Seasonal Spotlight: Blood Oranges

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Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

Blood oranges. Their sweet, luscious flavor betrays that violent moniker, making them some of winter’s most coveted ingredients, bringing a splash of color and tang to dishes and drinks. Sure, blood oranges aren’t local, but we have no problem indulging, as we aspire to eat sensibly and seasonally, and blood oranges are a winter essential. From pie to hot chocolate, here are some of the city’s most notable blood orange creations.

Inspired by a recent trip to Istanbul, NAHA pastry chef Craig Harzewski, who along with the rest of the kitchen is a rigorous supporter of seasonal and sustainable ingredients, combined blood oranges with grapefruit and pistachios to create his take on a Turkish-flavored dessert. Having experienced amazing pistachios and light, citrusy dishes while on his travels, Harzewski whipped up a pistachio cake and Greek yogurt panna cotta, which he outfits with mango sorbet, blood oranges, Ruby Red grapefruit, and French meringues scented with finger limes. This dessert is about as citrusy as it gets before it becomes a full-service lemonade stand.

Pie is destination number one for blood oranges these days. Let’s start with the Shaker blood orange pie at Bang Bang Pie Shop, Chicago’s latest cute-as-a-button pie shop, made all the cuter by their ever-changing seasonal pies and propensity for responsible sourcing. Based on Shaker pie traditions, head pie honcho Megan Miller macerates sliced blood oranges in sugar for 12 hours before layering and baking them inside a double-layer crust. The pie is topped off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and salt, and somewhere a Shaker sheds a tear of pride. Over at Little Goat, the not-so-little farm-to-table diner from Stephanie Izard, pastry chef Mathew Rice serves up miniature blood orange meringue pies (grove-to-table!), which are about the size of a toddler’s head, but you’ll want to eat the whole thing anyway.

Ginger-blood orange hot chocolate at Katherine Anne Confections

Ginger-blood orange hot chocolate is a decadent middle finger to winter, and it can be found at Katherine Anne Confections. This super rich concoction makes Swiss Miss look like gutter water. Owner Katherine Duncan has made a name for herself as Chicago’s Willy Wonka equivalent, but instead of pushing children into chocolate rivers or trash chutes, she satiates them with wholesome goodness. She says this particular hot chocolate was a tough combination to get just right, with fresh squeezed blood oranges and essential oils, plus ground and juiced ginger. Oh and chocolate. It comes with two pillowy marshmallows of your choosing. Allow me to choose for you and suggest cranberry.

 

In case you want to sip your blood oranges without feeling like you’ve chugged an entire cake, there are more blood orange beverages to be had. DMK Burger Bar makes its own blood orange soda, and Little Market Brasserie features housemade blood orange-cinnamon soda as one of its “charged cocktail” options, wherein guests select which spirit they’d like to mix with. Personally, I feel a little uncomfortable wielding that much power, so it’s fortunate that the restaurant makes liquor suggestions.

Blood and Sand is the quintessential blood orange beverage, what with the similarly macabre names. Henri is currently pouring their version made with Yamazaki 12-year single malt, Cherry Heering, Carpano Antica, blood orange juice, and Angostura bitters. Blood oranges work overtime at Nacional 27, starring in the blood orange caiparinha and the El Corazon, which features Jimador Blanco, pomegranate, passion fruit, blood oranges, and a salt ‘n’ pepper rim. And at Terzo Piano, the blood orange bourbon punch is a wintry medley of Belle Meade bourbon, Koval ginger liqueur, blood orange, and an Armagnac floater.

Special shout out to the chocolate-banana-blood orange jam at Floriole Cafe & Bakery. My favorite seasonally and sustainably focused bakery always has plenty of exciting new addictions waiting to happen throughout the seasons. Considering the alarming rate at which I devoured this stuff last year, I am afraid to get more. But by all means, go for it.


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This Week’s Local Calendar – Superbowl, Asian Herbs, Morton Grove Market and More

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Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

                Amazing what pops up at the winter markets. At the Green City Market last weekend, among the squash, turnips and winter greens, was Chef Jared Van Camp at a table selling his house-made charcuterie, including sopressata and toscano which will now be available at Publican Quality Meats as well. Morton Grove has their Winter Market this Saturday at the American Legion Civic Center, 6140 Dempster St. The Land Connection is a sponsor this weekend of workshops and events about Growing Asian Medicinal Herbs at the Jane Addams Hull House. Thursday Soup and Bread debuts at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. A new addtion to the forward calendar is the first annual Urban Livestock Expo on Feb. 16 , join the Google group “Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts“, for more information.

We try to keep up on events but miss some, some sites to check out for further detail on sustainable food/urban ag are the Illinois Stewardship Alliance out of Springfield and the Advocates for Urban Agriculture here in Chicago.  Now on to the week ahead:

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

Artisanal Wilmette – 414 Linden Ave. Wilmette

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

Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op - Located in the near-SW Pilsen neighborhood, the co-op has grown to five locations in, including Hyde Park, River North, Lakeview, and Logan Square

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town Check out their produce share January 9th through May 4th. You can still subscribe even though the share has started already.

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. Here is a link to their blog of “the best things our staff ate and drank in 2012“.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Standard Market – 333 East Ogden Ave., Westmont

January 30

Chicago - Wine Wednesdays at Province Restaurant - Seasonal farm to table tasting menu 161 N. Jefferson

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 1354 W. Wabansia  5:30pm -8pm Oh gosh, I think this one will be a doozy! ”The 3Bs: Beans, Beer, and Bacon” with cooks drawn from the ranks of the culinary chat site LTH Forum and the good folks of Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm (instigators of the new Soup & Bread: Ottawa series). Bread generously donated by La Farine Bakery and Publican Quality Meats; our DJ is Sarah Gardiner. All proceeds benefit Lakeview Pantry.

January 31

Berwyn – Soup and Bread, yes, the same folks of the Hideout Soup and Bread and the cookbook debuts at Fitzgeralds. 6pm 6615 Roosevelt Rd. 6 blocks from the Forest Park Blue Line Stop This event benefits CBS Anti-Hunger Foundation, a 25-year-old organization that serves more than 200 families every week in the Berwyn/Cicero/Stickney area.

Chicago - C & D Family Farms Hyde Park 7am – 10am  Harold Washington Park at 53rd & Hyde Park Blvd.

Chicago – Uptown Market Uptown Farmers’ Market is year round. Every Thursday from 7-1 inside Weiss Memorial Hospital or in the parking lot during the warmer months. 4646 N Marine Drive Spark of the Heart Soups will be there.

February 1-2

Chicago - Growing and Marketing Asian Medicinal Herbs - Pioneers in Ecological Medicine(PEM) Co-sponsored by The Land Connection A 2-day workshop open to farmers interested in diversifying their business with specialty crops. The workshop will introduce growers to the basic strategies of producing domestic East Asian medicinal herbs. 9am-6pm Jane Addams Hull House

February 2

Chicago – Food Entrepreneurship Boot Camp – 10am – 12pm – 415 N. Dearborn Free orientation given by Dr. Marcia Scheurer of Culinary Connections. Network with other Chicago Foodies and Food Entrepreneurs, hear about the latest food trends, and learn about the first Food Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. Although this is free, space is limited so register here.

