Friday, December 14, 2018

Winter 2018 Menu Cycle

Please find the attached Winter Menu Cycle for 2018/2019. Enjoy!

Winter Menu Cycle 2018

This past week we launched our new four week winter cycle.  Students and staff across HCZ and Promise were able to try out new menu items such as Lamb Ragu and even Rabo de Toro which is a spanish style oxtail stew.   With such great reviews we are excited about entering into week two.  Week one was just the beginning! 

Next week we plan to take everyone palate on a journey of new flavors. 
This week we want to highlight Monday's menu.  We are starting the week off with Cumin Beef Fried Rice inspired by middle eastern flavors made with egg fried rice, cumin, ginger and beef. 
Great on it’s own or even with a side of hummus!

The combination of ingredients give a creamy texture with with hints of cumin and just the right amount of saltiness. It’s such a simple dish that’s PACKED with flavors that you will absolutely love. 

The fried rice is being paired with Shepard's Salad. This salad is said to be the most popular and traditional in the Middle East. The combination of lemon, vinegar and the spices (sumac and red pepper flakes) results in an extremely appetizing salad.

 Take a look at our four week menu cycle. Lets us know if there are any recipes you would like us to share... 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Yes it's that time of year to discuss one of the most anticipated dinner of the year, Thanksgiving Dinner.  
As you start to plan your meal we wanted to share with you the differences of: 
Brine Vs. Marinade Vs. Rub

With holidays around the corner, how do you usually season your meat? Here’s a quick guide to help you with you decision…

What it is: A salt-based solution that adds juiciness to proteins with a tendency to dry out on the grill. Depending on the ingredients, brines can also impart subtle flavors.

Works best with: Poultry, pork, hearty fish like catfish or salmon

The ultimate basic brine:
1. Boil 2 quarts of water.
2. Add 1 cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of dark brown sugar and dissolve. Add the rest of the water and let cool to room temperature.
3. Add your protein, making sure it is completely covered by the solution, and refrigerate. A smaller piece of meat will brine in 30 minutes; a whole turkey can soak for 12 to 24 hours. Your protein is brined when its looks plump and full. But be careful: Over-brining can cause your meat to be too salty.

What it is: A mixture of an acid (vinegar, citrus, white wine) and a base (oil, full-fat yogurt, honey) that adds intense flavors. Marinate if you’re looking for strong flavors.

Works best with: Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, shellfish, vegetables

Marinate meat for a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of overnight for best results. Over-marinated meat will soften become mushy because the acid will break down the fibers of the food.

What it is: A dry mixture of salt, pepper, dried herbs, and spices that you use to flavor the food before cooking. Use rubs to add flavor and texture—the seasoning helps to form a crispy crust.

Works best with: Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, shellfish

The ultimate basic marinade:
Take a quarter cup of whole black peppercorns and toast them in a skillet until aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Grind the peppercorns and combine with a half cup of kosher salt. Season your meat with the rub 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Health Halloween

Happy Fall
Fall is in full throttle and the celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are around the corner.  These celebrations tend to throw us off track with our healthy eating. 
We are here to help!!
Check out some of these tips and tricks for enjoying your favorite fall celebrations:
1.      Always accompany young children when trick -or- treating.
2.      If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow your child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received.
3.      Examine treats for choking hazards or items that have been tampered with before consumption.
4.      Give your children a full meal before trick – or – treating to prevent them from wanting to snack on candy.
5.      Consider giving out non-food treat items for children who visit your home.

What to Do with Excess Candy
Here are some ideas for enjoying the evening’s haul responsibly and getting rid of leftover candy:
1.      Let each child keep enough candy to have one or two pieces a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to pass away). Throw away, donate or re-purpose the rest.
  1. When your child asks for a piece of candy, pair it with a healthy snack.
  2. “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
  3. Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
  4. Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter, children’s hospital, or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
Have no fear – you got this! Let’s make Halloween fun, spooky, and a little healthier, too.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Summer is the perfect time to change up your diet…
Now that we finally feel summer we are spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, that means we are more at risk for health problems such as dehydration, skin sensitivities, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
What’s the solution?
"Eat local, in-season fruits and Veggeis.
During the summer the nutrients in fruits and Veggies are at their peak. They will help your body look and feel its best during this time of year.  
Check out our list of Five Must Eat Summer Foods:  
      Watermelon (August-October) – aka the hydration hero. The is the perfect fruit for the heat. Watermelon’s high-water content will keep you cool and hydrated.  The high-water content will also keep you feeling full, which will help curb cravings (July – September) - Eating tomatoes gives you a little extra skin protection.  Tomatoes act like a natural sunblock for your skin. They are not only a safeguard your skin cells but assist in keep your skin hydrating your skin and increasing elasticity.
      Cucumber (July-October) - The best part about cucumbers is that they are 95% water and a great addition to the summer diet as it helps one stay hydrated. However, summer is not the only time to eat cucumbers as they can be eaten throughout the year.
      Eggplant (July-October) - For vegetarians especially, this fruit (technically it is!) is sturdy and satisfying. low in calories and high in fiber, potassium, vitamins C and B6, iron, magnesium, and the antioxidant anthocyanins that give the skin its purple color. 
      Zucchini (July to September) - one of the lowest calorie vegetables out there, in addition to being high in fiber, vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

For todays lunch we had a beautiful summer slaw featuring Jicama and Napa Cabbage. Vibrant in color and refreshing, this slaw complimented the Jerk Chicken and Coconut brown rice perfectly.

