Monthly Archives: June 2013

July 4th Foods!

By Kelsey Johnson

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Fireworks! Parades! Carnivals! July 4th is synonymous with celebration, as John Adams wrote to his wife back in 1776:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

While a telling description of the holiday that was to come, this founding father was slightly off on more than just the date. He also left one vital omission…

The Fourth of July is all about the food.

When it comes to food-centered holidays, the Fourth has to be in the running for first. Sure there’s Thanksgiving, but the summer season allows for so much freshness and versatility, especially when it comes to local ingredients. Plus you get to eat outside! So how could we resist a chance to share some of our member’s favorite summer recipes that utilize the freshest ingredients available? Well, we couldn’t. La Quercia and The Cheese Shop of Des Moines kicked off the celebration last Sunday with their Ham Independence Week, and now it’s your turn to carry the momentum forward and show off the best local foods Iowa has to offer.

Before we dive into the meal itself, prepare some Garlic Scape Dip, Kale Chips, or Sugar Snap Peas to munch on while you cook, and if you feel like sharing we suggest you prepare some for your guests as well. For starters, Wheatsfield Cooperative’s Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas salad can be tweaked to suit your specific taste, and is a light, nutritious way to start your summer feast. Or if that doesn’t strike you, pick up your favorite greens in the peak of their season at your nearest farmer’s market and mix up a simple Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing.

Now it wouldn’t really be a real July Fourth fest if we didn’t have you light up the grill, and we can’t think of better way to grill than with a little Mo’rub. We like when things are simple, so wrap your favorite veggies — we recommend catching the last of the asparagus as Westrum Produce reports they’ll be out after this week — in foil, add olive oil and Mo’rub, and let the flavor seep in. You can use this versatile little seasoning for almost anything, so check out these other ideas for great, spicy sides to add to the table.

While your neighbors may be content with throwing frozen brats and burgers on the grill, we think the BFBL community is more creative than that, which is why we recommend Grilled Lamb Brochetts with Spicy Basil-Cilantro Marinade as presented by Dalla Terra Ranch. It may sound complicated, but all it takes is some mixing and a little preparation. Make sure to marinate the meat overnight for the best results.

As that neighbor of yours sips on Budweiser while flipping burgers, we have a Grape Escape Mojito recipe we guarantee is more refreshing. Though if you want to stick with the frothy tradition, Peace Tree Brewery Co. is located in Iowa–the heart of America.  Don’t let the red, white, and blue cans fool you, Budweiser, with its German name and Belgium ownership isn’t the most patriotic choice. What would Thomas Jefferson say!  “To truly celebrate independence, open your favorite bottle of beer from Peace Tree Brewing Co…”  Or we can at least assume he’d say something like that if he were still around.

Last but not least, after filling up on quality, Iowa foods, a simple summertime dessert is in order. Seeing strawberries are refreshing, delicious, and at the end of their season, we recommend Allspice Balsamic Strawberry Pops. Westrum produce will for sure have them at the market, and they can be picked up anytime at Gateway Market. Add a handful of Howell’s Pumpkin Patch red raspberries. To give the dish a patriotic kick, gather up some wild mulberries, they are abundant with this year’s weather, and top your dish of red and blue berries with some Picket Fence Creamery Whipping cream and you have the perfect end to an all-Iowa July Fourth celebration! Happy eating!

 

What’s Fresh: Peas and Kale

By Kelsey Johnson

July is almost here and with the heat comes a shift in the summer season. While June staples reach the end of their summer run, new seasons are taking their place, including crowd favorites like raspberries, zucchini and sweet corn. Howell’s  Pumpkin Patch will have raspberries and cucumbers fresh this week, and Westrum Produce will be bringing strawberries, rhubarb, radishes, peas, onions, green beans and more to the market.

While we are still a few weeks away from sweet corn (projected to hit stands the week after the 4th) we have a week left to enjoy local asparagus and plenty of time for leafy greens. Speaking of, one of the healthiest, most underutilized greens around, kale, can be picked up at the downtown market from Grade A Gardens. Known as a “superfood” kale has been hailed as the “new beef” and has more iron per calorie than its meaty counterpart. While it tastes great in salads and stir-fry, it can also be used to make this deliciously crunchy snack. Play around with your favorite spices, we recommend adding a little lemon juice or garlic powder to the mix. Recipe courtesy of Weatsfield Cooperative:

Kale Chips 980730_10151410792165025_1348220257_o[1]
by Jessica Osterburg of Mindfully Healthy

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • A pinch of salt

Preheat toaster oven or regular oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Tear or cut the leaves away from the thick stems, and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry the leaves.

