James Beard House and Walmart's Rediscovering America Event
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.
This post is sponsored but all comments and opinions are of my own creation.
Last week I had the opportunity to go to the James Beard House for dinner. I used to live a few blocks away and have walked by the storied culinary landmark on my walk to the subway countless times. Seeing the inside of the brownstone has been on my NYC bucket list forever, so I was super excited to take a break from training camp to come to the city to celebrate Walmart's Rediscovering America program.
As America's largest supplier of groceries, Walmart has committed to providing a fresh, broad assortment of locally grown and organic produce to its customers. They have partnered with local farmers so the fruits and veggies are grown and sold right in the same state. Did you know that? I didn't!
One of the ways Walmart is showcasing this commitment to organic, local produce is with the Rediscovering America program. Ten James Beard award-winning chefs from around the country are selected each year to use Walmart's fresh, affordable, organic fruits and veggies on their menus. The idea is to show the importance of supporting local farmers and bringing the health benefits and flavors of organic produce to more homes in America.
I met chefs from Seattle, Pheonix, Philly and the star of the show was local NYC chef JJ Johnson. JJ created the menu for the night. He told us about his new restaurant in Harlem, Field Trip - everything on the menu incorporates rice! He gets the rice directly from a farmer in Texas. We got to taste some of his delicious food. My favorite was the shishito peppers. He explained to me how simple they are to make: blister the peppers, add some fresh squeezed orange juice and some orange zest. I can't wait to visit his restaurant! We also sipped on cocktails made with muddled organic raspberries and ginger beer and hang out in the backyard garden - ideal NYC summer night!
At the end of the night we were able to take home some of the fresh produce from a mini Walmart produce stand. I chose some colorful bell peppers, avocados, carrots, apples, and bananas. The peppers and avocado went into a simple salad the next day and I used the carrots and bananas to make Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Carrots. See recipe below. It's so good, the organic carrots have so much substance and flavor and just melt into the banana bread to add a little sweetness so you don't have to add a lot of sugar.
3 bananas (not overripe)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 medium carrots, grated with a box grater (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl mixing, use a fork to mash bananas with cinnamon.
In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer on medium (or rigorously by hand) until the sugar starts to dissolve.
Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to oil/egg mixture, mixing by hand until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Stir in carrots, mashed bananas and chocolate chips.
Divide mixture into 4 greased mini loaf pans, filling each one about halfway.
Bake 35-40 minutes for mini loaves. If using a regular loaf pan, bake for longer, around 60 minutes. The edges should be golden and a tooth pick inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Make sure to do this toothpick test because oven temperatures may vary.