Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fall Wrap-Up

We had a wonderful fall semester, learning important knife skills, going cranberry bogging, canning green beans, discussing Fair Trade, and fermenting sauerkraut, all with good food and amongst good company!

This year we wrapped up the semester with a Green Groups Potluck in BU's Women's Resource Center, with the fabulous folks of the other sustainability groups on campus, including the Environmental Student Organization, BU Bikes, the Compost Club, the Organic Gardening Collective, and more.

Thanks to everyone for a great fall semester. Enjoy the winter break, and be ready for fun foodie events in the spring! First-up: Screening of HomeGrown with Slow Food Boston, to be followed by a discussion panel on Sunday, January 17th. More details, TBA.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gift Alert! Electrolux Cocoon

How futuristic is this? A meat- and fish-growing "Cocoon" designed by Rickard Hederstierna of the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden won this year's Electrolux Design Lab 2009 competition that challenged industrial design students around the world to create home appliances following the theme “Designs for the next 90 years."


The cocoon is a concept design intended for every day use that "prepares genetically engineered and prepackaged meat and fish dishes by heating muscle cells identified by radio frequency identification (RFID) signals."
Hederstierna said in an interview that he had sustainability and a minimal environment impact in mind when designing it. By using science to create food, it would reduce the need for intensive farming and fishing: "The negative effects of this process, including the mass transportation of food around the world, clearing of land and distortion of ecosystems, are then negated."

Future of food? We shall see.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Make Your Foodie Voice Heard: Take the 2009 BU Dining Services Survey



Ask the average BU student how often the Administration asks for their opinion and the answer would most likely be: not often. Well, BU Dining Services is doing just that. They've just released their 2009 Student Dining Survey asking for student feedback about their dining experience.

So, for those of you who are currently eating, or who have ever eaten at the dining halls in the past, now is the time to voice your opinion about Dining Services! They really do take what the students have to say into account, so the more of us who fill out our foodie preferences on the survey, the better!

Want to see more Vegan, Vegetarian, Fair Trade, Organic or Local options? Let them know!

Take the Survey here: http://www.bu.edu/dining/survey/


Willy Wonka's LOCAL Chocolate Factory

Coffee and Chocolate are the two biggest for those trying to maintain a mostly Local diet. But if one is going to indulge, its best to enjoy those that are fairly produced, and easiest on the environment. And it doesn't hurt if they are created by local, artisan crafters. Enter our favorite purveyor of Chocolate-Taza!

December 5th 2009: Tour the Taza Chocolate Factory!

Alex giving a tourEver wanted a firsthand look at the inside of a chocolate factory

? Now's your chance! Just in time for the winter holidays, Their opening the doors
to the public for chocolate tastings and tours of the factory.

On Saturday, December 5th 2009, visit them in Somerville, MA

and see how chocolate really comes to be. Tours run from 10 AM to 6 PM, and are free and open to the public. Be prepared: There will be lots of tastings.The factory is quite small, so come early or late if you can't stand to wait!

Still need some Holiday gifts? There will be lots of tasty chocolate and holiday gifts for sale, at factory discount prices

We went last year and it was so cool to see how they stone-grind their chocolate using traditional Mexican Methods. Check out their website for some great information about how they make the chocolate, and drool over the fantastical flavors ( Guajillo Chili is my fave!)

See you there!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Root Cellaring

Concerned about getting your local vegetables during the cold winter months and didn't sign up for that winter CSA? It is the perfect time of year to consider Root Cellaring!

Root cellaring involves building a structure to store fruits, vegetables, and other food items at low temperatures and steady humidity to keep them from freezing during the winter months, to keep them cool during the summer months, and to prevent spoilage.

Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann of TW Food in Cambridge store vegetables in their root cellar, allowing them to serve local produce in their restaurant throughout the winter. In addition, root cellaring is making a comeback according to the NY Times article The Return of the Root Cellar.

Interested in getting started?

Recommended Read: Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel. Their condensed version on root cellaring can also be found here.

