07/11/16 11:52am
Lukas Volger's vegetarian recipes are full of flavor and crunch. All photos: Spencer Starnes

Lukas Volger’s vegetarian recipes are full of flavor and crunch. All photos: Spencer Starnes

Brooklyn, as well all know by now, is home to an incredibly dynamic food community of adventurous chefs and makers. While the local food scene became known early on for its bacon-infused excess, a new crop of vegetable-driven restaurants and food businesses have bloomed in response to a demand for bright, lively flavors and lighter fare in recent years. We chatted with a few vegetable-obsessed makers whose products are delicious, nutritious and available in Brooklyn, for your snacking pleasure.

It took me more than a year—and hundreds of dirty pans—to come up with our brownie but it was worth it. Now I can eat dessert for breakfast if I want. And I often want to!

Pure Genius Provisions

If your sweet tooth tends to undermine your healthy eating habits, Nancy Kalish can relate. She founded Pure Genius Provisions after developing a chickpea-based recipe for brownies and chocolate chunk blondies, which both succeed in scratching that dessert itch without spiking your blood sugar.

Name: Nancy Kalish, founder and CEO, Pure Genius Provisions

What’s your favorite item that you make? Well, for me, the chocolatier the better. So I have to pick the first product I ever created, our Deep Chocolate Brownie. It doesn’t get more fudgy than that! You’d never know it was vegan and gluten-free.

Choco chickpea going in the oven in Nancy Kalish's Carroll Gardens apartment and test kitchen. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Chocolate chunk blondies go in the oven in Nancy Kalish’s Carroll Gardens apartment and test kitchen. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Where’s your kitchen? I do all my R&D in my home kitchen in Carroll Gardens where I have a multitude of mixers, dozens of baking pans, 50lb bags of chocolate chips, gallons of maple syrup and boxes of products in development. There’s barely any room for anything else. My husband is a saint! Our products are then produced in an gluten-free, allergen-free bakery.

Raw ingredients sit measured and ready to become brownies. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Raw ingredients sit measured and ready to become brownies. Photo: Spencer Starnes

How did you get here? I’m a former health journalist. So I’ve always known what to eat to be healthy. But I have a raging sweet tooth! I could never find a treat that really satisfied me and that I wouldn’t feel terrible about eating. So I got busy in the kitchen. It took me more than a year—and hundreds of dirty pans—to come up with our brownie but it was worth it. Now I can eat dessert for breakfast if I want. And I often want to!

Will you tell us something surprising that we probably don’t know about your sweets? Our brownies and blondies are made from more than 40% chickpeas (we’re talking the whole beans, not flour). (more…)

08/07/13 4:00pm
Cassidy Brush grew her business out of her Battery Park bathroom before moving her operation over the East River to a studio by the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Photo: Urban Chandy

Cassidy Brush grew her business out of her Battery Park bathroom before moving her operation over the East River to a studio by the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Photo: Urban Chandy

Brooklyn is full of makers and designers responsible for creating more than a few objects that have caught our attention as of late. Some are obscure, others ingenious–all are definitely awesome and left us wondering: Who made that? We’ve decided to start finding out the back story behind some of these inventions, and to share the tales of how they came to be, in a new series on BB. Last week we talked to Cassidy Brush, the creator of Urban Chandy, who’s sparked something big with her chandelier business. 

Cassidy Brush is originally from outside Dallas, but her Texas twang was barely audible on a recent afternoon at her design-build studio near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Her enthusiasm for electrical wiring, however, was effusive from the start.

Brush is the owner of Urban Chandy, a chandelier company that specializes in pendant light fixtures, which she started almost two years ago after a customer at a different business venture in DUMBO made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. “I had an office over at 10 Jay St., and I was pedaling independent designer goods–I’d come from the apparel industry, doing wholesale sales and business development–my office had all florescent lighting and I thought ‘This is terrible,’ so I made my own light from plywood I found in the trash–DUMBO has really good trash–people would come in to shop all the time and ask ‘How much is this light?’ It took this very pushy lady from Brooklyn Heights that was like ‘I’m going to send my husband over..money is no object,’ for me to be like, ‘OK, I can make another light.’ I decided to put it on Etsy, and before I knew it, I was only making chandeliers.” (more…)