Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taste Here: Celebration of Local Foods

Central Ohio River Valley Local Food Initiative (CORV) is hosting a local food tasting fundraiser Sunday September 21st from 3 - 5pm at the Civic Garden Center.  Local foods made by local chefs.  Local music.  Proceeds benefit CORV and are used to produce their Local Foods Guide.  Tickets are $20 and available at or by calling the Civic Garden Center at (513) 221-0981.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oat Groats: Cheap, Tasty, Healthy Breakfast

I'm eating a lot of oat groats these days. I found a source for locally-grown oat groats, but the minimum order was 25 pounds. Oat groats are the least processed of all edible forms of oats, so they store a very long time (some sources are giving them 30 years under the right conditions.) So even though I'd never tasted them before, I decided to give them a try. I figured any minimally-processed food was a good addition to our diet, and even if it took us years to use them up, it'd be okay. And in the meantime if the apocalypse arrived, there'd be something to eat. Win-win-win.

Oh. My. God. This is what oats taste like. I like good old-fashioned oatmeal just fine -- I've eaten it for years, still happy to eat it if that's what's on the table. When I discovered pinhead oats and stone ground oatmeal, though, I realized just how much regular oatmeal had lost in the process of being...well, processed. (Don't speak to me of instant oatmeal. That's not a food.) So it comes as no surprise that getting closer to the whole grain results in an even more interesting taste and texture.

Even so, oat groats were a revelation. If you've never had them, you are missing out. They take a while to cook -- these are not a convenience food -- but they're so worth it. They're nutty, with a firm texture. The cooked grains are bigger than a grain of cooked rice, which along with the chewy texture makes them much more interesting than the soupy-paste of rolled oats and superior even to that of pinhead oats, which up until now I'd thought the pinnacle of oat gastronomy.

And I'm starting to see the 25-pound minimum order as an advantage. I paid $0.65/pound for my oat groats, which works out to about five cents for a 3/4 cup serving. In the morning, I bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add a 1/2 t of salt and a cup (~5 oz) of oat groats and set it over my heat diffuser on the lowest setting on my stove. It barely simmers for 45 minutes and is ready just about the time the rest of the family rolls into the kitchen. Add a splash of milk and you've got breakfast for four. Pretty good for about thirty cents.

Originally posted at Eat.Drink.Better.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kinkead Ridge Annual Vineyard Tour

Kinkead Ridge Estate Winery in Ripley (about an hour east of Cincinnati) will be open for the Annual Vineyard Tour Saturday August 30 and Monday September 1 for the release of the 2006 red wines. Visit the winery and vineyards, meet the winegrowers. Pets and children welcome. (No public restrooms.) Winery: 904 Hamburg Street, Ripley. Vineyard: 4288 Kinkead Road.

When I discovered Kinkead Ridge wines last year, they quickly became my pour-of-choice. This is Ohio wine for true wine lovers. Definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Website for Just Cured Salmon

Just Cured, an Over-the-Rhine company smoking fresh sustainably-raised salmon, has a new website.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cultivating The Web: High Tech Tools for the Sustainable Food Movement

Eat Well Guide has announced the release of their new book, Cultivating The Web, which discusses using the web to promote sustainable & local eating. According to The End of Nature author Bill McKibben,

It is undeniably odd and lovely that among the most important parts of our food system - a little behind rain and sun and seed - are the new digital tools that allow us to bypass the big advertisers, the mega-chains, the junk peddlers, and instead find all the other people growing, processing, cooking and eating actual, delicious food.
The book is available for download free in PDF form.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Woodstone Creek's Straight Bourbon Whiskey Debuts at Party Source

Woodstone Creek's Straight Bourbon Whiskey, made locally in Norwood at Ohio's first microdistillery, will debut tonight at the Party Source's Craft Spirit Tasting event in Covington.

Woodstone Creek is the first Ohio-made aged bourbon released since 1865. Bottles will be labeled with barrel number in limited edition releases one barrel at a time. Barrel #1 bottle #1 will be auctioned off September 6th at Gourmet Sensation to benefit Hospice of Cincinnati.

Based on the quality of Woodstone Creek's Vodka, I intend to find a bottle soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Traveling Locavore: Tin Angel Cafe, Salt Lake City

Our family traveled through Salt Lake City, UT, during our National Parks Extravaganza this summer on our way between Grand Teton National Park and Grand Canyon National Park. As always when we travel, we try to find local independent restaurants that source locally. Generally this is easy to do by looking for foodie blogs in a target area and either searching their posts or asking them directly for recommendations. I found the very helpful Gourmand Syndrome, who suggested Tin Angel Cafe.