Chicago – Green City Market at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8:30- 1pm 2430 North Cannon Drive The market runs indoors through April 27th

Chicago - C & D Family Farms 8:30am – 10:30am Northcenter On Belle Plaine off Lincoln across from the CVS 11:30am – 1:30pm Division St. at Clark

Elgin - Winter Market at Habitat for Humanity ReStore Elgin - 800 North State St. 9am – 3pm (thru May) Their mantra is “Keepin It Local1″ As such, their intention has always been to supply the local community with local products and crafts.

Evanston – Winter Evanston Farmer and Artisan Market at the Ecology Center  9-1pm 2024 McCormick Blvd.  The market will be at this location for the next 5 months, today and every Saturday through April 27, 2013. Spark of the Heart Soups and C & D Family Farms will be there.

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

Morton Grove - Winter Farmers Market - 9 am – 2 pm right next door to our regular season site, at the Morton Grove American Legion Civic Center (6140 Dempster St.) These indoor markets will feature over two dozen vendors selling foods, gifts, and decorations for the winter holidays.

February 3

Superbowl XLVII 

Beverly - C & D Family Farm  8:30am – 10:30am In the parking lot at 95th and Longwood

Chicago – Andersonville C & D Family Farm 9am – 12pm St. Gregory parking lot on Ashland across from Jewel

Chicago – Logan Square Winter Market – 10-2pm Congress Theater Lobby 2135 North Milwaukee

Chicago - Farmacopeia - Purchase your tickets online today at the early bird rate. Invite your loved ones to be there too to celebrate and support the farmers who will be the pioneers in Midwestern cultivation of Chinese medicinal plants! 3-6pm Jane Addams Hull House Museum

SAVE THE DATE

February 5

Chicago - Publican Quality Meats - 7pm Sean O’Keefe Chateau Grand Traverse Midwestern Wine Dinner $75 plus tax and gratuity

February 8

Chicago - Tickled Pink for Bright Pink - The dynamic group at Tickled Pink are behind this event where proceeds support Bright Pink’s breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection programs for young women. 7-12pm River East Arts Center 435 East Illinois

February 9

Chicago - Cider Summit - At Navy Pier 11am – 7pm Over 60 Artisanal Hard Ciders Buy tickets here $20

February 16

Chicago – First Annual Chicago Urban Livestock Expo - 10am – 1pm Garfield Park Jensen Room  The information, supplies, and support you need to keep backyard poultry, bees, goats, and rabbits Registration starts at 10AM Welcome, introductions, and presentations begin at 10:15AM In-depth briefings 11:15AM-12:15PM Browse info tables and network until 1PM Questions? Want to provide information or volunteer? Email martha@learngrowconnect.org  Sponsored by Advocates for Urban Agriculture (www.auachicago.org), Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts (www.chicagochickens.org), Angelic Organics Learning Center (www.learngrowconnect.org

February 17

Chicago – Butcher and Larder/La Sirena Clandestina Bare Knuckle Farms Dinner – 6-9 pm 954 West Fulton Rob Levitt and John Manion team up, Grubstreet Chicago has all the details.$85 $30 optional drink package

February 19

Glenview – Spice It Up Indian Style- Glenview Public Library – 7pm 1930 Glenview Road Join Spice House owners Tom and Patty Erd for their popular program on the history of spices at a library near you. The spice trade has shaped the course of history since the earliest civilizations. You’ll hear tales of adventure and piracy, and come home with new knowledge and a goody bag of spices.

February 22

Chicago – 2 Sparrows Virtue Cider Dinner – 7pm 553 Diversey Pkwy w/a first look at Virtue’s new cider “Mitten” $50 includes beverages

March 2

Chicago – CSA Fair and Farmer Talent Show – 2-6pm The Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Think farmers just milk your cows and pull your turnips? Think again, well-intentioned friends! Come out to watch them perform for YOU on stage. In between acts, browse each farmer’s booth for info on how to join a CSA farm for 2013

March 3

Chicago - Truffles Made Easy – 2-5pm Katherine Anne Confections 2745 West Armitage Hosted by Chicagourmets Wine, cheese, chocolate, port, truffle making $52

March 4

Chicago – Common Threads World Festival

March 13

Springfield – Local Foods Awareness Day

March 14-16 Good Food Festival 2013!!!! The festival bringing good food and farmers to Chicago!

Pinot Days - Saturday April 20th Navy Pier 2-5pm

Whiskyfest Friday April 26 - It sold out pretty darn quickly last year!! Better get your tickets now!





RMM Butchering Workshop The Whole Nine Yards

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Posted: January 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

           Weekends are suppose to be relaxing and downtime from the Monday through Friday routine. Ha! Saturday mornings can end up being the busiest day of the week, between the farmers markets, exercise routines and other “must do” errands. I did manage to get to the “Whole Hog Butcher Breakdown Class” this past Saturday morning provided by the great folks at The Red Meat Market.(We wrote about their launch in June 2012 here.) They are the ones on Twitter, @Redmeatmarket, “Eat it, Tweet It, #Goodmeat, #Chooselocal”.

I was a “drop-in” so I missed the first half of the session which included meeting the farmer, LouisJohn Slagel, of Slagel Family Farms, who provided the hog that was butchered, spoke about what sustainable meat is, how the animals are raised, and about his farm. The butchers, Jack Rinella and Tim Vickel of Buedel Quality Meats went over equipment, knives, sharpening. Ryan Hutmacher, who provided the airy space of The Centered Chef Studio described nose to tail cooking, making stocks and what he was planning to cook for everyone’s lunch.

What was interesting is that most of the students were there because they wanted to try butchering themselves. I arrived in the middle of the action where each person in the group was able to take a stab at butchering part of the hog. My timing was perfect, little did I know, but I should have expected, because Mark and Janet Wilhelms think of everything, that an incredible lunch was included with the workshop. I am not a meat eater, vegetables tend to be the star of my plate, but the piece of pork belly that Ryan had me taste was incredible and so simply cooked and yet again proved the point that if the beginning product is really good, the cooked(correctly) product is really, really good!  It made me glad that I have not given up on meat completely.

At the end of the morning, students were given large bags of the freshly cut meat to bring home. Not only did the students participate in the process, meet all the players, the farmer, the butcher and the chef but they got to bring home some good meat as well! As one student remarked, she thought the whole class was an incredible value. I took away a “to do’”. I need to bone up on my cuts of meat. First off, there are so many cuts of meat and if I know more about what they are, it makes me a better shopper, cook and I can save money because some of the less well known cuts are cheaper but tasty to eat.

