Monthly Archives: July 2012

Shrubs

L to R Board Members Sarah McKinley, Kathryn Warnes, and Richard Naples man the Shrub table

Have you heard of a shrub?

As co-sponsors of Eat Local First Week, Slow Food DC was lucky enough to have a booth at the Farm to Street festival on the only cold rainy Saturday this July. And beyond just giving out information about our upcoming events, we felt like this was a great opportunity to showcase an Ark of Taste product that both preserves and highlights the peak ripeness of summer fruit–the Shrub.

A drink with colonial roots, a shrub is basically a vinegary fruit syrup. The high sugar content and acidity of the vinegar preserved the harvest in a time well before refrigeration. Mixed with cold water, it becomes a tart yet sweet summer thirst quencher. Today, it can be mixed with soda water, or made into a cocktail with the spirit of your choice, such as Gin or Whiskey. It could even make a decent champagne cocktail or wine spritzer.

There are various methods to creating a shrub. The following is the way I created the five shrubs showcased at our booth. But please, be creative! With so many wonderful varieties of vinegar out there, and an infinite combination of spices and herbs you can include, you can truly make this your own creation. The most basic ratio is one part fruit to one part vinegar to one part sugar, but even this is a suggestion. Adjust as needed given the natural sweetness of the fruit, acidity of the vinegar, and how you plan on using the shrub.

Shrub
makes 20-30 servings

1.  Combine one cup of fruit and one cup of vinegar to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the fruit has softened. Mash with a potato masher or muddler to extract more juice and flavor.
2.  Pour the mashed fruit and vinegar mixture into a sterilized jar. Cover and let sit at least 24 hours, and up to three days.
3.  Strain the fruit and vinegar mixture into a saucepan. It is perfectly acceptable to place the fruit inside cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.
4.  Add a cup of sugar to the juice and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Let the mixture reduce until slightly thickened, about five minutes.
5.  Pour the shrub into a sterilized jar or bottle. Refridgerate for best preservation of quality. The flavors should mellow over time.

Once the shrub has cooled, add a small amount to a glass with ice and fill with cold water or seltzer water. Enjoy!

Here are the shrubs made for the Farm to Street party:

  • Sour Cherry with Sherry and Balsamic Vinegar
  • Strawberry with Sherry and Balsamic Vinegar (The strawberries were local. I used a jar of homemade jam and left out the sugar part of the recipe. This is a great way to use your extra jam!)
  • Plum with White Wine Vinegar and Juniper Berries
  • Peach with Cider Vinegar, Cinnamon and Allspice
  • Apple with Cider Vinegar and Cinnamon

Sarah McKinley, Richard Naples, and Kathryn Warnes at the Slow Food DC table

We brought out the Snail of Approval winners list from 2011, and had a few of our new Slow Food DC products for sale

Richard Naples is not above getting excited about beverages and the color orange.

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Join Slow Food DC for Eat Local First DC, a Weeklong Celebration of Local Food – July 14-21

Slow Food DC is proud to be a part of Eat Local First DC, a weeklong celebration of local food, including our local farms, restaurants, chefs and independent retailers. There will be wide variety of events – like a garden tour, film screening, and food industry panel – in addition to happy hours and parties. Things kick off Saturday, 7/14, with a party at Acre 121 featuring local music from Listen Local First and local BBQ and beer.

The focus of this year’s Eat Local First DC will be on local farms and restaurants and the organizations and people that are making locally-grown food more accessible in DC. Throughout the week, you’ll be able to dine at restaurants participating in Farm-to-Table Restaurant Week. On Thursday, 7/19, Slow Food DC is hosting a happy hour for our Snail of Approval awards, which recognize local eateries and artisans for their commitment to quality, sustainable food and the preservation of food traditions and craftsmanship. The event is at Ripple, a 2011 honoree.

