North Dakota chef promotes edible beans in Northarvest Bean Growers Association cooking videos – Agweek

FARGO, North Dakota — Lauren Zoback’s career as a chef has seen her work in homes, on yachts and in restaurants across the United States. Now she’s putting her skills to work promoting edible beans and showing what a versatile, nutritious comfort food they can be.

Zobak began his professional career 20 years ago in California, where he worked as a chef for a family and for a yacht company. When California shut down businesses in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and told people to stay home, Zobak moved to Fargo, North Dakota, and took a job as head chef at BernBaum’s, a sandwich and bagel shop.

She planned to stay in Fargo for only three months and thought she would return home to Southern California after that. Still, she likes her job at BernBaum’s, which impressed her during COVID because it strictly followed the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines. Meanwhile, she likes BernBaum’s style of cooking.

“BernBaum’s is a great fit for me because it’s a scratch restaurant,” Zobac said. The restaurant offers food with a combination of Jewish and Scandinavian flavors.

During Zobac’s career as a chef and before that as a child and young adult, she enjoyed cooking edible beans. So she happily accepted an invitation from the Northarvest Bean Growers Association to develop recipes with legumes and demonstrate how to make them in cooking videos.

“They gave me a pound of black beans, pinto beans and cranberry beans,” Zoback said.

Family Wellness Fargo partnered with the NBGA for the videos and provided a cookout and taping location in the fall of 2023.

Jed Brazier, director of communications for the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, said Zobac’s recipes are designed to be accessible to the average person in their home kitchen and show that anyone can add beans to their family’s plates. The NBGA plans to include links to the first video in its January NBGA newsletters, online and in the upcoming Bean Institute newsletter.

Lauren Zoback demonstrated how to make edible bean recipes for the Northarvest Bean Growers Association in promotional videos that the organization will make available to the public.

Contributed / Northarvest Bean Growers Association

Each of the three recipes Zobac made with the edible grains reminded her of the ones she loved to eat with her family, and they evoke a sense of place, she said.

“I think that’s why I love to cook … If I can do that, I feel like I’m doing my job right,” Zoback said.

The three recipes she developed ticked all the boxes.

For example, she made refried beans, a dish she often eats in Southern California, with pinto beans.

Fork pushes ingredients into red sauce.

Lauren Zoback uses cranberries to make a British-style meatless dish that has a tomato sauce instead of the molasses-based sauce typically used in the United States.

Contributed / Northarvest Bean Growers Association

Cranberry beans have been used to make a British-style meatless baked bean dish that is in a tomato sauce instead of a molasses-based sauce. Zobac ate ​​the “bachelor bean” when he visited the British Isles, she recalled.

Falafel, another vegetarian dish that brought back memories for Zobac, was the third recipe he made for Northarvest using black beans. Falafel is similar to a traditional dish made with chickpeas, Zobak said.

Pinto bean, cranberry and black bean dishes are a good meatless way for people to get protein in their diet, she said.

Black bean falafel

Lauren Zoback developed a black bean falafel recipe that was recorded on video. The Northarvest Bean Growers Association, which sponsored the development of the recipe and video, will share the recording with the public as a way to promote edible beans.

Contributed / Northarvest Bean Growers Association

Northarvest will feature other Zobac cooking videos with edible beans in 2024.

Enjoy a recipe from one of Zobac’s videos:

2 cups of dried pinto beans soaked in no less than 1 liter of water overnight
1/2 onion, diced/coarsely chopped
1-2 bay leaves
A pinch of dried oregano
1 packet tomato/cilantro seasoning (Zobac uses Goya flavor.)
2-4 tablespoons bacon fat
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the soaked beans in a cooking pot. Add the onion and bay leaf and cover with water. Cook until soft. Once cooked, drain off most of the cooking liquid and add seasoning. Using an immersion blender, emulsify the bacon fat into the grains until you reach the desired texture. Season to taste and enjoy.

Anne Bailey

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experience on a variety of topics, including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: [email protected] or by phone at: 218-779-8093.

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