Transfer the kale to a large bowl, and drizzle it with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt. With your hands, toss the leaves until they are fully coated. Lay the leaves out on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake until the leaves are crisp but not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so.

 

In addition to kale, peas of all sorts are making an appearance. While sugar snap peas can be enjoyed raw, they are equally delicious cooked. Try out this recipe shared by the Iowa Food Cooperative:

Sugar Snap Peas
Recipe submitted by: Lisa Bean

  • 1 lb sugar snap peas (Berry Patch Farm)
  • one pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 stalks green garlic –  chopped  ( Wabi-sabi Farm)
  • 1 t grated ginger
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 T peanut oil
  • salt and pepper

1. Heat oils in pan
2. Add green garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, saute about 2 minutes
3. Add sugar snap peas, saute about 2-3 minutes
4. Add salt and pepper

What’s Happening: June 27

unWINEd: The Other Side (Jasper Winery), June 28, July 12 & 26 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy wine, sangria, and Madhouse beer by the glass and bottle at Grey’s Lake South Terrace . The City of Des Moines will be cooking up food for purchase as well!

 

In and Outs of Composting (Garden Destination), June 29, 9am – 12pm
Learn about the Soil foodweb system, what makes a successful compost pile and benefits that it will give to your soil and plants. We will address different types of  compost, including compost extract and compost tea and the methods of garden applications. Overview various types of compost bins, build a pile together, and learn about our farm-scale compost operation. Dress to work outside! Cost is $35 per person.  Pre-Registratio​n is required…And class sizes are limited! Dress to learn & work in the Gardens! For more info email workshops@garde​ndestination.co​m or call 515-993-4100

 

Farm-to-Table Dinner, June 29, 6 & 8pm
The Wallace House in DSM’s Chef Katie creates a four-course gourmet meal from straight-from-the-garden produce and other ingredients from Iowa family farms. Tables are available at 6 pm & 8 pm. Cost is $50 per person. Bring your own wine. Email carlahicklin@wallace.org or call 515/243-7063 to make your reservation. Advance payment is required.

 

Wheatgrass 101 (Gateway Market), July 10, 6:30pm
WHO (Who should drink it? Who can grow it?) WHAT (what is it? what’s it good for?) WHERE (where can I grow it? where can I get it?) WHY (why would anyone want to drink this or even grow it?) HOW (how do I grow it?)
$20 per person. YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER and PRE-PAY. We have room for 12 people.
You will leave with your own flat or pound of grass OR a punch card for FRESH shots… so it’s practically FREE!
Please call the cafe at 515-440-4700 with your credit card or send in a check to 1721 25th Street Suite 110 West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. E-mail, message or call with any questions!

 

Herbs and Edible Flowers (Garden Destination), July 13, 9am
Tour the gardens and I.D. herbs and flowers. Learn how to harvest, store and preserve your herbs. Then learn how to use some of the herbs and edible flowers in the kitchen to create stunning dishes. Cost is $35 per person.
Register Early….Class sizes are limited! Dress to learn & work in the Gardens! Pre-Registration is required.
For more info email workshops@gardendestination.com or call 515-993-4100

 

Edible Urban Garden Tour, July 13, 11am
Carpool from Little Red Hen to host sites for tours and light tastings; conclude with live music, educational materials, and a local foods potluck. Stops include: Little Red Hen, Franklin Community Garden, and BFBL member The Wallace House. And best of all, it’s free! More details here.

