Sunday, November 18, 2012

Salone del Gusto - Terra Madre Day 1

 After a 1 hour flight to New York, then a 9 hour flight to Milan, and a 2 hour bus ride to Turin let's just say I was a little exhausted, but I wasn't alone. Everyone on my flight and those that came in to Milan at the same time were all feeling the jet lag and fatigue, but there was no rest for the weary. I really can't complain though because I met this couple from Papua New Guinea and they said they had a flight that was 12 hours then 14 hours then another 2 hours. I can't event imagine that. They were so cute. Incredible slap happy and delirious from the flight, but so kind-hearted. I don't know if I would have been that happy after that long of a traveling day.

After our two hour bus ride to the Salone, checking in, receiving our information bags (they were made out of the large vinyl signs from the Terra Madre two years ago. Such a great idea!) and packets, and deliriously checking our luggage I met up with Greg Boulous, my regional director. We had met in the airport. He was on the same plane as I was and had been to Terra Madre before. Luckily, he had the inside scoop. After taking us to the Salone and seeing all the booths being set up, he directed us to this amazing Slow Food based grocery stored called Eataly to get an espresso and walk around a little.  I just recently found out that there is one of these in New York also.  It is incredible. I'll talk about that a little later. I took Les to this grocery store/restaurant also.

After buying a liter of wine, he told us about this beautiful park just outside of the huge Fiat building and Lingotto, the place were the Salone took place. So this is us taking a nap in the park trying to give ourselves some energy for the exciting opening ceremony that was coming. I thought, "perfect, now I'll have a place to go when I need nature and have some time to process all the things that I'm learning. This will be a great respite from the amount of people at the conference." Unfortunately I never made it back out to that park. It rained almost every day there, but to be honest I was so busy meeting amazing people and going to interesting workshops that I'm not sure I would have had the time to do that.
 I wish I was a better writer and could describe the energy at the opening ceremony. There were people from all over the world with this contagious passion for all things food and agriculture. It was so fascinating to see so many people dressed in their traditional dress. This picture doesn't really express that, but it was quite interesting.

I sat next to a student from Italy, Pietro. His parents own a dairy and they make cheese especially the Caciotta. You can see their products -  He said it was a large production and they actually sell their cheese to large stores in America like Costco. He was very passionate about the cheese, and you could tell the gleam of pride in his eye knowing that his family makes a great product. I'm not sure if I've ever heard of the cheese he was talking about, but I'll have to keep my eye out for it. Later in the week he became my tour guide-of-sorts for the gala dinner. He told me all about the products I was eating and became quite upset about the fact they they were serving a different brand of Caciotta. He told me that it's quite hard, expensive, and there are many regulations to make Caciotta but the brand that they were serving was actually made in the Czech Republic with an Italian brand on it. So it wasn't actually Caciotta. Very interesting! I'll tell you more about the Gala in a later post.

I also sat next to Yolanda who is an intern at the Rodale Institute. She was quite friendly, and I hung out with her a good amount. She is doing research on soil biology. I hope she can make it down to Gorman sometime. This was another person I wish I had more time to talk to. I think that was the story of the entire week.
During the opening ceremony we heard from some amazing people including: Vandana Shiva talking about seeds, Carmen Martinez from Mexico talking about water, Alice Waters (Chez Panisse and Edible Schoolyard) and Nikki Henderson (People's Grocery) talking about education, Yuko Sudo from Fukoshima talking about energy, Edward Mikiibu from Uganda (Coordinator of the 1000 Gardens in Africa), and Carlo Petrini (Founder of Slow Food). The picture is of the wonderful Terra Madre Orchestra that was a group of people from all over the world. It was absolutely beautiful with all different kinds of musical instruments from their countries. I wish you could have heard this.

Listening to all of the speakers was a different kind of experience because we had to have headsets that translated everything that was said. To be honest I wish I understood more languages because I'm sure the translators did a wonderful job, but I definitely feel like a lot of the inflection and passion was lost. You'd see the person speaking so passionately and the translator would just speak it back in a sort of hyper monotone voice. 

Alice Waters and Nikki Henderson talking about the importance of education in the food movement
Also Dario Fo, who is the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 1997, did a very strange performance. He spoke totally in a made up language that he created. He then proceed to do two reenactments. One was of a person who was so hungry that he started eating himself, and the other one of someone who ate so much that he was in extreme pain. I understand the point he was trying to make, but it was definitely a strange way of doing it. I guess if you wanted to get the point across to a multi-lingual crowd you might as well make up your own language.

I found out Turin is who pays for our lodging and food. That's incredible that a cit would pay for that many people to go to such a grand event. In fact I heard that 6 years ago they had a US delegation of around 800 people!  They said because of the economy they couldn't pay for as many people anymore. Wow, thank goodness I was so blessed to be selected to go this year.

