Author Archives: Ibti

About Ibti

Just your friendly neighborhood food educator.... (http://abikeablefeast.blogspot.com)

Urbana cooks up seasonal pasta with some young sous chefs

“It’s important to any good chef to use what’s grown nearby. It’s fresher and it tastes better,” Chef Ethan McKee explained to Ms. Burkett’s 3rd grade class as the group stood at the entrance to the school garden at Francis Stevens Elementary, with me, their FoodPrints* teacher, nodding enthusiastically and passing out harvest scissors. “That’s why today we’re going to use what’s growing in your garden to fill the raviolis and make the sauce for the fettuccine noodles. It’s early spring, so we have spinach and collards and fresh herbs to work with. If we were making pasta at my restaurant, Urbana, in the summertime, we’d be using lots of tomatoes. But it’s too cold for tomatoes to be growing now. Speaking of cold weather, what do you think we could use in the fall? Can anyone think of a fall vegetable?”

“Pumpkin?” a shy 3rd grader offered.

“Yes!” Urbana’s executive chef beamed, “It’s one of our most popular ravioli fillings in the fall. Nice work. Okay, now let’s get harvesting some spinach for our spring pasta!”

 

Twenty minutes later,  we were back in the FoodPrints teaching kitchen giving our hands a good scrub with soap and water before student groups dove hands first into the flour set up at the cooking stations around the room. Over the next two hours, the Snail of Approval-winning chef talked us through separating eggs, making the dough and then rolling it through a series of settings on the pasta machines he’d brought along, then cutting and filling our fresh pasta.

We were a good team: I washed and minced our garden harvest and cooked things up with lots of garlic for the ravioli filling (it was a FoodPrints class after all, and we always use lots of garlic) and the sauce while Chef Ethan moved about the room offering guidance and suggestions, pointing out how nice and smooth one group’s dough had become, complimenting another group on their patience as different students rolled it through the machine, smiling reassuringly at our parent volunteers who had never made noodles from scratch before. As Ethan dished up our freshly cooked up pasta, ours mouths all began to water, and I marveled at this wonderful 3rd year of partnership between a public elementary school, a nearby restaurant, and a local nonprofit.

Seriously, though, third graders making pasta from a pile of flour and eggs? How did it all come out?? 

Delicious!

 

*FoodPrints is the education program of FreshFarm, another DC-area Snail of Approval winner! If you’re interested in volunteering with FoodPrints classes at one of the program’s 13 DCPS partner schools, contact FreshFarm.

Bountiful Gardening

It may still feel like winter, but gardeners in the region have our sights set on springtime….

Last weekend, many hundreds of DC-area gardeners and food activists converged on Wilson High School in Tenleytown for Rooting DC — a free, day-long conference that has been going since 2008. SFDC has been a part of this event for a number of years, with board members hosting an info table and hands-on workshops on seed saving and pickling.

At this year’s RDC, board members Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent led a group of nearly 50 beginning gardeners through the process of planning an urban, small space garden plot. The group shared ideas and anecdotes about selecting plants and configuring small spaces to maximize food production. From basic considerations about sunlight needs to more advanced planning for succession planting and interplanting for low-input, high-yield production, we looked at ways to keep our gardens growing through all four seasons. We offered suggestions to cut down on labor and costs, and to increase the likelihood of success in the garden for beginners: using some perennials and self-seeding varieties, limiting the number of crops during times we tend to be out of the area (deep winter, summer vacation), companion planting to deter pests without chemicals, and finding friends and neighbors to help with the garden. (Who are we kidding, they are tricks useful for experienced gardeners, too.) It was a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to using some of these strategies with our school garden partners in the coming year.

Interested in volunteering at a garden-based SFDC event and flexing your (experienced or aspiring) gardening muscles after a long winter? Sign up for our free SFDC monthly e-newsletter to keep up with events we’re planning.

Happy (almost) springtime, DC gardeners!

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.

 Ingredients

  • mini buns
  • pickled chilies
  • pickled okra

Meat:

  • 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

Directions

MEAT

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.

SALSA

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.)

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND DEVOUR

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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

Ingredients
Salad:
  • 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
Dressing:
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • fresh pepper, to taste

Directions

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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Notes

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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

Ingredients

  • 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….)

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

AND NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR PICKLING SPICE READY…

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 http://abikeablefeast.blogspot.com. 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  info@slowfooddc.org 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.

 Ingredients
  • 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

Directions

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 http://www.slowfooddc.org/snail-of-approval/.

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