Monthly Archives: February 2015

February 2015 Newsletter

By: Hannah Linnemeyer


Greetings BFBL Pledge-Takers,

We have a Valentine’s Day themed What’s Fresh Page for you this month. We encourage you to incorporate local ingredients into your romantic Valentine’s dinner- our recipes are sure to impress.

If you prefer to spend your Valentine’s day out and about, we’ve updated our What’s Happening Page to include all of the local food-related events and dinners going on around Des Moines.

Also on the What’s Happening page we list a few helpful resources in finding a CSA program to participate in. Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to build a relationship with the people who grow your food and many local farms offer these programs.

If you’re looking for a unique gift idea to give your Valentine, check out BFBL businesses and farms. For example, the Cheese Shop of Des Moines has a delicious Chocolate and Cheese gift box (call 515-528-8181). The Juice Company is rolling out a new juice called the”Love Potion #9” for Valentine’s day. This juice is made with a powerful love incantation along with strawberries, raspberries, apples, oranges, a pinch of magic AND it will come presented in a decorative presentation box.


What’s Fresh: February 2015

By: Hannah Linnemeyer

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Although there are many great events happening around Des Moines, Valentine’s Day can be just as romantic spent at home indulging in local food and drinks. We have a few recipes that are sure to impress your significant other.


Red Wine Risotto

This mouth-watering Red Wine Risotto is a great first course for your V-day menu, but can easily sub as the main event. Seek out your favorite Iowa red wine and don’t forget to grab fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano from The Cheese Shop of Des Moines.

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2 cups Beef or Vegetable Stock

1 cup dry red wine – we used a Merlot

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion or shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

2 tbsp unsalted butter

½-1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it warm at the side of the stove. Melt olive oil and half the butter in a shallow saucepan or casserole, add the onion and garlic with salt and pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft, but not browned. Stir in the rice and sauté it, stirring constantly, until it absorbs the butter, about 2 minutes. Stir in about 1 cup wine and simmer, stirring, until the rice starts to dry, 5-7 minutes. Add a couple of ladlefuls of hot stock and continue simmering, stirring gently but constantly.
  • Continue cooking, stirring all the time and adding more stock in batches. At the end of cooking, the rice should be tender, still slightly al dente (chewy) and creamy from the starch that has begun to leach from the grains. This will take 25 to 35 minutes and don’t hesitate to use plenty of stock.
  • Take the risotto from the heat, add the remaining butter in pieces, and stir it into the rice as it melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the risotto in shallow bowls or on deep plates with a sprinkling of Parmesan. (Recipe adapted from


Sirloin Steak in a Red-Wine sauce with Roasted Potatoes

We are fortunate to have so many outstanding beef producers locally. Treat your valentine to a fresh cut of perfectly cooked steak grown here in Iowa.

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2 portions of sirloin steak about 1 inch thick – ours was from Rosmann Family Farms (pictured above)

1 cup of red wine

1-2 lbs of red potatoes

1/2 shallot or onion chopped

2 tbsp of butter

olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 425. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
  • While potatoes are roasting, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over high. After steaks have been at room temp. for 20 minutes, season with salt and pepper, then cook 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (if pan darkens quickly, reduce heat). Let rest 5 minutes.
  • While steaks are resting, reduce the heat to medium high and add the shallots; saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the flame off and add 1 cup of wine. Turn the flame back on to high, bring to boil and let reduce by half. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Drizzle this sauce over the steak. (Recipe adapted from


Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (recipe from Iowa Girl Eats)

This decadent dessert is best served with a scoop of Picket Fence Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream!

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1/2 cup butter

4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, divided

2 whole eggs from your local farmer

2 egg yolks

6 Tablespoons flour

2-4 ramekins or custard cups (find them at Kitchen Collage)

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter and baking chocolate into a large microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 1 minute, or until butter is melted, then stir until butter and chocolate are smooth. Add 1 cup powdered sugar then stir until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks then stir until smooth. Add flour then stir until just combined.
  • Butter 4 custard cups, sprinkle inside with sugar, then place onto a baking sheet. Pour chocolate batter evenly into cups then bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the sides are set but center is still soft (not jiggly.) Let cool for 2 minutes, then invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar then serve with vanilla ice cream.

*Find most, if not all, of these ingredients at your local grocer- Gateway MarketCampbell’s NutritionIowa Food Co-opWheatsfield Co-op., and Farm Sweet Farm.

What’s Happening: February 2015

By: Hannah Linnemeyer

  • Many farms here in Central Iowa are gearing up for the 2015 CSA season. Eat Greater Des Moines offers a great CSA resource on their website- type in your address to find CSA pick-up sites near you. Practical Farmers of Iowa is also a helpful resource in finding a CSA program to participate in- view their list here. Also, here are a few BFBL members now accepting shares (If your farm is not listed and you would like it to be, please email us at

Bridgewater Farms -learn more here.

