Thanks for coming to today’s “Fermentation Basics” demo at the Fun with Fermentation festival, and a big thank you to Christina Sasser and the entire WVSFA team who worked so hard to make the festival a success! I loved the mix of old and young people, farmers, hippies, yuppies, foodies, students, and parents. I was happy to share some of my techniques and tips for vegetable fermentation, and enjoyed talking to so many of you after the demo at the Master Food Preserver booth.
OSU Extension-Lane County’s full list of preservation publications (free .pdf downloads) – See esp. “Making Sauerkraut and Sauerkraut Recipes” and “Problems & Solutions: Sauerkraut” under the heading “Pickling”
The OSU Extension Master Food Preserver message line for class registration, preservation and food safety questions: 541-344-4885. We no longer have a local hotline, thanks to budget cuts in Lane County, but in the summer and before the holidays there’s a 1-800 number you can call. More information here.
…with special guest Ken Albala, who spent the week at Oregon State as the Horning fellow. Ken gave three talks on food. I caught up with him and the Corvallis food studies/Slow Food gang after his talk on potlucks (among other ideas about sharing food). Where else? At a potluck. He made this wonderful all-local ravioli out of homemade dough and a butternut squash filling that both featured Two Towns cider. It was topped with walnuts, peppers, and herbs, and was the star in a meal of many excellent dishes.
Stay tuned for the book version of this year’s Horning lectures. OSU Press publishes the lecture series, and I understand Ken will undertake this project in the future.
It’s a big weekend here at Culinaria Eugenius. Just got back from the coast with a mushroom delegation led by UO Environmental Leadership Program’s Peg Boulay, members of the Cascade Mycological Society, local chefs, and our guest Hank Shaw. Now we’re off to the wild foods dinner at Marché. More to come!
I’m so pleased to announce an event that’s been in the works ’round these parts for months. Wild foods expert Hank Shaw will be talking to UO students and researchers in my Food in the Field research group, and giving a public reading on November 14 for the entire Eugene community. Free event and open to all. This is the last stop on a nationwide book tour for Hank, so let’s give him a warm welcome!
Hunter, Gatherer, Conservationist: Finding the Forgotten Feast Book Reading and Discussion Author Hank Shaw Monday, November 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. 282 Lillis Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
Hank Shaw is a wild foods expert, hunter, angler, gardener and cook, based in Sacramento. His exquisite and unusual wild foods blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (http://honest-food.net), has been twice nominated for a James Beard Award, and was awarded best blog from the International Association of Culinary Professionals organization in 2010 — two major achievements in food writing. He is on tour for his already acclaimed new book, Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale Books). The book explores North America’s edible flora and fauna, explaining how to track down everything from wild mushrooms to mackerel to pheasant, and to create locally sourced meals that go far beyond the farmers market or campfire cuisine.
At a public reading for the University of Oregon and Eugene area community, Shaw will share his experiences in the field and in the kitchen, discussing not only his sophisticated recipes and innovative techniques for preparing wild food that grows and roams in the Pacific Northwest – camas bulbs, venison, and wild berries, to name just a few examples – but also the political, social, and environmental issues surrounding hunting and gathering in the twenty-first century. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
I took a bunch of shots of the preservation judging, grange exhibits, rides, and some livestock. Check it out on the Facebook. OK, I’ll admit I’m still a little obsessed with the Zipper, the scariest, most dangerous carnival ride ever, then or now.
Absolutely gorgeous week here in Eugene for fair-going, too!
I really love the county fair, with its creepy carnival rides, heart-attack food, and exhibits of animals and food products. I’ll be there today with the Master Food Preservers and other Extension groups ready to talk about food safety and preservation to anyone in hearing range. My shift is 12-2 p.m. Come say hi! It’s over at the, duh, Fairgrounds at 13th and Jefferson/Friendly/Jackson.
Some of my MFP colleagues are judges in the food-in-jars competition, and that’s always fun, too. New canners should definitely stop by to see some of these gorgeous pickles and crystal clear jellies and broths. I always get good ideas from the preserved products I see.
