Retro recipe: Co-op injera

On my trip back from the West Coast, I finally got around to reading the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association alumni newsletter. What a joy! All the characters and the nutty news you’d expect from student-run living and dining appeared on those pages: A current Obie fresh from a national co-op conference related the perils of dating in the Twin Oaks intentional community, while a past president recalled the OSCA of the early ’80s and how he got the office moved from a tiny garret to a proper room in the student union building and launched a filing system. A recent president announced that the lactofermentation revolution had hit the co-ops.

Of course, the supporters of this fermentation trend follow radical OSCA fashion, and some of the Yogurt Makers now walk the line between dedication and health code violation by sleeping with their cultured milk. Hey–you’ve got to keep the stuff at a constant 100 degrees if you want it to be good.

In honor of OSCA, I reach back now to my Head Cook days and give you a (fermented) recipe. I think I included this in a cookbook back in the day, when I took a semester off from supervising lunch for 70 to become the Harkness dining co-op’s “nutritionist.” This is written to serve a whole co-op, but I’ve scaled down the quantities so you can make it at home. Continue reading

What would Moses drive?

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What would Moses drive? This was the title of a session on climate change at the Hazon Food Conference, held December 24 to 27 in Pacific Grove, Calif. Indeed, this is a question for the ages. Or for right now.

…that’s the opening of a post I wrote for Jewcy.com. I was thrilled to write for them, and to share thoughts on the intersection of Judaism and climate change action. Read the whole post at Jewcy.

Detox recipe: Roasted squash soup

(Here’s a post from my Examiner.com site. Happy eating!)

I started to hear the regrets even before the holiday dinners began:

“I’m going to eat so much at my in-laws!”

“My healthy streak is on hold.”

“Why is everyone sending me cookies?!”

Now that the eating frenzy has dissipated, you’re probably ready to clamor back on the wagon. In fact, your new year’s resolutions may even mandate it. So here is the first of a few recipes to get you back to eating fruits and vegetables, buying local, and feeling good overall about what you put on the table.

Roasted squash soup with toasted pepitas

This is really more of a flexible formula than a recipe. Use any squash and root vegetables you like, and add or change ingredients as you see fit. Pepitas are simply squash seeds (usually from pumpkins). Here, I explain how to use this part of the squash that you might otherwise toss out to make a crunchy soup garnish. Continue reading

Learn about food politics: Go!

IMG_3452One thing I realized at the Hazon Food Conference is that I have a lot to learn. I’m particularly behind on food and agriculture policy. Thinking about the nuances of legislation on the table on the local and national level kind of makes my head spin. Then there are regional issues that can inform and compliment each other.

So much going on! But I decided to take a breath and start reading. If you’re in the same position, you can try it, too. Take a breath, look at this happy food picture above, and then dive in.

Here are a few (okay, many) links to get you started. Check ’em out, and feel free to suggest more.

News and policy
Grist.org
Foodpolitics.com, Marion Nestle’s website
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture
Civileats.com
Foodpolitics.com (Marion Nestle’s website)
Ethicurean.com

Local food resources
LocalHarvest.org
TheLocalBeet.com Continue reading

Updated: A face of the New Jewish Food Movement

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This is Susan Slesinger. Susan has four Jewish environmental bike rides under her Pearl Izumi waistband, the most recent on a tandem bike with partner Marvin Fields. Susan plays and teaches music and does fiber arts. She resides in Seal Beach, Calif. In this moment, she is standing outside of Merrill Hall at Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey. Behind her, a bustling shuk (market) selling cookbooks, local honey, kosher muffins, blown glass, and organic clothing is closing out the Hazon Food Conference. Continue reading

Heading west in search of food

On December 24, I will say goodbye to the contents of my one-person refrigerator and head to a table for more than 600. Yes, I’m off to the Hazon Food Conference in Pacific Grove, CA. According to the Twitter buzz, the conference promises to draw the largest gathering of the New Jewish Food Movement ever!

Not that we will all sit down and nod our heads together. Indeed, as the debate about meat at the conference shows, you can expect a few disagreements. I look forward to observing and perhaps taking part in some of these discussions (I already jumped into the meat comment combat — in defense of the stuff, believe it or not!).

If you’re curious what this is all about, check out the website and the schedule. Then try not to salivate too much!

I look forward to writing about this experience and guiding you to other accounts in word and image.

Ten year-round farmers markets

I did a roundup of year-round farmers markets back in February, but this one is new and expanded! Check it out. (This is cross-posted from my Examiner.com site.)

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Good news: Although several area farmers markets have closed for the season, plenty stay open year-round. Here is a list of markets in and around D.C. that keep selling through the winter. Most of these feature exclusively local farmers and food artisans who use sustainable practices. Feel free to comment if you know of others!

Year-round farmers markets in the D.C. area

D.C.

Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market* – Sundays, 10 am to 1 pm during the winter and 9 am to 1 pm the rest of the year, near the Dupont Circle Metro’s North exi. Read more about this market.

Eastern Market **- Saturday and Sunday, 7 am to 4 pm 7th St. SE near Eastern Market Metro

D.C. Farmers Market**- Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00 am-5:30 pm, Friday and Saturday, 7:00 am-6:30 pm, Sunday, 7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 1309 5th St. NE near the New York Ave./Florida Ave./Gallaudet University Metro

Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market*-Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm, 8th St, NW near E Street near the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Continue reading

Thanksgiving recipes for the last minute: Tofu turkey and pumpkin cookies

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Days or weeks can go into planning a Thanksgiving menu. Yet something always comes up at the last minute. Need to satisfy a visiting vegetarian? Forgot a dessert?  Here are two ideas to help.

1. For the vegetarian or other adventurous eaters at your table, try. Un-Turkey and Stuffing. This is my own adaptation of a recipe I found years ago and have been making ever since. Note that “NYF” is nutritional yeast flakes, available at health food stores.

2. Need another dessert? Try these Pumpkin Cookies. These have always been a hit, and the main ingredients are easy to substitute with whatever you have. Try replacing some or all of the raisins with currents or dried cranberries. These work great with butternut or acorn squash instead of the pumpkin.

Happy cooking, and happy Thanksgiving!

A fine flurry of opinion

Religion, ethics, food morals, and chickens’ flesh and souls have all collided in a flurry on The Jew and the Carrot. Hazon, the Jewish environmental organization that runs the blog, has planned a ritual slaughter of chickens as part of its annual food conference, and not everyone agrees with this idea.

Check out the discussion flying every which way at “The Debate:  Eating Meat (or not) at the Hazon Food Conference”.

Farmers markets for Thanksgiving

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Squash: a great local food for Thanksgiving. Photo by me.

This is a cross-post from my Examiner.com page. Hope it’s helpful!

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Several area farmers markets have announced they will close out the season this weekend, meaning it’s the last chance to stock up for Thanksgiving and for the year. Others will have special opportunities to fill your holiday table. Continue reading