The Complexities of the Love Apple

By
Posted: May 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm

IMGP1642

On this wet and cold day, it is amazing to think just how fantastic the tomato is. It is a fruit. Although our legal system has deemed it a vegetable. Now comes word that this fruit’s genome has been decoded.

May 31,2012:
The tomato, whose genome has just now been decoded, turns out to be one well-endowed vegetable, possessing 31,760 genes. This rich legacy, possibly a reflection of the disaster that killed off the dinosaurs, is some 7,000 more than that of a person, and presents a complex puzzle to scientists who hope to understand its secrets.

The tomato has also been called everything from sweet to tart, and even meaty.

Is it any wonder that this fruit has been mischaracterized by mere mortals?




The Local Calendar May 31 Moving Into The Bounties Of Summer

By
Posted: May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm

What to buyCrumb We are now at that time of year where “the good stuff” just keeps coming. It can be overwhelming shopping at the markets because there are so many options.  It helps to have a shopping list or a market budget. However, it never fails that while considering what greens to buy, one of the staff gives me a great idea, like Green Acres at the Green City Market did, when I was looking at their tatsoi, one of my favorite greens, which I like to just cook up by itself as a vegetable meal and they suggested sauteing it with some garlic and green onions which sounded tasty.  Yes, garlic and green onions were added to my basket. At a loss as to what do with some of these great greens, ask the farmers and vendors, they are always a great source for ideas or check here, at The Beet. There are some great recipes being posted here by @Shes_Cooking and @TomarketwithMo. Green Acres had red russian kale which is one of the more prevalent varietals. They had siberian white kale as well and several varietals of swiss chard including my favorite, the beautiful rainbow chard. If you are lucky you might find some wild arugula(sylvetta), or watercress. If you are trying to decide where to shop and what markets are open, check our farmers market locator here. More markets will continue to open as we move into summer and we will be updating the locator accordingly. If you have a favorite market that you like to shop, let us know!

The abundance of greens is overwhelming but there are other goodies like the beautiful strawberry and rhubard galettes made by Anne Kostroski of Crumb. Pasta Puttana’s options are increasing as they have more local ingredients to choose from and they are now selling feta butter and herb butter so you can leave the market with a super quick but very tasty “local” meal to make at home. The weeks are filling up with farm dinners, BBQ’s and summer outings. If you have a favorite event coming up that you want included in our local calendar let us know in the comments below!! Happy shopping!!!!

WildarugulaPasta2

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

City Provisions Deli 1818 West Wilson in Ravenswood, Chicago

Dill Pickle Food Co-op – 3039 West Fullerton, Chicago

Downtown Farmstand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town, Chicago GG has weekly wine and beer tastings check their website or twitter for details.

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Provenance Food & Wine - 2 locations Logan Square 2528 N. California Lincoln Square 2312 W. Leland Ave. Provenance has weekly free tastings of food and wine products, check their website for details.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago

WHAT TO DO NOW

Ongoing through June 10th Chicago – Feast:Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Smart Museum University of Chicago Go here for all the projects associated with it.

May 31

Chicago – The Daley Plaza Farmers - 7am – 3pm

Chicago – Green City Market Junior Board Meet The Market – The Bedford 1612 West Division 6-8pm Green City Market Junior Board’s Meet the Market series is back with its second event of the season. We’ll be at The Bedford with Seedling Fruit and Chef (and new Junior Board member) Mark Steuer, with tasty bites and drinks aplenty. Both food and drink will feature the seasonal produce of Seedling Fruit, and Evanston’s own FEW Spirits will be our featured sponsor for the evening.

June 1

Chicago – Opening Night of Wine Riot – Union Station Great Hall – 7-11pm $60 Purchase tickets here. Wine Riot is your all access pass to hundreds of new wines. With two parts education and one part revolution, Wine Riot has reinvented “wine tasting” for the thirsty and curious. Grab a glass and hit the floor — it’s you unleashed against 250 wines from across the globe.

June 2

Chicago – Green City Market – The featured chef will be Chuck Kazmer of The Ritz Carlton. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo.

Chicago – 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station –  Go to their website for further details. New vendors include Penny Pastries, look for Axel.

Chicago – Pastoral Artisan Gala Wine Tasting – Loop store 25 East Lake St. 6:30pm -8:30pm $5 walk around wine tasting of over 25 wines.

Chicago – Templeton Rye Label Photo Party Fizz Bar & Grill 3220 N. Lincoln Ave. 4pm – 8pm First ever consumer label party. Food and a cash bar, there will be a photographer at the event with the Templeton Label shot staged along with costumes. Groups of five can reserve their space at Killmer@templetonrye.com and get their picture taken in the Templeton label set.

Chicago – Pleasant House Bakery celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (through June 5th) Read Associate Beet Editor’s Wendy Aeschlimann’s piece on what they will be serving. 964 West 31st. Bridgeport

Chicago – Wine Riot continues with 2 sessions 1-5pm and 7-11pm. Union Station Great Hall

Evanston –  The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market 7:30am to 1pm at University Place and Oak Ave.(just east of Railroad Ave.) behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is at the adjacent 1500 Maple garage.

Geneva - Geneva Green Market – 27 N. Bennett (Geneva Place) – 9 AM – 1 PM – Read a report from Beetnik Melissa Owens who finds, among other things, basil, at this market here.

Grayslake – The Grayslake Farmer’s Market Centennial Park and Center St. 10:00 Am – 2pm

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Farmers Market – 9-1 pm. 2N308 Brundage Road, La Fox, IL

Oak Park –  Oak Park Farmers Market – 460 Lake St just one block west of Ridgeland Ave. 7am – 1pm The Market is much more than a farmers’ market. It is an Oak Park tradition, a Saturday gastronomic event (the donuts have a devoted following), a concert site, a social event and a great place to pick up super-fresh produce, traditional and unusual plants, fresh cheeses, honey, flowers, vinegars, herbs, and much more. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market also features unique items for sale at the commissioners’ table, including items you can’t find anywhere else, such as reasonably priced T-shirts, one-of-a-kind items and bags, all offering a beautiful, functional way to support the market.

Oak Park - Uncork Illinois Wine Tasting 1-9pm Marion St. Between Lake St. and North Blvd.  Downtown Oak Park’s first Illinois wine festival featuring tastings and purchases of more than 150 Illinois wines. Food pairings provided by local artisans and restaurants.

St. Charles – The Saturday Farm Fresh Food Stuffs market has moved and is now at Trellis Family Farm 8-4pm 2N492 Kirk Rd.

Woodstock – Woodstock Farmers Market 8am – 1pm at historic Woodstock Square

June 3

Chicago - The Logan Square Farmer’s Market opens for the summer Logan Boulevard

Chicago - Food Sanitation Class Logan Square Kitchen – 9:30am – 12:30pm – 2333 North Milwaukee Get certified with the Chicago Health Department required for all food vendors at a farmers market, special event, street fair. $35 Go here for registration and more information.

Chicago – The Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market opens!!!!!! 9am – 2pm Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park from June 3 – October 28, 2012

Chicago – Panozzo’s Italian Market Bare Knuckle Farm Dinner – 6:00pm doors open Call to reserve your spot 312.356.9966 Unfortunately as of this post it is sold out, but they do have a wait list.

