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  2. 2. 2 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Unfiltered FLAVORS BY NEWTON VINEYARD Unfiltered U ncompromised We were the first winery in California to release an unfiltered wine, and while they are still uncommon, we don’t mind standing out. Unfiltered means complexity, depth, and texture. Unfiltered lets nature take the lead. And unfiltered rewards our passion for exceptional grapes. Paired with farm-to-table meals that share our ingredients-focused approach, unfiltered is unforgettable. NEWTON VINEYARD IS PROUD TO BE A NAPA GREEN CERTIFIED WINERY NEWTONVINEYARD.COM S T I L L W I N E © 2 0 1 4 I M P O R T E D B Y M O Ë T H E N N E S S Y U S A , I N C . N E W Y O R K , N Y FOR MORE RECIPES PLEASE VISIT US ON FACEBOOK NEWTON VINEYARD Visit us at for more details.
  3. 3. 1 SAVE YOUR APPETITE! Edible Chicago Events Presents FARMER IN THE HOUSE A CURATED EATING SERIES FEATURING SOME OF OUR FAVORITE LOCAL FARMERS Join us for an opportunity to meet up with like-minded local foodies, farmers, chefs, artisan food and beverage producers, many who have been featured in the magazine. Our pages will come to life at our food events. To learn more, email us at: Or visit and sign up for our newsletter. Edible Chicago Events @ediblechicago #ediblechicagoevents
  5. 5. 3 Food for Thought a few words from edibleCHICAGO Although it might have been difficult during this bone-jarring, record-setting cold and snowy winter, it allowed us to hibernate and look inward. Now we can embrace Spring with the rejuvenation of our garden and the rekindling of relationships with neighbors and friends. What better way to welcome the new season by sharing a brunch with our seasonal recipes? Or consider celebrating the season with friends over a perfectly blended cup of tea. In this issue we learn from Tea Master Rod Markus of Rare Tea Cellar in Chicago about The Art of Tea that has been part of human culture since ancient times. We unravel The Mysteries of Tea even further in a conversation with Tea Master Thresa Griffin of the Napoleona Tea Company and pose the question What’s in Your Tea Cup? to Lori Watts-Branch of Chicago’s SenTEAmental Moods, who blends herbs and flowers from local farmers into seasonal, small batches of tea. Medicinal herbs have been around as long as the first cup of tea, originating in Eastern culture, but a growing crisis in China over tainted crops has created a land of opportunity in our growing region. Herbologist and owner of Inner Ecology PUBLISHER/CO-EDITORS Sweet Pea Media LLC Ann Flood + Becky Liscum COPY EDITORS Debra Criche Mell + Gail Grasso DESIGN DIRECTOR Brad Haan CONTRIBUTORS Dana Benigno + Terra Brockman + Bambi Edlund + Ann Flood + Amelia Levin + Becky Liscum + Portia Belloc Lowndes + Anne Spiselman PHOTOGRAPHERS Kiki Belloc Lowndes + Jack Carlson + Emily Janson + Kaitlyn McQuaid ADVERTISING INQUIRIES 708-386-6781 ADVERTISING ACCOUNT DIRECTORS Jeannie Boutelle: Buffy Ensing: Donna Schauer: SUBSCRIPTIONS or call 708-386-6781 CONTACT US Edible Chicago 159 N. Marion St., #306, Oak Park, IL 60301 708-386-6781 + Fax: 708-221-6756 Edible Chicago® is published seasonally — four times per year by Sweet Pea Media LLC. We are an advertiser and subscriber supported publication, locally and independently owned and operated and a member of Edible Communities, Inc. Distribution is throughout Chicagoland. ©2014 Sweet Pea Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know. in Chicago, Amanda Kreiss is encouraging and working with local farmers to grow medicinal herbs sustainably. Learn more in Know Your Herbs, Know Your Farmer. Liz Fiorenza from Wind Ridge Farms discovered a second career, growing 450 varieties of herbs on seven acres of land. As a nurse, she understands the healing powers of herbs. As a farmer, she shares her crops and plant starts so others can experience their own health benefits. Escape the city by a scenic train ride or by car on A Trip to Bountiful to Lake Forest’s Elawa Farm. We venture out of the urban jungle and tell the story of the famed Armour family’s “gentleman’s farm” of the 1900s. Now it is bustling with a weekly farmers market including baked goods from Chef Mary McMahon, who goes from garden to kitchen to market for patrons’ enjoyment. Our Lake Effect column introduces you to the dynamic duo behind Cookies Carnitas, Brad Newman and Mike Taormina. Their northside eatery is “fast food with a farm-to-table sensibility.” We celebrate the warmth and growth of Spring, the natural tonic, and end of hibernation. Read on . . . THE PERFECT GIFT IDEA FOR YOUR FAVORITE FOODIE SUBSCRIBE to Edible Chicago and never miss a single issue with pristine copies delivered right to your door! Subscribe for yourself, or as a thoughtful gift for someone you love. Subscribe as a gift and we’ll send out a free hand-written gift card with your gift message. It’s a gift that will last all year. Subscribe online at:, or mail us a check for $28.00 payable to: Edible Chicago, 159 N. Marion St., #306, Oak Pak, IL 60301. Edible Chicago is entirely supported by our advertising partners and subscribers. With your paid subscription, you allow us to GROW to tell more stories of our local farmers, chefs, purveyors and food artisans that help sustain a vital, healthier food system throughout Chicagoland.