How will the elimination of 4-H from our county affect the animal show this year and in subsequent years? I know that Lane County program directors and teachers have been traveling long distances to other counties to continue their work with 4-H kids, and I’d imagine the kids have been displaced, too. Will they continue to show up at our fair?
By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the preservation techniques you’ll see at the fair, check out our Master Food Preserver Alliance Facebook page for more information about classes. I think there are still spaces left in the tomato canning and meat canning classes. (MFP tomato/salsa class on August 26 and the meat canning class on September 23. $15/class. Call 541-344-4885 for information.) Tuna are all full, but we’re taking a (rather long) list of interested parties for next year. Also, more classes to come in fall and spring!
After a day-long battle, Iron Chef Eugene 2011 has been crowned. We congratulate Chef Heidi Tunnell of Creswell’s Heidi Tunnell Catering Company on reigning supreme! Her win was all the more impressive, given she’s 38 weeks pregnant. Chef Tunnell will go on to battle at Iron Chef Oregon at The Bite of Oregon festival, which will take place at Waterfront Park in Portland on August 12-14. Just about the time she plans to give birth. Will that slow her down? We think not!
You’ll see all four chef contestants and their sous chefs at work: Chef Tunnell, Chef Mike Meyer of Red Agave, Chef Shane Tracey of Nib Modern Eatery, and Chef Max Schwartz of Agate Alley Laboratory. The theme ingredients were: Battle 1 (Tunnell/Meyer) – Our Family Farms’ pasture raised chicken; Battle 2 (Tracey-Schwartz) – raspberries and Huerto de la Familia’s blackcap raspberries; and Championship Battle (Tunnell-Schwartz) – Oregon dungeness crab.
I was so impressed by the competitive spirit this year — the dishes that came out of the outdoor kitchen were impressive. And even though the chefs were intense and focused, they were also kind and generous toward one another when we had technical difficulties. The camaraderie on stage was very much felt and appreciated.
I’ll write a post about my favorite moments of the Bite of Eugene festival later, but right now I need to get ready to talk about the competition on KLCC’s Food for Thought radio show. Listen to me, the new Iron Chef Eugene, and judges Ray Walsh of Capitello Wines, Jeff Kandarian of King Estate, Boris Wiedenfeld, and Ryan Stotz dish on the experience — noon – 1 p.m. today on 89.7. [Edited to add: listen to the archived version of the program here. Heidi and I tune in around about a third of the way through the hour.]
One of our best classes — learn how to can tuna with our Fish Canning Expert Master Food Preserver Dale Dow. We’ll be canning sustainable albacore tuna off the boats fishing the Oregon coast, some of the best fish on earth. Nine (count ’em, NINE!) small classes: August 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 22 & 24. Register and choose a date NOW. These are hands-on, 5 hour classes, limited to 6 participants each. Learn to use your pressure canner and take home 24 one-half pints of tuna. $25 plus cost of tuna (at about $2.50 per jar for 24 jars); bring your own new canning jars. Call 541-344-4885 for more information ASAP and/or download registration form here.
Indian Sampler, July 30
Michael Scott, whom I know via the Friendly Neighborhood Farmers Network, hosts the Cheap Thrills Supper club. This month is foods of India, and the menu is based on the sadya of the Kerala region, but ranges to all areas of India. July 30. $35 gets you a mostly vegetarian meal, sitar music, and a slide show of a trip to India. The menu looks fantastic. Several spaces left; hurry to reserve them for what promises to be a fantastic evening.
It’s time to pick your own and buy one of our local miracles — raspberries. For jamming, look for these cultivars, which have a more complex flavor/acidity profile: Meekers (my favorite), Tulameens and Cascade Delights (supposedly better than Meekers), and Willamettes (the ubiquitous WV commercial raspberry and the large ones you see on bigger farms and in clamshells at markets). Wait a few days for the sun to sweeten them up again. Pick your own at a number of local farms, including Riverbrook Farm, a pocket farm on Beacon off River Road. Please comment with your favorite U-pick farms.