The Tin Angel Cafe is right across from Pioneer Park at 365 West 400 South. (Addresses in Salt Lake City and in much of the rest of Utah, after some initial confusion, are incredibly helpful -- an address actually provides directions to the location.) The funky ambiance manages to avoid both kitsch and preciousness, not a mean feat. The outdoor patio is a fun space overlooking the park across the street, but temperatures were in the 90s at 8:30 on a mid-June evening, and we opted to sit inside.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Out of town...

Off we go for a week of camping -- back on the 15th!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Food Preservation Class

Cooks' Wares is offering a class called How to Preserve Fresh Flavor at their Springboro (Settler's Walk) location on Thursday, Sept. 11, 6:30-9:00 pm. Instructor Cindy Remm will talk about pickling, drying, canning, and fermenting foods.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Raw-Milk Cheese Now Legal in Quebec

The Quebecois, always more French in their approach to food than the rest of Canada, have decided raw milk cheeses are worth taking a risk on after all.

Quebec, like the rest of Canada and the U.S., has long required raw-milk cheeses to be aged 60 days before sale to ensure against the possibility of harmful bacteria in unpasteurized milk. Artisan cheese makers have argued that many raw-milk cheeses reach their peak flavor at three to four weeks and the longer aging requirements change the inherent characteristics of those young cheeses. The North American versions of brie, camembert and other soft cheeses are very different from what is commonly produced in France, where a cheese cannot be labeled 'Camembert de Normandie' unless it is made according to strict rules.

The change in Quebec's law is accompanied by new regulations controlling sanitation and handling of the raw milk and raw milk cheeses.

Let's hope this incident of uncharacteristic government sanity crosses the border into the rest of Canada and the U.S. I've tasted young raw-milk cheeses given to me (because they can't sell them to me) by some of my local dairy farmers, and the difference is amazing. I wish my government would stop protecting me from risks I'm willing to take. But until they do, I may have to consider a quick smuggling trip across the border to Montreal.

Image credit: Marc Roussel under a Creative Commons license. Originally posted at Eat.Drink.Better.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Raw Milk: How to Set Up a Herdshare, and How To Evaluate a Dairy Farmer's Herdshare Operation

One of the more delicious ways to eat locally is to drink local milk. For most of us, this means raw (unpasteurized) milk. Unfortunately, raw milk is illegal to buy or sell in many U.S. states.

But often there's a way around it: A herdshare program. Drinking raw milk from a cow you own is not illegal. When a milk drinker joins a herdshare, he's buying a part of a cow — usually 1/25th of a cow — and paying each month a fee for that partial-cow's board and care.

I own 3/25ths of a cow (a Jersey named Cinnamon), which I purchased from a local dairy farmer for $50 per share. (If I ever decide to sell my shares, the farmer will buy them back from me for the same price I paid.) Each month, I pay my farmer $22 per share for my portion of the costs of Cinnamon's care, and each week I drive out to the farm (in Ohio, it's illegal for my farmer to deliver my milk to me) and pick up 3 gallons of beautiful whole unpasteurized milk. It works out to $5.08 per gallon, which just a few months ago might have seemed like a lot to pay for milk. It was worth it to me because I wanted to buy my milk from a local farmer raising cows on pasture without rBGH — cows living the way cows are supposed to live — and around here that means raw milk. It's worth it to others because they want raw milk in particular.

Friday, August 1, 2008

NuVo Restaurant moving to Newport

Mark Bodenstein, chef and owner at Nuvo restaurant in Florence, announced a few minutes ago that NuVo will be moving to Newport due to the sale of the property in which they've been operating. According to an email he sent out earlier this afternoon:

We will continue to do wine dinners at our new location our next one is scheduled September 23 or 30. We are moving into the old Mokka building at 527 York St. Newport, KY. our last day of operation will be tomorrow August 2, 2008. I know this message comes quickly and I apologize for that, we have tried to delay a much as possible to finish out August but, due to the selling of our property we can not wait any longer. We hope to see you all at our new location for dinner in September. Our hours will be from Tue-Thurs 5-9 Fri-Sat 5-11. 
Great news for Newport, not so great for Florence!