Author Archives: Ibti

About Ibti

Just your friendly neighborhood food educator.... (

Seasonal Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Get some fresh, healthy berries into your desserts with this beautiful Seasonal Strawberry Shortcake, contributed by Slow Food DC Board Member Shelu Patel.

Strawberries and Cream Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped nuts (hazelnuts, almond, pecans or black walnuts, but choose a single nut type)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted or sweet butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (you can be creative with the type of flour)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder


Prepare your strawberries by removing the green hats and slice the strawberries into a large glass mixing bowl. 

Mash the strawberries lightly using the back of a large spoon. 

In the bowl with strawberries sprinkle sugar and add the Grand Mariner, chopped mint and cream. Lightly mix by gently folding. 

Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.

Whisk the eggs until pale yellow in large mixing bowl. Add nuts, butter, sugar, flour, baking powder to the whisked egg bowls. Mix lightly until the ingredients form a ball.

Add the ball to the baking pan on top of the parchment paper. Gently pat the ball semi-flat on the parchment paper. 

Bake for 20-24 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool before halving the cake horizontally.

Add strawberries and cream to the cake bottom-half and place the remaining cake top-half back on the dessert. 

Enjoy your spring strawberry shortcake!

Seasonal Recipe: Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

Adapted from the New York Times and featured in our April 2017 newsletter.

It’s asparagus season!! This kid-approved recipe is from the FoodPrints website. FoodPrints is an education project of  FRESHFARM — a Snail of Approval award winning nonprofit — that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools.

for the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 6 radishes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

for the dressing:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) feta cheese, crumbled


Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and salt to taste.

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, let sit for at least 10 minutes undisturbed. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork.

Steam the asparagus until tender (3-4 mins).
Drain, cool, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa, along with the radishes, pumpkin seeds, chives and tarragon.

Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, buttermilk and pepper.

Shortly before serving, toss with the quinoa and asparagus mixture.

Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve.

Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Seasonal Recipe: Spicy Vaquero Bean Burgers

Spring is here, and that means burger season is, too! This vegetarian take on burgers comes from SFDC board member, Katherine Peinhardt, as was featured in our March 2017 SFDC newsletter.
  • 2 TBSP flaxseed meal (this is an egg substitute)
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 28 oz soaked and cooked Vaquero Beans (you can swap in another kind of bean)
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP Sriracha sauce (there is a vegan version out there)
  • Any toppings/garnishes you like


Soak and cook your beans until soft but not mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Make a “flax egg,” by mixing the water and flax seeds together in a bowl of water, allowing to stand for at least 5 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.

Chop the jalapeño finely, removing ribs for less heat.

Sauté jalapeño in a non-stick pan on the stove, adding a bit of water if the pieces start to stick. Sauté until lightly softened and bright green.

Put the beans into a large mixing bowl, adding in the breadcrumbs, mixing the two together into a thick mixture. Add the flax mixture.

Add Jalapeño, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne, and Sriracha sauce.

Pat the mixture into 8 equally sized patties, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.

Bake for 7-9 minutes in the oven, flipping and cooking for another 5-7 minutes.

Serve with red onion, Sriracha, or any other condiments you’d put on a classic burger!

Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Seasonal Recipe: Heart-Healthy Whole-Grain Crackers

This recipe is adapted from the “Naked Crackers” recipe on the FoodPrints website. FoodPrints is an education project of  FRESHFARM — a Snail of Approval award winning nonprofit — that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools.
You can use any of the suggested toppings to “dress” them to suit your tastes.
  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ⅓ cup uncooked millet
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • coarse salt, for sprinkling
Optional garnishes
  • minced garlic
  • cracked pepper
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • poppy or sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350F. Have two ungreased cookie sheets at the ready.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, millet, salt, and baking flour. Whisk to combine. Add the olive oil to the bowl. Using a fork, incorporate the oil into the flour mixture. Then, slowly add the
water to the dough as you knead the dough with your hand in the bowl. The dough will be very
sticky, but continue to knead until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as you
can get it, hopefully about 1/8 inch. Cut the crackers into whatever shape and size you like. (A
pizza cutter or sharp knife will make excellent squares or rectangles. A biscuit cutter or glass is
good for circles. Or pull out the cookie cutters!)

Lay the crackers on the baking sheets, leaving about ½ inch between crackers. Gather up
leftover dough scraps, reroll, and repeat. Sprinkle the tops of the crackers with coarse salt and
any desired toppings.

Bake for 15 minutes-then switch the position of the trays in the oven.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the crackers are just barely starting to turn golden at
the edges.

