Monthly Archives: August 2013

Feast on Local During Des Moines Restaurant Week

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By: Kelsey Johnson

Let critics say what they will about the “coolness” of Iowa’s metropolis, but one thing that cannot be denied: Des Moines has great food. An urban oasis centered in one of the largest agricultural states in the country, there is no denying we have the ideal recipe for dining perfection. SO perfect, in fact, that diners often come to the city overwhelmed with options, all of which seem more delicious than the last. Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough room in their stomach or the expendable cash to spend on the array top-notch restaurants around town, and thus only scratch the surface of the fine dining Des Moines has to offer.

However, the week after the State Fair and before school starts has been a historically slow time for the restaurant business and lucky for us locals a great idea was born.  Enter the brain-child of Connie Wimer, owner of the Des Moines Business Record: Restaurant Week.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring local people into local restaurants they’ve never been to before,” said Greg Edwards, CEO and president of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, and an avid supporter of the project.

Des Moines Restaurant Week features more than 30 participants around town–10 of which are BFBL members. From August 16-25, “The metro area’s innovative and talented chefs will create special fixed-price menus that will showcase their palate-pleasing cuisine for pocketbook-pleasing prices,” meaning that diners will pay $25 for two lunches or for one three-course dinner. And if world-class, affordable dinning isn’t enough to get you out of the house; when you visit four participating restaurants and submit your receipts, you will be entered into a drawing to win a trip for two to Sonoma County.

While some restaurants are completely revamping their menus for the occasion, others are simply adding a twist to old favorites. But throughout the pack one theme persists: heavy reliance and utilization of local ingredients.   “Our menu is mostly the same though we did twist it,” says Splash Seafood. “We use a lot of Farmers Market stuff with it being just down the street from us.”

With a huge range of produce fresh this time of year, chefs don’t have to compromise variety for seasonality. Lucca ordered an extra 100 Ibs of their locally sourced heirloom tomatoes for the event. HoQ will be serving Grade A Gardens potatoes, Maytag blue cheese, Reichert’s Dairy Air goat cheese, and other produce and meats from Greater Des Moines farms.

Django also hopes to impress restaurant goers with the best in-season food Iowa has to offer, “We brought new items in for Restaurant Week.  We’re trying to utilize local produce and food items whenever possible,” they said, including a sweet corn pizza that’s all locally sourced.

Des Moines Restaurant Week offers a unique chance for restaurants to show off for people that might not make a habit of dining out. A win-win for all involved with the effort.

“If you talk to the restaurants involved I think they would wholeheartedly tell you it has been a success for them as well,” said Greg Edwards. “I hope the event drives more business into locally owned restaurants and gets more exposure for the great opportunities for local people and local dining.”

BFBL member restaurants include: Alba, Baru 66, Centro, Django, Dos Rios, The Gramercy Tap, HoQ, Lucca, Sbrocco, and Splash Seafood

What’s Fresh: Melons

By: Kelsey Johnson

Buy Fresh Buy Local simply loves this time of year. Instead of telling you what’s going out of season, all we have are more delicious, fresh foods that are making their way in season. In addition to zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, onions, peas, cabbage, beets (and more) we are seeing the beginning of fruit season. Black berries, peaches, and apricots are on their way in, and according to Prairie Song Apiary from Coon Rapids, this will be the first time in the past few years there will be a substantial crop of apples. Look for a few early apples now and then lots of apples by mid-September!

Here at BFBL we have been feasting on melons courtesy of our boss, Neil Hamilton, which inspired us to feature them in this week’s “What’s Fresh.” Recipe thanks to Maytag Dairy Farms.

 

Watermelon, Tomato, Cucumber SaladTomato-Watermelon-Cucumber-salad-1024x779[1]

      • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
      • 3/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1/2 cup olive oil
      • 3 cups watermelon chunks
      • 3 cups coarsely chopped heirloom tomatoes
      • 3 cups coarsely chopped cucumbers
      • 1 cup chopped basil
      • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
      • 3/4 cup crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese

1. Combine vinegar, salt, pepper, and oil; whisk well. Gently toss remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Serve Immediately. Serves 12.

What’s Happening: August 15

 

Blindly Imbibe (Gateway Market), August 15, 7:30-8:30pm
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.

 

Restaurant Week, August 16-25
The metro area’s top chefs create special fixed-price menus for the week. Diners pay only $25 for two lunches or one three-course dinner. BFBL members include: Alba, Baru 66, Centro, Django, Dos Rios, The Gramercy Tap, HoQ, Lucca, Sbrocco, and Splash Seafood

 

Raw Food Week, August 19-25 Sponsored by Campbell’s Nutrition
When you attend any Des Moines Raw Food Week event, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift certificate to Campbell’s Nutrition!
August 20 – Gateway Market is proud to partner with Raw Food Week | Des Moines for the Raw and Refined Community Dinner on August 20th, co-hosted by Gateway Market & Cafe Culinary Director, Chef Bill Overdyk! For more details, click here.
August 23 – Meet Jennifer Cornbleet at Campbell’s Nutrition and pick up a copy of the book, which invites readers to get to know the delicious world of raw food preparation with over 100 foolproof recipes using common ingredients. While you’re at Campbell’s, plan to partake in a variety of free samples available for this special Raw Food Week event! For more details, click here.