 

Iowa Shakespeare Experience, July 13-23
Pack a picnic and enjoy FREE Shakespeare in the park!  The Festival presents only local vendors, and this year BFBL member Jasper Winery returns again. Plus The Cheese Shop of Des Moines is the Festival’s official picnic provider (call ahead and pick up an extraordinary boxed supper there!)
General Admission at the Mainstage in Simon Estes is free (no tickets required).  VIP seating or Residency Show seats are purchased via Midwestix.com, limited availability at Gate. Contact: (515) 274-8989
July 14: “Will Call” Traveling Show: Historic Jordan House. Late Afternoon Matinee.
July 19-21: “The Passion of OTHELLO”  Picnics at 6pm, Curtain at about 8 at ISE’s Mainstage at Simon Estes Amphitheater, Downtown Des Moines on the Riverwalk.

 

Homemade Happy Hour Summer Cooking Demonstration Series, Every Other Monday 3pm – 5pm
These demonstrations will happen bi-weekly starting June 24th on Monday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the kitchen of Kitchen Collage. The event is free and there are many samples to be had! (Dates: July 8 & 22)

 

Food for Thought Dinners, Thursdays 5:30pm – 8pm
The Wallace House invites you to a new program, “Food for Thought,” that combines locally-sourced dining with conversation about food. Diners will order from a changing menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts created from local ingredients, including fruits and vegetables grown at the Country Life Center. Entrees range from $15-$20, appetizers $6-$8, and desserts $5. Bring your own wine. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited. Call 515-243-7063 or email carlahicklin@wa​llace.org.
June 27 – Cheese
July 4 – CLOSED
July 11 – Grilling
July 18 – Chocolate
July 25 – Yoga

 

Summer Concert Series 2013, Thursdays 6pm – 9pm (Jasper Winery)
Enjoy free live music on the lawn. We’ll be serving wine, sangria and Madhouse beer by the glass ($5-6) as well as grilling up burgers and brats ($6). We’ll have regular appearances by the Chocolaterie Stam gelato cart – yes, you can even have a wine or beer gelato float – as well as the Gusto Pizza truck. We have some chairs and tables but it’s not a bad idea to bring some chairs or blankets as well. As a reminder, all ages are welcome but please leave the pets at home. And since it’s a free event, please celebrate the evenings enjoying our wine and beer (other alcoholic beverages will need to stay at home). Yay for summer!
June 27- The Workshy
July 4 – Brian Congdon & Brad Seidenfeld
July 11 – Mr. Baber’s Neighbors
July 18 – Final Mix
July 25 – Brother Trucker

Iowa Weather Woes

By Kelsey Johnson

The Midwest is infamous for its unpredictable weather, and as told by Ralph Kiner, “You know what they say about Chicago. If you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen minutes.” Though here in Iowa, we doubt that even Kiner could have predicted the insane fluctuations of this season: over a foot of snow in May, followed by record heat, record rainfall, and then weeks of temperatures 10 degrees below normal. Sporadic weather patterns have varying consequences for farmers, and can have dramatic effects on their overall production. So how have our BFBL members been faring? Well, it depends.

For instance, wine enthusiasts are going to have to wait a little longer for their favorite Iowa grapes. Excess rain does not treat all plants kindly, and grape vines are particularly unhappy with this cold, rainy weather. “Vines don’t like to have their feet wet,” said Christine Carlton from Two Saints Winery. “We’ve had to do a lot of spraying for fungus because it’s been so wet.” While some of the vines have been getting a little yellow around the edges, Carlton is confident everything will work out, granted the plants get some warm weather and a chance to dry out.

Weather pic

Similarly, produce has also met its share of challenges due to the wet, cool conditions. “Mother nature has thrown us a curve ball this year,” said Wade Dooley, owner of Glenwood Century Farm in Albion. “We’ve been two weeks behind since the beginning.” For Dooley, setbacks mean rearranging priorities; such as switching his focus from row crop farming to produce, as the majority of his row crops have been taken over by the river. Flowers have yet to bloom and watermelon and squash transplants are only now putting on some good growth.

However, not all members have had to deal with such substantial problems. La Quercia specializes in cured meats and salami and is less vulnerable to unexpected weather. “Here in our location in Norwalk we are strictly production and it hasn’t impacted us besides that we are putting an addition on our building,” said Kendra Armel. “They’ve stopped production to pump water out of the holes they were digging and had a few rain days where they couldn’t work at all.”

