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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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