 

Wine Education Series (Splash Seafood) August 27, 6-7pm
Discuss and taste wines from around the world and pair them with light appetizers created by Splash Executive Chef Dominic Iannarelli. The July class features wine from Oregon and the August class from Southern Italy presented by Ben Nelsen, Certified Sommelier. Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required. Call (515)244-5686.

 

Wine & Canvas (Jasper Winery) August 25, 2-5pm

 

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: August 5 & 19)

 

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.
August 15 – State Fair Foods
August 22: Heirloom Tomatoes
August 29: Peaches

 

Annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting (Grinnell Heritage Farm), September 1, 4-8pm
This year we’re adding an educational component.  Scott Keopke from New Pioneer Food Coop will be talking about his role at the coop and what he thinks about the local food scene. – Music – The Porch Stompers – Mini Horses – Triple V Training – Guest Speaker – Scott Keopke from New Pioneer Food Co-op

 

Iowa Wine Tour, September 15, 12-6pm
Enjoy a Sunday afternoon visiting four picturesque Central/Southern Iowa vineyards and wineries! Enjoy wine tasting, food pairing, education, vineyard tours and on-site shopping. Member wineries on this tour include Jasper Winery and Two Saints Winery. Price per person of $55 includes ticketing fees, climate controlled round-trip transportation, bottled water and snacks on-board the bus. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

 

Hear it in the Grapevines (Two Saints Winery) 1-4pm
Live music concert series Sundays.
August 18 – Mills Street Band
September 8 – Hot Tamales & The Red Hots
September 22 – Tony Valdez

 

Music at the Winery (Covered Bridges Winery) 6-8pm
Kick back, relax, take in the music, and enjoy some great wine. Bring along a picnic, a blanket or chairs.
August 24 – Ron Burchett

 

unWINEd: The Other Side (Jasper Winery) 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!
August 23 – Brother Trucker
September 6 – Brian Holtz Band
September 20 – Sonny Humbucker Band

 

Wine-In Movies (Grape Escape)
Every Saturday night from June through September join us for our Wine In Movies in the Vineyard.  Outdoor movies on a 11 foot by 20 foot screen with surround sound, full 1080p High Definition picture, and fire pits.

 

Sunday Socials, 2pm – 5pm (Grape Escape)
Wine Education Segments Yard Games Great Wines Good Times with friends, new and old

BFBL Members Celebrate Local at the Iowa State Fair

By Kelsey Johnson

The time is upon us. The Iowa State Fair is coming. While the title of “World’s Best State Fair” is currently in contention, we know that sooner or later it will be bestowed upon our humble land. I mean, we have the butter cow after all… which, according to the State Fair website, could butter 19,200 slices of toast and would take the average person two lifetimes to consume.  Maybe the local t-shirt company Raygun has a point: “I went to the Iowa State Fair and all I got was type 2 diabetes.”  While many go to the fair to try the infamous “fried-whatever-on-a-stick” you can be sure that among the million guests and venders they’ll be some proud BFBLers promoting diverse and delicious Iowa foods.

 

You’ll find our members throughout the fairgrounds, whether it be in competition halls, sponsoring cooking contests, or selling high-quality Iowa foods…or drinks, if you fancy that sort of thing. Speaking of which, you can find Peace Tree Brewery at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent all eleven days of the fair. You’ll also find various Iowa wines available and Iowa Orchard will serve up fresh apple juice among other fruity concoctions in the Agriculture Building.

 

Once you feel adequately hydrated and ready to make your way around the grounds, be sure to stop by the Fairs’ swine building. The Griffieon Family Farm will be showcasing their Limousin heifer, Ginger, for the entire fair in the Avenue of Breeds.  For those not well-versed in livestock terminology a heifer is a young cow.

 

After you’re done ogling over livestock there will be a whole host of food creation contests sponsored by BFBL favorites: Iowa Orchards, allspice, Jasper Winery, and Juan O’Sullivan’s. The majority of these events will be held in the Rory_Rub_Apron[1]Elwell Family Food Center and offer a unique outlet for companies to showcase their products. “It gets people to utilize our products, they go out and buy our products and it gets them talking to their friends,” said Sean Sullivan from Juan O’Sullivan’s. “For me it’s an inexpensive way to get people talking about our product while actually using it.”

