With Earth Day and spring on the horizon, we are celebrating pollinators and new life after the long winter! This box is purposefully family-friendly, with something for everybody -- including a recipe for Crèpes with honeyed almonds and date syrup! (See the bottom of the post to find the recipe!)
In honor of the king pollinators, our striped and buzzing buddies, we have chosen a jar of Malibu Honey. Bruce, the founder of Malibu Honey, has been supplying us with local honey for over 10 years. When I first met Bruce, the founder of Malibu Honey, he had just started bee-keeping -- with hives scattered in his backyard and in the mountains behind his place in Point Dume. He had a bottling setup in a back room. Now, his hives are more numerous, scattered through the Santa Monica and the San Grabriel Mountains, and the operation involves his entire family.
Since bees are responsible for the pollination of almond trees, we also included a bag of Certified Organic Roasted/Salted Almonds from Braga Farm. A friendly reminder that it is increasingly important to support organic almond production, keeping the pollinating bees safe from neonicotinoids and other chemicals used by conventional growers -- these practices are increasingly contributing to huge colony collapses.
Why the Just Date Date Syrup you might wonder? Date Palms are unique in that they are either a male tree or a female tree. The male trees produce pollen, and the female trees produce flowers. Unfortunately, neither birds nor bees are attracted to the flowers, so the females have to be hand pollinated!
To hand pollinate a tree, each date palm must be climbed during the pollination season to spread the pollen grains from the male flower into the female cluster -- and this operation gets repeated three times to guarantee successful pollination! Yay to the human pollinators!
For the kids (or your friend's kids -- or the kid inside you), we included the quintessentially spring-y Bunny Hop Cookies from Rustic Bakery.
And last but not least, a holiday-oriented baking recipe (using the Hayden Mills Sonora Flour) for a school holiday project.
Each April Pantry Discovery box donates $10 to the non profit Planet Bee Foundation.
illustrations by the lovely @lilypietteart (my daughter Lily Piette)!
Planet Bee Foundation
Planet Bee is working towards a future in which children and adults are exposed to global environmental issues, and given the tools to combat them. Today the American child spends an average of 7 hours a day in front of a screen inside, away from nature. Planet Bee's educational programs take students outside, playing a crucial role in connecting children with the earth at the time when they are developing the values which will steer the course of their lives. Outdoor education not only brightens our planet's future, but also improves students' performance in school.
Planet Bee envisions a world in which all students feel empowered to take action for their planet, regardless of race, gender, class or location. Their work emplowers students to love our planet and the importance of individual action in global movements, equipping them to tackle environmental problems in the future.
Included in the Box:
Malibu Honey is harvested from hives located in areas surrounding Los Angeles, the wonderful Santa Monica Mountains that border the Pacific Ocean and majestic San Gabriel Mountains.
Both of these locations are far from modern intensive agriculture and all of the pollution and pesticides that come with that.
These hives are based next to thousands of acres of National Park and National Forest. And although you cannot guarantee the honey is organic (bees travel up to 5 miles from their hives) most of the surrounding area is free from any kinds of harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Bunny Hop Cookies
From the lovely Rustic Bakery come these limited edition vanilla and chocolate cookies in a bunny shape, from Rustic Bakery. Perfect any springtime celebration, these are delicious for kids and grown-ups alike.
Braga Organic Farm
Roasted Salted Almonds
Certified Organic, and Kosher, these almonds are a reminder of all the good work bees do pollinating the almond trees in the spring! These are large non-pareil almonds grown in central California
Just Date Syrup is made from one perfect ingredient: wholesome, organic, medjool dates. Just Date gently extracted their natural sugar and vital nutrients to bring you a rich, delicious, and healthier sweet. This is a low-glycemic index sweetener, with potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Sweet has never looked better. A tablespoon of Just Date Syrup carries the same potassium quantity as 1/3rd of a banana!
Add it to your coffee, a drizzle on pancakes, toast, yogurt and oats, in salad dressings, marinades, and more.
Hayden Flour Mills
White Sonora is a beautiful heritage wheat, one of the oldest in North America, that’s bursting with flavor. Hayden Flour Mills' soft all-purpose flour is perfect for everyday use (a blend of White Sonora and Hard Red Spring wheat for gluten strength)- cookies, breads, pancakes, pies, pastries and anything else you can dream up.
Hayden Flour Mills is devoted to stone milling heritage and ancient grains — their flour is simply stone milled: an old-world process that allows the flavor and personality of the wheat to shine through. Jeff Zimmerman and his daughter Emma started Hayden Stone Mills in 2011, stone-grinding the yield from their farm into fresh flours, reviving heritage grains that were on the verge of disappearance. They partnered with local farmers to re-introduce heritage and ancient grains into their products. Hayden Flour Mills is also the only solar-powered stone mill in the US — we are so excited to support the project of this family business, a project that sustains disappearing ways of relating to the grain and the soil. Happy Earth Day!
Crèpes with Honeyed Almonds and Date Syrup
One of my favorite childhood memories was making crèpes with my dad -- which was even more of a treat than going to my favorite restaurant -- a crèperie around the corner from my childhood home. The Sonora All Purpose Flour in the box adds amazing flavor to the batter. We made some honeyed almonds as a topping with date syrup -- but I will admit to an enduring desire for the simplest of toppings -- butter, sugar and a squeeze of lemon! (I put that inside my crèpe, then folded it over and added the honeyed almonds and a drizzle of date syrup on top. Délicieux!)
1 3/4 cups Hayden All-Purpose Sonora Flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups whole milk, room temperature, plus more if needed
3 large eggs (room temp)
2 1/2 oz unsalted butter, plus more for the skillet
2 cups Braga Roasted/Salted Almonds
1/4 C granulated sugar (opt)
3 TB Malibu Honey
2.5 Tsp Vegetable Oil
2.5 TB water
pinch of cardamom powder
For the Crepes
For the Honeyed Almonds
For the Honeyed Almonds
In a wide pan combine honey, cardamom powder, oil and water and bring it to boil on medium heat. Stir the almonds into the boiling mixture. Cook for a few minutes till all the liquid is absorbed by the almonds. Remove the almonds from the pan into a bowl.
Pour the sugar over the almonds if desired, stir to coat all almonds.
Transfer the almonds to a parchment paper and let them dry completely. Store in an airtight container.
For the Crepes
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking to combine. Whisk in butter. Ideally refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to 1 day -- we were impatient and left it 30 min.). Batter should be the consistency of heavy cream; add more milk if needed.
Heat an 8- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, and brush with butter. Ladle or pour 3 tablespoons batter (for small crepes) or 1/3 cup batter (for large crepes) into pan, turning and tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook until top of crepe appears set, the edges are golden brown, and center bubbles with pockets of air, about 1 minute.
Run a spatula around edge of crepe to loosen. Slip spatula under crepe, and gently flip in one swift gesture. (If it doesn't land quite right, adjust with your spatula.) Cook until bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate, and cover. (The first one is almost never your best -- there's something about crèpe making that seems to improve as you go.) Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan lightly with butter as needed (every 2 or 3 crepes). Serve immediately.
Serve drizzled with your favorite toppings: Date Syrup, Honey Almonds -- or my favorite butter, sugar and lemon!