Taking in the Sights and Smells of Union Kitchen

Last Sunday, March 30, Slow Food DC joined former Board Chair Kathryn Warnes of Taste of Place for a tour and demo of the behind-the-scenes activity at Union Kitchen food incubator.  Located in a 7,300 square foot warehouse in NE DC, Union Kitchen offers a space for over 50 small local food businesses to grow and thrive while limiting startup costs by providing shared space, equipment, amenities, and administrative services.  General Manager Mike Darman welcomed our group in to the building on a cold, rainy day, inviting us to enjoy the warmth and good smells of active cooks in the kitchen!  In the communal meeting area, Mike gave us a thorough introduction to the incubator, answering all of our questions about the application and vetting process and telling us all about the many supportive programs that they offer to their members – benefits of being part of a sharing community of food entrepreneurs.  He then led us on a tour of the warehouse where we could smell kombucha fermenting, watch chickpeas being roasted in garlic and rosemary, listen to the whir of mixers whipping up cupcake batter, see juice pulp being squeeze, and bask in the damp mustiness of a hand-made sausage curing closet.

From there were met up with Chris Johnson and James Brosch, owners of Cured DC, and their assistant Nick for an in depth one-on-one demonstration of how they make their Toscana sausage.  They walked us through the whole process from selecting the best cut of meat, then cutting, prepping, and grinding it to adding the right amount of fat, spices, and wine, encasing the mixture and preparing it to be cured slowly for many months before being ready to slice, eat and simply enjoy.  Which is what we did to round out our afternoon – slicing thin samples of spicy boar sausage and herbaceous pork Toscana.

We left eager to come back soon – perhaps a taste of Union Kitchen later this year with a sampling from each of our favorite Made in DC foods!

Post contributed by SFDC board co-chair, Sarah McKinley

 

Posted in Past Events | Leave a comment

April 27: SFDC spices up Wangari Gardens

Join Slow Food DC and local community members at Wangari Gardens on Sunday, April 27 to expand the communal herb garden at one of our favorite local community gardens. Planting and garden work will go from 12-2pm, followed by a potluck. We’ll supply the plants, tools, water, and plates/utensils!

We’ll be planting a variety of herbs, along with some Ark of Taste hot peppers, including 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. The name Fish Pepper refers to its common use with seafood through the Chesapeake region. The plant has beautiful variegated leaves and seemingly no two fish chiles have the same coloration or variegation in their stripes. (Pretty cool, no? Learn more about these unique, heirloom peppers and the Ark of Taste project from master gardeners and SFDC board members, Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent.)

WHEN: Sunday, April 27 from 12-3pm.

WHERE: Wangari Gardens (Kenyon Street, Irving Street, and Park Place NW) — just north of Washington Hospital and the McMillan Reservoir.

WHAT TO BRING: Yourself, a water bottle, and a potluck item to share (salad, appetizer, baked good, etc).

 

 

Posted in SFDC Events | Leave a comment

March 26: tasting the season at Bruce-Monroe Elementary

IMG956496Earlier this week, my friend and fellow SFDC board member, Amanda Terillo, and I joined 5th graders at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School for a talk about local, seasonal food. And because it was a Slow Food talk, of course there was some hands-on cooking and tasting at the end. I have never seen so many kiddos devour raw beet salad as I did that afternoon….

Our meeting started in the school cafeteria with a brainstorm: why might somebody choose to eat food that is from somewhere nearby? It tastes better! someone suggested. It doesn’t have to travel all the way from Florida…or India! (I later learned that students were in the midst of a history/geography unit on India. I am certainly not against Indian food, mind you.) You can meet the farmer who grew it!

These kids were awesome.

Next, we looked at our month-by-month seasonal food charts — courtesy of FreshFarm Markets — to determine the plethora of produce items in season in our area RIGHT NOW in the spring (or, more accurately, late winter) in the DC area. Students made mini posters with a few of their favorite fruits and veggies for each season.

Finally, Amanda and I worked with student volunteers (with recently scrubbed hands) to prepare two seasonal salads: a massaged kale salad (always a favorite) and a sweet-tart apple beet salad (which, incidentally, inspired Amanda’s husband to stop hating beets when I’d brought some to a dinner party a few weeks ago).