The other fun part of this workshop was the mix of people that it drew. From one familar social media face whose father, interestingly enough, was a butcher, to a caterer wanting to be more knowledgeable on meat, to people who just wanted to be able to participate in the process. I was happy that I was able to carve out the time and stop by!

(Disclosure: I was invited by the RMM folks and did not pay for the workshop)

 




The Local Beet’s 2010 Restaurant Of The Year: City Provisions Delicatessen

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Posted: January 29, 2013 at 6:58 am

Editor’s Note: Like a lot of you, we got the sudden news last night about the very sudden closing of City Provisions Deli. We’ve admired their effort since they opened, so much so that we rushed to award it. In honor of the good works done at City Provisions, please re-read what we wrote a few years ago.

As an aside, for a long time after we gave this “award” to Cleetus and City Provisions, they asked us for some kind of actual award. Something they could frame and declare. We never got them anything; our hamstrung staff was always busy on something, and we hardly had the budget. Still, we appreciated that they appreciated it that much. We wish Cleetus and his crew all the best in what is coming. –RG

Image: Christina Noel

 

 

Image: Christina Noel

Image: Christina Noel

City Provisions Delicatessen is the brainchild of the outspoken and prolific Cleetus Friedman, who had already established himself with a locally-focused catering company of the same name.  He saw a void in the local-eating market for a neighborhood food and meat market that would, in essence, play the role of farmer’s market, but with regular hours.  Undeterred by the bleak economic forecast, Cleetus was confident that there were enough people who cared about the provenance of their food to support a delicatessen.  Hence, City Provisions Delicatessen — part classic delicatessen, part vintage meat market, and part artisanal specialty store.  Cleetus hedges his costs on meat by buying half- and whole-animals from small local farms, such as Dietzler and Faith’s, and butchers them in-house; pâtés and terrines are made from the less desirable cuts.  City Provisions’ house-smoked and -cured pastrami and bacon have already garnered a loyal following among snout-to-tail enthusiasts.  Cleetus said recently, “I really want to drive the fact that we are a true, old school delicatessen.  Everything is done in house, artisanally, by hand.  This is slow food.  Our mayo begins with our farmer delivering eggs to us . . . our smoked hams start as a whole hog that we get once a week and butcher, brine, and smoke.”

 

Image: Christina Noel

Image: Christina Noel

City Provisions’ determination-turned-success-story proved to Chicago that there exists a market for sustainably- and locally-raised meat.  As his plans for City Provisions Delicatessen unfolded throughout 2010, others spawned plans for similar local meat sources, beginning with Rob Levitt’s November 2010 announcement that he was leaving the Bucktown nose-to-tail restaurant, Mado, to open Butcher and Larder in Noble Square.  In December, Paul Kahan also announced his plans to open a butcher shop in the West Loop meatpacking district, and although details are scarce at this time, if The Publican is any indication, it should include at least some locally-raised meat as well.  (N.B.  Butcher and Larder opened for business on January 16, 2011 at 1026 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago.)

When asked about the state of City Provisions in early 2011, Cleetus said, “We are doing a nice, steady pace.  Especially being January, we are still seeing this trend.  We are meeting some goals, while exceeding others.  I truly wanted the entire experience, the food along with the service, to blow people away. This is why I invest in training people and I believe that shows . . . The prepared foods and charcuterie are really taking off.  And I love that.  Our butchering and raw meat is taking off, too.  We are about to launch a Meat CSA that will run in 6 week intervals.  We are very excited about this and KNOW that our customers will be too.”

Throughout 2011, City Provisions is looking to introduce items that draw from Cleetus’ roots, like tongue, kreplach, and mandel bread.  They are looking forward to the time when the weather warms, and their outdoor seating season begins.  By adding cheese and charcuterie plates,  as well as Sunday brunch to their repertoire, they will be able to accommodate more patrons who can linger and have some local beer and food.  ”2011 is going to be a great year!,” says Cleetus.  As long as we can continue to buy City Provisions’ smoky, slightly spicy pastrami, made in-house with Dietzler beef, and pick up a Gunthorp chicken to roast at home later, then it’s hard to disagree.

For supporting producers of local meat, and making it easier for us to eat local, The Local Beet honors City Provisions Delicatessen as our 2010 Restaurant of the Year.

Image: Christina Noel

Image: Christina Noel




Chicago’s Pipeworks named World’s Best New Brewery

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Posted: January 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

With interestingly named brews like their signature Ninja vs. Unicorn Double IPA, Ca$h 4 Golden Ale, and At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, many of Pipeworks’ brews have consistently received 95+ scores from the many raters at Ratebeer. And those ratings have added up to Pipeworks being named the World’s Best New Brewery.

We first told you about Pipeworks, and Beejay and Gerrit’s background, here on The Local Beet, back in early 2010, although they really didn’t get going until 2012.

There’s an extensive conversation with Beejay here. It’s particularly interesting now that Pipeworks has been rated World’s Best.

I’ve been impressed by every Pipeworks beer I’ve tried. As a marketing guy, if I had to criticize any aspect of their operation, it would be that their labels are so divergent. I’ve seen liquor store shelves with seven or eight facings of Pipeworks beers, but because there  are no obvious common elements among the labels, it can appear to the casual observer that the beers may be from different breweries.

Pipeworks is still self-distributed, and unavailable outside the greater Chicago area. Gerrit and Beejay are working fervently on increasing capacity. Their beers are well worth seeking out, even if you have to scour beer store shelves, sorting through all the disparate labels to find the Pipeworks logo.




Beery Best of 2012, & What to Watch for in 2013 — Tap Rooms

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Posted: January 26, 2013 at 4:00 am

A series of articles on trends in the world of local fermentation

#1. Tap Rooms

Opening day at Revolution’s Kedzie St Taproom

The old view of tap rooms:

“Tap rooms are, almost by definition, the lowest of low on the drinking establishment food chain. One step below the dive bars young urban professionals love to slum in and two steps below the worn but friendly neighborhood tavern on the corner, they occupy a little-noticed segment of the liquor industry: that of the scruffy, leftover gin joint in a city that was once filled with them. As taverns attached to — or sometimes right inside — liquor stores, there’s little confusion about their purpose or pretense. Just as no one ever enters a liquor store with anything but a cold six-pack or a bottle of wine or something harder on their mind, no one picks a tap room for a first date, or to wish a departing office colleague farewell, or to scope out members of the opposite sex. Tap rooms, even the nicest ones, are about drinking and nothing but. Which makes them, in this day and age, something of an anomaly, if not an outright anachronism.”

-       Mark W. Anderson, in Gapers Block, July 16, 2003

The new view of tap rooms:

“Tap rooms are now the ultimate destinations to sample a brewers’ best efforts – often limited releases – in an environment the brewers themselves have determined will most enhance the appreciation of their beverages.”

-       Tom Keith, in The Local Beet, January 25, 2013

How things change in ten years.

