A Slow Taste of Tuscany @ Onesto November, 18

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A Slow Taste of Tuscany

St. Louis, MO / November 10, 2009 / www.slowfoodstl.org/sfstl_tuscan_dinner.pdf – Wednesday, November 18, 2009, join Slow Food St. Louis and Welcome Books as they team up with Onesto Pizza & Trattoria to present a celebration and special dinner commemorating the release of Welcome Books’ new book: SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN.

In the spirit of The Oxford Project and American Farmer, SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN, by Douglas Gayeton, is a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life, and a tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and shared culture center on the growing, preparing, eating, and everyday pleasures of food. Gayeton’s imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, historical facts and sayings that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia toned image. The book also features a preface written by Slow Food International founder, Carlo Petrini, and an introduction by notable Slow Food USA member, Alice Waters.

With support from Zagat, in celebration of the book’s release, Welcome Books has contacted leaders of Slow Food and other sustainable food organizations nationwide to host dinners across North America.

As Slow Food St. Louis co-leader, Bill Burge said, “When Welcome Books contacted me about finding a local Italian restaurant doing things ‘Slow’, Vito was the first person I thought of. Every Wednesday we see him hounding the best farmers at the Maplewood Farmers’’ Market to source the finest products he can for his customers. He obviously feels it’s the right thing to do, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to have teamed up with Vito and Michele.”

The dinner will feature

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Event: SLOWednesday with Gerard Craft, Dave Hillebrand and Brett Palmier

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Mark your calendars, this year’s SLOWednesday events start just two weeks from tomorrow, and the first is sure to be a hit…

May 13, 2009: Terra Madre Update

Intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy, globalization, and economics, Terra Madre is a bi-annual conference hosted by Slow Food international in Torino, Italy.

The last event was held in October of 2008, and Slow Food St. Louis sent three major delegates to represent them: Gerard Craft of Niche Restaurant, Dave Hillebrand of Prairie Grass Farms, and Brett Palmier of Biver farms. Enjoy this opportunity to offer them a belated welcome home and an ear to listen to their stories.

  • SLOWednesday events take place at the Bottleworks in the Crown Room after the Farmers’ Market, at 7:00 p.m. Talks begin at 7:30 p.m., and Schlafly asks that everyone interested in ordering food and drink place their orders and be settled in before that time. Events are free and open to the public.

It’s not Nikes vs heirloom grapes, it’s food vs hunger.

With Slow Food constantly taking a hit for being elitist, I feel a great opportunity was lost to further our cause as I watched in horror while Alice Waters cooked her “quick” breakfast on 60 Minutes.

If food is a right–and I believe it is–how can we can we, as Slow Food co-leaders, defend our stance, when even our most outspoken leaders are accentuating these points of elitism? The average American does not make a quick breakfast of a fireplace baked egg and heirloom tomato salad, and the image or thought that they would is completely absurd.

Using the same ingredients, we would have been better served having her cook a breakfast of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and chives. Now that’s a meal most any American can cook, and the bonus: it doesn’t require a lavishly expensive home with a kitchen fireplace. It just requires a stove.

Reminder: Slow Food St. Louis January Meeting

Tap Room Meeting

This is an open meeting for members and non-members alike and we encourage anyone new to come kick off the new year with us as we plan to discuss our upcoming events for 2009. For those interested in becoming more involved, or finding out more about who we are and what we’re up to, now’s your chance to come and do so.

  • Date: Wednesday January 14, 2009
  • Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Location: Schlafly Tap Room
  • Street: 2100 Locust Street
  • City/State/Zip: St. Louis MO 63103

Event: Organic Gardening Club

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In the past I’ve put off home-gardening because I’d hoped to move soon and didn’t want the mess in my backyard. But, with the economy what it is, I’m not going anywhere soon. So perhaps you, like I, plan to make gardening a part of your new year. And if you’re really like me, you’re better at killing things then growing them so the inaugural meeting of the Missouri Organic Association’s Organic Garden Club might just be for you.