Native to Mexico the Jicamas exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice,  and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Jícama is often paired with chili powder, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, orange, red onion, salsa, sesame oil, grilled fish, and soy sauce. It can be cut into thin wedges and dipped in salsa. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combinations, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Free and Fun Summer Events in NYC

Summer time is a great time of the year to keep active and do fun things with your family and loved ones. Today we will provide a list of free events happening this summer in NYC.  From Yoga to performances, these events are free.

Citi Summer in the Square
The Union Square Partnership hosts over 155 free community events in Union Square Park with more than 30 neighborhood partners as part of Citi Summer in the Square. The Union Square Partnership has been producing summer programs in Manhattan for over 40 years. 

The link below provides more details about time, date, and locations. 

            Vinyl Nights with the MM Crew at Plaza 33

The Mobile Monday's crew takes over Thursday nights with a free outdoor dance party. DJs play funk, soul, disco, pop, house, hip hop and salsa while you cut a rug, on the street. On June 7, catch DJs Woof and Joey Carvello spinning dope tracks, all on vinyl.

Please click the link below to register.

Tribeca Drive-in Dinner and a Movie on Oculus Plaza

All of the movies are chosen by the programmers of the Tribeca Film Fest.There's live music and tasty food for purchase from Eataly, Choza Taqueria, Grom and more. The season kicks off with La La Land (Thu 14), Chef (Fri 15) and The Princess and the Frog (Sat 16).

Friday, June 8, 2018

Apricot and Strawberry Smoothie

Apricots and Strawberries are among several fruits that are in season and readily available in your local markets.  There are several health benefits of  Apricots and Strawberries. Apricots contain vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants and the amino acid, tryptophan. Carotenoids in apricots may help prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol and protect against certain cancers. Strawberries are great source of Vitamins C, Manganese, and Potassium. 

 This Apricots and Strawberry Smoothie is a smoothie you will want to add to your daily regime this Summer. 

  • 1 medium ripe apricot, sliced in half and pit removed
  • 1 frozen banana (Sliced)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 6 cubes of ice 
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup, plus more to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  1. Add ripe apricot, frozen banana, unsweetened almond milk, and ice cube into blender. Puree mix until smooth. 
  2.  Add 2 teaspoons of  honey. Puree mix until smooth.
  3. Add  1 cup of fresh strawberries. Puree mix until smooth.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Poke Bowl

What started centuries ago as a hearty and inexpensive meal for Hawaiian fishermen has become the latest food trend.
Poke (pronounced “poy-kay”)  means “to section,” “slice” or “cut” in Hawaiian. Traditionally, a poke bowl is made with tuna diced into thick cubes, but the dish has since morphed into a picture-worthy menu option for both fish lovers and vegetarians alike. 

1. Choose a base:
White sushi rice or leafy greens

2. Choose a protein:
The traditional foundation of poke is best-quality fresh raw fish. Today we are serving chicken and tofu.

3. Choose a dressing:
The fattier and firmer the fish, the more aggressive the dressing can be. Delicately flavored fish, like fluke, should be dressed simply. Ponzu, shoyu, gochujang, and spicy black bean paste are great bases to work with. Today we are serving a sesame soy glaze and siracha mayo.

4. Add the fun stuff:
Hit at least three of these categories to achieve textural contrast, depth, and balance.

Fresh Fruits & Veg: Sliced avocado, mango, cilantro, scallions, bean sprouts, shelled edamame, or shaved radish.
Seeds & Spices: Macadamia nuts, skin-on roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, shichimi  togarashi, or gochugaru.

A Dose of Heat: Crushed wasabi peas, grated Serrano chiles, red Fresno chiles (thinly sliced), or Jalapeños (thinly sliced)
Alliums: Scallions (thinly sliced), sweet onion (finely chopped), garlic chips, or fried shallots
Pickles: Pickled ginger, shiitake mushrooms, red onions, or cucumber 

*The bold items are the items we will be serving today.  I hope you enjoy your experience. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rebel Venture

The HCZ Kitchen department is excited to announce that we will be working with Rebel Venture. Rebel Venture is a Youth- powered non-profit social enterprise in West Philadelphia that creates healthy and affordable foods for schools. Over the past 18 months, a dedicated group of West Philly high-schoolers and Penn students teamed with the Division of Food Services at the School District of Philadelphia to develop their newest product, Rebel Crumbles.  The Rebel Crumbles are filled with half a cup fruit (apples and cranberries), whole grains, and spices.