Fairbury - Spring Supper at Spence Farm – 4-7pm 2959 N. 2100 E. Rd. Farm tour, enjoy local food & listen to guest speaker Terra Brockman. This is a fundraiser for the Spence Farm Foundation’s Community Garden Program. Call Carolynne at 815-992-3296 for further information.

Frankfort – Frankfort Country Market Downtown Frankfort – 10-2 – Might find paella.

June 5

Chicago – Brown Trout Farmer’s Market 5-8pm 4111 North Lincoln Ave. In North Center, near the Irving Park Brown Line stop, this new “micro” farmer’s market sponsored by “Ground Up Chicago” . This is a very unique market that really is a “must shop”.

Chicago – Lincoln Square - C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 7 to 11 am in the parking lot at Lincoln & Leland.

Chicago – Inspiration Kitchens Garfield Park Chefs Night- Join chefs Stephanie Izard, Mindy Segal and Koren Grievson as they cook for a benefit for Inspiration Kitchens 7pm 3504 West Lake St.

Woodstock - Woodstock Farmers Market at historic Woodstock Square  8am – 1pm

SAVE THE DATE

June 7

Chicago – CROP (Chicago Rarities Orchard Project) Lecture Series featuring Greg Hall of Virtue Cider 6pm All lectures are free and open to the public and take place at Haas Park Fieldhouse, 2404 North Washtenaw Avenue (entrance on Fullerton), Chicago. More information available here.

June 8

Chicago – The New Gotham Ballroom at the Stan Mansion – 6:30pm to 1am 2410 North Kedzie A fundraiser to support Threewalls programs for 2012-2013.  Styled after a 1930s jazz supper club, The New Gotham Ballroom is a one night-only pop-up experience featuring an entertainment showcase alongside our annual auction of over 50 stellar pieces of art, design and artistic “encounters” graciously provided by thei community of talented local artists. Tickets are available at 2 levels: $100 tickets includes all-you-can-manage cocktails while $250 provides you with one of 50 ltd. dinner tickets by Chef Jared Wentworth & Longman and Eagle and front-row seats to the floor show. Join us for music by Frank Rosaly, Matt Schneider and Jason Roebke; The Chandeliers; late night dancing; tapdancers, magicians and comedy all hosted by the ever-suave, Academy Records.

Chicago – Chris Cosentino Book Dinner at The Publican – His new book will be on sale, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal. His dishes will be featured on our menu, and Chris will be present to chat with guests and maybe even share a few brews!

June 9

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Preserve Garden Work Day – Come out to the preSERVE Garden to help plant sweet potatoes and black-eyed peas! Located at 12th Place and Central Park Ave., planting in the garden will take place between 10:00am and 12:00 pm. To RSVP, or if you have any questions, email slowfoodpreserve@gmail.com

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Early Season Vegetables Unite” – 4410 N. Lincoln Ave,.(Champaign, not Chicago) Go to the link for more information  $85 per person

Chicago – Green City Market day at all Chipotles in Chicagoland area. Eat at Chipotle today and all sales, up to $20,000 will go to the Green City Market.

Chicago - Carnivale University Join Carnivale Chef David Dworshak on a guided tour of the Green City Market 10:00 – 12pm $25

Chicago –  The Plant Spring Open House -1400 W. 46th St. 12pm – 5pm Come on out  for free food and and a home-brewing beer contest! They will ,also, be giving tours of the building every half-hour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $5 (half off the regular price!). Come see their progress, including a huge step forward on the renewable energy system, a new growing bed in the basement, and tons of work done in the kitchen spaces! More info here.

Elburn – Red, White and Blue Grass Festival Heritage Prairie Farm 2N308 Brundige Road 3pm to 10pm Sponsored by the Farmer Veteran Coalition The event is for all ages, go to the link above for more information.

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner- 23601 E. 600 North Rd.  Slagel Family Farm kicks off their 2012 Farm Tour & DInner Event Series with Chef Paul Kahan and Brian Huston of The Publican. Farm tour, buthcering demo, and family style meal included. Bus transportation provided. Kids welcome 2:30 pm – 9pm BYOB Lemonade and water will be provided $125 including transportation to purchase tickets go here.

June 10

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Pig Roast – 2-5pm Goose Island Brewery 1800 West Fulton St. Matt Troost from Three Aces, Jon Dubois from Green Zebra, Adrienne Lo and Abe Conlon from Xmarx, Heather Terhune from Sable Kitchen and Bar, and Mark and Liz Mendez of VeraTempleton Rye will have their signature cocktails and Intelligentsia will provide coffee and finally La Boulangerie of Logan Square will offer desserts. $80 includes a $20 donation to Slow Food Chicago to support their Terra Madre campaign and $60 is general admission. Purchase tickets here.

Chicago – Frontera Farmers Foundation Benefit – The Festival of the One True Taste Farmers Market Fiesta 12pm – 3pm 15 tasting stations Local wine and craft beer $50 in advance $60 at the door DInner Like No Other 6pm $165 Includes dinner, drinks, gratuities

June 11

Chicago – 6th Annual Taste of Columbia - Columbia Yacht Club’s 6th Annual Fundraiser in support of the Legacy Foundation which allows inner city youth to attend sailing classes at the club. 6:30pm – 9:30pm Probably one of the most scenic venues in Chicago for an event, stay tuned for more details!

Western Springs – Vie Restaurant has brought in 5 whole hogs and starts its first ever Hog Week( 6/11-6/16), celebration of the whole hog. For $45 a person (kids 12-17, $25, 11 and under pay their age) you get a family-style dinner in which pork will be smoked, cured, roasted and wood-grilled. For reservations call 708-246-2082.

June 12

Chicago – Summer Public Workshop for Milwaukee Green Development Corridor 7 to 9 p.m., for a free public workshop on the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor grant program, at the Hairpin Lofts, Logan Square Arts Center, 2800 N. Milwaukee Ave. Check to see if your property is eligible for a grant atwww.logansquareh2o.org.

June 14

Chicago – Chicagourmets presents Cyrano’s Farm Kitchen and Foie Gras Celebration – 546 North Wells St. 6pm – Chef Didier Durand has redone the interior of his restaurant and now invokes the nostalgia of his grandparents french farm. He has put together a special dinner in his new restaurant to celebrate, in his own way, what Foie Gras means to him.

June 16

Evanston – The Talking Farm ‘s Howard Street Farm Birthday Bash and Work Day 3701 Howard Street Skokie 3pm to dusk RSVP here.

June 19

Chicago – CROP (Chicago Rarities Orchard Project) Lecture Series featuring Dan Bussey, Apple Historian, Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, Iowa 6pm All lectures are free and open to the public and take place at Haas Park Fieldhouse, 2404 North Washtenaw Avenue (entrance on Fullerton), Chicago. More information available here.

June 20

Chicago – Slow Food Pickling Workshop – 6-9pm Logan Square Kitchen – You will be pickling fennel and will take some home after the class is over. $35 for Slow Food members, $45 for non-members Only 15 spots available sign up here. 6-9pm

June 23

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop – Necessary Nourishment: Feeding Plants for Healthy Growth and Production.  This is a FREE Monthly Hands-on Gardening Workshop Series in The Edible Gardens with Jeanne Pinsof Nolan, founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd. Workshops will be held from 9:30am-10:15am.  Respond to RSVP@greencitymarket.org to reserve a spot.

