Clean Habits: Ashley Newsome How Roman's sommelier keeps it clean

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It’s only fitting that Ashley Newsome teaches fitness classes called intenSati: she leads a pretty intense life. When she’s not wrangling the team at Fort Greene’s beloved Roman’s restaurant as a manager and sommelier, she’s empowering people through movement classes, wine tastings, cycling to work and challenging the kitchen staff to push-up contests.

Here, Newsome shares some personal tips, tricks and hints.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

I don’t follow any sort of diet. In fact I don’t believe in them. My two rules are: think before you eat—what I like to call “eating on purpose”—and, secondly, eat every three hours. Typically I have carbs in the morning, to get them in early so I can burn them off throughout my day. Right now I’m farmer’s market crazy. This morning I made a brown rice salad with snap peas, pecorino, mint, lots of black pepper and plenty of olive oil, plus a fried egg on top. From there I get as much protein and as much green as I can.

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?

I strive to keep my work life and my play life separate. After hours and on my days off I do not check my work email. I don’t answer work calls. If there’s an emergency I will get a text and reply only if it’s urgent. Also, I meditate in the mornings—just six minutes of elongated breathing to clear my mind. And as long as I “eat on purpose,” Roman’s takes care of the rest for me. Those guys know all the produce and proteins are coming from some of the healthiest, most-trusted sources one can get, period. Roman’s keeps me healthy.

Roman’s in Fort Greene helps Ashley “eat on purpose”

How do you stay fit?

Being a fitness instructor does wonders. I teach this class called intenSati three times a week. That does a lot of good for my body. But I also do two days of yoga and four days of cardio. It also helps that I walk or bike to work most days. And from time to time I challenge the kitchen staff to a push-up contest!

What’s your philosophy behind wine?

Well, I believe in stories. Getting to know the families behind the wine, that it comes from a real place with a real history. I believe wine should be drunk with food and, more importantly, shared with cherished friends and family. Right now I’ve been drinking this lovely wine, Salcheto, from Tuscany. It’s a light, summer red I can just not get enough of.

*CP Note: Salcheto is an ultra-natural wine grown on a self-sustaining winery with solar panels, geo-thermal heating and cooling and plenty of honeybees for pollination. The winery uses no herbicides, no pesticides and no artificial grooming (weeds grow amidst vines).

 
Check out Ashley’s intenSati videos

Dumpling Delight Mimi Cheng's makes dumplings to get excited about

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When it comes to problems, Hannah and Marian Cheng, the sisters behind the new Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, have the very best kind: They are too busy.

Once you too try their superlative dumplings, you’ll understand why they can barely wrap them fast enough to keep up with demand at their East Village spot.

Dumplings are inherently juicy little pockets of perfection. But when these portable delights get messed around with (sub-par meat, questionable ingredients) they can be the opposite of a healthy choice.

Thank goodness the Cheng’s are on our side, as Hannah says, “We refuse to compromise the integrity of the dumpling.”

At Mimi Cheng’s every dumpling is cooked to order in the open kitchen, whether you choose pan-fried or the healthier boiled option. All of the recipes, including the olive oil-based dipping sauce, are inspired by the sisters’ mother, Mimi.

Sisters Marian and Hannah Cheng get their inspiration and DELICIOUS secret recipes from their mom, Mimi

Fillings include pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat from Fleisher’s (says Hannah: “We’re not into the mystery meat thing”) and all organic vegetables. The Mighty Veggie, plumped with organic kale and zucchini, free-range eggs and shiitake mushrooms is a superstar. Meat-eaters can choose from the Mimi Cheng (chicken and zucchini) or the Reinvented Classic (pork, bok choy and cabbage); all dumplings are 6 for $8 or 8 for $10.

In addition to the dumplings, you’ll find a daily choice of fresh market vegetables ($5 each). Recent options include a refreshing cucumber salad, simple pickled cabbage and sautéed broccoli with garlic and olive oil.

Mama knows a good thing when she sees it.

Mimi Cheng’s
179 Second Avenue
212-533-0391
mimichengs.com

 

 

Get Happy Why maple water is the next big thing

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Here at Clean Plates, we take hydration seriously.

Beyond the joys of fresh-filtered water, we keep ourselves hydrated with everything from fermented watermelon basil coolers to iced cocoa to silky homemade almond milk.

But drinking water tapped from a tree was a new idea we had to try on. Thankfully for us city-dwellers, we won’t need to tap any trees ourselves for this experience: Happy Tree maple water ($4 for 10 oz. and $5.50 for 16 oz.) has just launched and is available in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Last March, Happy Tree co-founder Ari Tolwin was visiting his brother in the Catskills. While the two were making maple syrup, he had a discovery, “I had no idea that maple syrup is actually made from the tree’s water,” he says, “Which is refreshing, hydrating and nutrient-rich as-is, straight from the tree.”