The cost is $5 and the event will be held Thursday, January 8 at the Town & Country location of Whole Foods from 6:30-8:00 PM. Friend of Slow Food St. Louis Molly Rockamann of EarthDance Farms will be there to speak and answer questions as well as show EarthDance’s short-film, Connoisseur of Fine Foods, about Mueller Organic Farms in Ferguson, MO. You can catch a teaser of the film on YouTube.

Further details and registration information can be found online at WholeFoodsMarket.com.

If you were cool…

you would be at Mad Art Gallery this Saturday for Slow Food St. Louis’s annual fund raiser, The Art of Food.

Art of Food

Full event details are at artoffood.org though what you’ll really want to know is who the chefs are:

Debbie Sultan & Matt Herren – 222 Artisan Bakery and Goshen Coffee
Joshua Galliano – An American Place
Lou Rook – Annie Gunn’s
Mark Curran – Araka
David Bailey – Bailey’s Chocolate Bar and Rooster
Kevin Willmann – Erato on Main
Eric Brenner – Moxy Bistro
Gerard CraftNiche
Matt Bessler – Schlafly Bottleworks
Kevin Nashan – Sidney Street Cafe
Mathew Rice – Veruca

and possibly more to come…

Event: Slow Food Lambstravaganza

Lambstravaganza

I’m robbing the Slow Food St. Louis description because, well, I wrote it.  It’s coming up quick, and it’s sure to sell out so you might want to move quick.  In the stories from previous years I’ve heard words like “kidneys” and “lamb sweet breads” meaning my words are simply: “hell yeah!”

Lambstravaganza – A dinner to benefit Slow Food St. Louis

Lambstravaganza is a multi-course dinner generously prepared for the third year running by Chef Tim Grandinetti. This year he has also enlisted additional help and will bring with him three more of St. Louis best chefs: Lou Rook III (Annie Gunn’s), Dave Owens and Margaret Kelly (Bissinger’s Chocolate), and Kevin Nashan (Sidney Street Cafe). The family-style meal will feature grass-fed lamb and free-range eggs produced by our Prairie Grass Farms hosts, Dave and Barb Hillebrand, as well as other Missouri products. Wine pairings will be provided with each course by Les Bourgeois and beer will also be provided by Schlafly.Prior to dinner Dave Hillebrrand will give a walking tour of the farm for those interested.

Who: Slow Food St. Louis
What: Lambstravaganza
When: Sunday June 8, 2008, 2-6 p.m.
Where: Prairie Grass Farms, 230 Manley Road, New Florence, MO 63363

Go to slowfoodstl.org for ticketing information

New Slow Food St. Louis Website

sfstlsnailSorry for the lack of updated content, but I’ve been working diligently to put together a new Slow Food St. Louis Website.

It’s coming along nicely, and if you were interested in what we’re up to, know that you can now go find out.

We’re open to any critiques you might have, but go easy on me for now as the site is still within it’s first twenty-four hours. In other words, there’s still lots to do.

Also, to save you a bit of clicking, our next big event, Convivial Pursuit, is coming up fast, so buy some tickets and test your food trivia skills.

Dinner: Tuesday, December 4, 2007

turnips

Alanna posted about glazed turnips the other day, and when I read her post, it occurred to me I still had a bunch of turnips buried deep within “MY FRIG, THE ROOT CELLAR” too. I’d bought them from Claverach Farms a couple months ago with no idea what I’d even do with them as I’d never actually cooked turnips before, but with my only recent memory eating them coming from Red, I felt they deserved a chance at glory on my dinner table.

Heading to the kitchen to dig them out I was concerned with how they would look roughly two months after purchasing them, and I was happy to see they appeared almost identical to when I’d tossed them in the fridge in the first place. It’s amazing how long some fruits and vegetables will last if stored properly, and as I pulled the turnips from the crisper, I took the opportunity to take stock of my other late market purchases.