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Sweet Summer Solstice Potluck – 2200 West Grand Ave.

June 24

McHenry – A Day at Petersen Farm – 10am – 4pm 4112 McCollum Lake Road Across from Petersen Park

June 28

New!! Chicago – “The Good Food Revolution: Celebrating the Heroes and Sheroes of the Movement” 6-8pm Celebrate Growing Power’s First Anniversary at Iron Street Farm Chef Randy Zweiban of Province and his team will prepare a series of farm to table courses showcasing Growing Power’s produce and meat and poultry. Will Allen will speak about his new book, The Good Food Revolution and will sign copies. Go here to purchase tickets.

June 30

Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb Farm’s Fourth Annual Herb, Garden and Wellness Fair 9am – 6pm Quail Trap Road

July 14

FD!! Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

FD!! Chicago – “A Day in the Country” A Celebration of locally grown cuisine, a bus tour to Indiana to visit the Vandermolen Blueberry Farm, stop at Sweet Corn Patch and tour the Belstra Milling Pork Farm. Sponsored by Chicagourmet

July 18

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series – 5-8pm Cocktail hour by Death’s Door Spirits Dinner by City ProvisionsFinch’s Beer Companyand Vinejoy $200 For reservations call the Chicago Botanic Garden (847) 835- 5540.

July 21

FD!! Chicago – City Provisions Farm Dinner – La Pryor Farms in Ottowa, Illinois with Greenbush Brewing Company & Koval Distillery For tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

June 23

FD!! Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Smoked” – 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Chef Nathan Sears of Vie will be the guest chef.$100 BYOB Go to link for more information

July 7

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farms Dinner “Texas in Illinois BBQ” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) BYOB $85 per person, go to link for more information.

July 12

New!! Chicago - The Green City Market Chef’s BBQ Fundraiser 5:30 – 8pm Lincoln Park This annual fundraiser for the Green City Market brings out all the chefs in this incredible celebration of the abundance of summertime at the market. Pre-sale tickets for Green City Market members are on sale here.

July 21

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner – “An Ode to Frances Mallman” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Chris Pandel of The Bristol and the recently opened Balena will be the guest chef. $100 BYOB Go to link for more information.

August 4

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner - “French Country Cooking” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Thad Morrow of Bacaro Restaurant in Champaign will be the guest chef and the guest farmers will Trent and Jackie Sparrow of Catalpa Farm in Dwight, IL. 5 course meal $100 BYOB

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner – 2-9:30pm 23601 E. 600 North Rd. Chef Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood – A tour of the farm and animals, butchering demo and dinner, transportation included, BYOB Lemonade and water will be provided $125 To purchase tickets go here.

August 8

New!! Chicago – Taste of the Nation – Navy Pier Ballroom 6pm – 10pm An incredible gathering of chefs and mixologists to raise money for the incredible organiztion to fight childhood hunger, Share Our Strength. Buy tickets here.

August 12

FD!! Elkhorn, WI - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - Dietzler Farm, Chef Dan Van Rite, Hinterland Erie Street GastroPub Milwaukee $200

August 13

FD!! Elkhorn, WI - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - 4pm Dietzler Farm, Chef Jared Wentworth Longman & EagleChicago $200 This is going to be really good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 15

FD!! Caledonia, Il - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - 4pm Kinnikinnick Farm – Chef Brian Huston, The Publican$200

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series – 5-8pm Cocktail hour by Death’s Door Spirits Dinner by City Provisions, Two Brothers Brewing & Illinois Sparkling Co/August Hill Winery $200 For reservations call Chicago Botanic Gardens (847) 835-5540.

August 16

FD!! Chicago - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner – 4pm City Farm Chicago Chef Jason Vincent Nightwood $220[SOLD OUT]

August 17

FD!! Caledonia - Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

August 18

FD!! Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Al Fresco Cucina Italiana” – 5pm 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) 3 course meal BYOB $60

FD!! Chicago - City Provisions Farm Dinner - Dietzler Farms in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with 5 Rabbit CerveceriaFew SpiritsFor tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

August 19

FD!! South Haven, MI – Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner – 4pm Seedling Farm – Chefs Michael and Patrick Sheerin ofThe Trencherman $200

September 1

FD!! Champaign – Champaign - Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner -”Fish Fry”  4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Meal prepared by Sunday Dinner Chefs Joshua Kulp and Christine Cikowski out of Chicago, 4 course meal BYOB $65.

September 2

Baroda, MI – Check Please!Farm to Table Fest at Round Barn Winery A short drive from Chicago, a great list of chefs is already on the docket. Tickets start at $75 and VIP tickets are $150.

September 5

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series 5-8pm Cocktail Hour by Death’s Door, Dinner by City Provisions, Bell’s BreweryLynfred Winery

September 8

FD!! Chicago - City Provisions Farm Dinner - Heritage Prairie Farm & Apiary with Metropolitan Brewing & Templeton Rye$275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

September 28-30

Chicago – Chicago Gourmet Festival presented by Bon Appetit. The “Ground Zero” this weekend of all things culinary in Chicago and the country. Pre-sale tickets already sold-out so you had better keep a watch so you don’t miss out on this action packed weekend of chefs, sommeliers, incredible beverages, food and lots more. You can buy regular tickets here but I bet not for long!!!!




Great Lakes Lamprey Crosses The Pond For The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; Pleasant House Commemorates

By
Posted: May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am

Who knew that the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee would have a local angle? It turns out that Great Lakes lamprey – an invasive species – were special delivered (frozen, of course) to England to be incorporated into a Jubilee pie for the Queen to commemorate the 60th year of her reign. Lamprey, an eel-like creature, is a traditional ingredient in English pie, but is now a protected species in England. British-themed Pleasant House Bakery in Bridgeport, infamous for its Royal Pies (carefully-crafted savory pies with a perfect flaky crust), is baking a commemorative local, Great Lakes-sourced lamprey pie in association with National Public Radio’s How to Do Everything. Pleasant House is recreating this pie (not for sale) in an episode to be aired on Sunday, June 3rd on Weekend Edition Sunday. For more information, visit HTDE’s website and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @HTDE.

In addition, Pleasant House has fashioned an array of special dishes around Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. From June 2-5, Pleasant House will revive English specialties such as Coronation Chicken pie (served cold), jellied conger eels, an oft-requested carvery of Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding, and a special springtime English tea.