 

Co-founders—and Brothers—Chaim (Left) and ari tolwin (right), and brand ambassador nomi carmen

 

Happy Tree comes to you having never been heated and full of naturally occurring Thiamin (B1) and Riboflavin (B2). Tolwin and his comrades even shipped samples off to food scientists at Silliker Labs to confirm the presence of those metabolism-boosting B vitamins, electrolytes and anti-inflammatories.

If the word “maple” has you thinking of sticky-sweet pancake syrup, stop right there. This stuff is faintly sweet (it has a 2% concentration of maple sugar, versus syrup’s heavy 60 to 70% concentration) but tastes pleasantly earthy too. This new beverage is perfect for anyone watching his or her sugar intake: Happy Tree clocks in at only 35 calories and 7g of sugar per 10 oz. bottle.

Watch your back, coconut water.

 

Learn more about Happy Tree

Doggone Good It's easy to say yes to Yeah Dawg's vegan hot dogs

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The mystery meat nature of most hot dogs skeeve us out.

And fakey substances that pose as the real thing? We’ll take a pass, thank you very much. But then Marina Benedetto’s vegan Yeah Dawg!!! came along and blew all of our pre-conceived notions awa.

Benedetto’s Brooklyn-based company specializes in soy-, gluten- and chemical-free organic hot dogs that are made without any weird fillers or casings.

First, Benedetto roasts root vegetables—including potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots—and mixes them into a base of chickpea and white-rice flours. Then she rolls each dog by hand, perking up their flavor with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onion, parsley and cilantro.

 

Want to be inspired? Listen to Marina Benedetto talk about how and why she started Yeah Dawg!!!

 

The dogs can’t compare in price to the pinkish oblong franks at your corner bodega, but then these dogs are a triumph of a bounty of ingredients with both real chew and great texture.

Find fully-loaded Dawgs ($8 to $10, with toppings like ruby red sauerkraut, pineapple pickles, coconut bacon, cashew mayo and more) Pine Box Rock Shop pop-up, or order a pack from Good Eggs ($15 for four) and try them out with your favorite combination at home.

 

Follow Yeah Dawg!!! on Twitter to find out where they are popping up next!

Cool Cukes Stay cool, calm and collected with this summer recipe

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When it comes to the Greenmarket, we are like the Postal Service: Neither snow, nor rain nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays us from making our weekly appointed rounds until we are laden with local goods.

But we love the market most during these hazy summer days, when the market’s tents can barely contain the baskets of ripe and bright produce.

A newly released cookbook, The New Greenmarket Cookbook: Recipes and Tips from Today’s Finest Chefs—and the Stories behind the Farms That Inspire Them ($20) is here just in time to make good use of all of those peak-season fruits and vegetables.

Author Gabrielle Langholtz (who knows a thing or two about all things local as the editor of Edible Manhattan magazine) had notable Greenmarket lovers—including Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert—contribute a bevy of recipes to the collection.

Whip these up for your next summer dinner party

Organized by the four seasons, the recipes follow the natural cycle of a year at the market, making it easy to flip the book open and find a recipe using things that are being stocked at the market right this very minute.

We’re smitten with the ever-growing number of cucumbers available at the market right now: thin-skinned Korean cucumbers, round Lemon cucumbers and runty Kirby cucumbers.

As fun as all the shapes and sizes of cucumbers are to look at, they are even better for you: At around 95 percent water, they are wonderfully hydrating and can help reduce inflammation, while being high in potassium and antioxidants like B-carotene.

Try using a selection of cucumbers in this recipe for a fantastically refreshing cucumber soup from chef Kenneth Wis of Brooklyn’s steadfastly farm-to-table Diner and Marlow & Sons.

Cucumber Soupby Kenneth Wiss, Diner and Marlow & Sons

Serves 4 to 6

6 to 7 cucumbers, about 3 1⁄2 pounds

1⁄3 cup lime juice, from about 3 limes

1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided

1⁄4 cup loosely packed dill leaves

1⁄4 cup loosely packed tarragon leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

1⁄2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

Some Garnishes We’ve Loved:

Toasted almonds

Fresh blackberries

Watermelon

Crème fraîche

Fresh herbs

1. Peel the cucumbers and halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds from half of the cucumbers, so the soup is not too bitter. Slice the cucumbers thinly and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Toss with the lime juice, 1⁄4 cup of olive oil, dill, tarragon, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of black pepper. Dress the cucumbers like a salad that you would eat raw and let sit for one hour. The seasoning will marinate the cucumbers, and they will begin to break down and release liquid.