IMG956488On their way out, after a collective Thank you!!!  a few students paused to tell me that they were looking forward to making these seasonal salads at home. For SFDC’s part, we’re looking forward to more work with schools in coming months.

Interested in working with local schools and community gardens to promote Slow Food DC’s message of good, clean, and fair food? Sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn of opportunities, or send your ideas to info@slowfooddc.org.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Behind the Kitchen Door: Tour & Demo at Union Kitchen

Sunday, March 30th

2:00-4:30pm

Be the first to get a behind the scenes tour of Union Kitchen, DC’s first kitchen incubator where dozens of food entrepreneurs launch their businesses! We will get a chance to see many of them in action including the delightful Chris Johnson of Cured DC. Chris will lead a private demo of his marvelous charcuterie products. In addition to tasting what we make you will get a chance to purchase goodies to take home with you.

This price is a special offer for our partners of Slow Food DC. We are honored to support this organization and hope you will too. We will meet at the NoMa metro station to walk over together with the possibility of further exploring the neighborhood following the tour.

Have questions about Behind the Kitchen Door: Tour & Demo at Union Kitchen?

Contact Taste of Place

Click here to purchase tickets today!

Posted in Metro DC Events, News, SFDC Events, Sponsored Events | Leave a comment

RECIPE: Pickled Lemon Rosemary Green Beans

With the help of a conference assistant, my fearless fellow food lover/SFDC board member/ace photographer, Shelu, and 30 avid novice pickle enthusiasts, this Saturday we made 60 jars of pickled cucumbers, beets, turnips, grapes, and green beans. Small batch, of course — this wasSlow Food workshop, after all.

rdc pickling workshop - march 2014

I guess with the recent rise of artisanal pickles in popular foodie culture I should not have been surprised that the hands-on pickling class sold out within hours of being posted on the Rooting DC website. But still. In case you missed the  session, the recipe for surprisingly tasty pickled grapes can be found here. And because I like you, Slow Food community, the irresistible pickled lemon rosemary green bean recipe is below.

Incidentally, this recipe makes one 8oz jar. (See? Small batch, but it scales up easily.) Adapted from a recipe in the Washington Post Food section, Sept 2010.

Combine in an 8oz jar:

  • ¼ cup + 2 TBSP water
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Once everything is dissolved, add in:

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled — ours was from nearby Claggett Farm
  • 1 thick strip lemon zest (I use a veggie peeler to make these)
  • clean green beans, ends snipped – as many as will fit

Add additional white vinegar as needed to be sure beans are submerged. Seal, shake a few times, and refrigerate for 1 week before devouring. A great way to use the bumper crop of beans I always seem to get in the garden. Great in a bloody mary or as an alternative nibble to olives.

What’s your favorite pickle recipe?

Posted in Metro DC Events, Recipes | 2 Comments

Know your tamales

Here’s a little something from SFDC board member, Mark Haskell, who led a tamale making class near Eastern Market this past Saturday:

“Aside from Mexico, many other countries in the western hemisphere have a tradition of preparing and cooking tamales during the winter holiday season. At our cooking class at the Hill Center on Capitol Hill this past Saturday, we prepared and ate a few of these types of tamales and accompanying sauces. New Mexico chicken tamales with red chile sauce, Mississippi Delta barbecued pork tamales, and Caribbean tamales, or pasteles which are made with a dough of pureed yucca, calabaza squash and plantains steamed in banana leaves. Tamales, and pasteles are a wonderful “community food”, that are economical, best prepared and cooked by a group, and when eaten like opening a present whether wrapped in corn husk, banana leaf or parchment paper.”

tamale_class_dec2013

Those who braved the winter weather were rewarded with a plethora of tasty tamales and went home with full bellies (and the recipes). For more information on tamales and other foods of the Mississippi Delta region, check out the Southern Foodways Alliance website and interactive map.