Walker Claridge’s green onions from The Root Cellar were doing surprisingly well for being at least 6 weeks old as I’d washed them the minute I’d gotten them home and wrapped them in moist paper towels. I enjoyed using them all summer when he had them as they were a sort of two-fer: the green ends could be used as herbs in vinaigrettes, tacos, etc. and the bulby root ends were perfect for a light onion flavor in something like scrambled eggs; having almost a leek like flavor.

Celeriac from Berger Bluff Farms, which I’d swiped away from all my Slow Food friends by buying every single one on the last day of the Maplewood Farmers’ Market, looked exactly as I’d expected: unchanged and ugly as the day I bought them; wrapped safely in their plastic bag.

Chioggia Beets from Claverach Farms were maybe a touch soft after at least 6 weeks, and one giant chioggia from The Root Cellar looked precisely how it did the day I bought it as I’d cut the beet greens off and used them the night I’d brought it home ensuring it’s longevity.

With everything pulled out for inspection, it was then that I saw the several varieties of apples from Centennial Farms I’d completely forgotten about. A bit soft, they were definitely showing their age, and it was at then inspiration hit in the form of applesauce…applesauce on turnip-potato pancakes.

beans applesauce
pork pork2

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Dinner and a Dash of Honey

I’m still silly busy at work, but rather than leave you empty handed, I wanted to quickly comment that it brought a smile to my face last Thursday when Ruhlman was talking about how great his salad would be with a fried egg on top. Fried eggs on salads rule, and as you can clearly see, I proved this only a couple days prior to his encouragement that “fat is good” when I made this salad for Ellie and me.

This incidentally is why I’d wanted the frisee the other day. I instead settled for arugula as Whole Foods was a sans frisee Whole Foods when I was lured into their shiny overpriced store.

2007.11.06 Dinner

Grilled Benne’s Best flank steak, fried Prairie Grass Farms egg, arugula, Bellews Creek red onion, malvarosa cheese, and a sherry vinaigrette (that had a little Esther’s Honey in it)

And speaking of Esther’s Honey. Esther is a really wonderful woman to speak with as she loves talking about her honey bees.

I never realized until the whole Colony Collapse Disorder scare how important the roll of honey bees is in the world of agriculture and was fascinated to find out, when she spoke at SLOWednesday, that there are huge honey beekeepers that transport their bees all over the country on semis to pollinate all sorts of crops nationwide.

Per Wikipedia…

“One major US beekeeper reports moving his hives from Idaho to California in January, then to apple orchards in Washington in March, to North Dakota two months later, and then back to Idaho by November — a journey of several thousand kilometers. Others move from Florida to New Hampshire or to Texas; nearly all visit California for the almond bloom in January.”

From further reading, this mass transportation apparently does not happen as widely in other countries, and it was this fact that exasperated the scare for so many farmers in America.

Another interesting side note is that she also taught us that honey bees will take over weaker hives they come across because really all they want is food and a weaker hives honey will do just fine. She specifically told one story about bees coming across a weaker hive that had Colony Collapse Disorder and they instinctively knew to move on. Apparently nobody is quite sure how the bees knew what the humans did not.

Moving back to the semis, the other thing I found interesting is that this is obviously how they get all those specific varieties of honey you see lining the gourmet food stores. They know exactly what the bees were pollinating not because they had to guess off taste alone, but because they took them to it in the first place.

And coming full circle back to my jar of honey…

When I bought it I’d asked Esther if she noticed a lot of flavor variation from batch to batch. The one I’d initially picked up was a darkish honey which she was unsure of. Many of the other bottles were much lighter, and she said her neighbor, who grows a lot of thyme, had been telling her the bees had constantly been around his herbs at the time she had bottled that honey. So I swapped for the lighter honey and it really does have a noticeable herbaceous quality to it. I’ve really been enjoying it, and I keep slinging it in just about anything I make where honey would even remotely work as it has a sort of lightness that isn’t as sweet and overpowering as other honey’s I’ve used.