3. Transfer the mixture and its liquid to a blender (in batches if needed) and add the basil and mint. Blend at high speed, stopping to scrape down as needed. Puree for at least one minute, until perfectly smooth.

4. Reduce the blender speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the remaining 1⁄4 cup of olive oil.

5. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime juice and serve chilled.

From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

Jerked Around Jonty Jacobs gives jerky the comeback it deserves

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If you think beef jerky is just processed rubbish suited only for long-haul truckers and desperately hungry gas station stops, Monique Daniels is here to change your mind. The founder of Jonty Jacobs (and a South Africa native) was aghast at the taste, quality and texture of the cured beef products that she found in the US when she moved to New York in 2010. So she made do without. But then memories of the delicious, all-natural childhood snacks of biltong (thin dried beef slices) and droewors (dried beef sausage) crept up on her when she became pregnant. She told us, “Funnily enough, it was my pregnancy cravings for biltong that put me over the edge. I started the company when I was in my first trimester.” Just last week, Daniels and her husband, Camran St. Luce, threw open the doors to a West Village emporium where you can taste-test their entire line of various cuts and styles.

At the grand opening of the Jonty Jacobs store

All of Jonty Jacobs’ products utilize traditional South African curing methods and a recipe that includes vinegar, salt, brown sugar and cardamom—with absolutely no gluten, chemicals, additives or preservatives like sodium nitrates. We recommend choosing the leaner grass-fed variety of droewors and biltong ($10 for 4 oz.) made from premium meat sourced from a Georgia farm. This is a tasty snack with benefits: This jerky requires no refrigeration and it comes in at whopping 54 percent pure protein (hello low-carb and Paleo diet followers!), making it the ideal thing to throw in your bag and tote around for a blast of good protein and quality fat in emergency hunger situations. Just let that hunger lead you to the storefront emblazoned with the South African flag.

 
Jonty Jacobs
114 Christopher St.
855-952-2627
www.jontyjacobs.com

Clean Habits: Nick Anderer How Maialino's chef keeps it clean

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It’s hard out there for a chef. (To stay fit and healthy, that is).As the executive chef of MaialinoNick Anderer is surrounded by swaths of food every day—everything from the restaurant’s morning oatmeal to dinner’s braised local suckling pig. However, Anderer is also one of the fittest guys we know.

With that in mind, we asked him to spill his tried-and-true secrets to staying healthy with us. His Clean Habits will come in handy come August, when Anderer will add more to his already-full plate when he opens Marta, a thin-crust pizzeria that emphases local ingredients.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?
I eat a lot of small meals and bites throughout the day, either via recipe testing, quality control or just straight snacking. Rarely do I sit down to a full plate of food on a workday. I don’t follow any strict diet, but as a meat-lover, I try to balance my meat consumption with a healthy dose of raw fruits and veggies. And I also try not to eat anything after 10 pm and to limit my carb intake during the second half of the day.

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He even cycles for charity! (photo Credit: Jordan A. Mermell)

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry? 
You need a lot of restraint from the temptations of constant pecking. And you need to find time to stay active outside of work. With a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, I’ve been focusing more and more on keeping my core as strong as possible so that my lower back is supported—in the chef world, that’s usually the first part of your body that gives out. 

Has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on the menu at Maialino or the upcoming Marta?
Definitely. We are always talking about more healthy ways to serve Italian food. We stopped toasting our almonds in butter or oil, and are instead leaving them raw and unseasoned. With really good Sicilian almonds, not only are they healthier raw, but they actually taste better. We’ve added extra fish options to the menu and are sure to keep them predominantly carb-free, utilizing as much raw vegetables as possible and dressing with light vinaigrettes as opposed to heavier sauces or purees. At breakfast, we’ve focused on serving more healthy grains, even adding a house-made, whole-grain cereal to the menu.

How do you stay fit?
I try to do something active with my body at least five times a week, going heavy on cardio and peppering in light doses of strength training and stretching/ lengthening. I probably SoulCycle at least twice a week, and when it’s nice out, I opt for long runs along the East River. And every so often I do one-on-one Pilates sessions, which focus much more on balance and muscle lengthening than on traditional ab work.

 

Move! With free outdoor fitness classes

Make it Pop Once you try Innocent Ice Pops, you won't stop

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We wish we had come up with the genius idea of freezing green juice on a stick.

Since we didn’t: Sophie Milrom of Innocent Ice Pops, we salute you.