Live in the city? You can make a DIY garbage can root cellar if you have a backyard, or find other urban ideas at SuperNaturale.


If you need some local vegetables for your root cellar, the farmers markets in Boston are not over yet! Numerous farms and local vendors will be at Downtown Crossing's Holiday Market until December 24th. See the list of vendors.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Krautin'



Alex Lewin, a lacto-fermentation expert, demonstated the basic how-to of sauerkrauting to a group of us this past Tuesday. Lacto-fermentation is way to preserve the fall harvest so that we can eat local vegetables year-round.


Why Preserve?
It extends the "window of edibility" for that particular food and makes it available year-round. If you're not near the equator or in sunny cali, this is important if you strive to eat locally. In addtion, preservation create new tastes and textures; and in the case of sauerkraut, it also increases the nutrient and digestive benefits of the food. Besides fermentation, other methods of preservation are canning, freezing, refrigerating, and drying.
Is it Safe?? The Danger Zone for pathogenic bacteria is 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Alex believes that fermenting is much safer than canning, because you will KNOW when something has going wrong. IE if its slimy or furry-TOSS IT! If your senses are telling you something is not right, steer clear. Also, our ancestors all ate food that wasn't refrigerated-if that helps settle your stomach.
Doesn't That just get Moldy and Gross?? Leave a vegetable out to sit in the air, and yes, you'll get mold, and it will turn into an awful slimy mess. But, leave out a vegetable covered in liquid you get acid-forming bacteria (=good). These probiotic bacteria begin to pre-digest the food, making our digestive tract's job a little easier, and keeping things regular, if you know what I mean.

And without further ado, This is Alex's recipe:

Ingredients
Cabbage (the fresher the better!)
Sea Salt

Equipment
Wide Mouth 1 pint Mason Jars
Large Mixing Bowls
Cutting Board
Large Knife
Kitchen Scale

Preparation:
Weigh Cabbage and then chop, using a large chefs knife or a food processor


we're all about assembly-lines

You will need 1 pint jar and 2 tsp of salt for every pound of cabbage. Add the chopped cabbage and measured salt into a large mixing bowl and start to "knead" the cabbage (with clean hands!!). You want to start to break down the cell walls of the cabbage with the help of the salt, and draw the water out of the cabbage.


you too could have forearms like this, if you start 'krautin

Once the cabbage has released its liquid, pack it into the mason jar. You want to make sure that the liquid covers the cabbage and that there is room at the top. A smaller 1/2 pint jar make it easier to push down the sauerkraut. (again, we want liquid on top to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria). If the liquid does not cover the cabbage completely, make a brine (1 T salt:1cup water) as a substitute. (if your cabbage is fresh, preferably local, then the juice should not be hard to get out). Cover the jar and wait... Come back everyday to push down the cabbage, making sure it is always covered. After four days, taste it. If you like the way it tastes, put it in the fridge to bring the fermentation to a halt. At this point, it's all up to how sour you like your sauerkraut! It could be "ready" in a few days, or a few months, depending on personal preference and temperature.

Warning: Making Sauerkraut does produce a slight smell. Warn your roommates. They will probably be swayed after tasting your creations.

Variations-Wanna spice it up?? Well you can, literally!
  • Add purple cabbage to make a more aesthetically pleasing 'kraut!
  • Add herbs and spices!! Alex likes caraway, fennel, and anise seeds. You can add this pre-fermentation, or when serving

  • Try fermenting other vegetables! parsnips, raddishes, turnips, carrots, or really any vegetable!
Alex is our new go-to sauerkraut guru. If you have any questions, check out his site- Feed Me Like You Mean It, or @reply him!
Sandor Katz's Book and website are also valuable resources!

**Thanks to Rachel from BU Today for taking some great photos with her fancy DSLR camera :) **

Monday, November 23, 2009

Local New England Fall Soup!