These days, it seems like the taproom has evolved from a seedy afterthought in a down-and-dirty liquor store to a venue for local brewers to show off their best stuff.

In many ways, a taproom similar to a brewpub, except that brewpubs are usually food/restaurant oriented, primarily focused on serving their brews made on-premise only to patrons in-house. Taprooms, these days, may have a few munchies, but their mission is usually to show off the beers they make on-site, which they also distribute throughout the region. If anything, they have more in common with Napa Valley’s tasting rooms than they do with the corner bar.

And 2012/2013 could mark the beginning of the taproom era in Chicagoland.

Possibly the most influential taproom to open in 2012 was at Revolution Brewing, in their production facility, 3340 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. (Open Wed – Sat, 2 – 10pm).

It was followed shortly by a taproom added onto Half Acre’s store, at 4257 N.Lincoln Ave, Chicago (Open all days but Monday, from noon ± 1 hour ‘til 11pm [2am Friday and Saturday nights]).

The brand new Solemn Oath brewery in Naperville also includes a taproom (1661 Quincy Ave.) featuring their well-rated beers.

Pipeworks has even discussed adding a taproom, although apparently Beejay and Gerrit have so much on their plate simply keeping up with demand and expanding capacity, any taproom plans are on the back burner.

But surely the most anticipated taproom will come from Lagunitas. The iconoclastic California beermaker is already building a new brewery on Chicago’s West Side, which will instantly become the largest brewery between Milwaukee and St. Louis. The beers aren’t expected until fall 2013, but the tap room – elevated over the brewery’s main floor — should open in the spring, affording early visitors a view of what it takes to build a big brewery.

Of course, many other regionally distributed breweries have restaurants on premise — Goose Island (both of them), Two Brothers (also both of them), Three Floyds and Flossmoor Station are the first few that come to mind. They’re all worth a visit, but don’t hate them because they also have pretty good food.

 

Next up in the series: All the new breweries


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A Tardy Harvest of Weekly Links

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Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

The Local Harvest desk remains mirred in winter sloth.  We barely got our assignment done within the context of “week.”  Do enjoy, however, the eat local links reaped.

Do you realize how the bi-annual “farm bill” affects our food supplies?  Do you realize how the farm bill get’s tied into other political machinations in Washington DC.  Beetnik Jeannie Boutelle points you here to get some ideas.

We always like to keep track of people promising to eat local all year.  Good luck girls!

Glad we’re not the only ones who take pictures of our freezers.

Beet link.

Mayhem in the cheese world?  An interesting read (and not what you’ll think).

Speaking of cheese, we have to look to Madison to get some pretty interesting news about local cheese in the Chicago area.

One of those backyard chickenists?  Take this survey.

One of the last, fresh vegetable harvested, is the leek.  It’s not just for stock.

Of course the Desk takes suggestions, tips and contributions.

 




Seasonal Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts

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Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

This time of year, many people succumb to a condition called Brussels Sprouts Fatigue, a type of burnout that results from overexposure to Brussels sprouts dishes over the course of several months. Like pumpkin, sprouts are around for such a long time that we run the risk of hating them by the time winter sinks its claws. The best antidote to such a malady? Unique Brussels sprouts dishes that manage to impress, even after months of apathy.

River North’s shiny new Tortoise Club transcends diners to a time of glitz and glamor, thanks to the buttoned up waiters, wild pheasant pie, and aristocratic atmosphere. Chef Gray McNally sources ingredients from local farmers and foragers, and promises a fresh take on classic American cuisine, but I imagine that F. Scott Fitzgerald would be right at home eating shaved Brussels sprouts in honey-apple vinaigrette with red oak lettuce and almonds.

A stone’s throw from Tortoise Club, sprouts take on sweet, sour, and smokey flavors at Untitled. One of Chicago’s most clandestine restaurants, Untitled is an homage to Prohibition Era speakeasies and supper clubs, but with a little more creativity on the food front, with dishes such as wild boar salami, chocolate-bourbon duck, and caramel-bacon popcorn. Chef Joseph Heppe is another purporter of locality and seasonality when it comes to menu sourcing, and though the menu states it is meant for sharing, the only thing you’ll be sharing with your table mates if they attempt to eat some of your roasted Brussels sprouts with Navel orange sweet ‘n’ sour and smoked pecans is a vicious glare.

Elsewhere in River North, which I am nicknaming Brussels Sprouts Square, the vegetable takes different turns at The Boarding House, Alpana Singh’s new palace of wine and food. The chef, Christian Gosselin, was raised on a family farm in a village in Quebec, and he brings those farm life mentalities to his work in the kitchen. The massive dining room menu is in full-on winter mode right now, and nothing screams of the season more than Gosselin’s Brussels sprouts and apple slaw, which he serves with a double bone-in pork chop, cheddar cheese grits and cippolini onions. Basically, it’s an edible hug. Sprouts are also available as a side, braised in bacon and pine nuts.

At smokin’ hot La Sirena Clandestina, chef/owner John Manion infuses South American flavor into heartland ingredients by combining shaved Brussels sprouts with almonds, charred radicchio, olive oil and Manchego cheese. Because nothing bad can come from the thought, “let’s put cheese on it.”

You can’t go wrong with Brussels sprouts pizza, now can you? No, you can not. At Balena, chef Chris Pandel flecks one of his pies with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, Pecorino and red onion. The chef has already proven his eager commitment to local sourcing and sustainable ingredients via his work at sister restaurant The Bristol, and Balena is no different.

Tasso ham, roasted parsnips and creamy chestnut vinaigrette sounds more like a savory sundae than a supporting cast to Brussels sprouts, but this is what you’ll find at Reno, Logan Square’s vibrant new cafe-by-day, Italian restaurant-by-night. Chef John Anderes has proven his chops at avec, where he worked as sous chef before opening Telegraph as executive chef, and a little while later, Reno.




The Local Calendar 1/23/13 The Greens Are Back!!!

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Posted: January 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

Very definitely, the early buyer gets the greens! By the time I got to the Green City Market  on Saturday morning, some of the producers, like Randy Roberts of Majestic Nursery, had sold out of his greens already. Nichols Farm which has upgraded their storage facilities to maximize the moisture in their vegetables had plenty of root vegetables on their tables, brussel sprouts, beets, radishes to name a few. Wheat grass is back as well, grown by Chicago Indoor Garden. I had to include the picture of smoked whitefish salad in the case at Dirk’s Fish, as I much as the local calendar tends to focus on farmers markets, you can’t forget the other local options available for foods like fish.

We try to keep up on events but miss some, some sites to check out for further detail on sustainable food/urban ag are the Illinois Stewardship Alliance out of Springfield and the Advocates for Urban Agriculture here in Chicago. Now on to the week ahead including The Chicagoist’s Benton House “Ramova Room” Soup Kitchen event on Thursday, Alex Poltorak of the AUA, has been posting each day more of the music, demos and workshops going on at the Young Aggies Gathering Saturday at Benton House,  and 60 days until “ramp season” starts!

