Chef George Mendes is the mastermind behind the mouth-watering, Instagram-baiting, and brilliantly-cooked-to-perfection menus at New York bucket list restaurants Aldea, Lupulo, and Bica. Which means he’s responsible for #TeamSnowe’s palate-expanding addictions to urchin toast, squid ink rice with blood sausage, and the world’s most perfect breakfast indulgence, Portuguese egg custard tarts. This guy knows, pretty obviously, what he’s doing in the kitchen. And don’t take our word for it – Michelin Guide and The New York Times have doled out stars; New York Magazine and Food & Wine feature him regularly, and though he's a celebrity favorite, he’s too much of a class act to name drop.
Mendes shows off his enviable knife skills while SNOWE’s dinnerware shows off its versatility: it shines in the prep phase as well.
It all makes him the perfect candidate to ask our burning question: what do you make yourself to eat? Not for a dinner party or special event, but for a quick-and-easy bite at the end of a work day that starts with a morning run (Mendes is training for the NYC marathon) before it’s off to Bica to work on breakfast and lunch, then splitting his time between the kitchens at Lupulo and Aldea until 11pm. The kind of meal to cook when you’re in need of something far more nourishing than take-out, but too exhausted to stay on your feet longer than 15 minutes to whip something up.
Veggies sizzle, stomachs growl: this is going to be good.
Turns out Mendes pulled inspiration from his girlfriend – Alexandra, an advertising and brand marketing executive, for this quickie meal. They dig into this on both late nights and early mornings, and as decadent as it sounds, credit it with some get-up-and-go power. “Because we are both very active, this little meal is a good source of protein and fiber for us,” Mendes tells us. “The doses of garlic, hemp seeds, multiple veggies, and coconut oil are also in there as well for their nutritional benefits.”
Our kind of extra credit: put an egg on it. Note the chef’s towel-as-oven mitt.
Ready to cook like a chef on the move? Or looking for the perfect dish to wow some athlete-foodie friends? We had Mendes cook this up for us, armed with SNOWE’s chef’s towel, and using our dinnerware as both sous-chef (hey, those chopped peppers aren’t going to hold themselves!) and for the final presentation. Because a true work of art – however practical – deserves a clean and stunning canvas. Here’s how to make the dish at home.
In this case, the cherry on top is raw shelled hemp seeds.
Black Beans with Vegetables, Avocado, and Fried Egg
(Serving Size: 2 very hungry people or a good snack for 4)
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (we use Dr. Bronner's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil)
- 1 jalapeno (coarsely diced)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 1 red, orange, or yellow pepper
- 1 zucchini (half-moon shape, salted)
- 2 large cloves of garlic (coarsely chopped)
- 15 ounces of black beans (or 30 ounces if you're really hungry and maybe want some leftovers)
- Handful or so of grape tomatoes (sliced in halves)
- Several leaves of kale or Swiss chard (sliced in strips)
- 3 stems fresh cilantro leaves
- Raw shelled hemp seeds
- 2 lime wedges
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon of your favorite cheese (optional)
Chowing down with no regret: the power of a crazy-delicious, crazy-healthy meal.
- Chop and prep the veggies.
- In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Once warm, add 1 large clove of coarsely chopped garlic and 1/2 of the sliced jalapeno. Just barely let those brown.
- To the skillet, add the chopped veggies. Start with the peppers and zucchini to let them soften, then add the tomatoes and kale to soften as well. Stir together so the veggies are smothered by the coconut, garlic, and jalapeno flavors. Add the diced avocado, a squeeze of lime, and ½ of the cilantro. Stir again.
- In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once warm, add 1 large clove of coarsely chopped garlic and 1/2 of the sliced jalapeno. Just barely let those brown. Then add the black beans (which must be well rinsed and strained). Add a couple teaspoons of salt. Mix all and cook for a couple of minutes until the beans are very warm. Add a squeeze of lime and the remaining ½ of the cilantro, and stir.
In a wide bowl, spread a large spoonful of the beans. Then scoop a layer of the veggies on top. (Optional step: now add a fried egg and/or grated cheddar cheese, or a slice of brie.) Sprinkle with one teaspoon to one tablespoon of raw shelled hemp seeds.