Blue cheese with apricots

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The title of this post is one of the delicacies I ate last Friday at the Center for Green Urbanism in far northeast D.C. The title is also the one and only bit of this post focused on food.

I ate these chunks of goodness at the opening of ReCREATE, an art exhibit using materials saved from landfills and recycling plants. And then I wrote about it — the art, that is. Read my article about this mix of funky, salty, and sweet creations on the Washington City Paper Arts Desk blog.

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Local arugula for a global cure

Wow. It’s been a month since I posted. In that time, I led a Shabbat event about global hunger, finished that enlightening cleanse, sat in on my first farmers market board meeting, interviewed for an article on farmers markets in a major progressive publication, and–just yesterday–put on a brunch fundraiser with locally-sourced foods.

I have a lot of catching up to do! For now, though, I’ll just say THANK YOU to the 18 folks who came out to the brunch, and the others who gave remotely (I owe you guys apple-cinnamon pancakes!). …And I’ll tell you that my donation thermometer is bubbling with happiness about my reaching 100+ percent of my goal. …And I’ll post the menu to the brunch.

Thanks again, everyone!

Black River Café Brunch

Menu

Hashbrowns

Twin Springs Farm potatoes and onions

Pancakes

  • Mixed Berry-Chocolate Chip (Many Hands Organic Farm raspberries, Frog Eye Farm blueberries)

  • Apple-cinnamon (Twin Springs apples)

  • Strawberry-Banana (Virginia strawberries) – gluten/dairy-free available

Scrambled Eggs

Local veggies and Smith Meadows eggs

  • Tomato-Basil-Arugula-Provolone

  • Summer Squash-Chard-Cheddar

  • Spring Onion-Asparagus-Arugula

Yogurt and Fruit

Keswick Creamery yogurt, local fruit, bananas, local honey

TO DRINK:

Orange Juice Mimosas

Coffee (fair trade and organic, with grass-fed cow milk)

Teas

A week of home cooking

Huffington Post readers like to consume progressive, left-leaning news. Now the publication has challenged readers to live those politics–if only for seven days. HuffPost bloggers Katherine Goldstein and Adam Clark Estes have announced the Week of Eating In Challenge, intended, they write in a post last week, “to make it all personal.”

The project is simple: divisions HuffPost Green and HuffPost Eyes&Ears have dared readers to cook their own food. The challenge is inspired by HuffPost blogger and author Cathy Erway’s book The Art of Eating In. Erway avoided restaurants and takeout for a full two years. The Challenge only lasts from February 22 to 28.

A post detailing the challenge reveals there are actually few details. Make your own food for a week and eat it—that’s it. The challenge itself, though, could have many intricate and delightful results. “We think that if you take the time to cook and learn about where your food comes from,” write Goldstein and Estes, “you’ll make better choices for yourself and the planet.” You could also save a ton of cash.

Farmers markets can play a big role in eating in. At market, challengees can buy fresh vegetables that inspire them to cook creatively, get recipes and tips from local farmers, and meet other devotees of healthy home cooking. Once you get the food home, be sure to show the HuffPost how you prepared it all in your tiny D.C. kitchen. 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.

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”.

Organic agriculture, James Beard Awards, sourdough, and a new “examiner”

What a week!

On Monday, May 4, sustainable foodies triumphed at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Among the winners of these Oscars of the gourmet world are Michael Pollan (for his “eaters’ manifesto” In Defense of Food) and Dan Barber (for his chefing, which gives a whole new meaning to local ingredients).

Then organic farming got a $50 million boost as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (a.k.a. EQIP). The USDA will use these funds to support certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic practices.

Next came a more personally positive story when a Hopkins writing classmate published a wonderful tale of fermentation and family in the Post.

In another YaD-level bit of news, this blog writer got set up as the DC farmers market examiner for (you guessed it) examiner.com–not the newspaper, but an online publication with all kinds of useful, insider information… and completely useless procrastination reading (you’ll have to be the judge of where my info falls) . More on my farmers market scooping soon.

Rainy day at the farmers’ market

Transplants2Farmers market on a rainy daywet apples

Sunday’s rain started early, and by 10 a.m., there was little doubt: this was a dismal day for outdoor activities. Yet the farmers still showed up at the farmers’ market in Takoma Park, and shoppers made it worth their while. The market on Carroll Ave. has become essential for many of us, it seems, and we’re determined to buy.

For me, it was surely worth it. I got all my important staples for the coming week (bread, greens, potatoes, apples, cider, free-range blue eggs), along with a few fun extras like garlic greens and peppercress. Luckily, aside from a soggy egg carton, everything made it home safe.

Now I have my bounty, and the knowledge that I did my small part to support local foods and sustainable growing practices. Viva la famers’ market!

Make your own fall

The kind of cold frame that you can make yourself!
Keep things toasty with a cold frame! (Image from http://the-plant-directory.co.uk)

After the session with Fannie, I headed to “Extending the Growing Season for Increased Harvests” with Vinnie Bevivino of Master Peace Community Garden.

Though the Riverdale, Md. operation is technically in the ‘burbs, Vinnie had brought a very applicable idea to present—creating a cold frame. This is basically a small-scale version of a greenhouse. It can keep conditions nice and comfy for your veggies into the late fall, or let you start your plants earlier in the spring, thus extending a growing season of six months to nine or 10. Continue reading