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.

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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.

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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.

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Snail of Approval Nominations Now Closed

Thank you to all who nominated producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area for a Snail of Approval award!  We are so excited to recognize great new local restaurants, bars, artisans, and farmers in the new year.  So be sure to stay tuned for news of our Snail of Approval Party and the next batch of winners in 2015!

Until then, be sure to learn more about the Snail of Approval here.

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Oct 4: Volunteer at Common Good City Farm

    

Join Common Good City Farm and Slow Food DC for a day of Volunteering on the farm.  Common Good City Farm is a half-acre urban farm and education center growing food for low-income residents in Washington, D.C. and providing educational opportunities for all people to help increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability. Located in the LeDroit Park community, where one third of residents live in poverty, the farm grows over
5000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce to provide to the community.  But they need help do to so, so come join in in the harvest!
 

 When: Saturday October 4, 9:30am-12pm
Where: Common Good City Farm, V St NW between 2nd and 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 

Cost: Free, but space is limited so RSVP is requested, email shelu@slowfooddc.org

Find out more about Common Good on their website. We look forward to seeing you there!

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2014 Snail of Approval Nominations Open

Are you a producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area? Know someone who is? Consider nominating your favorite local purveyor for a Snail of Approval award — Slow Food DC’s “stamp of approval,” as it were.

Learn more about the criteria for SOA here and for a little inspiration, check out our directory of prior Snail winners here.

Nominate your favorite restaurant, bar, market, or artisan today!

The deadline for 2014 nominations is December 1, 2014.

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Food for Thought: A Local Food Dinner and Discussion

with The Piedmont Environmental Council and Slow Food DC

When: Saturday, August 23rd, 1:00 – 7:00pm

Where: Sperryvlle, VA

Cost: $50, including dinner, tours, and discussion. There are only a limited number of tickets available, so be sure to register by August 15!

Strengthening the community’s awareness and involvement in supporting local agriculture is key to having a sustainable local food economy.

At the regional scale, there is a very important link between the rural landscape where most farms are located and the urban landscape where the majority of the population is located and majority of food is consumed. Many of the farms in the Virginia Piedmont have a huge consumer base in the Washington DC metro area, so it is critical that a strong connection exists between the two.

Join PEC and Slow Food DC as we delve into some of the unique challenges that local food producers face, hear about some of the innovations being used by a new generation of farmers, and the important role of consumers in promoting and sustaining agriculture and local businesses.

We hope this is unlike any farm tour and dinner you’ve been to! The whole group will be asked to engage in meaningful discussions, while we all enjoy the beautiful countryside of Rappahannock County. This event includes a stop at both Waterpenny Farm, which specializes in organically grown vegetables and Heritage Hollow Farms which raises grass finished beef and pastured pork. Our day finishes with a delicious meal that will feature locally grown veggies and meat dishes.

Tentative Schedule of Events:

1:00PM                Meet at Waterpenny Farm

1:30 – 2:30PM                Waterpenny Farm Tour and Discussion

2:30PM                Depart for Heritage Hollow Farm

3:00 – 4:00PM                Heritage Hollow Farm Tour and Discussion

4:30PM                Free time to walk around Sperryville

5:00 – 5:30PM                  Meet at Heritage Hollow Farm Market for light refreshments. Relax, mingle and visit the Heritage Hollow Farm Store.

5:30PM                Dinner and discussion. Food served family style.

6:30PM                Wrap-up conversation

What to wear and bring:

  • Event is rain or shine, so please plan accordingly — feel free to pack your wellies, an extra pair of socks and shoes, an umbrella, a rain jacket.
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Extra bottles of water. There will be opportunities to refill.

There are limited spots (40) so don’t miss out! If you have any questions, please contact Marco Sanchez at msanchez@pecva.org.

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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….

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Brooklyn Brewery Brings Mash Tour to DC

Starting tomorrow, Brooklyn Brewery’s Mash tour comes to DC for the second time in a year!  This week-long traveling festival celebrates what’s new and exciting in food, film, comedy, music, books and beer. Throughout the week, Brooklyn Brewery will be collaborating with local chefs, artists and craft brewers to offer unique dinners, entertainment experiences, beer tastings and general fun. And the best part is: a portion of all proceeds go to Slow Food DC!