While hogs might not mind a bit of cool, wet weather, bees tend to be a little more finicky. Unfortunately, it turns out that cold weather is not conducive to honey production, and the bees have lost full workdays. Yet despite the harsh conditions, farmers continue pressing forward, and Doyle Kincy of Kincy Apiary embodies the work ethic needed to keep production moving. “We got off to a slow start with the cool weather, but with it warming up last week and this week I think we’ll start catching up. I had my head down in the hive when you called!” he said.” “I think we’ll be in good shape.”

What’s Fresh: June 13

By Kelsey Johnson

June is flying by and crops continue to grow and mature. Green is still the color of the season as things like cabbage, spinach, kale, arugula, salads, collards, turnip greens, and more are hitting the market stands in droves. Turnips, asparagus, and radishes are still going strong, so grab some before they disappear!

 

We’re anticipating an abundance of fruit this season as the warm May weather deterred any late frost that might have compromised growth. Comb through your old pie recipes as you prepare for apples, black and red raspberries, peaches, blackberries, and tart cherries that are beginning to show on trees.

 

For the moment try out this recipe as it’s about time for the quintessential beginning of summer fruit: strawberries.

Grinnell Heritage Farm reports that their strawberries will be ready to harvest around June 10th and will be in season for the next 3-5 weeks. While they recommend people ”just eat ‘em,” here’s a recipe from Gateway Market if you’re looking for an extra sweet indulgence.

 

Berries & CreamIMGP1061

    • 1 cup strawberries sliced
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1 cup raspberries
    • 1 TBS plus 1/4 cup Splenda (or sugar if preferred)
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 TBS sweet Marsala wine

    Mix berries together in bowl with 1 TBS Splenda.  Let marinate for 15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup Splenda and add one cup heavy cream and sweet Marsala wine.  Divide berries in four martini glasses and pour equal parts of cream mixture on top of berries.  Makes four servings.

    Recommended: sparkling dessert wine, coffee, and the music of Wynton Marsalis or Pat Metheny

     

     

    In addition, garlic scapes are ready to be harvested, and are yet another testament to garlic’s versatility. What are garlic scapes? They are the stalk, or flowerless stem that grows off the bulb above ground. They are generally cut so they don’t consume the energy needed for the bulb to fully mature. Check out this fast, easy dip; a perfect appetizer! (Recipe and photo courtesy of mountain mama cooks)

     

    White Bean and Garlic Scape Dipgarlic-scape-dip-crostini-with-cherry-tomato

    Ingredients

      • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
      • 1/3 cup chopped garlic scapes
      • juice of 1 lime, about 3 tablespoons
      • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
      • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
      • 3 tablespoons olive oil
      • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or vegannaise
      • salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon

      Instructions

      Combine all ingredients in the base of a food processor fitted with blade. Pulse until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. Add salt to taste. Adjust if necessary. That’s it. Simple.

What’s Happening: June 13

 

Matt and Neil

Plant a Mile Volunteer Day, June 19, 9:30am-11:30am
Help our Plant a Mile farmers plant, weed, and harvest fresh, locally grown produce to help feed families using the DMARC Food Pantry network.  Our second volunteer opportunity is on Wednesday, June 19 from 9:30 a.m.to 11:30 a.m. at Ali Family Garden.  To participate please e-mail Michael Frandsen at intern@dmreligious.org and let us know if you have any other questions.

 

Mad Meatball Grand Opening, June 15, 6pm-9pm
New restaurant from the owners of Capital Pub and Hot dog Co. opens its doors this Saturday, June 15th and BFBL member, Jasper Winery,  will be releasing the first wines from the 2012 vintage, their Iowa La Crescent, Edelweiss and Sparkling Edelweiss.

 

All-Iowa Wine Festival, June 15, 4pm-9pm
All Iowa Wine Festival featuring 8 central Iowa wineries including BFBL members Covered Bridges Winery, Two Saints Winery, Grape Escape, and Rosey Acres Winery. Cost is $15 per person and includes entry to the festival grounds, a commemerative wine glass, a coupon for $5 off a bottle of wine, and 10 wine samples.