What IS this creature??
Celery Root is definitely the ugly duckling of the root vegetables. But there's no need to be afraid; for not only is it a great source of vitamin C and phosphorus, but its delicious and versatile! Because it is a starchy root vegetable, its good in 'mashes, and lower in carbohydrates and calories than potatoes. And-its a Local!

Local New England Celery Root, Apple and Potato Soup
*Adapted from marathastewart.com
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cups peeled, chopped celery root
  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • 10 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and quartered local apples
1.In a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt; cook, stirring until onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add celery root, potato, and vegetable stock; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add apples and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
4.Remove saucepan from heat and puree using an immersion blender or, working in batches, using a conventional blender; season with salt and pepper.

Not Lucky enough to own an immersion blender???? Just do it in batches in a conventional blender:

+


=


Enjoy this warm soup on these perfect Fall days, in beautiful New England!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Talking Fair Trade with Ben Cressy

This Tuesday, Ben Cressy from the Fair Trade Boston Campaign joined Slow Food BU for a potluck graciously hosted by the H.E.R. House. Over a delicious meal, Ben talked to us about how he got involved with the Campaign during his time as a student at Eastern University, and about his work with other Boston area schools that are striving to include more Fair Trade products in their dining halls and on their campuses.

Students got the chance to pose questions about Fair Trade and the Campaign, ranging from how to generate student demand for Fair Trade to how labeling is regulated.

Ben explained the standards and qualification process for becoming Equal Exchange certified and about how sometimes smaller vendors skip the certification process because of cost, but that does not mean that they aren't meeting Fair Trade standards!

When in Whole Foods look for this logo!

He also discussed ways to generate enthusiasm on campus by hosting on campus events, such as an outdoor 'coffee house,' that engage students in the Fair Trade mission. Students discussed ways to raise more awareness on the BU campus and expressed interest in continuing to work with the Fair Trade Boston Campaign.

At the end of the night everyone went home with Equal Exchange goodies, yummm...

Thanks to Ben, Tyler, Rae and the H.E.R. House for a lovely evening!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's pomegranate season!


These beautiful, mythical fruits are also an enigma when it comes to extracting the seeds (which are actually filled with bright red juice, delicious and nutritious). The blog Gimme Some Oven! recently posted some demystification-information worth checking out. HOW TO: Open and de-seed a pomegranate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preserving the Harvest - Canning Workshop!

Last week, Sarah Garlington taught us the basics of water bath canning in Myles Kitchen. In water bath canning (which is not the same as fermentation), the contents need to be acidic- naturally or by the addition of vinegar. This method can be used to process fruits, pickles, relishes, and jams and jellies, preserving them for year(s)!
Slow Foodies participated in all steps of the process, including preparation of the food (produce to be canned should be firm), preparing the brine, and sterilizing the jars.


Our Recipe: Pickled Green Beans
Produces 6 half pints

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh dill weed (or dried)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh peppers (or cayenne)
Directions:
  1. Trim the green bean ends.
  2. Chop the garlic, dill, and peppers.
  3. Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil.
  4. Divide the spices up into each jar equally.
  5. Fit as many green beans in each jar as you can.
  6. Pour over the hot liquid.
  7. Seal the jars.
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Garlington

video

Preparing the jars for the beans. "We're going to take a spoonful of the pepper garlic mix and then a spoonful of the dill and we're just going to spread it out throughout the jars."

video

Using the big boilers. Jars should be placed on a rack, steamer, or something similar in the pot, because of the high heat of the stove. "It's just a matter of the jars not touching the bottom of the pot and not touching each other. Um, so anything that you can figure out."

Several of the jars were processed at the demo, and individuals were each able to take a jar to take home to process on their own. Ready to start pickling? Read Sarah's post on the Persian pickle Torshi on the Boston Localvores' blog, and learn more about water bath canning from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Check out our new bog, I mean blog post: Slow Food BU goes cranberry bogging!


Look its us in an old Ocean Spray Truck!

On Saturday, we got a crew gathered for Slow Food BU and zipped down to the Cape to go to a Cranberry festival and check out some bogs!