  6. 6. Photo: Veronica Sheppard F O R I N F O R M AT I O N A N D R E S E R VAT I O N S , P L E A S E C A L L 9 0 6 - 2 4 8 - 9 2 4 4 O R V I S I T WWW. M A C K I N A C 1 8 3 0 I N N . CO M Something Big Is Brewing... Be a part of our new interactive community website — launching this summer. Log on to and sign-up for our updates! 77DDNNHHDD%%$$..((FFDDWWLLRRQQppDDWW More than 60 hands-on baking classes, ranging from 3 hours to 4 days. Go home with our recipes the food you made. “The highlight of my visit to Michigan!” MELISSA H. “These classes are addictive!” PAUL H. Find out more at 3723 Plaza Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108
  7. 7. SPRING 2014 3 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Editors’ Welcome 6 NOTABLE EDIBLES Let’s Grow Food Fearless Gardening with The Peterson Garden Project The Power of Seed Food Wine, Farmers Chefs 12 COOKING WITH THE SEASONS The Art of Tea by Dana Benigno 14 FARMERS MARKET SPRING BRUNCH 17 LOCAL AND IN SEASON 18 FEATURES Growing Herbs as Medicine: A Land of Opportunity by Becky Liscum Nature’s Remedy: Wind Ridge Herb Farm by Terra Brockman 25 LIQUID ASSETS Raise a Glass to Spring with Bridget Albert 26 FROM THE GOOD EARTH A Trip to Bountiful: Elawa Farm by Amelia Levin 30 KIDS IN THE KITCHEN Sprouting New Growth: Veggie Magic Story by Portia Belloc Lowndes Photographs by Kiki Belloc Lowndes 32 FEATURES Unraveling the Mysteries of Tea With Thresa Griffin of Napoleona Tea Company Interview by Ann Flood What’s In Your Tea Cup? Lori Watts-Branch of SenTEAmental Moods Tea Interview by Becky Liscum 39 THE LAKE EFFECT Cookies Carnitas Story by Anne Spiselman Photographs by Kaitlyn McQuaid 42 SOURCE GUIDE with Dine Drink LOCAL Listing 48 EDIBLE INK Knowing Your Seeds Original Illustration by Bambi Edlund SEASONAL RECIPES Cucumber Sandwiches with Watercress Mayonnaise English Scones Honey Rhubarb Compote Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs Cheddar, Ham and Scallion Cups Roasted Asparagus Frittata Jasmine Green Tea Cured Wild Salmon DRINK RECIPES The White Thyme Iced Chai Tea Carrot Chic Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri The Green Mule 5 CONTENTS
  8. 8. 6 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Notable Edibles Let’s Grow Food It’s time to start planting your garden Preparing your soil When it comes time to prepare your soil mix, you’ll need two ingredients: organic soil and organic compost. You should be able to find these at your local landscape supply company or garden nursery. Any organic garden soil will do. As for compost, try to find one that’s a blend of several ingredients (manure, leaf mold, mushrooms, etc.) or buy a few different kinds and mix them together yourself. Good compost should be loose and granular, dark brown in color, and moist but not soggy. If it has a strong unpleasant odor, such as ammonia, then it’s immature and shouldn’t be used. To calculate how many cubic feet of soil it will take to fill your raised bed, multiply square footage by height (depth). So a 4’ x 4’ bed that’s one foot tall would need 16 cubic feet of soil (4 x 4 x 1 = 16). A 4’ x 4’ bed that’s ½ foot tall would only need 8 cubic feet (4 x 4 x 0.5 = 8), and so on. Prepare your soil mix by combining equal parts soil and compost. You can use your hands or a garden tool such as a trowel or spade fork. Do your mixing directly in the bed, on a tarp, or in a wheelbarrow. If you don’t want to bother with mixing, look for a premixed organic soil. Empty it directly into the bed. Sift through it with your fingers, and break up any chunks, removing twigs or debris. Spread it out until it’s level and smooth taking care not to compact it. If you’re using containers in addition to or in place of a raised bed, prepare the soil in the same way. A container that’s large or deep doesn’t need to be filled completely with soil.