Innocent Ice Pops was born from a serious case of the study munchies. “I was preparing for the bar exam and found myself searching for the perfect snack to eat while I studied,” Milrom says. (This crafty 26-year-old entrepreneur is a lawyer, too). At the grocery store, fresh juices proved to be too costly and every package of icy confections Milrom picked up was loaded with sugar. And so brilliance was born.

Innocent Ice Pops (we paid $5.99 for a box of 3 at Garden of Eden) are available in four flavors that will be familiar to anyone who has ever buzzed by a juice bar: There’s Green Juice (kale, banana, pineapple), Sweet Beets (carrot, beet, apple), Kale Daddy (kale, spinach, apple, pineapple, lemon, ginger, cayenne) and TropiCarrot (pineapple, mango, carrot).

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We even love their packaging
(cute in a good way, right?)

Innocent’s long list of nutritional adjectives includes: sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, no artificial sweeteners and no added coloring.

With ginger and cayenne featured in a loud and proud way, we’ll be reaching for the kicky Kale Daddy on the most sweltering of days. Sweet Beets is our pick for when we want to quash a sugar craving.

And with impeccable timing—in anticipation of summer’s lethal mixture of sticky subway rides and blistering pavement—Innocent Ice Pops are now available all over Manhattan.

That is, if you can beat us to the freezer case.

Buy some guilt free treats

DIY with non-toxic popsicle molds

The New New The New Amsterdam Market is back and better than ever

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After this year’s brutal winter, we feel we should be doing something extra, extra special to welcome the arrival of the Summer Solstice this Saturday, June 21.

And since New York’s Finest probably wouldn’t take too kindly to us lighting a bonfire (as the Finns do) in the middle of Manhattan, we’ve settled on the next best thing: attending the New Amsterdam Market (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the South Street Seaport.

There is no better place to understand the shear bounty and to give thanks for the exquisite deliciousness of the New York-area foodshed than at this market. In addition to farmers, the New Amsterdam Market celebrates “purveyors, manufacturers, distributors and other small businesses who fall outside of the traditional farmers market model but nonetheless hold the same values and ideals” says founder Robert LaValva.

Heirloom fruit handpicked by Maggie nescuir

 

More than a dozen new vendors and programs debut this summer, like fruiterer (it’s a real thing: a retailer of fruit) Maggie Nescuir, who is offering a “fruit-share program” of rare and heirloom varieties in the CSA model (email info@newamsterdammarket.org if you’d like to join). Or buzz by her table this weekend to browse the first strawberry crop of the season with over a dozen varieties, each one unique in flavor and size.


Newbies Sather and Ruby Duke of Raven & Boar will feature foraged foods along with traditional Italian cured meats made exclusively from their heritage whey-fed pigs. Brooklyn’s She Wolf Bakery will make their market debut with sourdough bread made entirely from organic grains and a natural culture that uses absolutely no commercial yeast. 

Finally, bouquets featuring seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables from Pretty Streets Botanical are a sweet-smelling way to bring the season inside.

To market, to market!

 

Attend the upcoming nightmarket event

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Under the sea Seaweed meets butter; and falls in love

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It’s simple math, really: combine the vegetable with one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals of any on the planet (seaweed) with one of the most delicious items in the universe (butter) and you’ve got something extremely tasty.

Chefs all over New York have been quick to embrace the savory umami wallop that seaweed lends to creamy butter. Not only does seaweed amp up the flavor of butter (preferably high-quality, grass-fed), it also is a wonderful match for butter’s many health benefits. Butter from grass-fed cows is rich in fat-soluble vitamins and beneficial fatty acids, while seaweed is rich in iron, calcium and fiber as well as iodine, a crucial metabolism regulator.

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Piora serves up the perfect duo
photo credit:Nicole Franzen

Inspired by his time in Korea, chef Chris Cipollone serves whipped butter loaded with laver at Piora in the West Village ($6). At Brooklyn’s new French Louie, the local-food loving chef Ryan Angulo whips unsalted butter together with dulse seaweed that he sources from Rhode Island. The butter is then refrigerated, and served in slabs with the omega 3-packed smoked sardines and rye toast ($10).

Uniting seaweed and butter in happy harmony is easy to recreate in your home kitchen by making a simple compound butter. In a food processor or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine a stick of room-temperature grass-fed butter with six sheets of seaweed snacks. Process until whipped and fluffy, then serve with anything within reach. We particularly love pairing this powerhouse butter with a pile of sliced radishes or slices of whole-grain toast for an easy assemble-it-yourself appetizer.

Stock up on organic roasted seaweed