 

Companions in the Garden (Garden Destination), June 15, 9am – 12pm
The art of growing vegetables, herbs and flowers together in communities which enhance the growth of each is the basis of companion planting. Learn which plants help their neighbors grow better, invite pollinators, deter harmful garden pests and enhance flavors and nutrition in their companions. Dress to learn in the Gardens! Cost is $35 per person. Pre-Registratio​n is required, and register Early….Class sizes are limited! For more info email workshops@garde​ndestination.co​m or call 515-993-4100

 

Cookin’ with Katie (Wallace Center), June 18, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
“Rethinking Dessert” is our third class at the Wallace House. You won’t feel so guilty about enjoying dessert after you learn how to reduce sugar and increase flavor.

 

Iowa Ingredient: Heavy Cream, June 20, 6:30pm
Check out Iowa Ingredient to see featured BFBL member Picket Fence Creamery!

 

Blindly Imbibe: Blind Wine Tasting,  June 20, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Do you really know why you love your favorite wine? Take away the brand name, pretty label and points on someone’s scale, and what are you left with? Join Abbe for a new tasting series with no labels, no price tags, and no preconceptions. Cost is $20 per person. Hosted by Gateway Market.

 

Music at the Winery (Covered Bridges Winery), June 22, 6pm – 8pm
Kick back, relax, take in the music, and enjoy some great wine at Covered Bridges Winery Kick. Don’t forget to bring along a picnic, a blanket or chairs! Featuring RBJ Trio. Watch the website for updates!

 

Des Moines Declares Ham Independence, June 23, 12pm-5pm
After a tour of the beautiful Grade A Gardens’ grounds, belly up to the bounty of Iowa with all things local. Beer music and all things ham (and cheese) will be available.
Admission is free, but all donations will go to the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Next Generation program. So please leave some bucks in the buckets. They’re trying to raise $75,000 for the program & every little bit (they gratefully accept big bits, too) helps. NO: Pets, smoking or sourpusses YES: Picnic blanket, folding chairs, dancing shoes, appetites, smiles & some greenbacks for a great cause.  For more information email info@slowfood.com, visit the event page, or call The Cheese Shop at 515.528. 8181. BFBL member participants include: La Quercia, Centro, Gateway Market, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, and Grade A Gardens.

 

Wine & Canvas (Jasper Winery), June 23, 2pm – 5pm
No painting experience necessary, just come to enjoy great drink specials and leave amazed with your own inner artist! (And a painting to show off to friends and family, of course.) Cost is $35 with, Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Easels, and Aprons provided. Sign up here.

 

Neighborfood Des Moines, June 23 2pm
Dine at 8 different restaurants in a East Village, all within walking distance. Your ticket will include food at each participating location, with drink specials to be offered. Tickets will be $40, more information here.

 

Wine Education Series, June 25, 6pm – 7:30pm
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill will host a discussion and tasting of wines from around the world and pair them with light appetizers created by Splash Executive Chef Dominic Iannarelli. The May class features wine from Washington and the June class features wine from Germany and Austria, presented by Ben Nelsen, Certified Sommelier.  Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required. Call (515)244-5686.

 

unWINEd: The Other Side (Jasper Winery), June 28, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy wine, sangria, and Madhouse beer by the glass and bottle at Grey’s Lake South Terrace . The City of Des Moines will be cooking up food for purchase as well!

 

In and Outs of Composting (Garden Destination), June 29, 9am – 12pm
Learn about the Soil foodweb system, what makes a successful compost pile and benefits that it will give to your soil and plants. We will address different types of  compost, including compost extract and compost tea and the methods of garden applications. Overview various types of compost bins, build a pile together, and learn about our farm-scale compost operation. Dress to work outside! Cost is $35 per person.  Pre-Registratio​n is required…And class sizes are limited! Dress to learn & work in the Gardens! For more info email workshops@garde​ndestination.co​m or call 515-993-4100

 

Summer Concert Series 2013
Held every Thursday from 6-9pm, enjoy free live music on the lawn. We’ll be serving wine, sangria and Madhouse beer by the glass ($5-6) as well as grilling up burgers and brats ($6). We have some chairs and tables but it’s not a bad idea to bring some chairs or blankets as well. As a reminder, all ages are welcome but please leave the pets at home. And since it’s a free event, please celebrate the evenings enjoying our wine and beer (other alcoholic beverages will need to stay at home). Yay for summer!
June 13- Flipside
June 20- Nadas
June 27- The Workshy