Queen E




She’s Cookin’

By
Posted: May 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Editor’s Note: For ages I’ve been trying to get my wife–once known as the Condiment Queen, then the Cook Book Addict, until another Cook Book Addict came to the Beet, and mostly of late, as * as in *my wife works for Tomato Mountain Farm; the asterisk coming every time I blog about our CSA or other thing TM related–to write for the Beet.  She’s never found time for it.  Now, however, she’s found time to write recipes for Tomato Mountain’s newsletter, and Tomato Mountain has agreed to let us share them on the Beet.  Enjoy the first batch of She’s Cookin’.

iphone photos 077

Stem Saute

Reading my new favorite cooking book (not necessarily cookbook) by Tamar Adler [An Everlasting Meal], last week, I learned that in Provence chard stems are prized and valued but leaves are used as chicken feed or, occasionally, thrown into soup.  She was emphasizing the beauty of using the whole vegetable and, while I’ve always used stems, it made me think that maybe I’ve not been allowing them to shine as well as they might in a dish all their own.  This crazy simple dish proved the stems of the CSA chard and kale extraordinary and has changed the way I will eat them in the future.  The stems surely shine and it shows how vegetables can taste best in the most basic preparations.

iphone photos 066

Cut the stems of chard and kale into 1-2” pieces.  Sauté onion on a low-medium heat in oil until translucent.  I had fresh green garlic which I sautéed along with the onion but any alum(s) will do, use whatever you have.  Add damp stems, salt and pepper.  Start tasting it 5-10 minutes later and stop when it’s wilting and tasty.  I prefer room temperature but my kids loved it as a cold salad.  Make enough that it lasts you several incarnations.  I had chickpeas going on a back burner so I added them but I’d be great with pasta, as a filling with eggs, potatoes, any grain.  The choices are infinite.

iphone photos 116

Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette

Twice over the weekend, my husband, Rob, made brilliant, assertive vinaigrettes that really brought out the best of the beautiful, strong mesclun mix we get in our CSA box.  He started out whisking a half part mustard into one part vinegar, then slowly added three parts olive oil, a few of dashes of hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.  As always, play with it until it’s the right balance for you.  Don’t make our mistake, Rob had to start again the next day — be sure to make plenty to keep in the frig ready to dress anything hearty.




I Got Rocket in My CSA (Week 7)

By
Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

photo (22)

The weekly Tomato Mountain CSA* box arrived Monday night.  I’m done, for now at least, trying to photograph the contents of each box.  I went from trying to capture inside the box, to laying it all out.  By week five, my ambitions lessened to the box’s components, and last week, I was down to showing a few leaves.  I like my weekly box a lot.  It’s just how many times can I photograph the same things.  This week, as shown above, I’m only picturing what’s new.

Rocket.

Yes, say rocket.  This week’s addition to CSA life is also this years chance to berate people over the nominclature of everyone’s favorite peppery green.  Those who know me nearest, the three other members of the Local Family, know that the “let’s call it rocket” has been a campaign of mine for a while. In fact, much to their chagrin, I made it my New Year’s resolution a few years back–something in tpycal style for me, took me until March to post about on the Beet.

Rocket tends to need defending.  Most times, commentators slash back at its association as the effete veg.  That if Barack Obama filled his re-usuable market bag with bunches of rocket, it showed his disconnect from the lives of ordinary Americans.  David Schiller blogs:

What’s the deal with arugula? How did this fairly inexpensive, ethnic salad green, this Mediterranean weed, join sushi, lattes, and the Prius as signifiers of a certain kind of elite?

He cannot quite find the answer, but he has the solution. Call it rocket.

It’s rocket. It’s rocket as I’ve argued before, becuase that’s what it’s called. Arugula is bad translation. It’s not even the name in Italian. Rather, it is the literal spelling of it’s pronunciation from Southern Italian dialect. It’s the same dialect that makes “gab-a-gool” for cappicola (or copa), an example, which my kids having never watched much Soprano’s fail to get each time I use it.

As I summed it up last time:

There is much to pride in rocket. It’s got flavor. It also serves as a good foil to many dishes. The River Cafe gals, Rogers and Gray use rocket in about all their antipasti. It also makes an excellent pesto (and in fact can be cooked like other assertive greens), The most limiting factor, in fact, I believe, is the nonsense name, arugula. Rocket is not only correct, it is awe-inspiring. Rocket means men on the moon and blowing things up. Concepts that made America great. With your help, we will become the United States of Rocket.

photo (23)

Let’s get back to Tomato Mountain CSA Week 7. It contained all the usual green: spinach, kale, chard (a green vegetable regardless of the color of the stems), a green so green it’s very name is green, “vitamin green” (an Asian bok-choy-ish vegetable), the really excellent TM lettuce, and rocket. Even though I like my rocket best with a squeeze of lemon and several shavings of good local Parmesan style cheese, my wife wanted to have it cooked. I’ll post her recipe soon, but note, for now, that it went in pasta with crushed almonds. Where she finds these recipes I don’t know. OK, I know, from her 1 zillion cook books, but where she find this particular recipe for rocket, I don’t know.

Anyways, I don’t really care how the dish tastes. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to tell you to say rocket.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.


One Comment



Weekly Harvest Blogs Here and Yonder

By
Posted: May 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Weather can’t be better so this post may be better reading on your Ipad, phone, laptop, while sitting outside! Here is a smattering of blogs local and yonder.

The issue of a high rate of farmer suicides in India has been ongoing, most accounts attribute it to the switch to GMO seeds.

Nourishing The Planet from the Worldwatch Institute has daily content, in this one they highlighted the documentary, “The Last Farmer” about the effect of globalization on small farmers.

Eleanor Baron at Nourishing Words latest post relates  to Week Six of Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics and Sustainability, a discussion course offered though the Northwest Earth Institute . Readings featured this week were written by Christian Schwagerl, Mark Bittman, Jonathan Bloom, Roger Bybee, Lisa Abend, Raj Patel and Anna Lappe.

Ben Hewitt, farmer, writer(The Town That Food Saved, Making Supper Safe), philosopher latest post is about Apple his cow and so much more.

Huffington Post has covered the closing of Logan Square Kitchen as well as Making The Right Connections with Local Food by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon and Kathleen Merrigan Deputy Secretary of the USDA and Bee Kills in the Cornbelt: What Does Got To Do With It.

Food In Jars has just come out with a book, The Food In Jars Cookbook.

Local blogger, writer, chef, entertainer, Kiki Lufringshausen at Beauty and Her Feast narrates her incredible stage at Moderno.

Grubstreet Chicago did a really interesting writeup on the rooftop gardens and hives at the Palmer House Hilton, “Chef Val Benner Tells Us What Is Growing On Top of the Palmer House Hilton

Tasting Table alerted us to this new craft beer blog, MashtunJournal out of Marie’s Packaged Goods Store.

The Salt at NPR revisits Pink Slime

Grist.org posted a cartoon that explains whats wrong with our food system in four minutes.

Monica Eng at the Chicago Tribune reported in on a USDA study that shows that healthful foods are not the much more expensive then junk foods.

We can’t end the week without checking in with The Chicagoist who posts us about Small Business Memorial Day.

Have a great holiday and enjoy this beautiful weather, woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As usual, feel free to post feedback, recommendations, and your comments below.


One Comment



Local Winespotting: NATO Summit, Frog n Snail

By
Posted: May 25, 2012 at 11:48 am

Furthering my periodic series (okay, very occasional series) highlighting places where local wine is served, two exciting developments came this week via Chateau Grand Traverse’s Facebook page:

NATO Summit: Everyone’s heard by now that Paul Kahan and Blackbird catered a lunch for Michele Obama during the NATO Summit here in Chicago last weekend. What most people don’t know is that Chateau Grand Traverse’s “Laika” Grüner Veltliner 2010 was paired with the first course, which included La Quercia prosciutto from Iowa, kale, fresh chickpeas, sesame brittle and grilled ramps. CGT has not been bottling Grüner Veltliner for long, and they are one of few (and possibly the only) Michigan winemaker that is making Grüner Veltliner, a varietal found in many Central European wines.

