New Yorkers who really cook: Jennifer Schonborn

On a chilly, wintry afternoon, I popped over for lunch with holistic nutrition counselor and Park Slope mom, Jennifer Schonborn. In her business, Jennifer counsels people so their food and lifestyle choices help them achieve their health and weight loss goals in a way that is flexible and fun.

Jennifer is fairly new to cooking. She “turned up her nose to cooking most of her life, dismissing it as too house-wifely and not necessary for a career woman.” Jennifer changed her mind when she became a nutrition counselor and realized that if she was going to be encouraging her clients to eat healthy foods and cook, she’d better start doing it too. Now she loves it!

Jennifer made one her favorite dishes, Navajo Stew, from the Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook. It’s a spicy, vegetarian stew made with black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, onions and garlic in a scrumptious sauce consisting of tomato, fresh cilantro and chipotle chilies in adobo. She served it with Greek yogurt on top—YUM!

Having cooked now for about a year, Jennifer prefers cooking vegetarian dishes and leaves meat cooking to her hubby. I reckon she is ready to conquer that as well. Well done!

Navajo Stew

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 red or green bell peppers
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (15 oz.) can of tomatoes
1 Tbsp. canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz.) can of butter beans of black beans, drained
flatbread (tortillas, lavash, or pita)
plain yogurt or sour cream, or Cilantro Yogurt Sauce (from the same cook book)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Stem and seed the peppers and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel the onion and cut it stem end to root end into thin wedges. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with the garlic, oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Stir and continue to roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy.

While the vegetables roast, puree the tomatoes, chipotles, and cilantro in a blender until smooth. Set aside. When the vegetables are tender, put them into a 2- to 3-quart baking dish, stir in the tomato-cilantro sauce and the beans, and return to the oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

A few minutes before serving, warm the bread in the oven. Serve the stew in bowls topped with yogurt or sour cream, with warm flatbread on the side.

(Recipe courtesy of “The Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen)

NYC Food Tips From Jennifer Schonborn: A New Yorker Who Really Cooks


  • Three Favorite NY Stores/Shopping for Ingredients: Park Slope Food Co-op, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Park Slope Seafood
  • Where I Shop For Cooking Equipment: Lately, eBay
  • What I Cook When I’m Short On Time: Bean/cheese quesadillas topped with fresh avocado
  • Favorite Cooking Holiday: Thanksgiving
  • The Dish I’m Known For: I’m a big soupmaker


  • Three NY Upmarket Restaurants I Love: Nobu, Peter Luger, Del Posto
  • Three NY Casual Food Places I Love: Shake Shack, Rosewater, Prime Meats
  • Favorite NY Noshing Neighborhood: My own—Park Slope
  • NYC Insider Food Tip: If you want a good cheap lunch, you cannot go wrong with the lunch special at Taj Mahal on E. 6th St. in Manhattan. A delicious multi-course Indian feast for $5.95.
  • Need Dessert In A Hurry: Trois Pomme on 5th Avenue in Park Slope—everything there is fabulous, especially the red velvet cupcakes.

Jennifer Schonborn is a certified holistic nutrition counselor. She works with individual clients and small groups looking to make lasting changes to their diet and lifestyle, either because they want to lose weight, address digestive issues, gain more energy naturally, ease stress, or generally achieve a higher level of wellness. In addition to counseling, Jennifer writes a bi-weekly nutrition column, called “Safe or Scary?,” for AOL’s parenting site,, and is also NY Nutrition Examiner for You can reach Jennifer at or jcschonborn[at]

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