  9. 9. Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland The Peterson Garden Project 7 You can pile shredded newspaper, leaves, rocks, or gravel in the bottom half of the container and fill the top half with your soil mix. Some settling will occur over time, but the container will drain better and you’ll end up saving a good amount of soil. Let’s get planting! It’s time to sow your seeds. All cool season crops (April planting) are incredibly easy to grow from seeds. Nurturing crops for their full life cycle, from seed to harvest, is a magical experience. However, you can start young plants if you want to reap your rewards a little sooner. We recommend trying at least a few crops from seed (our cool season favorites are peas and leafy greens). When you’re ready to start, look at the instructions on your seed packet to determine how far apart and how deep to plant your seeds. To calculate seed spacing, you can deviate a bit from seed packet guidelines, which assume you’re planting in rows. Usually you can situate plants a little closer together in a raised bed than you would in rows. So if your seed packet says to plant Swiss chard seeds 6 inches apart, then plant 4 seeds per square foot (and the plants will be 4 inches a part). ec Editor’s note: Excerpt from Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland reprinted with permission. If growing your own food is daunting to you, fear not—there is help out there in the urban farmland. The Peterson Garden Project has published a month-by-month guide to help growers of all levels. Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland (available at, $16.95) by authors Teresa Gale and LaManda Joy, Founder of the Peterson Garden Project is a resource, which covers everything from planning the season to extending it. There are also recipes that you can make from the produce in your very own garden. ec
  10. 10. Hhe evolution of the seed is the first link to the food chain and embodies centuries-old farming traditions as well as a celebration of diversity; a culture of planting, saving and sharing seeds. It is a beautiful simplicity—regulated only by the earth’s natural intelligence and shared by communities for generations. Insects, birds and wind contribute to natural open-pollination. The seed is spiritual, mystical and is celebrated each spring by all cultures. It feeds families, builds communities and teaches us the value of soil, climate and the true sustainability of life as metaphor. This is the power of seed. The Safe Seed Pledge, created in 1999 by the Council of Responsible Genetics, helps to connect non-genetically modified seed sellers, distributors and traders to a new generation of gardeners and agricultural consumers looking for safer seeds. The pledge declares that the seed sellers “do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically 8 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 engineered seeds”. Genetic modification refers to the manipulation of DNA in laboratories to change the essential makeup of seeds, in an attempt to help make them disease and pest resistant, and/or drought and cold tolerant. It is powerful technology aimed to feed masses of people around the globe. But it’s also a part of science that is not yet fully understood by consumers. There are heated debates regarding the hazards and merits of GMO crops, a vast topic for a few words here. However, there are safe alternatives. One can support GMO-free seeds or grow your own open-pollinated, heirloom variety of plants, organically and save the seeds. Communities are taking the lead. Neighbors are growing their own food. “The surge of interest in home and community gardening highlights the desire for more self-sufficiency around food. They want to know where their food comes from, right down to the seed.” Says Diane Ott Whealy, co-founder and vice president of Seed Saver Exchange, a non-profit located in Decorah, Iowa dedicated to conserve and promote non-GMO heirloom seeds and plants. “Getting seed growing again—it’s the best defense against challenges from industrial seed companies.” The Safe Seed Pledge “Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing are necessary to further assess the potential