Slow Food DC is helping to organize a garden tour on Tuesday, 7/17 that will highlight the work of DC residents who have created sustainable and edible gardens in the historic heart of the city. Then on Saturday, 7/21, we’ll be out celebrating local food at the Farm-to-Street Party – look for our table. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious dishes made with local ingredients, drink local craft beer and wine, shop local retailers and take craft food classes. Listen Local First is providing music from local artists.

There will be a special focus this year on the emerging culinary entrepreneurs who are growing the local restaurant economy in DC. The Femivore Award winner will be decided at an event on Monday, 7/16. The award recognizes women in the local food movement and will provide $1,000 for the winner’s local food project. Additionally, there will be two all-star panels (details here and here) on the local food economy.

You can read about all the upcoming events on the Eat Local First DC website. We hope you’ll come!

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Don’t just scream for icecream: make it!

I first heard the word Presidium during my time at Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference in 2010. I recall sampling Presidio goat cheese and brought my dad back some Presidio olives from the Salone del Gusto (which translates roughly to “The Tasting Hall”). Mmm mmm mmm.

Now, I concede that I am tragically unhip — always have been — and so suspect that I am probably the last person on the planet to have heard of the prestigious award. But in case you are new to it as well, the Presidia, according to Slow Food International, are “projects that involve food communities in safeguarding native breeds, plant varieties and food products (bread, cheese, cured meats, wines, etc.). Their objective is to save traditional, artisanal, quality foods, strengthening the organization of producers, raising the profile of geographic areas, preserving traditional techniques and knowledge and promoting environmentally and socially sustainable production models.” That’s pretty impressive. It’s kind of like the food version of a UNESCO historic site.

Well. Wouldn’t you know it, when I was in Florence last month for a friend’s wedding, I caught wind that there was a Presidia-certified gelateria called “Perche no?” somewhere in the city. Perche no, indeed. While my friends shuffled off to the Ufizzi — eh, I’d been there in college — I prowled the winding backstreets in search of creamy, Snail-worthy, dairy goodness. And I found it:

Yes, I cropped myself out of that picture. I mean, seriously, language barrier or not, what kind of friendly stranger taking the photo doesn’t tell me I have chocolate gelato all over my face? Anyhow, the important part is the delicious gelato. I daresay I had at least two cones of it each of the 10 days I lingered in Italy. Mmmm….

Suddenly find yourself hungry for delicious frozen dairy? Learn to make your own. SFDC is teaming up with Moorenko’s in nearby Silver Spring to offer an artisanal icecream making class later this month. Space is limited, and tickets are required. It’s not Presidio certified, but you know, it’s pretty darn good. Perche no?

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Ice Cream Tasting and Tour at Moorenko’s in Silver Spring, MD

Beat the heat with this hands-on ice cream event. The group will participate in crafting a unique flavor, which you’ll get to nominate with the purchase of your ticket. The most creative one will be selected and made during the event. You’ll learn about the artisanal ice cream process and how to discern the quality of ice cream. Best of all, you will get to take a pint home and our group’s flavor will be featured at the Silver Spring shop.

Moorenko’s Ice Cream was founded in 2002, inspired by ice cream that owner Susan Soorenko and her sons tasted on vacation. Determined to create ice cream that would stand apart from the rest, Soorenko attended Ice Cream University and has studied ice cream making in Italy and France. Moorenko’s ice creams and sorbets are ultra-premium, all natural, and built from the bottom up. The woman-owned company creates unique flavors for sophisticated palates as well as the all-time favorites.

Date: Sunday, July 15
Time: 2 – 4 PM
Location: 8810 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, 20910 MD

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Space is limited, and you must buy a ticket in advance.

Email kati@slowfooddc.org for more information.

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Snail of Approval Nominations closed

The nomination period for the 2012 Snail of Approval awards has ended. We’d like to thank everyone who nominated an eatery or producer.

Up next, Slow Food DC will be going over the nominees and finalizing the winners. Planning is also under way for a celebration where we recognize the winners of the 2012 Snail of Approval. If you’d like to help out either through volunteering or sponsorship, please let us know.

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