Author Archives: Ibti

About Ibti

Just your friendly neighborhood food educator.... (

Seasonal recipe: Chesapeake Slider with Chili Salsa and Pickled Veggies   

This recipe comes from local chef and SFDC board member, Mark Haskell, who whipped these up at the Burgers and Brews for the Bay event in October 2015! It originally appeared in the September 2015 SFDC newsletter.


  • mini buns
  • pickled chilies
  • pickled okra


  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast or similar (10-15% fat), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pound smoked bacon
  • 1 pound fresh picnic or boston butt roast, skinned (10-15% fat), cut into cubes
  • 1 cup, onion & garlic, sliced, sauteed in oil/lard/butter until soft
  • 3 TBSP dried red pepper pimenton/paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs: oregano, thyme, marjoram
  • 2 TBSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP cumin, toasted & ground
Chili Chow Salsa:
  • onion, diced
  • fresh chiles, diced
  • pickled Chesapeake Fish Chiles & liquid, diced
  • fresh tomato, diced
  • fresh mint & cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • a little sugar or honey, to taste



Put the meats & sauteed onion/garlic through a meat grinder, first through the large grinder, then a second time through the small grinder.

Mix in the other ingredients, mixing well so all the seasonings are evenly distributed.

Cook a small piece to test the seasoning, add whatever you want, to taste.

Refrigerate the seasoned mixture for 6 hours or overnight so flavors can come together.


Mix together and season to taste use pickling liquid and water (or tomato water if you’ve got it) to hydrate. (Proportions are your choice for the spice level.)


Assemble buns with meat, salsa, and pickled chilis and/or pickled okra.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.


Seasonal recipe: Mixed Melon Salad

This recipe comes from food educator and SFDC board member, Ibti Vincent, who whipped up a batch at the Snail winning Crossroads Farmers Market during their National Farmers Market Week  celebration!  It was featured in our August 2015 SFDC newsletter.

  • 1/2 red watermelon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 yellow watermelon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 peaches or a pint of berries, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 handful fresh basil and mint leaves, chopped into thin ribbons
  • 1 block feta cheese, crumbled or chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • fresh pepper, to taste


Whisk together dressing, then toss with remaining ingredients.
Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days…if you can resist devouring the whole bowl that long.
We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.



Seasonal recipe:  Ratatouille

 This traditional French Provencal vegetable dish, original to Nice, is a wonderful way to use fresh, summer vegetables!   It was originally included in our July 2015 SFDC newsletter.


  • 1 eggplant
  • 2-3 peppers (a mix of colors is best)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 summer squash
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Few handfuls of chopped basil
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • Salt and Pepper


Chop the onions and saute in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic. Chop all the vegetables.

Add the eggplant and peppers to the pot saute for a few minutes until soft.  Add the squash and cook for a few minutes more.

Add the tomatoes and red wine, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, and add the fresh basil at the end.

Serve over polenta or with some crusty bread.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.


Seasonal recipe: Strawberry and Spinach Salad

This recipe for Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette is adapted from the FreshFarm Markets website. It is just one of many recipes that was prepared and devoured at schools around the city for  Strawberries and Salad Greens Day (May 20, 2015) — an annual event put on by DC’s Dept of Education that encourages kids to eat more fresh, local fruits and veggies. This recipe appeared in the June 2015 SFDC newsletter.


(Though we are SLOW Food, this salad is actually a snap to prepare.) Serves 4.


  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, preferably organic
  • 8 cups fresh spinach, well washed and dried
  • 2 ounces arugula, optional


Heat a small skillet over low heat, add the sesame seeds and toast them for about two minutes, or just until they begin to brown. (Be careful not to burn them.) Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the honey, vinegar, olive oil, shallot, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the sesame seeds and whisk until all are combined.

Wash the strawberries only just before making this salad. After washing, hull the strawberries and slice each strawberry into about 4 or 5 slices. Set aside.

Place the spinach and optional arugula in a large bowl and toss the dressing with the greens, ensuring all their leaves are well coated.

Place a mound of this salad on each of 4 salad plates and garnish with the sliced strawberries. Enjoy immediately. (Like we had to tell you that last bit….)