Frog n Snail: Dale Levitski’s new Lakeview restaurant offers CGT’s 2010 Whole Cluster Riesling by the glass. As the name implies, the whole cluster of grapes is pressed very gently to extract the juice from the grapes while minimizing harsh malic acids and astringent tannins that comes from the skin and seeds. As with Laika, CGT is probably the only Michigan winemaker doing a whole cluster Riesling.

 (Photo credit: Chateau Grand Traverse, Facebook page)




How I Make My Lemonade Pink (and Encourage Better Snacks for the Kids)

By
Posted: May 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

Every spring, when Little League games begin, three little words strike terror into the hearts of health-conscious parents all over the country: post game snacks. When I hear the phrase, visions of neon colored sugar water and Costco valu-paks brimming with sodium and artificial colors fill my head.

I try to advocate balance as my son’s chief dietician. As my mom says, one bag of junk won’t ruin your body. As a result, I don’t forbid Thor from taking a bag of Doritos or a bottle of Gatorade but instead let him decide for himself. Fortunately, he usually politely declines knowing that healthier and tastier alternatives await at home (Greater Than coconut water and Tia tortilla chips are delicious natural alternatives to these chemically enhanced treats).

This year, however, is different. My husband, our team’s coach, and I paid for Purple Asparagus to sponsor the team. Forgoing the folksy tone, I’d adopted for past emails as snack mom, I drove straight to the heart of the matter. From my email:

“Some of you may have seen a recent article in the Trib suggesting that kids who play organized sports eat more junk food because of the treat culture pervasive in youth leagues. I’d like us not to be that team. To encourage that, I want to give a few guidelines.

  • The post game nosh is a snack, not a treat. If our team track record persists, they’ll be plenty of time for those (both of the kid and adult variety) towards the end of the season – the White Sox like a good party. But after a game, the kids need something to replenish their energy, not send them into sugar shock.
  • Please be conscious of allergy concerns. If any of your kids has a food allergy, please let me know. I know we all want our kids to be safe and will accommodate any food allergies.
  • Let’s try to avoid foods with artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of loaded sugar and salt. I promise I won’t bring your kid kale chips if you don’t bring mine Cheetos.”

You know what? Thus far, we’ve had awesome snacks ranging from a banana and a bottle of water to homemade pumpkin whoopie pies.We’ve got a winning record not only on the field but also in the snack realm. Do I attribute this to my well-crafted email? I wouldn’t flatter myself. I think we lucked into a great group of parents. And, perhaps, sometimes folks just need a little encouragement to pass up the potato chips in favor of the apple chips.

Recently, I made my lemonade pink from a mushy blood orange I had around, but generally this time of year, I make it pink from our wonderful local strawberries.

Pink Lemonade

Serves 4
For three years running, we’ve served Pink Lemonade as the beverage portion of my snack rotation, using strawberries to create the hue.
1/2 pint strawberries

3 lemons, approximately

2 tablespoons of sugar syrup

Hull the strawberries. Puree them in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough lemon juice to the strawberry puree to make 1/3 cup of juice. Fill water into the cup to measure 3 cups total of liquid. Stir in sugar syrup. If the lemonade is too tart to your taste, add more sugar syrup gradually.


One Comment



Now That You Are a Local Family, You’re Busy + CSA Week 6

By
Posted: May 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

IMG_0355

I know so many of you took the exhortations in April to be a local family to heart, and you all are wrapping up a second month in the locavore life.  I bet you find yourself, like this Local Family, busy.  So, a big pot of Tomato Mountain spinach cooked up, Tunisian style, with brisket and calves neck (yes!), should be enough to last you the whole week.

Like Mama Meichulim before her, my new best friend Tamar Adler knows that being busy once is a lot easier than being busy all the time. Of course, Ms. Adler, like all the local families these days, busies herself a lot more with vegetables than I’m sure Mama M ever did. Tamar’s great advice for the CSA box or market haul: cook it now.

photo (21)

Tamar strides ahead each week by buying:

whole bunches of the leafiest, stemmiest vegetables I can find. Then, I scrub off their dirt, trim off their leaves, cut off their stems, peel what needs peeling, and cook them all at once.

Tamar’s advice follows two key bits of wisdom she expounds in Everlasting Meal. Firstly, she tells us to eat our vegetables at room temperature. She knows they taste better this way, but she also knows that this frees us up from having to prepare at the moment of each meal. Second, she knows that a vegetable once cooked, can wear many different flavors. Tonight’s platter of roasted vegetables is tomorrow’s vegetable salad with the addition of a little dressing.  In other words, there is great value in having your vegetables done ahead.

photo (20)

You don’t have to buy it all each week. You can have it come by subscription. That’s Week 6, or at least a bit of week 6, of our Tomato Mountain CSA*, a very leafy box. Our opportunities for roasted vegetables, followed by a roasted vegetable salad seem limited.  We have greens: swiss chard and kale and red rain (a mustard green). Tamar’s shopping “always includes a few bunches of dark, leafy greens,” and she notes that once they are cooked with garlic and a good amount of olive oil, “they lose their moral urgency and become one of the most likable ingredients in your kitchen.”

photo (19)

So, the other day, my wife got her everlasting meal a-goin’.  She separated stem from leaf when it came to this week’s kale and chard.  She sauteed, from heartiest, to most tender, the kale, chard and red rain in this week’s box.  Using another favored Tamar method, she boiled the asparagus.  Tamar says add balance with big helpings of rice or polenta, or in this week’s case, some wheatberries taking up room in the fridge.  And Tamar says to have your eggs fly, a trick my wife already knows (nobody boils an egg better than her).  At the end of this rush of business, there was a big bowl of cooked down greens, asparagus ready to us; lots of grain, and a dozen of the best boiled eggs to use as the week went on.  Or, as shown above, all combined for dinner one night.

Yes, it’s busy to be a local family, but with advice from Mama Meichulim and Tamar Adler, it’s all very doable. The pleasures of sharing the table with your local family make all that work not seem that much either.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain Farm.




The Local Calendar May 23 The Humanity of the Markets

By
Posted: May 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

GCM As regular Beet readers know, I work at the Green City Market on Saturdays, for the organic micro greens farm, Tiny Greens. I  live downtown in Streeterville which makes getting to the market in Lincoln Park easy. However, this past weekend, with the NATO conference going on, was to say the least, a little different. In my neighborhood, there were times where the streets were completely empty. Periodically I would see groups of uniformed personnel in conference at street corners. In each building there was a security guard either right inside the door or standing in front of it and on some streets there were crowd control gates lining the sidewalks. All the humanity had left the streets and all that was left was the military. The streets were eerily silent and had the feeling that a plague had hit the city sending all the people away. Thankfully, and I was concerned that the farmers market might be cancelled, but the Green City Market carried on. Around 9:30am, when people were sitting under the trees having picnics, owners were strolling around with their dogs, people walking with their market bags under their arms full of produce, it reminded me of the humanity of the farmers markets and why I love them. The many varietal vegetables reminds me that each of us is different, we are all unique and that is a good thing. Living in a city, seeing all the fresh produce directly from the farm, reminds me we are tied to the earth and dependent on it. It hit me, that good food brings people together in a really positive way and it was such a wonderful sight. Working at the market on Saturday really brought home to me why we need the markets and their value of bringing farmers and the city people together. Thank you Green City for being open and carrying on as usual!!!