This week the Rebel Crumbles is a featured breakfast item on our menu cycle. The product is not only delicious and healthy; it meets nutritional standards of the Department of Health and the Department of Education.  The dedicate group of high- school students played an hands on role in the Rebel Crumble launched. The students were active in developing and designing the product, marketing it, and raising money for the launch.  It is the West Philly Students' mission to expand operations and provide the Rebel Crumble to all students.  It is great to see young students taking an active interest in healthy nutritious foods.

The Kitchen department looks forward to see you at either our kitchens to try this new breakfast item.

Below you will find the link to Rebel Venture's page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spring 2018 Menu Cycle

The menu at the Harlem Children's Zone rotates weekly providing a variety of delicious and healthy options for students and adults.  The Kitchen Department is excited to present to you  the Spring Menu Cycle for 2018. This menu cycle includes fan favorites such as Pizzas, Hamburgers, and Oxtails. There are also several new and delicious additions to this menu cycle such as the Poke Bowl, Curry Chicken Biryani, and Paella with Chicken and Shrimp.  

***After week 4 of the menu cycle is completed, the menu rotates back to week 1.

Click on the calendar below to find out what is being served this week.  We look forward to seeing you at either our kitchens. 

Week 1
April 9, 2018

Week 2 
April 16, 2018

Week 3 
April 23, 2018
Week 4
April 30, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Happy Chocolate Mousse Day!

April 3 is National Chocolate Mousse day. The word mousse is French and translates as “froth” or “foam.” Cold dessert mousses are often poured into decorative glasses and garnished with fruit, sweet sauces, or whipped cream. Savory mousses can be made from fish, shellfish, meat, or foie gras. 
 In celebration of this food holiday, we provide a tasty and healthy spin on traditional Chocolate Mousse.  

Avocados can be a great ingredient to incorporate in deserts. Avocados are 100% cholesterol-free, contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It is also a great source of fiber. 

The Avocado Chocolate Mousse is both creamy and rich in taste.  Try this recipe to celebrate  Chocolate Mousse day. 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse 

·         4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips (at least 60% dark), about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
·         2 large, ripe avocados (about 8 ounces each)
·         3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
·         1/4 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk Cashewmilk Blend
·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
·         Optional: 1–3 teaspoons light agave nectar or maple syrup (OK to substitute pure maple syrup, though the flavor will change somewhat)
·         For serving: fresh raspberries, sliced strawberries, whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream to keep vegan), chocolate shavings


1.    Place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring between each and watching carefully so that the chocolate does not burn. When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove it from the microwave and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool until just barely warm.

2.     Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop them into a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, Almondmilk Cashewmilk blend, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend until very smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Taste and add a few teaspoons of agave if additional sweetness is desired. Spoon into glasses. Enjoy immediately as a pudding, or for a thicker, mousse-like consistency, refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hours or overnight. Serve topped with raspberries, cream, and chocolate shavings.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Beauty of Fractions

This week, Chef Charline worked with Ms. Bernard to organize a fun fraction pizza lesson for our 3rd grade scholars at Promise Academy 1. The students made fractions pizza in class using different toppings. They had to find the equivalent fractions for each part of their pizza. The students used a variety of toppings for this lesson. The toppings included peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, and beef. It is quite evident the students  thoroughly enjoyed this lesson.  Thank you Ms. Bernard! We look forward to collaborating more in the future.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Baby College

This past Tuesday, the Baby College team joined the kitchen and facilities staff to serve our scholars at 245 for four lunch periods.  The team assisted with serving our scholars on the serving line, engaged with them during the lunch period, and  assisted with cleaning the cafeteria space. The team's service truly embodies HCZ values: Children First, Excellence, Respect, Best Selves to be Best Selves, Strategic  Relentlessness, and Army of Love. It is quite clear from their service how passionate and committed they are to our scholars success. Thank you again for you service and we look forward to having the team come back again. 

Below are some pictures taken of  the Baby College team service during lunch time.

Healthy Harlem Newsletter - Spring 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Shamrock Smoothie Shake

Let's shake it up with the Shamrock Smoothie Shake this St. Patrick's Day.  There are many health benefits to green smoothies. It increases energy, strengthens the immune system, and it is excellent sources of antioxidants. For individuals who struggle with their fruit and vegetable intake, it a great way to ensure your body is getting enough nutrients . It also a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year. 

Here is a great recipe for the Shamrock Smoothie Shake.


  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • ⅓ cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 8  ice cubes

  • Kiwi slices for garnish


Step 1: In a blender, combine  the banana, spinach, yogurt, milk, mint and ice. Blend until it has a smooth texture.

Step 2: Pour mixture into a glass. 

Step 3: (Optional)  Cut kiwi slices into shamrock shapes and thread onto a skewer.