  11. 11. Notable Edibles MIDWEST SAFE SEED COMPANIES 9 risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.” The following Midwest seed companies have taken a public stand against selling GMO’s or genetically modified seeds. These companies sell organic, open-pollinated, heirloom and rare varieties. For another option for safe seeds, look for organic plant starts at your favorite gardening or landscaping store, or find a local neighborhood community garden seed swap. ec To find a national safe seed resource list: Resources for this article: ILLINOIS Borries Open-Pollinated Seed Corn Farm 16293 E. 1400th Ave. Teutopolis, IL 62467 217-857-3377 Safeguard Seeds P.O. Box 1036 Mokena, IL 60448 855-730-7333 Underwood Gardens 1414 Zimmerman Road Woodstock, IL 60098 INDIANA Garden Harvest Supply Inc. 2952W 500S Berne, IN 46711 PO Box 1795 Richmond, IN 47375 866-229-0927 IOWA Sand Hill Preservation Center 1878 230th St. Calamus, IA 52729 563-246-2299 Seed Savers Exchange 3094 N. Winn Rd. Decorah, IA 52101 563-382-5990 MICHIGAN Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Garden Hoard Indoor Harvest Gardens WISCONSIN Jung Seed Co. Several locations in Southern Wisconsin 800-297-3123 St. Clare Heirloom Seeds P.O. Box 556 Gillett, WI 54124
  12. 12. CHICAGO FARMERS MARKETS OPENING DAY | MAY 15 | DALEY PLAZA MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL 675 N. St. Clair 312.642.0900 { 3 1 2 } 6 4 2 1800 JUST OFF THE MAG MILE AT 671 N. S t. Clair WE D E L I V E R ! CICCHETT I RESTAURANT DOT COM NOW OPEN! 2 GREAT RESTAURANTS ONE GREAT LOCATION Erie St. Clair FAMILY OWNED OPERATED | EST. 1980 34 S. MANITOU TRAIL | LAKE LEELANAU, MI 49653 | 231.256.7165 !$'$ +3'8!$- 341 +!$3$,/3$# Outdoor Market begins May 3rd, 2014! South End of Lincoln Park Every Wednesday and Saturday 7am-1pm Join us on opening day to fill up on fresh market fare and watch as we unveil this year’s winning canvas bag design. And stop by our booth to get your free 2014 bag! Visit for more info. Proud presenting sponsor of Chicago Farmers Markets 5CE?L ,?NJC2UCCRCLCB LAGCLR6FMJCP?GL A?TCAFGAIAMK V I N E Y A R D S W I N E R Y LOCATED ON THE LEELANAU PENINSULA 3 miles South of Leland on M22 Tasting room open year round. Please visit our website for hours.
  13. 13. 11 Save the Date: Food Wine, Farmers Chefs at Millennium Park One of Chicago’s favorite food festivals is showcasing local farmers and food artisans in a big way. Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet is celebrating its seventh year this fall in Millennium Park. The event is produced by the Illinois Restaurant Association, which marks its 100th year in 2014. It is a celebration of Chicago’s culinary scene where one can taste amazing offerings from local restaurants featuring a myriad of ingredients, prepared in imaginative ways. This year, “Chicago Gourmet will feature a Centennial Tasting Pavilion on the Great Lawn. This specially added pavilion will showcase throwback cocktails and the iconic dishes for which Chicago is known,” according to Liz Sorrentino, Executive Director of the Chicago Gourmet festival. Sip and sample world-class food while meeting internationally renowned Chicago chefs, master sommeliers and winemakers. The venue will also highlight Global Street Food Market, showcasing products from Chicago artisans and Midwestern farmers. It’s a hot ticket that also supports our local food economy. The main event is September 26 – 28, with additional events scheduled throughout the weekend. Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois is a presenting sponsor and Edible Chicago is proud to be a media sponsor of this event. For information visit ec Notable Edibles
  14. 14. I have been a coffee drinker since post-college when my first real job required early morning alertness. In recent years tea and teahouses have become popular, so I wanted to learn more about this growing fascination. Since I am a novice in tea, I decided to seek out an expert. My guide to Tea 101 was Rod Markus, owner of Rare Tea Cellar, an importer of rare fine tea and gourmet ingredients. Rod is known among the chef community as the tea expert locally and nationally. When chefs are looking for new flavors or special blends of tea for cocktails or a tea menu, many turn to Rare Tea Cellar as their source. It is not open to the public but I was invited in for a visit to learn about the world of tea. Arriving at Rare Tea Cellar is like entering into an amazing apothecary. Shelves are stocked with both black and herbal teas, along with rare and unusual ingredients such as violet sugar, truffle salt and specialty olive oils and vinegars. Rod works with foragers in all areas of the world where tea is grown to import only the best quality and rare teas. He deals in small quantities and limited amounts when it comes to specialty teas or ingredients. Rare Tea Cellar also features tea accessories for making the perfect cup of tea. I asked Rod to educate me on the very basics of tea and the best way to brew and serve it. I learned all tea—white, green, black—comes from the same plant, the tea tree or Camillia Senesis. The difference in tea and all the varieties of tea are created in the processing. Tea leaves can be hand picked, machine harvested, fermented, aged in oak barrels or blended with herbs