Did you know that the cranberry is one of three fruits that are native to North America? Along with the blueberry and concord grape, cranberries were first used Native Americans, as food, dye and for its healing properities. New England is a major site of cranberry production and some of the plants the grow today have been around for more that 150 years!

Our first stop was the Cranberry Harvest Festival Of course there were cranberries galore!

Lots and Lots of Vendors with assorted homecrafts
 

we drove down to the actual farm-Flax Pond Farm.


Jake and Dot have owned this farm since the 60s. It is not organic, but Jack says he limits the amounts of pesticide they spray because 1) its ridiculously expensive and 2) he has grandchildren running around the farm all the time.



Flax Pond is a dry bog-which means they never flood it to harvest. Berries from dry bogs are what you'll find fresh or frozen, where the berries remain intact. Wet bogging can squash the little berries so they turn into processed sauces, juice or dried snacks.

Jack with the berry picker! 

Ocean spray sells the berries for them-dividing up profits amoungst their co-op of growers

This Man was Like the Encyclopedia of Cranberries

Video to come soon!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

SFBU Makes BU Today

Check us out in BU Today!
Edward Brown edited a great video
of our Knife Skills Demo with Kenji Alt
Watch it Here!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Slice/Dice Highlights from the Demo

Last week Kenji Alt told SFBU everything we ever wanted to know about kitchen knives. From sharpening on the stone, to making "the claw" with your left hand to protect your fingers and guide the cut, we're a little more skilled now in the slice and dice department. Practice makes perfect, so check it out- short videos to jog your memory:

The picture of efficiency, Japanese knives for chopping.


"Regular julienne is probably 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch or so, so you wanna try and cut it into straight planks like that, um and again you always use your left hand to guide the blade. And once you get about 4 or 5 slices, we'll go to the next step."


"Trim off a quarter inch and put it aside, and then we're just gonna cut them into 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch little sticks, and thats called a julienne."


"And if you were really serious about this, I mean, if you wanted a really sharpened blade you would do this for about 20 minutes or so."


Bottom line: Knowing how to cut precisely and in uniform pieces allows food to cook more evenly and ultimately, you have a better result. Looking like a pro and impressing your friends is also a plus. Find more photos from the demo here and check out Kenji's blog, goodeater.org. Thanks to the Myles basement kitchen crew for letting us use their space, Kenji for an awesome and informative demo, and everyone that came out to participate!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Maps!

Visual food for thought:Who eats the most meat per capita? via GOOD magazine.

The contiguous United States visualized by distance to the nearest McDonald's. See it larger here.

Thanks Urban Cartography, you are great.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SFBU's First Potluck and Meeting for the Fall!

Thanks to everyone who came to SFBU's first potluck of the semester and made last night a success!

Slow Foodies gathered on the Esplanade Dock by the Charles River and enjoyed a fabulous meal with some great conversation and a beautiful view. Tasty treats included an amazing egg casserole, chicken tikka masala, vegan pumpkin cookies, and much more!

Look forward to our next meeting on Tuesday night, September 22. Specific location and time, TBA!

On another note, join our friends from the Boston Localvores at their Local Pickle Tasting at The Growing Center in Somerville on Thursday! For more details look at the event on Facebook or see SFBU's calendar on the right.

And if pickling on Thursday isn't enough for you, head over to JP on Friday from 7 - 9 pm for the workshop "Preserving the Bounty of the Harvest" with Ana Micka, author and publisher of the Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning DVD and guidebook. More details about the event here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sustainability Dinner

Last Tuesday, the officers of SFBU attended a Sustainability Dinner with The Director of Sustainability at BU, Dennis Carlberg. It was in StuVii 2- the new residence hall, which is unbelievably nice and fancier than many hotels we've been in! The dinner was up on the 26th floor and just check out the view!!!

It was a gathering for the student groups and administration to talk about what BU is doing sustainably and where there was still room for improvements. All while eating a Zero Waste, locally grown meal!

Love Food Hate Waste!