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

Artisanal Wilmette – 414 Linden Ave. Wilmette

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

Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op - Located in the near-SW Pilsen neighborhood, the co-op has grown to five locations in, including Hyde Park, River North, Lakeview, and Logan Square

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town Check out their produce share January 9th through May 4th. You can still subscribe even though the share has started already.

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. Here is a link to their blog of “the best things our staff ate and drank in 2012“.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Standard Market – 333 East Ogden Ave., Westmont

January 23

Chicago - Wine Wednesdays at Province Restaurant - Seasonal farm to table tasting menu 161 N. Jefferson

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 1354 W. Wabansia  5:30pm -8pm  Theme “The ocean” Bread from PQM and La Farine.Pay-what-you-can donations benefit a range of Chicago-area food pantries and hunger relief agencies; to date we have raised more than $30,000.

January 24

Chicago - C & D Family Farms Hyde Park 7am – 10am  Harold Washington Park at 53rd & Hyde Park Blvd.

Chicago – Uptown Market Uptown Farmers’ Market is year round. Every Thursday from 7-1 inside Weiss Memorial Hospital or in the parking lot during the warmer months. 4646 N Marine Drive Spark of the Heart Soups will be there.

New!! Chicago - The Chicagoist presents Benton House Ramova Room” Soup Kitchen” 6-9pm 3052 S. Gratten St. They managed to put together an amazing lineup of chefs who grew up, live or work in the neighborhood. Mark Mendez (Vera) grew up in Bridgeport. Kevin Hickey (Allium) actually attended pre-school at Benton House and still lives in the neighborhood. Pleasant House Bakery’s Art Jackson readily said yes, as did Jay Sebastien and Carrie Clark of Bridgeport Pasty Co. Maureen Sullivan got Zaytune Mediterranean Grill’s Daniel Sarkis to participate. Even though Nightwood is in Pilsen, it’s close enough to Bridgeport that they got Jason Vincent to come aboard. All proceeds benefit the Benton House food pantry. Suggested donation is $10

Chicago - The Publican – Hundred Horse Release Dinner  5:30pm – 10:30pm $65 reservations are by telephone only at 312-733-9555

Chicago - First Bites Bash 2013: Official Kickoff to Chicago Restaurants Week 6-9pm Union Station First Bites Bash is the official kick-off event for Chicago Restaurant Week, produced by Choose Chicago. Dirk Flanigan, Executive Chef of Henri and The Gage will host this year’s event, from which a portion of the proceeds will benefit Bear NecessitiesPediatric Cancer Foundation.

January 26

Chicago – Green City Market at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8:30- 1pm 2430 North Cannon Drive The market runs indoors through April 27th

Chicago - C & D Family Farms 8:30am – 10:30am Northcenter On Belle Plaine off Lincoln across from the CVS 11:30am – 1:30pm Division St. at Clark

Chicago - Young Aggies Gathering 12pm – 10pm Benton House - 3054 S. Gratten Ave What do you think about these Workshops? Raw Vegan “Cooking” Make your own Kombucha, Yogurt, & Kefir How to can your own fruits/veggies, Make a Mushroom kit, Start your own garden (kid friendly) Want to share in one of these Skillshares? Pick up pointers on basic winter bike maintenance Composting basics Thai Massage Share in some Yoga

Chicago - The Red Meat Market presents “The Whole Hog – Butcher Breakdown Class” Centered Chef Studios 177 North Ada St. 2 sessions 10am – 1pm 3pm – 6pm $150/class

 Elgin - Winter Market at Habitat for Humanity ReStore Elgin - 800 North State St. 9am – 3pm (thru May) Their mantra is “Keepin It Local1″ As such, their intention has always been to supply the local community with local products and crafts.

Evanston – Winter Evanston Farmer and Artisan Market at the Ecology Center  9-1pm 2024 McCormick Blvd.  The market will be at this location for the next 5 months, today and every Saturday through April 27, 2013. Spark of the Heart Soups and C & D Family Farms will be there.

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

Park Ridge – Faith In Place Indoor Winter Farmers Market at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church 9am -1pm 205 N Prospect Ave.

January 27

Beverly - C & D Family Farm  8:30am – 10:30am In the parking lot at 95th and Longwood

Chicago – Andersonville C & D Family Farm 9am – 12pm St. Gregory parking lot on Ashland across from Jewel

Chicago - Winter Farm and Wine Dinner West Town Tavern 1329 West Chicago Ave. 6pm  Join them for a warming mid-winter celebration of food and wine featuring meats, cheeses and produce from our local, Heartland bounty. Tickets are $79.00 per person including tax and gratuity. Purchase tickets by calling 312-666-6175.

 Chicago – Logan Square Winter Market – 10-2pm Congress Theater Lobby 2135 North Milwaukee

January 28

Chicago - Choucroute Garnie at Floriole with Butcher and Larder - Monthy dinner $45 does not include tax/gratuity 1220 West Webster 7pm

Chicago – 2013 Chicago Farmers Market Forum - Co-hosted by the Green City Market – Kendall College 10am – 4pm Market managers, volunteers, and vendors are encouraged to attend this information-packed forum.Expert panel discussion topics will include: Facilitating EBT, WIC and SFMNP acceptance and improving redemption at your market, Demystifying Health Department Regulations and the Cottage Food Law, Producer- Only Standards and Market Rule Enforcement $20

New!! Chicago - CSA Night in NorthCenter hosted by Beguyle BrewingTomato Mountain, and Northcenter Neighborhood Association. 7-9pm 1800 West Cuyler More than 15 CSAs will be participating!!

SAVE THE DATE

February 1-2

Chicago - Growing and Marketing Asian Medicinal Herbs - Pioneers in Ecological Medicine(PEM) Co-sponsored by The Land Connection A 2-day workshop open to farmers interested in diversifying their business with specialty crops. The workshop will introduce growers to the basic strategies of producing domestic East Asian medicinal herbs. 9am-6pm Jane Addams Hull House

February 3

Chicago - Farmacopeia - Purchase your tickets online today at the early bird rate. Invite your loved ones to be there too to celebrate and support the farmers who will be the pioneers in Midwestern cultivation of Chinese medicinal plants! 3-6pm Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Morton Grove - Winter Farmers Market - 9 am – 2 pm right next door to our regular season site, at the Morton Grove American Legion Civic Center (6140 Dempster St.) These indoor markets will feature over two dozen vendors selling foods, gifts, and decorations for the winter holidays.

February 5

Chicago - Publican Quality Meats - 7pm Sean O’Keefe Chateau Grand Traverse Midwestern Wine Dinner $75 plus tax and gratuity

February 8

New!! Chicago - Tickled Pink for Bright Pink - The dynamic group at Tickled Pink are behind this event where proceeds support Bright Pink’s breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection programs for young women. 7-12pm River East Arts Center 435 East Illinois

February 9

Chicago – A Cider Summit – At Navy Pier 11am – 7pm Over 60 Artisanal Hard Ciders Buy tickets here $20

Common Threads World Festival March 4

March 14-16 Good Food Festival 2013!!!! The festival bringing good food and farmers to Chicago!

