Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rustic Pastry: Pear Ginger Crisp

On a crisp fall evening Chloe Nolan and Mary Ting of Clear Flour Bakery demonstrated how to make a Pear Ginger Crisp

Pear Ginger Crisp
Serves 8-10

½ cup flour
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup walnut pieces
Fruit Filling:

½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
6 large or 7 med. pears (Bartlett work great here)
1 TBS grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the topping, whisk together first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Work butter into dry mixture until it resembles moist, coarse meal. Stir in nuts and oats. Chill while preparing filling. Peel and core the pears. Cut into roughly 1/2” cubes and place in a large bowl with ginger. Add dry ingredients and combine until fruit is evenly coated. Pour into 9 x 13 baking dish.

Scatter topping evenly across fruit and bake until top is golden and filling is bubbling –about 50 minutes. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream
It was a perfect evening to spend as the nights start to get chillier! We highly recommend that you check out Clear Flour, a local, hidden gem. Be prepared for a very long line on weekends, but I assure you, it is well worth the wait. You will be dreaming about their baked currant donuts, and chocolate pudding cakes for weeks afterward! Thank you Mary and Chloe for taking the time to show us a simple, rustic recipe!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Carlo Petrini in Boston

Last week, the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, spoke at Tufts and at Harvard as part of a series of conferences at American universities.

Over 300 students, staff, and community members attended Petrini's talk and book signing at Harvard. Carlo Petrini's speech, in Italian, was translated by Corby Kummer, author and senior editor of The Atlantic.

Corby Kummer (left) and Carlo Petrini (right)

Petrini spoke about numerous aspects of the Slow Food movement, which supports the pleasure of good food, while supporting the community and the environment.

Petrini began by discussing the current food system, which is detrimental to our environment. The constant selection for highly productive crops has decreased the fertility of the soil, and has caused a significant loss in biodiversity. Petrini also touched upon food subsidies, which have led to cheap food, health problems, industrial disasters, and environmental degradation.

In addition, Petrini gave many suggestions for changes that can be made. Food shouldn't be wasted, and leftovers should be savored. Foods should be eaten when they are in season, and food shouldn't be transported long distances, because this requires more fossil fuels. He also suggested that we should buy less food, and buy higher quality food.

Although there are many changes that need to be made to the current food system, Petrini noted that many positive changes have already been made. Although it was hard to come by farmers markets just ten to twenty years ago, now farmers markets are much more common. In 2000, Slow Food U.S.A. campaigned for raw milk cheeses to be allowed to be produced in the U.S. rather than just importing them from Europe, and now raw cheeses produced in the U.S. can be found in more and more stores.

Despite the lack of infrastructures to support new and young farmers, there is an increased need for young farmers. Luckily in the Boston area, there is the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, which supports and offers training to those who are interested in becoming farmers. Petrini asked for everyone in the audience who was under 30 and planning to work with the land in their future to come up, and many people did.

Farmers to be

Finally, Petrini spoke of and encouraged people to attend Terra Madre, a bi-annual international gathering of over 5,000 food lovers who support and want to learn more about sustainable and local foods and food production. The next, and fourth, Terra Madre event will begin next week, in Turin, Italy.

After Carlo Petrini's speak, many eager audience members came up to get signed copies of his new book, Terra Madre.

It was an inspirational experience to hear the president of Slow Food speak. Read about his visit at Tufts on the Slow Food Tufts blog, and another article and videos of his Boston visit from the Slow Food website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Taberna De Haro

Last week Slow Food BU had the pleasure of working with Deborah Hansen, chef and owner of Spanish restaurant Taberna de Haro. Hansen invited us into her kitchen to share a recipe for Tortilla Española, a staple of traditional Spanish diets, and discuss her start in the culinary world.

Hansen was smitten with Spain after a visit during her college years, and later returned to live in Madrid. During eight years living in the heart of Spain, Hansen opened a restaurant serving American food; however, her down time was spent mastering the rustic elegance of traditional Spanish cooking. Hansen took her education back to the United States where she opened Taberna de Haro. The restaurant has since become a sanctuary for anyone seeking comforting food, authentic cuisine, and local ingredients.

Hansen spoke with high esteem of the Massachusetts-based farmers who provide produce, seafood, meat, eggs, and more for her restaurant. In addition to sea salt and olive oil (two of Hansen’s few exceptions to her all-local ingredients rules), Hansen used potatoes from Swaz Farm in Hatfield, onions from Old Friends Farm in Amherst, and eggs from Country Hen, based in Hubbardston.

Tortilla Española, one of the most popular items on the menu at Taberna de Haro, is a great addition to any home cook’s repertoire. The five-ingredient recipe makes it an easy dish for any time of day.

Deborah Hansen's Tortilla Española Recipe:

4 large potatoes, any type except golden or red bliss, peeled and sliced thin

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups cooking olive oil, preferably Spanish, “pure” grade (“puro” in Spanish or Italian)

5 free-range eggs

1 ½ Tbl. Sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the potatoes and fry on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooking. Add onions, stir, and continue to fry 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, set up a strainer or colander over a bowl for draining potatoes.

Whisk eggs and salt in a large bowl. When potatoes are cook thoroughly, spoon into strainer and allow oil to drain. Reserve a tablespoon of oil, and save the rest in refrigerator for another use. Add potatoes to eggs and stir thoroughly.

Heat a 9” non-stick pan with a bit of the used olive oil. Coat thoroughly. Add egg mixture and simmer on low to medium heat for 4 minutes. Cover with a plate and turn pan upside down to flip tortilla. Slide back into pan, smoothing edges with a spatula. Cook 3-4 more minutes. Turn out onto a plate.

Serve hot, warm, or cold.

Boston Local Food Fest!

The first annual Boston Local Food Fest was a smashing success!
Check out some of these great recaps and roundups:
BLLF Facebook
BLLF Twitter
Featured Festival Bloggers
Elizabeth of Don't White Sugar Coat It
Jessica at A Fete for Food

Did you make it there? What were your thoughts? Any more recaps to share with us?