaxation and warmth. In addition to shedding all those layers, we may also have some pounds we need to shed! (Amazing how bulky winter clothes make the decision to eat an extra slice of pizza, loaded nachos, and that ice cream sundae sooooo much easier).

One of the best things about warmer weather is the beautiful fresh produce it brings.  Gone are the days of hearty comfort food that fit so perfectly into the cold (and short) winter days. (There’s nothing better than curling up with big bowl of chili and watching a football game on TV). With the warmth and glow of sunshine, we start to see fresh vegetables at our local grocer or farmer’s market, offering crisp flavors to heighten our menus and refresh our palates.  They fit the mindset of health and fitness for everyone we're serving.  These flavors set the tempo for the approaching ventures of the year. (Did someone say beach?)

As we begin the transition to Spring flavors, our recipes need to be reflective of both cool evenings that crave comfort and warm sunny days longing for freshness and excitement.  It's the perfect time to pull out recipes in order to explore both mindsets.  Give them comfort and crispness! Give them bright flavors and healthful hardiness! Give them the confidence to take their shirt off at the pool but the wisdom to know it's not quite time for that yet!  (When I think of my early spring shape…."round" seems to come to mind).

Make your guests transition seamless this Spring by taking them into their next season of eating. Enjoy the attached Black Bean Goat Cheese Dip recipe. Fullness of rich cumin, garlic, and black beans are set against bright flavors of cilantro, green onion and the gentle heat of poblano chilies and creamy goat cheese.

BLACK BEAN GOAT CHEESE DIP

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Diced Onion
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
3 cup Furmano's Low Sodium Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed
1 liquid cup Chicken Broth
As needed Salt
As needed Black Pepper
1 cup Poblano Chilies, Roasted & Chopped
1/2 cup Green Onion, Sliced
1/2 cup Cilantro, Chopped
12 ounce Goat Cheese (you can use Feta Cheese, if you prefer)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add Olive Oil.
  3. Add Onions and sauté until translucent.
  4. Add Garlic and Cumin. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  5. Add half of the Furmano's Black Beans. Heat and then mash.
  6. Add remaining half of the Black Beans, Chicken Broth, Salt and Black Pepper. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together Poblanos, Green Onion, and Chopped Cilantro.
  8. In an ovenable dish place half of the bean mixture. Top that with half of the goat cheese. Top that with half of the Poblano mixture. Repeat.
  9. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot. 

Serving Size
20

Categories:

Leave the past behind, it can't be changed.  Don't worry about the future, it hasn't happened yet.  Seems like great words to live by right?  Yet we still seem to spend a majority of our waking hours worrying about them both.  Don't fret though…there are valuable lessons to be garnered from what can't be changed and how it affects what hasn't happened.

In food, we are constantly looking for the next great innovation, while worrying about our depleting food stocks and farm lands.  A quick look into the past creates an eye-opening revelation of a food perfectly designed for our ever growing population and health concerns.

Beans
Domesticated and valued by Native Americans in South and Central America, beans served as a staple of the diet of the many tribes and cultures.  Long before we knew or had the science to prove it, they understood that beans offered high concentrations of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber necessary for survival.  In short, all the good things we now strive to put in our diets today.

In today's foodservice world, we are constantly challenged to offer our customers a more healthful, cost effective source for our nutrition without sacrificing the flavor we've become accustomed.  Beans offer an incredible vessel for flavor infusion to pair with nutrition.  The subtle flavors of the different bean varieties are complimented by the crisp freshness of herbs and citrus flavors while standing up to heavy spice and heat additions.  

They even lend themselves to sweet applications (and we're not just talking baked beans here folks).  Imagine fortifying dessert options with additional protein and fiber.  The bean can be the blank canvas you take a broad brush to. 

So go ahead and look into the past.  Examine some tried and true traditions and ideas with an eye towards how to do it different.  We're so quick to be innovative, but we forget that some of the old ways were done that way for a reason.  Retrofit beans back into your diet and your menus.  Take that old staple and turn it into your surge to the future. 

Chef Paul, a Certified Research Chef, is a 2002 graduate of Yorktowne Business Institute School of Culinary Arts in York, Pennsylvania. There he was class valedictorian and received the Chef Michael Hostetter Memorial Award for Culinary Excellence. He is a member of the Research Chefs Association and the Refrigerated Foods Association and has over 15 years of experience.

Working in restaurants since the age of 16, Paul has spent most of his life working with food; a love he developed in family style restaurants, honed in school, and practiced in fine dining establishments. Never one to be defining himself with a particular cuisine, Paul explores the world's palate with excitement. "The world is full of people who have made incredible foods with what is in their backyard and we now have access to all those wonderful flavors and combinations," he says. That love and excitement for flavor he now brings to Furmano Foods.

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