Pinot Days - Saturday April 20th Navy Pier 2-5pm

Whiskyfest Friday April 26 - It sold out pretty darn quickly last year!! Better get your tickets now!





A Gathering Place That Lives up to its Name

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Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

Greetings all, and welcome to my inaugural post for The Local Beet. I’ve had a passion for food writing for several years now, ever since I graduated from culinary school and realized my education was best applied in written word. Over the past few years, I served as lead writer for Restaurant Intelligence Agency, and recently left to get back into more journalistic food writing. Someone recently told me that I have a knack for combining adorableness with serious writing, and I took that as the greatest accolade, as I always strive to be engaging, quirky and genuine in my writing, be it on a blog, a tweet or even an email. I hope you enjoy my personal brand of writing, starting with a charismatic review of a new restaurant.

A new restaurant whose mission statement elucidates on “friends and family coming together to enjoy amazing hospitality” runs the risk of coming off a little too “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but the folks at Gather, a cozy addition to Lincoln Square, achieve what few neighborhood restaurants set out to achieve. There’s a fine line between tacky and welcoming when one sets such aww-inducing goals, and Gather toes that line favorably.

Unlike some other cliche-laden restaurant names, Gather’s rings exactly true, and you’ll want to do precisely that at this European-tinged American spot. The space feels like the living room of someone’s rich aunt, with a kitchen so open guests should perhaps sign waivers before dining at the counter, in such close proximity to whirling cutlery. As the inviting waitstaff explains, the food is seasonal and locally derived, and the menu changes on the chef’s whim. If I’ve heard that pitch once, I’ve heard it 1,000 times, but again, Gather exceeds expectations with a concept that may not be terribly outre, but is simple and well executed, and that is precisely what matters. The kitchen sources ingredients from the Lincoln Square Farmers’ Market when available, and outfits its menu with sustainably sourced products plucked from farms around Chicagoland. The chef, Ken Carter, is an alum of Charlie Trotter’s, and promises a “less is more” approach with his food, putting the spotlight on the ingredients, rather than mask their flavors with too many add-ons.

The menu is concise, divided into appetizers, entrees and gather & share dishes (still not sure the difference between appetizers and “gather & share”). I guess you could say we “gathered & shared” the roasted cauliflower, with golden raisins, lentils, grapes and curry. When cauliflower florets are roasted perfectly, they are the ultimate vegetable comfort food. My first reaction was to call these little guys “nature’s chicken nuggets,” which I honestly don’t feel is far off. It was like playing ping pong trying to get the grapes on my fork, but the juicy tang of the raisins, and the toothsome, savory lentils and spices in the dish bring it all together beautifully.

Porchetta sandwich, complete with pickled fennel and sage aïoli

Entrees get even better with the half chicken, served as a seared breast and Southern fried leg with sweet potato gnocchi and garlic miso. Every element cooked perfectly, though the plate could probably use more than five gnocchis. The porchetta is a beast of a sandwich, with enough piled-high roasted pork shoulder to please a lumberjack. It’s served open-faced on pillowy flatbread, which I initially misheard as “fry bread” and got way too excited (and subsequently way too depressed when I discovered the truth).

The cushy simplicity carries over to dessert, with things like apple fritters, frozen chocolate cake and sticky buns. Sticky buns for dessert! What a welcome surprise to find these gooey carb bombs outside of a breakfast pastry case. Nothing innovative or outlandish about these buns, but they are just perfect; sort of like a Cinnabon, without the ungodly guilt that comes with actually patronizing Cinnabon. It’s served in a small cast-iron skillet, because of course it is.

This is the type of place where your server will chime in that every dish you ordered is actually his/her favorite as well. Not only is that not annoying, but it genuinely feels like they’re being sincere, and it genuinely feels like they want your friendship. These days, it’s a wonderful surprise when a restaurant depicts and delivers on a straightforward, honest concept, and Gather does exactly that.

Gather is located at 4539 N. Lincoln Ave., and is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.; Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until midnight. Call (773) 506-9300 for reservations, but bear in mind the restaurant keeps 50% of its seating open for “spontaneous walk-in gatherings,” which is just precious.


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The Week the Local Food Came in a Box – Tomato Mountain Winter CSA – Week 1

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Posted: January 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

We Eat Local Year-round

In suburban Chicago

My wife, two daughters and I became a local family somewhere around 2006.  Since we started at the peak of market season, I would address questions about the possibilities of eating local with the retort, don’t ask me now, ask me later.  I mean we really could not say if we could stay local all year until we tried eating local all year.  And then we tried and did a decent job, and then we went another year, and did a better job, and pretty much ever since, we’ve been managing.  We manage, as I’ve always told people to always eat local in the winter, through a combination of stored food and trips to various winter markets.  This year, however, is a bit different.  This year we have a winter CSA.

I am really excited to belong to the inaugural winter CSA from Tomato Mountain Farm*. Tomato Mountain did a long CSA. Their 2012 Spring season start mid-April and their last box in 2012 came shortly before Christmas. Yet, unlike other CSA farms, Tomato Mountain is already back at it. As you can see above, they are able to pack a nice punch, even this time of year. The first winter box included mild Hakurei turnips, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, and their namesake, in the form of canned whole roasted. In the coming weeks, they plan on the same mix of stored crops and high quality preserved products, but they also plan on adding items grown in their hoops, especially frost-kissed spinach  It will certainly enable us to eat local this week and in the weeks to come.

When we first started eating local year-round, we actually had a quasi-winter CSA to help. Way back in the day, our friend Farmer Vicki, of Genesis Growers, did some serious winter production in her hoop-houses. She did not offer a winter CSA per se, but she made trips North, including to Oak Park, where she’d deliver an eclectic mix of stuff–I remember some big heads of celery. She only did that one winter, and I know of no farmer who tried something similar. Now, the supplies of cold weather local foods have not been non-existent. Almost always, Irv and Shelly will have something local in their inventory. Cassie works hard to get whatever she can for her Green Grocer, and the various winter markets might have something.

Something. We long ago learned (nay expected) that it was only something. For instance, the supply of winter produce might have sold out before we even made it to a market. Or the available produce ranged from burdock root to celery root, with nothing in between. We could hardly get by on one bag of Swiss chard.  So, for many years, we have made good efforts to maintain a suburban root cellar in the sky. To have enough food up there to feed us weekly.  We put away squash and potatoes, onions and beets, various other hardy items, for cold weather consumption. We have, and will always put away, but getting more than something, getting a winter CSA box is a really great thing.  It really makes things easier.  The onus on supplying now comes from a skilled farmer instead of a chilly attic.  There’s a lot less excuse for you to not eat local this winter.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain and Tomato Mountain is an advertiser on the Local Beet.


