Author Archives: Ibti

About Ibti

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

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

 

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

Seasonal recipe: Thai Curry Noodles and Veggies

Is it just us, or is soup season here?

In spite of the depth and breadth of flavors involved, this rich soup has been very popular in FoodPrints– the educational program of SFDC Snail of Approval winner FRESHFARM Markets that teaches kids in 5 DC public schools about healthy, seasonal eating and environmental stewardship.

This recipe has been modified from one that was posted on Food52.com, a wonderful NYC based website for home cooks. You can make it with shrimp or tofu, or both, and use whatever seasonal veggies you have around. Hardy winter greens are especially good in it.
Ingredients
  •  1 pound spaghetti or package of rice noodles
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste
  • 1 TBSP madras curry powder (any curry powder will do, though)
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2-1 pound raw, peeled shrimp or 1 pound tofu
  • A few cups of mixed veggies: Asian greens (bok choi, cabbage or tatsoi), broccoli, snow peas, carrots, etc.
  • 1 whole lime quartered for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish  

Directions

  1. Cook the noodles according to the directions, drain it, toss it with a little oil to keep it from sticking together, and set aside. (If using skinny rice noodles, I don’t even cook them, but instead place a small pile at the bottom of each serving bowl.)
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the cleaned pot.
  3. Combine garlic, curry paste, madras curry powder, turmeric and cumin. Add the garlic and spices to the pot and stir, cooking just until fragrant.
  4. Add the stock, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes to get the flavors to meld.
  6. While the soup is simmering, chop the green veggies you have chosen to use and either steam them or sauté for a few minutes with a little garlic in olive oil or sesame oil.
  7. After 20 minutes, add the shrimp and/or tofu. Cook just until the shrimp is done, or until the tofu is heated through.
  8. Turn the heat to high. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and as soon as the soup boils, turn it off.
  9. Put noodles in large bowls and top with ladlefuls of the hot soup. Put cooked veggies on top and garnish with a splash of lime juice and sprinkle of cilantro.

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: Scallion and Kale Pancakes

Ever had savory pancakes? Oh, you’ve been missing out! This recipe comes from SFDC member, Kathryn Warnes — accomplished cook and founder of Taste of Place. Kathryn prepared these delicious pancakes at theBloomingdale Farmers’ Market earlier this month, and market shoppers eagerly asked for the recipe…. So get yourself to your nearest farmers’ market to pick up ingredients and wow your holiday guests with these soon!

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.

Serves 6 as a side or appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • sesame oil for frying
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 large kale leaves, chopped

    (save kale stems for another use, like in a stirfry)

  • kosher salt

Directions

In a large bowl, mix flour and water together to form a smooth dough. Add flour as needed if the dough is sticky.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then let rest for 30 minutes in an oiled bowl covered with a towel.

Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 1-inch thick rope. Cut this dough rope into 2-inch sections, then use a rolling pin (or if you are at the farmers’ market and forget your rolling pin, the sesame oil bottle works pretty well, too) to roll each section into a small circle.

Lightly brush each circle with sesame oil. Sprinkle on the scallions, kale, and salt.

Roll up the topped circles and then coil them like a snail (how slow-food-like!). Use your rolling pin to roll each snail into a flat circle again. Stack your uncooked pancakes between sheets of parchment or wax paper. (You can freeze them for later cooking at this point, if you like.)

Heat 2 TBSP of oil in a skillet. Cook the pancakes over medium high heat until golden brown — about 3 minutes on each side — then serve warm with soy sauce for dipping.

Seasonal recipe: Fall Fig Chutney  

This recipe and history lesson come from SFDC board member/chef/food historian, Mark Haskell. (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.)

Chutney, according to the dictionary, is a spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar, originating in south Asia or India. It became very popular among foreigners during the British Raj in Asia, and was then widely adopted in England, Europe and the United States.

Chutney is almost always used as accompaniment to a main dish to add a sweet and sour or pickled element to a dish, and may be cooked or uncooked in its preparation. There are hundreds of different chutneys, and may be used either to be soothing by using more coconut and yogurt, or more herbal with fresh coriander and mint, aromatic with cinnamon and cardamom, spicy with lime and chiles, or sweeter with mango, apples and raisins.

During the late summer and fall around DC and the Chesapeake we have lots of figs and chile peppers ready to harvest. My Virginia aunts always used seeded red cayennes for their fig and plum chutneys, I prefer green chiles, serranos or cayennes.