Crooked Gap Farm– they are adding Urbandale and Pella locations to the current Des Moines (The Cheese Shop) and Knoxville delivery options for the 2015 season. Learn more about their meat CSA here.

Grade A Gardens – stop by any of the following local businesses to sign up: The Cheese Shop of Des MoinesZanzibar’s Coffee AdventureGateway Market & CafeHoQ restaurantCapital Chiropractic and Rehabilitation CenterWhole Foods Market West Des Moines.

Grinnell Heritage Farm- learn more and purchase a share on their website.

The Homestead- sign up on their website.

Raccoon Forks Farm- view their CSA brochure.

Wabi Sabi Farm – registration for new members will begin on February 1st, 2015. Click here to find out more.

The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s Prairie Harvest CSA – Registration forms at or sign up by calling 515-243-7063.


  • Cooking with George” classes on January 10th, February 13th, and March 7th, at 6:30 p.m. at Malo Restaurant 

Join Chef George Formaro for an interactive evening filled with great food and libations! Enjoy a chef’s demonstration followed by a four course dinner with wine selections. $65/ guest. To reserve your spot, call 515-244-5000 or email


  • Wine School 101 at Two Saints Winery- classes begin December 6, 2014 – Feb. 21. 2015

Sample 8-10 wines and learn how to swirl, sip, and serve them. Visit or call 641-396-2102 to reserve your spot.


  • Malo Wine Classes on January 21st, February 18th, March 18th, and April 15th at 6:30 p.m. 

Join Malo and Gateway Market’s Abbe Hendricks to explore the wines of Spain and Latin America. You may reserve your spot for $30 for a single class or $100 for all 4 classes. Call 515-244-5000 or email to make reservations!


Allspice will be at the Des Moines Home & Garden Show @ Hyvee Hall from February 12-15. They will also be participating in the Des Moines Opera Food & Wine Showcase @ the Downtown Marriott on February 20th. Lastly, join them as they conduct “Cooking with Alessandra” classes at her East Village location on February 24th.


Chef’s Kitchen is offering a 3 course dinner for 2 and a complimentary glass of champagne for $39.99. They are open Tuesday – Saturday from 5:00-10:00pm.


Baru will be offering their “Love-Affair Menu” Thursday thru Monday. Three courses $65; six courses, $120. Reservations are required.


Indulge in HoQ’s four course prix fixe dinner this Valentine’s day weekend. The full menu is available on HoQ’s website.


Treat your love (or your like) to a four course culinary experience at Le Jardin this Valentine’s Day. They are sold out on the 14th but may still have availability on the 13th.  Call 515-255-5787 for reservations.


Chef Katie will be preparing a special five-course meal for $60 per person. Tables are available for couples and groups. Call 515-243-7063 or email


Pair 3 mini cupcakes with 3 pairing-size sips of Jasper Winery wines or Madhouse Brewing Co. beers. Tasting flight is $20/person. Reservations are required. Call 515-282-9463 or email to schedule your cupcake flight!


  • Two Times the Fun! Dinner and Entertainment Duo at the Country Life Center on Saturday, February 14th beginning at 5 p.m. 

Treat your Valentine to a three-course dinner at the Country Life Center at 5 pm and then enjoy reserved seating at the 7 pm “Two on Tap” show at the Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield. This dining and entertainment duo is $50/person. Chef Katie will be determining the menu soon. Contact the Warren Cultural Center at 641-343-7337 or


Join fellow Des Moines area singles for an evening of great food and fun. Receive a special Valentine gift as well as the chance to win door prizes. Enjoy a four-course meal by Centro’s Chef Derek Eidson and Chef George Formaro, inspired by the food featured in the book, The Broken Heart Diet, a novel by local author Tom Formaro. Relationship-readiness coach Janet Tingwald (of Ready to Find Mr. Right) will be on hand for questions and ideas.


Relax and enjoy a four-course meal prepared by Chef Katie at the Country Life Center. There will be more updates to come on the menu details. For reservations call 641-337-5019 or email


There will be many Iowa foods available to sample. Cherry vanilla ice cream, Stone Cliff Winery’s Sweet Cherry wine, fresh cheese curds, meat sticks, Neva’s bacon cheeseball, bacon chili corn bread, Denison mustards, soups, local jams, caramel puffs, and… “the best darned chocolate milk this side of the Milky Way!” Just to name a few.


Le Jardin is heading to Knoxville to celebrate Fat Tuesday on February 17. Join Le Jardin and Peace Tree Brewery for a four course meal with beer pairings. The Peace Tree team will be on hand to give brewery tours and talk about their beers.


The Wallace House invites you to “Food for Thought,” a program 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. Bring your own wine. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited. Call 515-243-7063 or email


A big day full of live music, local food, special brews and a limited edition anniversary ale, bottled just for the occasion!