This time around, events include a farm dinner, a Slow Supper, a film festival, a night of standup comedy, a craft brewing discussion, a concert, and a number of demonstrations and tastings all around town.  Brooklyn Brewery guest chefs Hiyaw Gebreyohannes and Andrew Gerson, along with others will be working throughout the week with local partners such as Georges Mill Farm, City Tap House, Atlas Brew Works, Whole Foods P Street, The Coupe, Red Rocks Bistro, E Street Cinema, and the Rock & Roll Hotel.

Visit the Brooklyn Brewery Mash DC website to find out more about each event and buy your tickets.   A full listing is also provided below.

D.C. Mash Tour Schedule

Saturday, May 31, 2014:

Eat, Drink & Learn at Whole Foods P Street

  • What and Who: Chefs Hiyaw Gebreyohannes & Andrew Gerson pair Hiyaw’s Taste Of Ethiopia line of prepared foods with a full array of Brooklyn beers. They’ll have a full stock of the Brooklyn Brewery portfolio so you can bring your favorite pairings home with you.
  • Where: Whole Foods P Street, 1440 P St NW, Washington, DC
  • When: Starts at 4:00 PM

Sunday, June 1, 2014: 

Dinner on the Farm with Chef Andrew Gerson

  • What and Who:  Our week of cultural happenings gets off and running with this agrarian dining experience. Through roaming culinary events, Dinner on the Farm works to connect people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making our communities a better place to live. There will be a tour of Georges Mill Farm, a feast prepared in collaboration with Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes and Chef Patrick Dinh, live music by Jake & the Burtones, local artisans Craft Kombucha, Lulu’s Ice Cream & Radius Pizza, and beer for all.
  • Where:  Georges Mill Farm, 11873 Georges Mill Rd, Lovettsville, VA
  • When:  Starts at 3:00 PM (Tickets: $55)

Monday, June 2, 2014:

Tap Attack

  • What and Who:  All week during The Brooklyn Brewery Mash we’ll be taking over taps around the city, pouring our favorite, rarest and newest beers. In D.C., we’re planning an all-out assault on City Tap House’s tap system. We’ll be pouring Perennial, Seasonal & rare beers at the bar, including vintage Monster Ale, Mary’s Maple Porter, and more. Check back for the full line-up and be sure to show up early.
  • Where: City Tap House, 901 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 
  • When:  Starts at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 3, 2014:

Craft Beer Revolution with Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau & Brooklyn Brewery  

  • What and Who:  Twenty-five years into running one of the top craft breweries in America, Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy looks back with his fellow craft beer comrades to discuss the circumstances and ambitions that allowed a handful of individuals across the country to challenge one of the largest corporate dynasties in American history. Steve joins us on The Mash, discussing his book and the beer scenes of each city we visit with the people who helped create it. Joining Steve will be Justin Cox and Will Durgin of Atlas Brew Works, Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock of DC Brau, and Chris Van Orden of DC Beer.
  • Where: Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Ave NE #102, Washington, D.C.
  • When:  Starts at 7:00 PM (Tickets: $6)

Brooklyn Ha Ha: NYC Stand-up with Josh Gondelman, Jeff Maurer & Rahmein Mostafavi

  • What and Who:  In true Brooklyn style, Brooklyn Ha Ha introduces some of the NYC standup scene’s best under-the-radar talent and brings their act to the Red Rocks Bistro.
  • Where:  Red Rocks Bistro, 1348 H St NE, Washington, D.C.
  • When:  Doors at 9:00 PM (Tickets: $6)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014: 

MASH EDU: Beer & Spice, Making Nice

  • What and Who: Perhaps you’ve just been turned on to the art of pairing beer and food. Perhaps you’re an old hand at joining together the world’s most versatile beverage and your favorite dish. Either way, Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson will impart some of the knowledge he’s picked up while touring and collaborating with some of the most exciting chefs in the U.S.
  • Where:  The Coupe, 3415 11th St NW, Washington, D.C.
  • When:  Starts at 6:00 PM (Tickets: Free with RSVP)