Posted in Past Events | Leave a comment

Slow Food DC Fundraiser at Open Kitchen

Say Happy Birthday to Open Kitchen, and help raise funds for Slow Food DC! Open Kitchen is a 2012 and 2013 Snail of Approval Winner, and is known for its contemporary American cuisine and passion for making, eating, and sharing good food with the community. Open Kitchen celebrates their four-year anniversary by giving back to its community that has made it so popular
Continue reading

Posted in Past Events, Sponsored Events | Leave a comment

Don’t forget to celebrate!

What better way to wrap up an early autumn weekend than with a pig roast and handmade ice cream sandwiches? Add the company of good folks and you’ve got yourself the third annual SFDC Snail of Approval awards party.

Sometimes in the midst of planning and advocating and organizing, some of us forget to take a breath and remember what Slow Food is all about, so Sunday was a nice opportunity to kick back for a change and just enjoy exceptional food and people.

This weekend’s Snail awards party was once again a stellar affair. The beautiful weather and courtyard set the perfect scene for a delightful and laid back afternoon. Sure, there were the official words of appreciation and handing out of awards and group photo taking, but the bulk of our time was spent milling about, chatting with new and returning Snail awardees while sipping on specialty cocktails and Brooklyn brews, and nibbling on a delectable assortment of seasonal treats prepared by the culinary geniuses at Jackson 20. I myself had a lovely time hanging out with area foodies and the folks who run some of my favorite eateries, farms, and farmers’ markets around town. It was awesome.

Even so, I thought to myself as I went back for a second helping of lamb and winter squash tacos, there have been a few places I have discovered since Snail nominations closed this year — folks who have been bringing good, clean, and fair food (and drink) to the DC area that have only recently appeared on my radar. I hope to see some of their faces here *next* year for the annual gala. I do love to celebrate…. When do the 2014 nominations start??

 

Posted in Past Events | Leave a comment

Slow Supper with Brooklyn Brewery

What’s better than really good food? Really good food and beer prepared by two ingenious chefs, shared over the course of four hours, in a beautiful space with good people, and benefiting our local Slow Food chapter. Yep, it’s hard to get better than the latest Slow Supper….

Posted in Past Events | Leave a comment

Snail of Approval Party Update

seal2With under a week to go until the Snail of Approval Awards Party, 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.  There will also be a silent auction with fabulous gifts from local shops, artisans and restaurants, some of which include items from Le Creuset, FRESHFARM Markets, and the Kennedy Center. So get your tickets while you can!

Chef Brian McPherson, the executive chef at Jackson 20, was the executive sous chef at Poste Moderne Brasserie, where we held the Snail of Approval Launch Party in 2010 and the first Award Party in 2011. Chef Brian and his team have worked to create a delicious menu utilizing locally sourced products including a whole hog barbeque which is donated by 2012 Snail winner, Longview Farm which will be accompanied by coleslaw and house made biscuits.  September is the perfect time of year for drinks and a pig roast!

MENU:

Appetizers

Vegetable Crudités
Charcuterie Board (house made by Jackson 20)
Assortment of Cheeses
Southern Field Pea Hummus with Fry Bread
Farm Fresh Deviled Eggs

Featured Items

Whole Hog Barbeque (Longview Farms)
Coleslaw
Biscuits
Late Summer / Early Fall Squash
Lamb, Goat, and Vegetarian Tacos
Garden Salsas

Dessert

Ice Cream Sandwiches (Moorenko’s)
Seasonal Cobbler

Beverages

Cocktails, Wine and Beer (Brooklyn Brewery)

For more information on the Snail of Approval program and to see prior winners please visit us at http://www.slowfooddc.org/snail-of-approval/.

A special thanks to one of our sponsors, Brooklyn Brewery  who will be in Washington DC  from Sept. 17-22 as part of their National “Brooklyn Brewery Mash” tour.   For information on the week long events, visit:  http://brooklynbrewerymash.com/washington-dc#!/event-88

“The Mash is an expression of Brooklyn art, music, food and the cultural links we see with many cities around the world,” says Brooklyn Brewery President & Co-founder Steve Hindy. “There is a revolution happening in the world of food and the world of beer, and we are happy to celebrate this revolution with our friends around the US.”

Join us to honor and celebrate the 2013 Snail of Approval winners!

Posted in News, Past Events | Leave a comment