Crackers stay good in an airtight container for up to 10 days
Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Seasonal Recipe: Pumpkin Chutney

This recipe comes from SFDC board member, Mark Haskell, and is featured in our January 2017 SFDC newsletter.
  • 2 cups of skinned, chopped pumpkin – a cheese or long island type pumpkin is best, but any pumpkin or butternut squash will work
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • Olive oil to sauté
  • 3-4 crushed cardamon pods
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Ginger, finely chopped or ground (similar amount as garlic), to taste
  • Red chile powder, to taste
  • 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar, reduced and then 1/4 cupwater added
  • 3-4 Tablespoons honey or raw sugar
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • Options: capers, lemon zest, lime pickle, chopped walnuts
First, grow a pumpkin… 😉 We recommend an Ark of Taste variety like Long Island Cheese or Seminole.
Saute pumpkin, onion, carrot in olive oil over medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes approx.
Add cardamon, garlic, ginger, red chile, saute and stir until warmed and incorporated (another 5 minutes, don’t scorch)
Raise heat and add vinegar and reduce liquid by a 1/3 then add water.
Add honey/sugar to balance the vinegar, and salt/pepper to balance the sweet & sour taste
Take out cardamon pods, and puree until smooth. If too thick add either water/tomato juice/apple-orange juice to smooth. Also recheck salt & pepper and sweetness.
Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Seasonal Recipe: Sweet Potato Greens in Coconut Cream

This recipe comes from farmer Zach at Snail of Approval winning Tree & Leaf Farm. It features sweet potato greens, which grow well in our region and are available at local farmers’ markets right now (including Zach’s stand at the Dupont circle FRESHFARM farmers’ market on Sundays). The recipe was featured in our September 2016 SFDC newsletter.

Oh, that photo? It’s of some Ark of Taste “Hayman” sweet potatoes — in honor of this year’s international Terra Madre gathering — planted at Tyler Elementary in Southeast DC during a school garden volunteer day.


  • 1 large bunch sweet potato greens, leaves only (remove from vine and snip off tough stems)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced (@ 1/2″ piece)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric root, grated OR 1 teaspoon dried tumeric powder
  • 1 red thai chili, finely sliced
  • 2-inch lemon grass stalk, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup coconut cream plus 1 cup water OR 2 cups regular or light coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Blanch sweet potato leaves for about 1 minute, then transfer greens to a bowl or sink filled with ice water (this stops them from cooking further). Drain greens.

Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili, and lemongrass and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add coconut cream and water (or coconut milk) and bring to a simmer. Add greens, reduce heat, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls, over rice. Enjoy!

Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Seasonal Recipe: Heirloom Summer Okra Soup

This recipe comes from Slow Food DC board member, Shelu Patel, and appears in our August 2016 SFDC newsletter. It was submitted as part of her Ark of Taste submission to be part of this year’s international Terra Madre gathering.


  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped flat parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups tomatoes or 28-oz can diced tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups waters
  • 2 cups cows horn okra (or any variety of okra), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon flour


In a large dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter has melted.

Add onion, parsley, and garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant.

Add sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and thyme and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.

Add vegetable broth, water, and the tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes at a simmer.

Add the okra into the soup and cook for another 20 minutes or until tender.

Eat with rice or with hard, crusty bread

Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to!

Ark of Taste feature:  Cow’s Horn Okra

Cows Horn Okra is an heirloom variety with a characteristically twisted shape resembling a cow’s horn that grows up to eight feet tall (!) and produces pods twelve to fourteen inches long. This particular heirloom variety may be grown across humid and arid environments while maintaining high productivity with few pests and diseases.


Okra seeds can be directly sown when the ground is warm after several weeks following the last frost. Although okra self-pollinate, the plants produce large yellow flowers frequently visited by bees and insects. Pods come to crop after 75-90 days and are best while still tender, approximately six inches long, for cooking and consumption.


Okra may be eaten year around in fresh summer dishes and pickled for winter snacks. Check out this month’s recipe for just one delicious idea.


Seeds can be saved from year-to-year by harvesting the pods as they begin to turn brown, dry and split along the ribs. The seeds may be removed from the pod, dried indoors and stored for the following year.


Today, okra is not only a staple and symbol of Southern-cuisine’s summer cooking but also possesses a storied past in the United States of America. Okra, an ancient vegetable, originated in southern Ethiopia and spread across Africa. The vegetable is a staple in traditional African diets and cuisine. Okra traveled to mainland North America with the enslaved community of West Africa during early slave trading.

In “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Thomas Jefferson recorded, in 1781, Virginia gardens comprised of okra. Though, Jefferson did not cultivate okra in his Monticello farm home and garden until 1809.

The Cows Horn Okra heirloom variety requires protection because of the vegetable’s unique nature and history that spans the globe from Africa to the Americas while touching important historical events and figures. Often, okra growers are unaware of its roots in the Americas, and the vegetable can be difficult to find. Becoming part of Slow Food’s international Ark of Taste program will help protect this heirloom variety for generations to come, continue its historical legacy, and educate the people everywhere.

Seasonal Recipe: Roasted Peach Sherbert

This recipe, from our July 2016 newsletter, comes from Slow Food DC board member, Shelu Patel.


6-7 ripe peaches

zest and juice from 1 lemon

3/4 cup + handful of sugar

1 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 400F.

Quarter peaches and discard pits. Place peach quarters cut side up on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a handful of sugar and roast for 30 minutes in the oven.

When finished roasting you may remove the skin or leave it on, depending on your preference.

Place roasted peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, the rest of the sugar, and heavy cream into a blender. Puree until smooth.

Place sherbet mixture in a container and chill in fridge for one hour or until completely cool.

Churn the sherbet mixture in your desired ice cream maker.

Freeze to set.


Have a good seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it along to

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.