WatergreenStraw:GCM The markets continue to get more colorful. Green Acres Farm had wild watercress on their table and Ellis Family Farms had strawberries, already. The strawberries were gone by no later than 9:30 though. It only continues to get better from here!! If you want to check if their is a farmer’s market near you, check our farmer’s market locator. Need help with how to shop at a market, check our shopping guide right here! Now on to the week ahead.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

City Provisions Deli 1818 West Wilson in Ravenswood, Chicago

Dill Pickle Food Co-op – 3039 West Fullerton, Chicago

Downtown Farmstand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town, Chicago GG has weekly wine and beer tastings check their website or twitter for details.

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Provenance Food & Wine - 2 locations Logan Square 2528 N. California Lincoln Square 2312 W. Leland Ave. Provenance has weekly free tastings of food and wine products, check their website for details.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago

WHAT TO DO NOW

Ongoing through June 10th Chicago – Feast:Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Smart Museum University of Chicago Go here for all the projects associated with it.

Chicago Craft Beer week is ongoing through May 17th through May 27th with tons of events throughout the city

May 23

Chicago - Green City Market  7am – 1pm Lincoln Park across from the Farm at the Zoo. Chef demonstration will be Matthew Holmes of Uncommon Ground, 10:30 – 11:30am.

Chicago - Spring Slow Food Chicago Dinner featuring Harvest Moon FarmsCedar Valley Sustainable Farm &FEW Spirits at Uncommon Ground Devon 1401 W. Devon Ave. $65 includes tax, gratuity and a donation to Slow Food Chicago’s Terra Madre campaign. For reservations please call 773-465-9801.

Chicago – Red Meat Market “Meat-Up” – Goose Island Brewery 6-9pm $62.50 GETS YOU, $100.00 of local, sustainable, all natural Grass-Fed Beef. Save 38% and meet other 100% all natural meat lovers and make it social!
Upon arrival with a purchase of a ticket, you will receive seven pounds of delicious Grass-Fed Angus Beef direct from Black Earth Meats and the lush green pastures of southwestern Wisconsin.

Chicago – City Provisions Dinner with Greenbush Brewing Company from Sawyer, MI. 1818 West Wilson 6pm Featuring Terminator X and Loud Mouth Soup, Cleetus’s two collaboration beers. Greenbush will also be launching the “yet-to-be-released-outside-of-the-tap-room” Lagniappe, a toasted pecan ale. 95$ Please call 773-293-2489 for reservations, only 16 seats are available each night.

Chicago – Castilla La Mancha -Experience the wines of Don Quixote’s Spain in Chicago The Hotel Palomar 505 N. State St. 10:30am – 4:00pm Reserve spot here

Countryside – “Introductions to Chickens…Urban Style!“. The workshop runs from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at their offices in Countryside (near the intersection of I-55 & I-294).  The cost is $10.00 for non-members, and free for members.

May 24

Chicago – The Daley Plaza Farmers Market Opening Day - 7am – 3pm Country Financial will have a booth and will be giving away my absolute favorite market bag!! The design on the Country Financial bag is the student winner of their design contest. I cannot wait to see it!!

Chicago - Edible Chicago and Brooklyn Brewery present  ”A Celebration of Beer, Food, and Stories” Beer Bistro 1061 W. Madison 5-7pm Event is free, RSVP to events@ediblechicago.com Pick up an Edible Chicago, taste Brooklyn Brewery’s latest release  beer and enjoy food by local purveyors. The Second Quarterly Carousal party will be held at Beer Bistro.

Chicago – Cooking With Grayson – Logan Square Kitchen 2333 N. Milwaukee 7-11pm 5 Rabbit Cerveseria teams with Chef Grayson Schmitz (Top Chef Texas: Season 9) As guests will prepare the family dinner with Chef Schmitz paired with 5 Rabbit Beers $125

Chicago – Grilling in the Garden Join the Green City Market Junior Board and Jared Rouben, Goose Island Brew Pub for sausages on the grill and seasonal beers. $20 all in and proceeds go to support Green City Market’s LINK program. 3535 North Clark St. 7-9pm

Chicago – Local First Chicago Multi-Chamber Networking event Copernicus Annex 5214 Lawrence Ave. 5:30pm – 8pm Cost $5

May 25

Chicago – Growing Home Benefit by Modern Conversation at Jerry’s Wicker Park 1938 W. Division 9:30pm – 12:30am 8$ cover at the door. For more information about the band go here.  Growing Home had a recent break-in unfortunately,so can use all the support they can get!!!

Chicago – Kedzie Brewery Grand Opening PartyRevolution Brewing celebrates the opening of its new brewery at 3340 N. Kedzie. 5-10pm $15 Tickets go on sale April 27th.

Chicago – The Art of Fermentation – Chicago Cultural Center – 78 E. Washington 12:15 – 1:30pm Sandor Katz presents his new book about fermentation, culture, and community. Come share kraut, meet Sandor, hear about his new book, get a copy inscribed to you, and ask questions.

May 26

Chicago – Green City Market – The featured chef will be Sean Sanders of Browntrout. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo.

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop – Necessary Nourishment: Feeding Plants for Healthy Growth and Production.  This is a FREE Monthly Hands-on Gardening Workshop Series in The Edible Gardens with Jeanne Pinsof Nolan, founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd. Workshops will be held from 9:30am-10:15am.  Respond to RSVP@greencitymarket.org to reserve a spot.

Chicago – 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station – This market which is becoming “the” market on the south side, opens today, go to their website for further details. New vendors will be there like Penny Pastries, look for him.

Evanston –  The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market 7:30am to 1pm at University Place and Oak Ave.(just east of Railroad Ave.) behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is at the adjacent 1500 Maple garage.

Geneva - Geneva Green Market – 27 N. Bennett (Geneva Place) – 9 AM – 1 PM – Read a report from Beetnik Melissa Owens who finds, among other things, basil, at this market here.

Grayslake – The Grayslake Farmer’s Market Centennial Park and Center St. 10:00 Am – 2pm

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Farmers Market – 9-1 pm. 2N308 Brundage Road, La Fox, IL

Oak Park –  Oak Park Farmers Market – 460 Lake St just one block west of Ridgeland Ave. 7am – 1pm The Market is much more than a farmers’ market. It is an Oak Park tradition, a Saturday gastronomic event (the donuts have a devoted following), a concert site, a social event and a great place to pick up super-fresh produce, traditional and unusual plants, fresh cheeses, honey, flowers, vinegars, herbs, and much more. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market also features unique items for sale at the commissioners’ table, including items you can’t find anywhere else, such as reasonably priced T-shirts, one-of-a-kind items and bags, all offering a beautiful, functional way to support the market.