Another of my favorite local farms, Sweetwater Farm in Creswell, is now selling roasting chickens and stewing hens! I visited the plucking and cleaning operation last month out at the farm, and want to do a longer post on humane chicken slaughter, but thought it unfair not to let folks know now about the birds. I made a delicious roast chicken with one of them, and a big pot of silky broth with some chicken feet I managed to forage from the farm. :) Roasters are $4 a pound, really a fair price for pasture-raised, no soy feed birds. An order form is on their website.
It’s also time to pick and buy those rarest of cherries, the evanescent ruby red pie cherry (my brandied cherries in process, above). Coming into its already short season during this freak rain, we are assured of a tiny crop. Get them now. Hentze Farm is one place (where you can thankfully buy them pitted), and I think River Bend Farm has some u-pick. Any others?
Under Pressure? Gauge Testing July 21
Master Food Preserver Patty Driscoll will be available at the Extension Service office on Thursday, July 21 July 28 between 11:30 and 1:30 to test pressure gauges [Edited to add: You may drop off your lids on July 21, but she has a meeting during that time, so plan to drop off/pick up later that day]. Be safe. Test your gauge yearly. $5. Office is located at 783 Grant, Eugene and there is parking. Bring your lid only.
Speaking of fresh juice and pressure canning, I had the opportunity a month or so ago to check out the new dawning of the old Eugene hippie raw juice purveyors, the Genesis Juice Co-Op, which was effectively shut down after federal laws changed standards for processing juice a number of years ago. The same green folks who own Toby’s Tofu Paté bought them out, and they’re putting out environmentally sensitive, organic, fresh juices at Genesis Juice.
I got to meet Toby, of tofu fame, and Sheldon, the CEO, of Toby’s Family Foods. We watched the crew in the processing room sorting apples and checked out the pressurizer machine. It’s a sleek, efficient operation — trading off tofu/salad dressing days and juice days. Very nice people, too.I had a chance to try their products (the standard disclaimer applies, since they were free on my visit/tour) and liked them very much, though most are a bit too sweet for me as someone finds most juice too sweet. But for those with sweeter palates, they’ll be a delight!
Two items of note: (1) the fruit stays fresh and raw-tasting via a non-thermal, high-pressure pasteurization method, where the juice undergoes pressurization in a huge tank instead of being subjected to cooking to kill beasties, making a significant difference in the taste; and (2) the organic produce and HPP makes flavor variations quite apparent in different batches of the juice. I tasted one strawberry lemonade that was much tarter, for example, than the previous week’s tasting at an event. The apple juice is the closest to fresh apple cider that I’ve tasted in a commercial product, and the ginger lemonade has a nice, fresh ginger kick. Also try the Herbal Tonic, which is quite refreshing. You can get a coupon for a free bottle on their website.
Gyro Cart [and We Hope Tunisian Food Before Too Long]
Excellent cucumber salad with a tiny dice, mint, and olives nestle up alongside a lamb-beef gyro at this improbably located new food cart, 4 Gyros. You’ll be greeted by a poster of a smiling woman urging you to eat GYROS and by an incredibly sweet guy: Tunisian-American and former UO Arabic instructor Mohamed Jemmali. Right now, the cart’s at 6th and Chambers, but I can’t imagine he’ll stay there long (like, hmm, maybe a week?). Food is quite good and a welcome addition to the food cart and local dining scene. Give him your business.
But how can we convince Mohamed to make Tunisian couscous and stews? I asked; he said it would be too hard in the cart. I say nonsense — sounds like a campaign to me! Let him know we can handle more authentic Middle Eastern food in Eugene, and it’s up to him to do it. Once a week? Once a month? Please!
Late Lamented Tim’s Dill Pickle Chips Back in Town
And I don’t know for how long, since the internet has failed to even confirm the product exists. But I ate almost an entire bag, so I can assure you they do (did). This is the only shelf product I’ve written to a manufacturer about after being dumped for low sales, begging for its return. They’re like salt and vinegar chips, but with dill. At Capella’s Market now. Don’t wait.
Tom Cruise, Move Over
And I have to end this with a neighborhood delight, Josh Chamberlain from J-Tea literally shaking his moneymaker.
He’s been serving up Taiwanese-style frothed iced oolong this summer. I sampled one this spring, and it’s very fun to watch. As soon as it actually TURNS summer, I can’t wait to have him shake me another tall, frothy cool one.
