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:

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


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:

Cabbage (the fresher the better!)
Sea Salt

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

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
  • 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.