Kelly Dunn, our favorite Sustainable Dining Coordinator, did a presentation working to reduce food waste at BU.

SFBU has worked with Kelly on ideas for making dining services more sustainable, and she is very receptive to our suggestions.

Ok, time to turn off the computer!

SPLASH!

Slow Food BU represented at SPLASH! at BU last week.

Kate and Annabelle signin kiddies up!

SPLASH! happens every fall, to introduce all the freshman to Clubs and Activities on Campus. We were part of the "Green Section," where all the clubs dedicated to sustainability were congregated.

Next to our friends the Organic Gardening Collective

Dory and Elizabeth sharing some words of wisdom : Ride it like you stole it and Eat more Kale

We met a lot of fun people and Spread the Word:

Hello BU!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Your Local Farmers Markets!

With farmers markets popping up everywhere, more people participating in CSA's, and with cranberries, pumpkins, and winter squashes just coming into season for the fall, there has never been a more perfect time to get your local produce!

BU now has a farmers market right on campus, in front of the GSU! At 775 Commonwealth Ave., it runs on Thursdays from 12 pm - 4 pm, from June 25 - October 29. Read our previous post about it.

However, if you are otherwise occupied on Thursdays, or if you would like to venture beyond the grounds of BU for local produce, we have conveniently mapped the farmers markets that are in the Boston area! Go the the map link here.



For more information and listings about farmers markets in Massachusetts, look at Mass Farmers Markets, LocalHarvest, MassGrown's listing, and Edible Boston's list. LocalHarvest is also a good resource for those of you interested in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

And if you are unsure of when various produce is in season, check out this chart!

Photo source link

Enjoy the fresh produce while it's in season!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gearing Up for the Fall!


With the summer coming to a close, we're excited to bring the fall semester into full swing!




Ideas for events to look forward to this year include:

Urban Beekeeping
Cranberry Bogging
Eat-Ins with other schools
Green Roof Hopping
Seed Saving Workshop
Knife Skills Workshop
Pickling/Canning Workshops
Kombucha Demonstration
Speaker Series, Food Movies
and plenty of potlucks, of course!


Dates: TBA

In addition, here are a few events you can add to your calendar:

Monday, August 31 - Look for Slow Food BU's table at SPLASH! from 11 am - 2 pm at Nickerson Field

Wednesday, September 2 - Buy some tasty, local treats at SFBU's BAKE SALE at the GSU Link (775 Commonwealth Ave.) from 10:30 am - 3 pm to help us raise money for transportation costs for the fall!

Tuesday, September 8 - SFBU's FIRST MEETING at 7 pm in the Fuller Building (808 Commonwealth Ave., entrance on Essex St.). Look for us in the main lounge or follow the signs! We will be having a potluck and screening food-related shorts. Anyone is welcome to come, and if you cannot bring a dish, just remember to bring a plate and utensils!

We are also looking for Freshman and Sophomore Representatives to join our SFBU team. If you think you are interested, come to our meetings and let one of us know!

If you would like to help out with any of our events, or if you have any ideas, comments, questions, or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us!

Looking forward to seeing you this fall!

-Dory, Kate, Annabelle, and Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cartography: Boston Street Food

For those who may be new to Boston and/or find themselves combing the streets for hidden urban treasures, let this is your guide. Boston officially doesn't allow mobile food vendors to operate in the city, but there are still some renegades that roam, and more beyond city limits, in Cambridge. There is nothing quite as good at establishing a sense of place than eating a dirty dog with mustard in the park, or feeling the high noon sunheat off the side of a taco truck, to remind you of where you are, who you're dealing with, and how to "do lunch" informally.

Street food is (usually) affordable, simple, and delicious, if only for the impromptu, almost clairvoyant nature of its existence. You're just starting to feel hungry, and there it is. A mobile outpost that is surprisingly, exactly what you want.


Check out this map of Boston carts from New York Magazine, and the full article here. And if you run into a good one not on this map, let us know so we can go there too!