After admiring her work for many years and volunteering together at Master Food Preserver events, I met up with Ruby the Resourceress at the recycling camp for the Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion School last month, to see her in action. Jeanne Mandrapa-sensei had a wonderful program for these kids, doing Japanese and other crafts while teaching them in Japanese. And she brought in Ruby and her Lady Pirate to make danger flowers, garden sculpture using snipped lids of jars mounted on old wire clotheshangers.
Danger flowers got their name from the edges, of course. Plant them before they plant you, says Ruby.
Ruby’s recycling projects can be seen all over town. She’s known for found art, or rather, art made out of discarded items she has gathered. I love her clocks made out of cans and her snake friend, who smells savory like garlic thanks to its body made out of lids from artichoke and olive jars. She also makes jewelery out of bottle caps (the kids did these):
Ruby Collette is a homeless activist as well as an artist and writer (and former homeless person herself, though she now has a pretty sweet hand-built mobile setup). She writes an occasional column for Eugene Daily News, tackling the eco-haves and havenots, urban homesteader hypocrisy, food eliminations, and other liberal sacred cows. I like having her voice out there — she keeps us honest.
If you’d like to see more of Ruby’s work and even learn how to make the crafts yourself, please contact her at email@example.com or visit her at these upcoming shows and festivals:
Better yet, bring along some of your jar lids. She sent me a list of her favorites for crafts:
What kind of jar lids does Ruby love? First, it has to be metal, not plastic. What make a lid cool? Even in trash, the rare ones are the most valuable. Pink and purple are the hardest colors to find, lime green also. I even have a hard time finding red and orange at times.Any kind of design on the side of the lid will show up on the petals. The center of the lid usually gets covered up with the smallest lid and the pop rivet flange. So the color and patterns on the edges are the most important.
Safeway’s select salsa, medium
Marmalade with black and white stripes
Smucker’s jam (gingham lids)
Goober PB and Jelly (lovely striped lavender and purple lids)
Bonne Maman Jams
Hero Jam—Beautiful fruit on lids!
Amir Jam—same as above
Welches’ Grape drink or jam
Ovaltine, orange lid
Rose’s Lime Juice
Twist-off booze and wine caps
Salsa, Amy’s salsa, any with bright lids
Hengstenberg red cabbage with apple
Round candy tins—willy wonka candy has purple, European ones have fruit
I’ll be the first to admit that travel is not friendly to blog posting, especially with so many Eugene food events that occur in July. So don’t miss these Oregon Craft Beer Month-related events. God, we’re so lucky.
1) Cheese Wars II, July 19, 5:30 or 8 p.m., Supreme Bean, $20.
The Supreme Bean (29th & Willamette) will host 16 Tons and Oakshire Brewing for CHEESE WARS II. Cheese Wars is a food-pairing showdown between two ancient beverages. We will feature 5 courses of cheese carefully selected by Oakshire’s cheese enthusiast extraordinaire Eriel Hoffmeier. Each cheese course will be paired with a beer and a wine. Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk will choose and present the beers; Isaac Silva of Estelle and OBM will choose and present the wines. Which pairings work best — only you can decide. Cheese Wars is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the processes of making beer, wine, and cheese. Tickets are limited. Purchase tickets at 16 Tons or online at BrownPaperTickets.com.
2) Carts and A Cold One, July 31, 5-8 p.m., Ninkasi Brewery, $15 advance/18 at door.
Slow Food Eugene and Ninkasi Brewery present “Carts and A Cool One.” This is a cook-off between cart vendors from all over the area, with pairings of beer for each sample. Visitors vote for their favorite cart. Proceeds of the event go towards the School Garden Project, the Farm to Table Program, and sending local delegates to Terra Madre. TICKETS: $15 packet–in advance from Brown Paper Tickets. $18 packet at the door. $4 for individual tastes (only available at the door).
Support your local food carts, The Nosh Pit, Devour, Red Wagon Creamery, Rolling Stone Pizza Company, Betty Rocker’s Street Kitchen, and PartyCart, with carrot hot dog above. Read more here!