Monday, April 16, 2012

EcoGastronomy Director, Dan Winans, attends Slow Food USA Congress in Kentucky

Louisville Hosts Slow Food Summit, by Ron Mikulak, The Courier-Journal
Local foodies have long embraced the revival of interest in locally grown and produced foods. Now, the Louisville area will be recognized for those efforts when Slow Food USA holds its biennial National Congress starting Friday at The Brown hotel.
About 150 Slow Food representatives from the 225 local chapters in the United States will be at the congress. Mark Williams, executive chef at Brown-Forman and the organizer of Slow Food Bluegrass, helped bring the group to Louisville.
Williams, who also is the Southern Regional Governor of Slow Food USA, overseeing chapters in Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky, said Louisville was in contention last year with New York and Washington, D.C., to host a future International Congress.
"When it came time for the National Congress to pick a location, Louisville had already worked on them, so they decided to come here, because Slow Food is such a strong movement here in Kentucky," Williams said. "They wanted to learn more about Louisville and tell more of the country about what they learned."
Slow Food began in Italy in 1989 in response to the growth of corporate fast food and industrial agriculture, which was overpowering traditional local food cultures. Its goal was to make people more aware of where food comes from, how it tastes and how food choices affect economies and ecosystems.
There are now more than 1,300 "convivia," or local working groups, in 150 countries around the world committed to "creating a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet," said Emily Walsh, the marketing manager for Slow Food USA.
Mayor Greg Fischer will welcome the group, discuss his "Healthy Home Town" initiative and report on the progress of his Farm to Table program, which is headed by former Courier-Journal food editor Sarah Fritschner and works to develop new markets, both institutional and commercial, for locally produced foods.
The congress, which is open to Slow Food participants, including local chapter leaders, regional governors and the board of directors of Slow Food USA, will begin Friday morning with a "Food Justice Tour," visiting various places in the city where neighborhood projects are working to increase access to and awareness about healthier and sustainably produced foods.
The tour will visit Fresh Stop stores in western Louisville, which offer fresh produce in areas underserved by chain groceries, a People's Garden in the Shawnee neighborhood, and Field Day Farm, site of the Food Literacy Project that educates local schoolchildren about food, farming and cooking from scratch.
Sessions later Friday and Saturday will address issues about Slow Food organization and management, but will also explore wider food and political issues, such as access and affordability of wholesome foods, school garden programs, teaching children to cook, and biodiversity of plants and animals.
Along with the regional governors, several of whom will lead various sessions, Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel, who addressed the annual Local Farms, Healthy Food conference in the fall of 2010, will return to Louisville for the congress, which ends Sunday.
There will be socializing too. Friday the group will meet for dinner at the Creation Garden corporate offices on Market Street for a "Farm to City" party, attended by local sponsors such as Ashbourne Farm, Taco Punk, 610 Magnolia, Fresh Start Growers' Supply, Harvest and Heine Brothers Coffee.
Local chefs will join guest chef Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room in Westport, Conn., who, along with the late Paul Newman, organized Wholesome Wave, a foundation that assists communities in offering better foods by underwriting a doubling of EBT card values when used to buy food at farmers markets.
Reporter Ron Mikulak can be reached at (502) 582-4618.

 Cardamom Popovers with Cinnamon Mascarpone and Berries

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
For the popovers:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the filling:
Two 8-ounce tubs mascarpone
2 tablespoons honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Sliced strawberries or other fresh berries, to serve

Heat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 6-cup popover pan with cooking spray.
In a blender, combine the flour, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, salt and cardamom. Blend until the ingredients form a very smooth batter, about 1 minute. Fill each of the prepared popover pan cups about halfway with batter. You should use only half of the batter in the blender. The remainder can be baked as a second batch or refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the popovers from the pan and use a knife to cut a small hole in the top of each to let the steam escape. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, in a medium bowl gently stir together the mascarpone, honey, lemon juice and zest, and the cinnamon. When the popovers have cooled just enough to handle, carefully tear the opening in each just enough to be able to spoon in about 1/4 cup of the filling. Serve each with sliced strawberries or other fresh berries.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number and calculated using 1/2 cup strawberries per serving): 510 calories; 300 calories from fat (59 percent of total calories); 34 g fat (18 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 175 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 3 g fiber; 330 mg sodium

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