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Need To Jumpstart Cheesemaking Career? Wisconsin Cheesemaker Scholarship Available

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Posted: January 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Wisconsin Cheese Originals is offering a $2,500 scholarship to help one new Wisconsin artisan cheesemaker earn his or her cheesemaking license this year. These scholarships are necessary, in large part, because Wisconsin is the only state to require cheesemakers to be licensed. Licensing can be a lengthy process that takes as long as eighteen months, and requires attendance at five cheesemaking courses and 240 hours of apprenticeship with a licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Applications for the 2013 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship are due by March 15. The recipient will be chosen by a review committee and notified by April 1. Past scholarships have gone to Anna Landmark, who plans to craft both fresh and aged sheep’s milk cheeses, including thistle-rennet cheeses, which will require her to develop her own rennet from thistle flowers; Rose Boero, a dairy goat breeder in Custer, Wis, who crafts a variety of goat’s milk cheeses at Willow Creek Cheese; and Katie Hedrich, another goat’s milk cheesemaker, who took Best in Show for her goat’s milk cheese, Evalon, at the 2011 U.S. Champion Cheese Contest, and was named the 2011 U.S. Champion Cheesemaker, the youngest licensed cheesemaker to ever earn the title.

For more information and to download the application, please go here.




The Local Calendar 1/16/13 Hello Greens Good By Flu…More Markets Open For The Year!

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Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

               My thought for this week is cooking good food and good health, I think we all hope that this “flu going around, just goes away for good!” One way to fight it is eating greens and good, nutritious food. Where else to find it but at the farmers markets! Anyone who has read the Beet for the last year, knows that Tamar’s book is basically The Beet handbook. So I had to start my New Year off with Tamar. In February, there is a great weekend focused on growing asian medicinal herbs locally. When I started to think about cooking tasty winter greens, my “go to” book for ideas with a healthful twist is Nina Simonds , “A Spoonful of Ginger”. Tai Nam Market was my stop for fish sauce  and rice wine vinegar and I will gather my greens at The Green City Market this weekend at the Nature Museum. My final “go to” book for this year is Michael Ruhlman’s “Ruhlman’s Twenty“. My colleagues here at The Beet are great cooks but for those like me, that are a bit challenged, Ruhlman’s book offers really basic techniques with simple recipes and ideas that turn 20 techniques into a gizillion different easy to cook meals.

We try to keep up on events but miss some, some sites to check out for further detail on sustainable food, urban ag, workshops/events are the Illinois Stewardship Alliance out of Springfield, their facebook page is here, we “like” them, and the other group is here in Chicago, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, we “like” them as well. Now on to the week ahead including Fourth Annual MLK Food Justice weekend and tonights Community Gardens Planning Meeting for 2013 at the Chicago Center for Green Technology at 6pm.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

Artisanal Wilmette – 414 Linden Ave. Wilmette

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

Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op - Located in the near-SW Pilsen neighborhood, the co-op has grown to five locations in, including Hyde Park, River North, Lakeview, and Logan Square

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town Check out their produce share January 9th through May 4th. You can still subscribe even though the share has started already.

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. Here is a link to their blog of “the best things our staff ate and drank in 2012“.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Standard Market – 333 East Ogden Ave., Westmont

January 16

Chicago -    Chicago Community Gardeners Planning Meeting – 6-8 pm  at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento.  (Join the young-aggies group on google to get further information on community gardening)Dinner will be provided and children are welcome. Fellow gardeners are invited to participate in what will hopefully become an annual Chicago community gardeners gathering.
Though we all garden in unique corners of the City, we are bound by common challenges and opportunities. How will we conserve water in an era of drought and increased water bills? Where can we get mulch, compost and tools? How can we attract new gardeners and keep the current gardeners engaged? How can we train the leaders of tomorrow? Can we coordinate city wide neighborhood garden tours together and witness the efforts of fellow gardeners across the city?  Together we can rise to the challenge to build a garden community that is strong, coordinated and resilient.

Chicago - Wine Wednesdays at Province Restaurant - Seasonal farm to table tasting menu 161 N. Jefferson

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 1354 W. Wabansia  5:30pm -8pm  Theme “Our neighbors to the north”- Mana Food Bar Meredith Neuman, Sarah Steedman, Cindi and Mike Webber, Alison True, Lynette Schroeter, John Roeser

January 17

Chicago - C & D Family Farms Hyde Park 7am – 10am  Harold Washington Park at 53rd & Hyde Park Blvd.

Chicago – Uptown Market Uptown Farmers’ Market is year round. Every Thursday from 7-1 inside Weiss Memorial Hospital or in the parking lot during the warmer months. 4646 N Marine Drive Spark of the Heart Soups will be there.

Chicago - Spiaggia Tartufi & Truffles Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner

Chicago - Uncommon Ground celebrates it return to “World’s Greenest Restaurant ” as designated by the Green Restaurant Association. 6pm 3800 North Clark St.

January 18-20

Chicago - Fourth Annual MLK Food Justice Weekend ”Shmita: Food Security and Sustainable Design in the Sabbatical Year and Beyond” KAM Isaiah Israel 1100 East Hyde Park  Among the program highlights are a Friday night service, a Saturday afternoon community design workshop and Sunday sessions on food, farming and sustainable design. All events are held at KAMII at  Boulevard and are free of charge and open to the public.

 January 19

Chicago – Green City Market at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8:30- 1pm 2430 North Cannon Drive The market runs indoors through April 27th

Chicago - C & D Family Farms 8:30am – 10:30am Northcenter On Belle Plaine off Lincoln across from the CVS 11:30am – 1:30pm Division St. at Clark

Elgin - Winter Market at Habitat for Humanity ReStore Elgin - 800 North State St. 9am – 3pm (thru May) Their mantra is “Keepin It Local1″ As such, their intention has always been to supply the local community with local products and crafts.

Evanston – Winter Evanston Farmer and Artisan Market at the Ecology Center  9-1pm 2024 McCormick Blvd.  The market will be at this location for the next 5 months, today and every Saturday through April 27, 2013. Spark of the Heart Soups and C & D Family Farms will be there.

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

Oak Park  - Faith In Place Winter Market - 9am – 1pm Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation
875 Kenilworth

January 20

New!! Chicago – Open Feast Discussion and Pot Luck -10am  Sponsored by The Peterson Garden Project PGP Learning Center 4642 N. Francisco Join Irina Zadov and Abraham Epton for stories and recipes from Open Feast – a global storytelling series conducted around communal meals. Travel from Berkeley to Belarus and explore urban gardens, bootlegger caves, communal farms, and edible histories from North America and Eastern Europe. Bring a dish to share and a story about your own food journey!