 

The salsa company’s third annual Juans / Make it Local contest is scheduled to take place August 6, but don’t forget the other events happening throughout the fair! Allspice is “Calling all cooks” to face off in their snack mix, cookie, ice cream, rub, and Sauerbraten competitions. Top place winners will receive between $25-$50 gift cards and every contestant a 5oz bottle of Balsamic Vinegar.  Registration is closed for this year, but that just means you have even more time to perfect your recipe.

 

Ultimately, the State Fair is a time of celebration. A celebration of great food, people, agriculture, and the magnificence that is Iowa… along with what Sean calls, “lots of neat side elements” thrown into the mix. So be sure to join Buy Fresh Buy Local as we partake in the festivities! And if you’re feeling adventurous, bring along some toast, the 600-lb butter cow isn’t going to eat itself.

What’s Fresh: Tomatoes & Eggplant

By Kelsey Johnson

 

August is finally here! And while we may see some of our summer favorites phase out; such as black raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and rhubarb, there are still so many local flavors (and colors) to feast on. Adding to the Iowa color spectrum, firry red & orange tomatoes, as well as royal-worthy purple eggplants are ready for their summer introduction. We will also be seeing the beginning of black berries, peaches, and apricots coming on shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

This week our featured recipes are simple, and utilize local ingredients. Our first recipe is as delicious as it is beautiful, and courtesy of  Wheatsfield Co-op. The second is thanks to Wabi Sabi Farm and their Turtle Farm Recipe Archive, which combines tomatoes, eggplants, onions in one easy casserole.

 

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Picture thanks to Weatsfield Cooperative

Grilled Tomato, Pesto, and feta pizza
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 8-10 minutes | Servings: 4-6

    • 3/4-lb. fresh pizza dough
    • 4 tomatoes, sliced (multiple colors, if available)
    • Sea salt
    • 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
    • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
    • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
    • Balsamic vinegar or dressing, for drizzling

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Arrange tomato slices on a jelly-roll pan lined with paper towels.  Sprinkle with sea salt, and let stand while preparing the rest of the recipe.  Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a well-floured surface, and pierce dough liberally with a fork.  Place all prepped ingredients next to grill, ready to go.  Carefully place dough on grill.  It’s ok if it is misshapen.  Grill until grill marks appear on bottom of dough and it releases easily from grill, just a few minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill).  Watch closely to avoid burning.  With tongs for help, flip crust over on grill and, working quickly, top with pesto, tomatoes, feta and rosemary.  Cover grill; grill until crust is cooked through, just a few minutes.  Again, watch closely to avoid burning.  Removed from grill.  Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar or dressing.  Cut into squares or triangles with a sharp chef’s knife or pizza cutter.

 

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Picture thanks to Iowa Food Cooperative

Tian of Eggplant and Tomato

Rozanne Gold

      • 1 large eggplant ½ tsp. salt
      • 4 large yellow onions, peeled
      • 8 ripe tomatoes
      • 3 T. dried basil leaves
      • 1 T. dried thyme leaves
      • 6 T. grated parmesan cheese
      • 1/3 c. fruity olive oil

Peel the eggplant.  Slice into thin rounds and sprinkle with salt.  Put in a colander and let drain 30 minutes.  Slice the onions and tomatoes very thin.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  In a 12 x 8-inch rectangular or oval baking dish, place a layer of onions, top with a layer of eggplant, using half the eggplant then a layer of tomatoes, using half of these.  Sprinkle with 1 T. basil and 1 tsp. thyme.  Repeat this process.

Make a final layer of thinly sliced onion.  Sprinkle with the cheese and remaining basil and thyme.  Pour olive oil evenly over the vegetables and bake for 3 hours, uncovered.  Several times during baking, press down the vegetables with a spatula.  Remove from oven and drain liquid from the tian.  Serve hot, cut into squares or thick slices.

 

 

 

What’s Happening: August 1

Devour Des Moines, August 3rd
Tri To Eat It All! This swimming, biking, running, eating extravaganza shows off Des Moines’ local food, and all proceeds go to our Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign! Last day to register is TODAY! (August 1)

 

Live Music: Gilbert Goldsmith at Zanzibar’s, August 1, 6pm

 

Paul Sprawl at Peace Tree, August 2, 8-10pm
Peace Tree is pleased to host an evening of live music by Minnesota-based singer/songwriter Paul Sprawl! We request a $5 cover on live music nights to support our hard-working and talented artists. Treehouse Members pay no cover, so ask how you can join the club! Event Page:

 

All you can eat BBQ, August 3, 5pm-11
Co-sponsored by allspice All you can eat BBQ at the FFA Enrichment Center – Ankeny DMACC Campus LIVE Music by The Brian Holtz Band Wine & Beer pairing by Della Viti Wine Bar of Ames. More info here.
Tickets: $35.00 per ticket or $250 for tables of 8. Children age 12 years and under – FREE * $20.00 of each ticket is Tax Deductible * The price of your ticket includes, all you can eat BBQ from the competitors, potato salad and side, dessert and soft drink, live auction and live music. Cash bar available on site.

