The North Market’s Food and Ohio Wine Festival is held right on our door step and I proposed the idea that we should have a Slow Food table to raise awareness of the Slow Food movement and recruit some new members. Unfortunately by the time I had this idea it was too late for us to have a table, but North Market Marketing Director Mary Martineau suggested that we could do a cookery demonstration. This sounded like fun and Colleen who is a former professional chef agreed to take the lead. We were committed.
Sometimes things that sound simple in practice turn out to be more complicated and three opinionated foodies trying to decide what to cook for a demonstration turned out to be one of these things. There were just too many options. In addition we were trying to live up to the Slow Food ideals of ‘Good, Clean and Fair’, use seasonal local produce and incorporate some Ark of Taste products. What a shame it isn’t paw paw season!
We spent most of the week discussing recipes, trying and testing variations, discussing pros and cons and working out what we needed to say, make and buy. Finally on Saturday morning we had tested, tasted, shopped and chopped and we were ready. The demonstration was to be held in the new Ohio Proud mobile kitchen, complete with three TV screens, microphones and of course the proverbial kitchen sink.
Our menu was a Swiss chard and goat cheese frittata, roasted cauliflower and roasted beets with mint and cumin. All three dishes highlight local seasonal produce (mostly from Wayward Seed Farm) and hopefully gave people some new ideas for preparing them. We used Chiogga beets which are also known as candy strip or bulls eye beets and they have red and white stripes when you cut into them. We also mixed in some of the beet greens with the chard for the frittata.
The Ark of Taste product that we incorporated was Alaea salt from Hawaii which has a beautiful terracotta color (due to the addition of red volcanic clay) and makes a wonderful finishing salt, especially on something pale like the cauliflower.
Colleen did all the talking and I assisting making sure that everything was to hand and keeping a check on the oven. The demonstration went really well, except for the weather. The sky looked really ominous and we had been told that we would have to stop if the rain was heavy. We rushed through the menu and were just finishing when it started pouring. Trying to serve food in the rain and pack everything up was pretty hectic, but people were lining up in the rain to try things and the food all disappeared despite the thunderstorm. We had some great reactions to the food and it was fun chatting to people afterwards.
The cauliflower had brown crunchy bits and was really delicious. I heard more than one person say that it was the best cauliflower they had ever tasted, they could not believe that it only had olive oil, salt and pepper.
3 cups cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400˚. Break cauliflower into florets and toss with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 25 minutes, or until browned on ends.
Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Frittata
1 bunch (8 oz) Swiss chard stems, separate from leaves
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 c chopped local sweet candy onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
2 oz goat cheese
salt & pepper
Fresh Basil to garnish
Preheat oven to 350˚. Saute onion and garlic in 12″ nonstick frying pan until onion is translucent. Add the chard stems and saute for a few minutes. Add the leaves, and salt/pepper to taste. When the chard has wilted, pour in the beaten eggs. Crumble the goat cheese over the surface. Remove from heat and place in oven for 8 minutes or until egg has set and cooked through.
Roasted Beets with Cumin and Mint
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted & lightly crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium beets (1-1/4 lbs. without greens), trimmed, leaving 1″ stems attached.
1/3 c. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
Stir together lemon juice, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Stir in oil and let stand while roasting beets. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425˚.
Wrap beets tightly in double layer of foil and roast on baking sheet until tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min. Cool to warm in foil, about 20 min. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/4-1/2″ wide wedges.
Toss warm beets with dressing. Stir in mint just before serving. (Adapted from Gourmet, May 2007)