After a very long and eventful day we packed into buses and headed to our hotels. To my sadness there was a mixup at the hotel, and I wasn't on the list for having a room as well as another woman, Jamie Milks. It turns out that I was scheduled to be in a room with Jamie Milks, and Aaron Newton but they thought that we were all men. I noticed on the list their mistake before we had even left for Italy and e-mailed Slow Food USA to tell them I was a female. They had said they were sorry about the confusion and would try and get that fixed. I didn't mind if I had to stay with two men, but it wouldn't have been very comfortable and I don't think Les would've been so happy. Unfortunately instead of changing the rooms around they by accident just took me off the list. Oops! Luckily there was a woman from Scotland whose roommate didn't show up so we stayed in her room. They said we'd have to talk with Slow Food USA directors about getting another room since her roommate was coming the next day. Let's just say the whole housing situation was a little frustrating.  I'll tell you in the next day's blog entry about what happened with housing the rest of the week. But luckily I had a bed to sleep in because I was exhausted.

Haha, but we didn't sleep too much because we were all interested in hearing each other stories. The woman from Scotland, Karen, is a crofter which I'd never heard of before and Jamie is a chef and works within all parts of the food system in Kansas City. I hung out with Jamie the most of anyone. I wish I had more time to talk with Karen about crofting. She had a very high opinion of crofting but after returning home and reading up on it, it seems like it's a controversial thing. You should read about it.

Carlo Petrini giving an inspirational speech - "Happy Versatility"
Thanks for your patience with me getting this up and I'm sorry for my wordiness. I'll write the next day soon with more pictures.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Salted Caramel Apple Pie - Deeper Roots Customer Appreciation Dinner

I thought that this was posted right before I left for Italy, but obviously it wasn't. So here is the post that I meant to post before I left for the Salone del Gusto - Terra Madre. I'm sorry I wasn't able to post while I was there. Please expect posts about the Salone in the very near future!

I'm getting ready to take off to Italy in a couple hours, but I thought I'd post a few tasty things that have been going on recently to give me some inspiration for the Salone del Gusto - Terra madre.

Last weekend Deeper Roots Coffee had a Customer Appreciation Dinner. At this event they asked their customers to bring a home-made apple pie and then we would have a bake off. I thoughts, what a great idea so I whipped out my favorite apple pie recipe - Salted Caramel Apple Pie. yumm.  Everyone brought such amazing pies. It was very hard to decide whose was best.

Courtney Robinson was the winner with her yummy apple pie with a crumble topping. Yum! Sorry I don't have the recipe for her pie, you'll just have to ask her to make it.

This is the recipe for my pie. I made it once for my family, but unfortunately I wasn't able to taste it because I was doing a "no sugar" detox type thing for Lent, but everyone said it was delicious. So I thought I would try it. I think it turned out beautiful. I'm really thankful that I learned how to make pie crusts when I worked at Flourish Bakery in Chicago.  So here it is.

Pie Crust 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 - 3/4 cup ice cold water

Fill a liquid measuring cup with water and several ice cubes, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt.  Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture, and work together with a pastry blender.  Work until the mixture looks sandy and the butter is about the size of peas.  The mixture will look uneven, which is ok.

Pour 1/2 cup of the ice water (no ice cubes) in the flour-butter mixture.  Use a rubber spatula, or your hands (I find it easier to use my hands at this point) to gather and mix the dough together.  Dip your fingers in the ice water and continue to work the dough until the mixture was fully come together.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.

Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Makes one, thick 10-inch pie

Salted Caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel

Apple Filling & Seasoning
4 to 6 lemons
6 large apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg, beaten
granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the salted caramel:
Cook the sugar and water together over low heat, until just dissolved.  Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.  Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper (this will take a while).  Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove from the heat immediately and add the heavy cream.  The mixture will bubble rapidly and steam.  Whisk the mixture together well over low heat, and sprinkle in the sea salt.

To make the apple filling:
While the sugar mixture is boiling, begin to work on the apple filling.  Juice the lemons into a large bowl.  Peel, core and very thinly slice the apples.  Coat the sliced apples in the lemon juice - this will prevent the apples from browning and will add flavor.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, and mix together.  Sprinkle this mixture over the apples, and use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.

To assemble:
Roll your pie crusts, cut your lattice and fit the bottom crust to the pie dish.  Layer 1/3 of the apples in the bottom on the crust, and move to adjust so that there are minimal gaps.  Pour 1/3 of the caramel mixture of the apples.  Add 1/3 of the apples and another 1/3 of the caramel for the second layer, then add the third layer of apples and all but a small bit of the remaining caramel.  Note: save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top of the lattice once it's assembled.

Patiently assemble the lattice crust on top and flute the edges of the crust.  Pour the last bit of caramel on top.  Brush the crust with beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with granulated (or turbinado) sugar and sea salt.

Place pie on a baking sheet (the caramel will bubble over during baking).  Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and make 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown and apples are soft.

Remove pie from the oven and cool fully.  

Customer Appreciation Dinner

Here are some other photos from the appreciation dinner:
The dinner was prepared and cooked by Courtney Robinson, Les Stoneham and Ryan Doan.  Wow it was tasty.  Here is what we had:
  • Harvest Salad (fresh greens, pork belly strips (from Gorman Heritage Farm), sage goat cheese, figs, and pumpkin seeds with a light drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette)
  • Blue Corn Meal Corn Bread
  • 4 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese (Court's specialty)
  • Ryan's special grilled chicken (from Gorman Heritage Farm)
  • Tons of coffee, yum
  • Jasmine iced tea
  • Blank Slate -  India Amber Ale
It was a fabulous night. Thanks to all the customers that came out to be appreciated!