St. Charles – The Saturday Farm Fresh Food Stuffs market has moved and is now at Trellis Family Farm 8-4pm 2N492 Kirk Rd.

Woodstock – Woodstock Farmers Market 8am – 1pm at historic Woodstock Square There will be a pie-eating contest!

May 27

Chicago – Taste of Fresh Moves to celebrate the one year anniversary of Fresh Moves, Mobile Produce Market 1-5pm 3750 W. Ogden 4th floor The event is designed to highlight the many talents of theit customers and supporters in the Westside communities that they serve. This celebration will feature live food demonstrations and tastings from local celebrity chefs, performances by Young Chicago Authors featured poets, a student art competition and judging, food games for the young and young at heart, a screening room for food documentaries, acro-yoga demonstrations, raffles and prizes, music and more. All are welcome and it is free but RSVP by May 21st to thetasteoffreshmoves@gmail.com.

Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm starts their dinner season – “A Dinner of Spring” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave – H2Vino,Caveny Farms Lamb 5 courses, $10

Hinsdale – Terra Brockman speaks at Wellness House, “Changing the World One Meal at a Time” 10:00am – 11:30am 131 N. County Line Rd. Terra Brockman, Author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm and Founder of The Land Connection will discuss her brother’s organic vegetable farm, her sister’s organic fruit farm, and the ripple effects of our food choices–including the health, economic, and environmental benefits of supporting local farmers.

Frankfort – Frankfort Country Market Downtown Frankfort – 10-2 – Might find paella.

May 28

Chicago – Premier of the documentary “Bitter Seeds” at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival sponsored by The Jane Addams Hull House. 3:15pm 164 N. State St. The film is focused on the farmer suicides surrounding their use of genetically modified seeds and the effects on their crops. Purchase tickets here.

May 29

Chicago – Brown Trout Farmer’s Market 5-8pm 4111 North Lincoln Ave. In North Center, near the Irving Park Brown Line stop, this new “micro” farmer’s market sponsored by “Ground Up Chicago” .

Chicago – Lincoln Square - C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 7 to 11 am in the parking lot at Lincoln & Leland.

New!!! Chicago – “Small Business Memorial Day” Join Logan Square Kitchen, BIG(Blacks in Green) and Local First Chicago for a brown bag lunch, noon, at the Daley Center and bring a roll of red tape!!

Woodstock - Woodstock Farmers Market at historic Woodstock Square  8am – 1pm

May 31

Chicago – Green City Market Junior Board Meet The MarketThe Bedford 1612 West Division 6-8pm Peter Klein of Seedling Fruit will be there to talk about his farm.


For the summer schedule including Farm Dinners please go to our Farm Dinner calendar, it is time to make reservations for your summer farm dinners now!!!




Every Last Morsel Helps Connect Community Gardens With Eaters

By
Posted: May 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Todd Jones has launched a new project, Every Last Morsel, that allows community gardens or even full-fledged farms to share the fruits of their labors with neighbors they didn’t know they had. Sensing a disconnect between disparate neighborhood gardens, rooftop projects, and urban farms on one side, and eaters on the other, Jones decided that the solution is simple: Plot the gardens on a map, and get people sharing their resources and needs.

He has launched a kickstarter project to build a website where anyone from small, hobby growers to urban farms can drop a pin on a map on the website denoting the location of the garden. If everything goes according to plan, neighbors will find the nearby gardens, and the family who is up to their ears in kale and zucchini can share it with people who need it without it going to waste. As Jones says, “If we make it easier for people to put their garden-grown goods to good use, and allow them to connect with people they’d have never met otherwise, then maybe we’ll inspire more people to grow more food in more places, because fresh, nutritious food can never be an overabundance. It just needs to be directed to the right plates.”

He’s got just 23 more days to go to reach his goal of $10,000, so if you’d like to back this project, now’s the time. Click here for more information.




The Slow Food Chicago Pig Roast Approaches

By
Posted: May 21, 2012 at 7:54 am

For the 4th year in a row, Slow Food Chicago will procure several locally raised hogs, get them to a few area chefs who traffic in locavore dining, and build a party around it.  This forthcoming Pig Roast at Goose Island Beer Company raises money to send farmers to Terra Madre this fall in Italy where Slow Foodies from all over the world will convene “support sustainable agriculture, fishing, and breeding with the goal of preserving taste and biodiversity.”  Enjoy the tastes of sustainable and biodiversity, Sunday, June 10, 2-5 PM.  Tickets can be purchased via Brown Paper Tickets.

Goose Island Beer, with the help of Slow Food Board members, including Beetniks Wendy Aeschlimann and Jeannie Boutelle, lined up a great and interesting set of restaurants for this year’s Pig Roast.  The line-up includes Top Chef-testant, Heather Terhune and Sable Kitchen and Bar; underground caterers set to go public, X-Marx/Flour and Bones; great friends of Beet, Mark and Liz Mendez with Vera; vegetable specialists, Green Zebra handling the non-pig portion, and Uncommon Ground, where the Local Family just celebrated a daughter’s birthday, rounding out the savory items.  La Boulangerie will provide dessert, and it’s not just Goose beers to wash it all down.  There will be cocktails by Templeton and coffee from Intelligentsia.  As we always say, the best way to encourage good eating is through good eating (and drinking).

Slow Food Chicago primarily raises its funds through its annual Pig Roast.  We expect you’ll want to go because of the line-up of food and beverages, but you should really want to go to support the important work Slow Food Chicago does for our food community. Part of their mission involves meeting with like-minded folks around the world, learning and sharing, and that’s why it is critical to have funds to send our farmers along. Yet, other parts of their mission stand much closer to home.  Slow Food Chicago helps cultivate a community garden on Chicago’s West Side.  They run workshops on topics like canning, and they are working to put together resources to help us all slow down in the way we approach our food.  Show your support for Slow Food Chicago on June 10th.

Go here for more information and to purchase tickets.




The Weekly Harvest 5/18/12 Blogs Here and Yonder

By
Posted: May 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

A lot going on today on the Global Food Front, Slow Food Chicago’s Cortney Ahearn has been tweeting from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs annual symposium, Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit. Nourishing The Planet has a live feed and commentary on it here.

The Huffington Post produced a piece on 16 Great Under The Radar Food Magazines.Congrats Edible Chicago of the Edible Communities group of magazines and the recently published Graze Magazine.

Chicago Craft Beer Week is starting here is the schedule.

A sad event happened this week, Zina Murray announced the closing of Logan Square Kitchen here. I am sure I am not alone hoping that her announcement was premature and something will happen to cause her to keep it open, wishful thinking I admit. Grubstreet Chicago weighed in here. (After I hit the Publish button) More from Zina Murray here.

Ecomyths continues to publish great ideas about greening your home and your life.

A week can’t go by without checking in with Ben Hewitt farmer, writer, philosopher.

Some of the other usual and always insightful suspects , Grist.org, Monica Eng at The Stew Chicago Tribune, The Salt at NPR.