Chicago – Andersonville C & D Family Farm 9am – 12pm St. Gregory parking lot on Ashland across from Jewel

Beverly - C & D Family Farm  8:30am – 10:30am In the parking lot at 95th and Longwood

Chicago – Logan Square Winter Market – 10-2pm Congress Theater Lobby 2135 North Milwaukee

SAVE THE DATE

January 24

Chicago - First Bites Bash 2013: Official Kickoff to Chicago Restaurants Week 6-9pm Union Station First Bites Bash is the official kick-off event for Chicago Restaurant Week, produced by Choose Chicago. Dirk Flanigan, Executive Chef of Henri and The Gage will host this year’s event, from which a portion of the proceeds will benefit Bear NecessitiesPediatric Cancer Foundation.

New!! Chicago - The Chicagoist presents Benton House Ramova Room” Soup Kitchen” 6-9pm 3052 S. Gratten St. They managed to put together an amazing lineup of chefs who grew up, live or work in the neighborhood. Mark Mendez (Vera) grew up in Bridgeport. Kevin Hickey (Allium) actually attended pre-school at Benton House and still lives in the neighborhood. Pleasant House Bakery’s Art Jackson readily said yes, as did Jay Sebastien and Carrie Clark of Bridgeport Pasty Co. Maureen Sullivan got Zaytune Mediterranean Grill’s Daniel Sarkis to participate. Even though Nightwood is in Pilsen, it’s close enough to Bridgeport that they got Jason Vincent to come aboard. All proceeds benefit the Benton House food pantry. Suggested donation is $10

Chicago - The PublicanHundred Horse Release Dinner  5:30pm – 10:30pm $65 reservations are by telephone only at 312-733-9555

January 26

Chicago - Young Aggies Gathering 12pm – 10pm Benton House - 3054 S. Gratten Ave What do you think about these Workshops? Raw Vegan “Cooking” Make your own Kombucha, Yogurt, & Kefir How to can your own fruits/veggies, Make a Mushroom kit, Start your own garden (kid friendly) Want to share in one of these Skillshares? Pick up pointers on basic winter bike maintenance Composting basics Thai Massage Share in some Yoga

Chicago - The Red Meat Market presents “The Whole Hog – Butcher Breakdown Class” Centered Chef Studios 177 North Ada St. 2 sessions 10am – 1pm 3pm – 6pm $150/class

January 27

New!! Chicago - Winter Farm and Wine Dinner West Town Tavern 1329 West Chicago Ave. 6pm  Join them for a warming mid-winter celebration of food and wine featuring meats, cheeses and produce from our local, Heartland bounty. Tickets are $79.00 per person including tax and gratuity. Purchase tickets by calling 312-666-6175.

January 28

Chicago - Choucroute Garnie at Floriole with Butcher and Larder - Monthy dinner $45 does not include tax/gratuity 1220 West Webster 7pm

New!! Chicago - CSA Night in NorthCenter hosted by Beguyle BrewingTomato Mountain, and Northcenter Neighborhood Association. 7-9pm 1800 West Cuyler More than 15 CSAs will be participating!!

February 1-2

Chicago - Growing and Marketing Asian Medicinal Herbs - Pioneers in Ecological Medicine(PEM) Co-sponsored by The Land Connection A 2-day workshop open to farmers interested in diversifying their business with specialty crops. The workshop will introduce growers to the basic strategies of producing domestic East Asian medicinal herbs. 9am-6pm Jane Addams Hull House

February 3

Chicago - FarmacopeiaPurchase your tickets online today at the early bird rate. Invite your loved ones to be there too to celebrate and support the farmers who will be the pioneers in Midwestern cultivation of Chinese medicinal plants! 3-6pm Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Morton Grove - Winter Farmers Market - 9 am – 2 pm right next door to our regular season site, at the Morton Grove American Legion Civic Center (6140 Dempster St.) These indoor markets will feature over two dozen vendors selling foods, gifts, and decorations for the winter holidays.

February 5

Chicago - Publican Quality Meats - 7pm Sean O’Keefe Chateau Grand Traverse Midwestern Wine Dinner $75 plus tax and gratuity

February 8

New!! Chicago - Tickled Pink for Bright Pink - The dynamic group at Tickled Pink are behind this event where proceeds support Bright Pink’s breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection programs for young women. 7-12pm River East Arts Center 435 East Illinois

Common Threads World Festival March 4

March 14-16 Good Food Festival 2013!!!! The festival bringing good food and farmers to Chicago!

Pinot Days - Saturday April 20th Navy Pier 2-5pm

Whiskyfest Friday April 26 - It sold out pretty darn quickly last year!! Better get your tickets now!





A Weekly, Weekly Harvest

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Posted: January 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm

We are getting back into the swing of things at the Local Beet in posting our regular features such as Jeannie Boutelle’s outstanding Local Calendar, and my adequate Weekly Harvest.

Over the weekend, I engaged in the perennial locavore argument about what makes a good farmer’s market.  The folks at Civil Eats offer their argument here.

Pretty cool that President Obama’s Inaugural lunch (considered the hardest ticket) is an homage to the artisanal, sustainable and, where possible, local foods.  The menu, for whatever reason, however, sources heavily from the very non-swing state of New York.  Hey, Mr. President, why nothing from the Great Lakes area?

One of the reasons I cite for eating local is that it leads to less solid waste.  In the UK they’re thinking the same thing.

The quality and variety of cheeses coming out of Wisconsin continues to amaze, and if you think you’re close to keeping up, check out the ones one of our favorite bloggers, Cheese Underground, wants you to try in 2013.

Jews revere the number 18, so I once came up with an 18 point guide to eating local.  Yet, who would not revere a list 150 strong on eating local.  Lots of fun stuff here.

The market for anti-locavorism tomes seems to be holding strong for the coming year.

Anything else interesting you’ve run across so far this year?




Publican Quality Meats Featuring Stand-Out Local Winemaker Chateau Grand Traverse on Feb. 5th

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Posted: January 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Soon, you’ll have a unique opportunity to see the potential of locally-produced wine. Chateau Grand Traverse has been making wine on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan since 1973. It mostly focuses on Rieslings — especially the dry variety — but now, as the second generation is taking over, it is experimenting with other types such as Grüner Veltliner and Gamay. Last year, their incredibly special Lot 49 Riesling was named Jancis Robinson’s Wine of the Week in a blind-tasting with Riesling from all over the world.

There are some places you can find Chateau Grand Traverse around town, but few places better than at a dinner with food specially prepared by Publican Quality Meats. This four-course meal features food that pairs ideally with the cool-climate wines made by CGT. You’ll even get to try the Lot 49! The dinner is sure to sell out, so make your reservations soon. More information here.

View from CGT Vineyards
Vineyards at Chateau Grand Traverse




A Weekly Harvest for 2013 Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
City Fresh Market Give Away Winners Monday, January 7th, 2013
The Local Calendar 1/9/13 The Beet Goes On- Connect To Your Inner Locavore in 2013! Friday, January 4th, 2013