Thursday, June 5, 2014:

Found Footage Festival

  • What and Who: The Found Footage Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with a brand-new show and DVD (Volume 7). Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, whose credits include The Onion and the Late Show with David Letterman, are excited to show off their new lineup of found video clips and live comedy.
  • Where:  E Street Cinema, 555 11th St NW #2, Washington, D.C.
  • When:  Starts at 8:00 PM (Tickets: $12)

Friday, June 6, 2014: 

Slow Supper with Dinner Lab

  • What and Who: This pop-up dinner party, hosted in a unique, non-traditional location, embodies The Mash. In each city we visit, we bring together some of our favorite people around a common table to share cuisine crafted by Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson & Dinner Lab Chef Jacob Cureton, paired with Brooklyn beer styles both familiar and rare.
  • Where:  Surprise location, announced day-of
  • When:  Starts at 7:00 PM (Tickets: $65)

Saturday, June 7, 2014: 

MASH EDU: Homebrewer Edition

  • What and Who: Most brewers get their start with a humble homebrew they concocted in a small kitchen or garage. Hobbyists across the globe have been pushing the boundaries on the methodology and science of what it means to brew a beer. In every city the Mash stops in, we are partnering with the home brew shops and collectives that are doing their best to spread the good word of beer. We’ll be having seminars and walkthroughs by experienced professional amateurs on all the trials and tribulations of home-brewing.
  • Where: 3 Stars Brewing Company, 6400 Chillum Place NW, Washington, D.C.
  • When: Starts at 2:00 PM (Tickets: TBA)

Mash Bash with The Men, Passing Phases & Heavy Breathing

  • What and Who: We’re bringing everything we find exciting about the Brooklyn music and arts scene out for one night in an explosion of sound and color. There will be a local food truck on hand to fill our bellies and plenty of Brooklyn cans at the bar to throw at the acts we find lackluster. On stage in D.C. we’re bringing together Brooklynite punk rockers The Men, as well as hometown favorites Passing Phases & Heavy Breathing. Expect to sweat. A lot.
  • Where: Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street N.E, Washington, D.C.
  • When: Doors at 8:00 PM (Tickets: $5)

 

 

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All in a Days Work at Wangari Gardens

On Sunday, April 27 Slow Foods DC spent a beautiful spring afternoon at Wangari Gardens working to expand their communal herb garden. Located near the McMilliam Reservoir and the Washington Hospital Center, Wangari Gardens is a 2.7 acre educational community garden park that offers free garden workshops, private and shared garden plots, and youth programing alongside a pollinator hive and a fruit orchard. A group of over 14 volunteers from Slow Food DC and Wangari gardens worked together to build a 12 foot L-shaped garden bed for cooking and medicinal herbs that can be harvested and shared by the whole community. Guided by master gardeners and SFDC board members, Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent, volunteers also planted a few Ark of Taste Fish Chili Peppers – an African American heirloom variety brought to this country from either the Caribbean or Africa by enslaved peoples to the many plantations that surrounded the early Chesapeake Bay settlements.

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The group wrapped up their afternoon of hard work in the sun with an al fresco pot luck, sharing some of their favorite homemade dishes gathered around Wangari’s home-made garden benches under the trees. It was the perfect way to pass a gorgeous day outdoors, learning new planting skills and getting to know our neighbors.

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Slow Food DC’s new community garden plot at Wangari is accessible to all who want to work in the garden, learn more about one of our regional foods and how to grow food locally, or just sample some hearty herbs of the season. So be sure to head on over to check out the garden and enjoy the fruits of our labor throughout the summer!

You can also check out Wangari’s free Sunday workshops throughout the month of May, including:

  • May 4th & May 11th – Gardening 101: Everything you need to know about starting a garden from soil prep, garden designs, plant types and more.
  • May 18th – Soils and Composting: Learn about soil, soil biology, and different systems for creating compost.
  • May 25th – Container Gardening and Companion Planting: Learn how to garden with limited space and how companion plants can enhance your garden’s production and repel pests.

Hope to see you there!

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