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!

Farm Tour, Lunch, and Cider Tasting at Linda’s Mercantile (Winchester VA)

Join Greenease and From the Farmer for a tour of David and Linda’s Lay’s Farm – Linda’s Mercantile!

Linda’s Mercantile, now in its 6th year, grows fresh produce and fruits. They are also home to five greenhouses they use to get a jump start on tomatoes and growing greens. Onsite is also an apple cider distillery, and their onsite market gives consumers access to home made pasta sauces and apples sauces using the farm’s own produce!

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At it’s simplest, From the Farmer is a service that brings the farmers market to consumers’ front door. We source fruits and veggies from local, family farms and deliver them directly to our customers in insulated baskets. Delivery occurs overnight, so that when you wake up your produce is waiting for you (we like to think of ourselves as the veggie milkman). Unlike a traditional CSA, we operate all year long; there’s no cost to join, no obligation to receive a delivery, and orders are customizable, too. It’s an awesome way to eat seasonal, super fresh, local produce, without giving up total control of your refrigerator! We also offer fresh local bread, and coming soon– local eggs!

Join us on Saturday, June 14 for a farm tour & lunch. The farm is approximately 1 1/2 hours from DC. We will be leaving DC (Dupont Circle) at 9am, and returning that evening by 5:00/5:30pm. The tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation (Pick Up in Washington, DC – Dupont Circle)
  • Tour of Linda’s Mercantile farm and greenhouses
  • Tour of Winchester Ciderworks Distillary & Cider Tasting*
  • Lunch and beverages
  • A thank you gift from Greenease, From the Farmer and Linda’s Mercantile

*You must be 21 to attend the cider tasting component of the program.

 Purchase tickets here.

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 About the Chef:

Chef Amy Hakola is originally from Alabama and the mother of 2 very active boys. Amy attended the Opryland Hotel Culinary Institute in Nashville, TN working in all aspects of foodservice at the hotel. After her apprenticeship, Amy became a private chef which then led to a catering career. Along with her catering partner, Amy created a Savory Cheesecake line offered in various stores across the country including Neiman Marcus, Whole Foods and Zabars. After moving to Winchester Amy started Wild Flour Kitchens offering in-home cooking classes. Most recently Amy has teamed up with Linda’s Mercantile to offer take and bake entrees utilizing all that the farm has to offer.

Sponsored by Greenease & From the Farmer

With Special Thanks to Farmer David Lay from Linda’s Mercantile & Chef Amy!

 

 

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!

 

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

 

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).

 

 

Spicy Cheese Straws

*makes about 2 dozen straws

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the January 2008 edition of Gourmet Magazine and has been tested many a time (and served at many a potluck) by SFDC Board member Sarah McKinley. Tasty party food doesn’t have to be complicated to be considered fancy!

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in every newsletter. (This recipe appeared in the March 2014 SFDC 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

  • 1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you really like a kick!)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Pulse cheese, flour, butter, salt, and cayenne in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse until dough forms a ball.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick). Cut dough with a lightly floured pizza wheel or lightly floured sharp knife into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Carefully transfer to 2 ungreased baking sheets, arranging strips 1/4 inch apart. (If strips tear, pinch back together.)

Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Cheese straws can be made 2 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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.

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!

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?

Seasonal Recipe: Butternut Squash Stew With Pomegranate Salsa  

*serves 6-8 people

This recipe is adapted from “Eat Yourself Calm: Ingredients and Recipes to Reduce the Stress in Your Life,” by Gill Paul (Hamlyn, 2014). Recipe tested by  Washington Post Food Editor, Joe Yonan…and then SFDC board member, Ibti Vincent.

We’ll be featuring more recipes in the coming months. If you have one you think needs to be shared with the SFDC community, send it to info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do….


INGREDIENTS

FOR THE STEW

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, plus their juices
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash from your favorite local farmers’ market, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • water, as needed
  • 4 cups baby spinach or kale leaves, chopped
  • 15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • hot sauce of your choice
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE SALSA

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 12 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and cloves; sizzle them for a few seconds, then add the onion, stirring to coat. Cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic and serrano pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until soft, 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the carrot, squash and enough water, if needed, to barely cover the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, chickpeas, cilantro and hot sauce; season lightly to taste with salt and black pepper. Cook for just a few minutes, to wilt the spinach and heat the chickpeas through. Remove from the heat; cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the salsa: Stir together the pomegranate seeds, scallions, lime juice, mint and oil in a small bowl.

Serve the stew warm, with the salsa on top or served on the side.