Locally, The Backyarditarian, Lottie and Doof, and Food on the Dole who is taking a hiatus and will be posting on his adventures (hopefully!) in Montana. The Chicagoist has a slide show of the produce they found at the  Green City Market.

The Green City Market Junior Board had their reading club last night and they focused on the speech by HRM Prince Charles of Britian on the Future of Food. Watch and listen to his speech here.

Another “after I hit the Publish button” post. Shout out to Wendy Aeschlimann, Associate Editor of The Local Beet for being quoted in this Chicagoist piece, and she is in quite fine company I will say, “Should Chefs Care About Sustainability?




Local Fruit is In Season Now – UPDATED!

By
Posted: May 18, 2012 at 8:30 am

UPDATE: To add to the local fruit now in season, we’re here to tell you that there’s already a bit of summer in season in the Chicago area.  Through a combination of odd temperatures and farmer’s using various technology, you may find in area markets, such warm weather treats as cucumbers, hot peppers, zucchini and tomatoes.

We try to get as much of our food from local farmers as possible.  That means even our onions, stock vegetables and miscellaneous herbs come from here (to the strongest extent possible).  And believe us, we can tell the difference in our local veg, but to really see the pleasure in eating local, get the fruit.  Discounting, those long red stalks of rhubarb used in desserts, there’s been no local fruit besides storage apples for a long time around here. The wait is over.  Nothing makes a locavore more than the truly red strawberries found at area markets.  The first local strawberries are now here.  See what else we think you should be able to find buying local.

Here’s our list of likely finds in markets around the Chicago area right about now–do tell us what other items you are seeing in the comments.

  • NEW! – Summer’s start – Some warm weather items we are seeing in markets include cucumbers, hot peppers, zucchini and tomatoes.
  • Spring fruits – There are local strawberries.  There is local rhubarb.  Enjoy.
  • Spring exotica – The morel mushrooms may be gone, but keep you eyes open for other farmer’s market exotica.  Beetnik Jeannie Boutelle espied wild ferns recently at Green City Market, and Mo Tuffy made good use of nettles she found.  Look for various other shoots, leaves, stalks and stems only around now.
  • Spring onions, which we mean leeks, scallions, chives, green onions; cooking with these sharp, bright ingredients lends Spring its unique flavor.  You should also be able to find the first bulbs of maturing onions.  Think grill.
  • Green garlic, we love how you can use this almost like an herb.  Like, as long as you don’t have a date, how ’bout a green garlic pesto.
  • Salad greens, you can use lettuces, watercress, rocket, or as the Chicago Tribune advises, kale in various seasonal salads.  Plenty of arugula, or as we prefer, rocket.
  • Asian greens, your 40 sizes of bok choy for instance, tend to do very well in cool weather, so it’s stir fry season around a lot of CSA houses.
  • Cabbages – Most of those Asian style greens taking up space in your CSA box and farmer’s table are members of the cabbage family, but you should also start seeing more cabbage-cabbages, including Napa/Chinese cabbage and savoy cabbage.
  • Radishes grow so quickly, farmer’s can get them jn and out of their fields pretty quickly.
  • Asparagus, still plenty of local asparagus in the markets
  • Herbs, early Spring tends to bring a few herbs not seen the rest of the year.  For instance, we’ve seen lovage around a lot.  Remember a little of this celery-ish flavored herb goes a long way.  Another not so common herb we saw in the markets recently, was savory, “the bean herb”, so you know what to do with that one.  Sorrel, which straddles the lines between herb, vegetable and condiment, may still be around.
  • Roots, turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips; the amount of big, sweet overwintered crops is probably gone, but instead there will be the seasons earliest tiny, fresh, sweet ones.
  • Storage crops, your market may have linger apples and potatoes; they’re still very good



Is Swiss Chard a Green Vegetable – CSA Boxes 4 and 5

By
Posted: May 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm

photo (18)

That’s Week 4 of our Tomato Mountain CSA*

photo (17)

Attempt at artistry aside, notice much difference in Week 5?

Last weekend I saw Robin Schirmer of Tomato Mountain Farm. I told her how great the vegetables have been all Spring, but seasonal as I am, I was getting a bit shy of seeing more green in the box.

“Swiss chard”

Swiss chard? According to Robin, the spread of green had been interrupted by Swiss chard in our boxes for weeks four and five. Now, did Tomato Mountain really give me something not green?

Actually, they have. In the form of white Chinese cabbage that my wife cooked up to great success with bacon and canned beans–recipe and pictures hopefully for a future post. There have been white Japanese turnips and white, with a wisp of red, Japanese long radishes. It was my desire to capture some of the non-green as well as my desire to be my most Tamar Adler-thrifty, that I decided to do something.

photo (14)

All those greens with the radishes seemed too good to waste, even if they were green.

As they say in Portland. Pickle it.

photo (15)

That’s my batch brewing.  It’s supposed to be ready in 3 days.  I essentially used the recipe for Middle-Eastern style pickles from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby’s Quick Pickles.  My pickles in process stem from chard stems, radish leaves and a few hidden away salad onions from last summer.   As with most pickles, it’s not so much a recipe but a ratio to create enough brine to cover the vegetables you have.

3 Cups – Red wine vinegar

3 Cups – Water

1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 long dried local red pepper, crumbled

Combine the water and vinegar, dissolve the salt, and add the pepper.  Pour over the vegetables in a non-reactive bowl.  Let sit in a cool place for three days; then put in a jar and refrigerate.  They say it should last around a month.  I have a feeling we’ll have eaten them by then.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.  She’ll be selling stuff at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market this Saturday.  Come and buy!




Summer Local Calendar Farm Dinners, Slow Food Pig Roast, and more!! Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
The Local Calendar 5/16 May Showers Bring June Flowers Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Supermoms Against Superbugs Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
So You Want to Eat Local, Buy the Book Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Goodbye, Cheese Guy Monday, May 14th, 2012
To Market with Mo: Yes, Nettles Sting Saturday, May 12th, 2012
An Open Letter To My Marvelous Mother Friday, May 11th, 2012
Slow Cookin’ With Cedar Valley Friday, May 11th, 2012
Weekly Harvest 5/11/12 Blogs Here and Yonder Friday, May 11th, 2012
Beginnings & Endings: The Evanston Farmers Market & the Glenwood Indoor Market Thursday, May 10th, 2012
The Local Calendar 5/9/12 Ode To Spring Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Farmer’s Markets Are What’s In Season Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
The 2012 Local Beet Farmer’s Market Locator Monday, May 7th, 2012
The Local Beet’s 2012 Guide to Getting the Most From Your Farmer’s Market Monday, May 7th, 2012
Local Jobs, Local Spaces, Local Volunteering Saturday, May 5th, 2012
The Local Summer Calendar Have You Scheduled a Farm Dinner? Friday, May 4th, 2012
A Local Family Eats With the Seasons – Spring Greens in Boxes 2, 3 Friday, May 4th, 2012
To Market with Mo: Eat your pea….tendrils please Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Updated Forecast on Western Michigan Fruit Says to Focus on Strawberries Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Letter from Dublin. (No, not the one in Ohio.) Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Local Calendar 5/2/12 The Markets Start to Move Outdoors!! Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Now that You’re a Local Family Too, What Do You Do Tuesday, May 1st, 2012