 

Sample Sunday (Picket Fence Creamery), August 4, 12-5pm
… Lunch is served!  Adult meal:  Angus burger or brat, chips, drink – only $5!  Kids’ hot dog meal, $3. Also:  walking tacos and corn dogs, $3. Slice of peach pie (made in Pella!) and fresh peach ice cream – $3 Kids!  Balloon animals, popcorn, decorate a sugar cookie, see the calves and cows.
SUPER
DEALS
*90% lean ground beef, $4.99/lb. with 10 lb. purchase
*Pella pie and quart of ice cream – only $12.99
*Iowa wines – 2 for $24
*BUY FOUR QUARTS OF ICE CREAM – get the fifth one FREE!!!

 

Hearts & Homes Historic Tea (The Wallace Centers of Iowa) August 6, 11:30am – 1pm
The 90-minute program combines a three-course lunch with readings from historic pages of the women’s section of Wallaces’ Farmer magazine. Lunch will be curry chicken salad on artisan bread with a variety of cookies and chocolates for dessert. The program begins at 11:30 am at the Wallace House. Cost is $20 per person and reservations are required. Call 515-243-7063 or email carlahicklin@wallace.org.

 

Crooked Mile – Live Music (Gramercy Tap), August 10, 9pm

 

Blindly Imbibe (Gateway Market), August 1 & 15, 7:30-8:30pm

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.

 

Restaurant Week, August 16-25

The metro area’s top chefs create special fixed-price menus for the week. Diners pay only $25 for two lunches or one three-course dinner. BFBL members include: Alba, Baru 66, Centro, Django, Dos Rios, The Gramercy Tap, HoQ, Lucca, Sbrocco, and Splash Seafood

 

Raw Food Week, August 19-25 Sponsored by Campbell’s Nutrition  

When you attend any Des Moines Raw Food Week event, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift certificate to Campbell’s Nutrition!
August 20 – Gateway Market is proud to partner with Raw Food Week | Des Moines for the Raw and Refined Community Dinner on August 20th, co-hosted by Gateway Market & Cafe Culinary Director, Chef Bill Overdyk! For more details, click here.
August 23 – Meet Jennifer Cornbleet at Campbell’s Nutrition and pick up a copy of the book, which invites readers to get to know the delicious world of raw food preparation with over 100 foolproof recipes using common ingredients. While you’re at Campbell’s, plan to partake in a variety of free samples available for this special Raw Food Week event! For more details, click here.

 

Wine Education Series (Splash Seafood) August 27, 6-7pm
Discuss and taste wines from around the world and pair them with light appetizers created by Splash Executive Chef Dominic Iannarelli. The July class features wine from Oregon and the August class from Southern Italy presented by Ben Nelsen, Certified Sommelier. Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required. Call (515)244-5686.

 

Wine & Canvas (Jasper Winery) August 25, 2-5pm

 

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: August 5 & 19)

 

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.
August 01 – Heirloom Tomatoes
August 08 – Iowa Sweet Corn
August 15 – State Fair Foods
August 22: Heirloom Tomatoes
August 29: Peaches

 

Annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting (Grinnell Heritage Farm), September 1, 4-8pm
This year we’re adding an educational component.  Scott Keopke from New Pioneer Food Coop will be talking about his role at the coop and what he thinks about the local food scene.
– Music – The Porch Stompers
– Mini Horses – Triple V Training
– Guest Speaker – Scott Keopke from New Pioneer Food Co-op

 

Hear it in the Grapevines (Two Saints Winery) 1-4pm
Live music concert series Sundays.
August 4 – The Bobcats
August 18 – Mills Street Band
September 8 – Hot Tamales & The Red Hots
September 22 – Tony Valdez

 

Music at the Winery (Covered Bridges Winery) 6-8pm
Kick back, relax, take in the music, and enjoy some great wine. Bring along a picnic, a blanket or chairs.
August 03 – Chad Elliot
August 24 – Ron Burchett

 

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!
Aug 01 – Dazy Head Mazy

 

unWINEd: The Other Side (Jasper Winery) 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!
August 09 – Freestyle
August 23 – Brother Trucker
September 6 – Brian Holtz Band
September 20 – Sonny Humbucker Band

 

Wine-In Movies (Grape Escape)
Every Saturday night from June through September join us for our Wine In Movies in the Vineyard.  Outdoor movies on a 11 foot by 20 foot screen with surround sound, full 1080p High Definition picture, and fire pits.

 

Sunday Socials, 2pm – 5pm (Grape Escape)
Wine Education Segments Yard Games Great Wines Good Times with friends, new and old