or flower petals to create the myriad of exotic flavors. The art, says Rod, is in the blending, aging and combining of flavors with herbs 12 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 and other ingredients. The combinations are endless. Tea is made up of three components— essential oils, polyphenols and caffeine. Polyphenols give the tea its health benefits, the essential oils impart the aroma and flavor and caffeine provides the natural energy lift. One paradox I discovered is that the best flavor comes from steeping 2 to 3 minutes, however the most antioxidants are obtained from steeping leaves 4 to 5 minutes. For the best flavor and maximum health benefits, splurge for an aged tea that is naturally smoother when steeped longer. A key ingredient of tea is water—the better the water, the better the tea. As a general rule, it is best to always use filtered or bottled water when brewing tea especially if you are trying an expensive tea. Milk and sugar are offered with black teas but it is a personal choice—like cream for coffee. I would try it without anything first, especially if you have invested in a more expensive tea. You want to taste the essence before you add anything to it. Rod recommends loose leaf tea over bagged tea. Brewing is as simple as boiling a pot of water. He recommends a tablespoon of loose leaf tea in the bottom of a small glass pot. Bring a separate pot of filtered or bottled water to a boil and then let it sit for 4 minutes to cool the water to about 180° to 190°. Pour over the tea and let steep for 2 to 3 minutes for the best flavor. Rod’s personal choice is Darjeeling because it elicits the most antioxidants and the best flavor. While visiting Rod, I tried a Sicilian orange Pu-erh tea, which was aged and fermented. This tea was delicious and had a calming and soothing affect. Rod explained that different teas, indeed, could alter your mood in different ways, hence, the developing intrigue for tea. Rare Tea Cellar also carries Queen Elizabeth’s favorite tea, which I tasted. It is a high altitude black tea that is hand processed and aged for smoothness. The Queen has good taste! Tea Processing: From White to Green to Black Fine tea is usually harvested by hand with care, taking only the top two leaves and the tea buds. Machines tend to damage the plants. Next, the leaves are spread out and left to wither in order to lose some of the moisture, between 18 to 24 hours. After the leaves have withered, they are rolled in order to release their juices. The cell walls of the leaves are broken down during this part of the process and the essential oils that are released determine the strength, aroma and ultimately the taste of the tea. This is either done by hand or with a machine. After rolling, the leaves are spread out again in a cool damp place to oxidize or ferment. This is when green tea leaves turn copper. In this step, the leaves are dried with hot air. During this part of the process, the leaves turn from copper to brown or black. Then tea leaves are sorted by size and grade. The more fine and even the grain, the more sorting has been done and the higher the price per ounce. Also, as fermenting time increases, more caffeine is released which is why black tea has more caffeine than green tea. Aging or fermenting tea leaves helps to smooth the tannins in the leaves that create the chalky feeling in your mouth similar to wine. The more a tea ages, the smoother the brew. ec Cooking with the Seasons by Dana Benigno The Art of Tea
  15. 15. 13 What to Serve with Tea I keep it simple and serve one savory item and one sweet. For the savory, I suggest serving something traditional such as cucumber sandwiches, which I like with watercress mayonnaise sans crusts. White peasant bread with a fine crumb works nicely. Add smoked salmon to the same sandwich for another option. For a sweet, my favorite thing to enjoy with tea is an English version of a scone, which is more like a biscuit. I suggest serving it with crème fraiche and a variety of your favorite jams. Cucumber Sandwiches with Watercress Mayonnaise 1 handful of watercress 1/3 cup mayonnaise Several slices of white peasant bread 1 large cucumber (sliced as thin as possible, a mandolin works nicely if you have one) Smoked salmon 1. Place the watercress and mayonnaise in a food processor and process until smooth. 2. Cut the crusts off of the slices of white bread. For elegant sandwiches either cut the slices into a square and then cut diagonally for triangles or use a biscuit cutter to cut the bread into small rounds. 3. Spread a thin portion of watercress mayonnaise on the bread. Top with cucumber slices and smoked salmon. Serve on a tray. English Scones 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes 1/2 cup milk or heavy cream 1 egg 1. Preheat oven to 400°. 