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.


Seasonal recipe: Quinoa Bowls

This seasonal recipe provided by SFDC board member, Ibti Vincent. The recipe was taste tested and much beloved by 3rd graders and their parents alike. The recipe appears in the April 2015 SFDC newsletter.


  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch raw kale, stems removed, leaves sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup lentils, pre-cooked
  • a few handfuls of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Dressing or pesto of your choice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water (or stock) and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. Sauté onions in a medium pot with a splash of olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Add in garlic and kale, and toss to coat.

Continue cooking until kale wilts (another 3-5 minutes), adding a splash of water if needed to prevent burning.

In a small saucepan, saute radishes with butter on medium heat, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, until tender but still firm.

Give each person a bowl with a few scoops of quinoa, and they can add whichever mix-ins they like: kale, radishes, carrots, lentils, seeds, dressing, etc.


You can make a quinoa bowl with just about anything! Try:

  • Salad dressings: Asian sesame, sweet balsamic vinaigrette, lemon juice and olive oil, etc.
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or parsley
  • ¼ cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
  • 1 TBSP sliced raw unsalted almonds
  • other legumes in place of lentils: chickpeas, kidney or white beans, etc.
  • Leftover steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, snap peas, sweet potato….

You can also swap in other whole grains (brown rice, farro, etc) and add leftover bits of meat/poultry for a new twist on things.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.


Seasonal recipe: Winter Pickles 

 Recipe provided by Slow Food Boardmember and pickling maven, Ibti Vincent. These two recipes were used in a hands-on pickling class at Rooting DC this February and featured root vegetables and garlic from nearby New Morning Farm.


Homemade Pickling Spice

Makes about 24 tsp (enough for about 24 pints of pickles!) It’s handy to have a jar of this around for spontaneous pickle making.


  • 6 TBSP mustard seed
  • 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 4-6 tsp coriander seed
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed (I used a hammer – nothing like breaking out a tool box in the kitchen)
  • 6 whole cloves, crushed (the hammer again….)


Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Pint o’ Winter Pickles

This is a great way to use up odds and ends of winter root vegetables. You can use the same recipe for summer veggies as well, but if you do be sure to add a fresh grape leaf to keep the waterier veggies crunchy. This recipe is adapted from Makes 1 pint.

Combine in a freshly cleaned pint jar:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp pickling spice (well, look at you, you’ve made your own!)
  • 1 tsp coarse salt

Stir, and let stand at room temperature until the sugar and salt dissolve. Next, add:

  • 1 sprig dill (because these are pickles, after all)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 hot pepper or pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 star anise (optional, especially nice to have this liquorice flavor with beets)
  • washed and thinly sliced beets, turnips, and/or radishes

If the veggies aren’t completely submerged, top off with a half-water/half-vinegar mixture as needed.

Seal and refrigerate for 7-10 days. Use within 3 months. (Psh. Like you can resist for that long….)

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.


Irresistible Shrimp and Grits

For your mouth-watering pleasure, I offer you this recipe, adapted from Saveur. It came about after a handful of Slow Foodies visited George Washington’s Gristmill at historic Mount Vernon. It has been tested in the kitchen of at least one SFDC board member, to much acclaim. It serves 4 people as a main course.

  • 1 cup George Washington’s Gristmill grits (seriously, they’re the best!)
  • 4½ cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1-2 handfuls shiitake mushrooms, washed, patted dry, then thinly sliced (I like the ones from North Cove Mushrooms, at the Dupont farmers’ market)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup grated cheddar
  • ¼ cup freshly shaved parmesan
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced


In a medium cast iron pot, bring 4 cups chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a dish that you can keep warm in a 200F oven.

Lower burner heat to medium, then add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes), then add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Raise heat to high, add remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half (about 3 minutes).

Return shrimp to skillet along with remaining butter and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, (about 1 minute).

Stir 1 TBSP butter into grits, along with parmesan. Sprinkle cheddar on top, then use a blowtorch (if you’re brave) or a creme brulee torch (if you’re fainthearted like me) to melt the cheese.

Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and sauce. Garnish each bowl with bacon and scallions.


April 18: celebrate the newest Snail winners with us!

Join Slow Food DC to honor and celebrate the 2015 Snail of Approval winners! We have an exciting line up of chefs, farmers, and artisans to add to the growing roster. This unique event is an opportunity to mix and mingle with the individuals dedicated to shaping our food community while enjoying some delicious food and drink!

This year’s event will be held at RIS in DC, featuring a menu designed by Chef Ris using locally sourced ingredients, and a featured, specialty seasonal cocktail. There will also be a silent auction and other surprises from local food purveyors!

For more information on the Snail of Approval program and to see prior winners please visit

The event will run from 12noon-3pm. Get your tickets here.


Feb 26: A Renaissance for Craft Spirits

Many thanks to Derek Brown, Michael Lowe, and James Rodewall for a fascinating panel discussion – and interesting follow-up conversations over cocktails – on The Craft Distilling Revolution earlier this week (part of the American History Museum’s After Hours series). I learned a lot, including the fact that I may actually like gin cocktails. Who knew?

Craft Distilling: The Basics

A spirit must contain 3 things: yeast, sugar, and either fruit or grain. It generally starts as a beer or wine, then is heated to remove much of the water, and finally tinkered with via the addition of various herbs or aging to create delicate flavor profiles (or, in the case of my experiences with mezcal, something akin to a punch in the throat).

One of the interesting things that I learned during the discussion was that much like the confusion about what makes food “local,” there is no fixed definition of what makes something a “craft,” also known as micro-distilled, spirit. Beyond the fact that the distillery producing it can make no more than 100,000 cases per year, a craft spirit can be pretty much anything stronger than beer or wine. Similarly, “handmade” can be freely applied to a spirit label without any particular criteria – even something as seemingly obvious as needing to touch a human hand at some point in the process of distillation is not a requirement. As I listened to the speakers, I was indignant. Scandalized, even. But there is hope.

Read the Label

Beware of labels reading “bottled by” someone local – which is usually in tiny, scripted print somewhere on the bottle. Though there are some fine drink ingredients made all over the world, if you’re truly seeking the local booze terroir, you’re going to want to stick to those which are “distilled by” folks who are working in the greater DC area, some of whom even source their fruit and grains (or their wine and beer bases) from local farmers and brewers.

To be clear, I’m not saying you have to drink only locally sourced stuff, but rather that if that is what you seek you may have to do a little more work to find out the real deal.

The best way to learn about how spirits are made, where they come from, and what is in them is by asking questions. You can go to the interwebs and research, or, ideally, you can ask your neighborhood bartender who, if he’s worth his salt, can tell you all about his spirit wares. And here I thought I knew a fair bit about cocktails…. Seems I’ve got some more learning (and sampling) to do.

Want to Learn More?

Stay tuned for some upcoming spirit bottling, tasting, and touring events in coming months.


Seasonal recipe: Panettone Bread Pudding 

Recipe provided by Slow Food Board co-chair, Sarah McKinley, and featured in the January 2015 SFDC newsletter.

Panettone – an Italian sweet bread from Milan, like a cross between fruitcake and ciabatta – is traditionally prepared and eaten around Christmas. If you’re like me, you tend to stock up on enough Panettone to feed an army around the holidays and have tons leftover that needs to be creatively re-purposed. This recipe turns your post-holiday stale Panettone into an extra-silky custard with a generous expanse of buttery golden brown crispness on top



  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup brandy or rum, heated
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pound panettone, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Accompaniment: lightly whipped heavy cream


Soak raisins in hot brandy or rum 15 minutes, then drain (keep brandy/rum to add to the whipped cream or use for a topping sauce). Meanwhile, butter panettone on both sides and cook in batches in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Tear panettone into bite-size pieces and spread evenly in a buttered 13-by 9-inch baking dish. Scatter raisins over top, then pour in egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Bake until pudding is golden and just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooks’ note: Bread pudding can be made 2 days ahead and chilled. Reheat before serving.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to and we’ll see what we can do.