 

Fig Chutney 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar or honey
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup, peeled chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Chile peppers, fresh, chopped** you have to use your own judgement, amount of heat you can handle, or add later **
  • 2 pounds firm, underripe fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and halved

Directions

Combine the vinegar, sugar/honey, onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice, cloves and chiles and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is greatly reduced by more than half, forming a thick syrup.

Add the figs and simmer gently until the figs are soft and most of the fig liquid has evaporated, about 30-40 minutes.

Allow chutney to cool to room temperature before bottling or canning. The chutney may be stored in the refrigerator sealed in an airtight container for several weeks or months.

Seasonal recipe: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s summer, and that means if you garden or shop at farmers’ markets you probably have zucchini coming out of your ears. We’ve got a solution for some of your zucchini riches, and it involves chocolate.

You only need to heat up the kitchen for a little while to have snacks/breakfast for the week with this tasty and relatively healthy recipe from SFDC board member and food educator, Ibti Vincent.

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

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Makes 18 muffins (because you will suddenly find that you need more than a dozen once friends start tasting these)


Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or all-purpose gluten-free)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  • handful of nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Generously grease 18 muffin cups (or use paper cup liners).
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. These are your “dry” ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, apple sauce, vegetable oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. These are your “wet” ingredients.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  6. Gently stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using).
  7. Fill prepared muffin cups, splitting batter evenly between them.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Loosen muffins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Seasonal recipe: Summer Veggie Tacos!

This recipe is from SFDC board member and food educator, Ibti Vincent. It was recently taste-tested and approved by 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at a summer camp cooking session. This is a great, infinitely adaptable recipe that uses the best summer goodies at your local farmers’ market (or school garden, if you happen to manage one over the summer).

Be warned: the tacos have a tendency to be so popular you will probably want to make a double batch so that you can have one yourself after your kids and the neighbors’ kids eat the first dozen….

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

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels (cut from 3-4 ears of corn)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup fresh tomato or tomatillo salsa
  • 8 tsp grated Monterey Jack cheese (or queso fresco)

DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 TBSP oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside.

Heat 2-3 tsp oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes.

Add garlic; cook 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes.

Add zucchini; cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add corn, beans, oregano, and chard/spinach. Cook 3 minutes.

Split filling among tortillas; top each with salsa and 1 tsp cheese.

Get mashed

Many thanks to Brooklyn Brewery for bringing their beer-food-arts awesomeness back to DC for the summer 2014 edition of the MASH tour!

This past Friday, I had the good fortune to secure a seat at the Slow Supper, featuring four delicious courses cooked up by the ingenious Chefs Andrew and Jacob, and perfectly paired with limited edition Brooklyn Brewery beers. (In retrospect, it was tough to pick a favorite course, as they were all so good, but I’ve a feeling I’m going to be seeking out Brooklyn’s cuvee noire — the delectable, chocolaty brew we enjoyed with dessert and which I’ve been daydreaming about ever since.) Set in an airy warehouse space in the up-and-coming Union Market area of NoMa, more than a hundred other foodies joined me and fellow SFDC board members Amanda and Rob at the dinner that benefited our local Slow Food chapter.

The dinner marked nearly the end of a week packed with fun, mostly beer-themed events, ranging from farm tours to tastings to homebrew tip sharing all around our nation’s capital. See more photos from various MASH DC events on our facebook page. And keep your eyes peeled for the next time Brooklyn Brewery comes through town, ’cause it’s sure to be delicious….

Seasonal recipe: (Almost Summertime) Asparagus Salad 

This recipe is from SFDC board member and farmers’ market maven, Ibti Vincent. It was recently taste-tested (and approved) at the 14&U farmers’ market chef table. This is a great, infinitely adaptable recipe that is a lovely picnic or potluck item….

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

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

  • 2 bunches asparagus, stems removed, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 scallions, ½ small red onion, or 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash or 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled feta, or chevre (optional)
  • handful of hazelnuts, chopped (optional)

Vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • pinch of sugar
  • a handful of fresh herbs (parsley, mint, chives, etc), minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon, garlic, sugar, and herbs, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the salad ingredients and toss gently to combine.

 

Seasonal recipe: Homemade Apple Granola 

Spring is here, but it’ll still be a little while before we have non-apple seasonal fruit options at the farmers’ market. But there are other ways to enjoy apples besides yet another apple pie. This recipe is from registered dietitian, food blogger, and newcomer to the SFDC board, Amanda Terillo.

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

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups rolled oats (soaked overnight)
  • ½ cup pieces of cashews or almonds (soaked overnight)
  • ½ cup pieces of walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 apples grated (use a cheese grater)
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix all ingredients into a large bowl.

Spread a thin layer on a baking sheet.

Cook the granola for 20-25 minutes until the oats are golden brown.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!