2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. You may also do this in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. 3. In a separate bowl, beat the milk and the egg together and add to the dry ingredients. Stir just enough to combine. It is fine if the dough is not completely homogenous. Over mixing will make the scones tough. 4. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll to 1 inch thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm. 5. Serve with crème fraiche instead of butter and a selection of your favorite jams. Types of Tea White The leaves are picked early when they are still whitish in color. They are air-dried and receive minimal processing. Green Leaves are picked while bright green. Oolong Leaves are semi-fermented to bring out compounds and to add flavor. Darjeeling Leaves are picked early in the season, hand rolled, fermented and aged for smooth flavor. This comes from the Darjeeling region of India. Pu-erh This is both an aged and fermented tea, the most expensive. Black These tea leaves receive the most processing and have the most caffeine which makes it the most popular breakfast tea. Guide for Your Cup of Tea Type Steep Time Water Temperature White 4 to 5 minutes 165° to 175° Green 4 to 5 minutes 165° to 175° Oolong 3 to 4 minutes 195° to 200° Darjeeling 3 to 4 minutes 185° to 195° Black tea 3 to 4 minutes 185° to 195° Dana Benigno is a chef, a writer and the former Executive Director of Green City Market. This assignment turned out to be just her cup of tea, as it opened up a whole new world of flavors.
  16. 16. After one of the longest and harshest winters Chicago has seen in decades, we welcome the opportunity to see neighbors and friends and the opening of spring farmers markets brimming with fresh vegetables and fruits. We think it’s the perfect opportunity to gather your friends for an easy Sunday brunch. We’ve found some seasonal recipes, ingredients you can find at you farmers market or specialty retail and online local food stores to host the perfect brunch. You have a lot of catching up to do. Why not over brunch? Farmers Market Spring Brunch Honey Rhubarb Compote adapted from 1/2 cup apple juice 2 small beets 6 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped 1/4 cup honey 1 In a saucepan, bring apple juice to a boil. Peel and slice beets into halves and add to juice. Simmer for a minute or so until beets begin to release their juices and color. 2. Add rhubarb and honey and stir until honey is melted and mixture is combined. 3. Cook mixture slowly for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and remove beet slices from the compote. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if desired. 4. Cool compote completely; mixture will thicken as it cools. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. Maple Pepper Bacon adapted from Serves 4-8 3/4 pound thick-cut smoked bacon (16 slices) 1 to 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup Fresh Black Pepper 1. Preheat oven to 375°. 2. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon on baking rack. Bake for about 7 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Brush bacon carefully with maple syrup and black pepper, flipping and brushing every 5 minutes until golden brown or carmelized, about 25 minutes. Serve warm. 14 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs adapted from Serves 4 8 farm fresh eggs 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 21/2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs just to blend. Add the cream cheese and half of the parsley and season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Stir to mix. 2. Melt butter in a large, nonstick frying pan set over medium heat. When butter has melted and is hot but not smoking, swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan and then add the egg mixture. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the eggs slowly until they just hold together and are cooked through 21/2 to 4 minutes. The eggs should still be moist and glistening. 3. Transfer to a serving platter and season with a few grinds of pepper.
  17. 17. 15 Cheddar, Ham and Scallion Cups adapted from Makes 6 3 large farm fresh eggs 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 cups Italian bread, torn into pieces (firmly packed) 5-ounce piece cooked ham, coarsely chopped 3-ounce piece sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup) 2 scallions, finely chopped Butter, for muffin tin 1. Beat eggs with milk and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let sit overnight, chilled. 2. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in middle of oven. 3. Butter a 6-cup standard muffin tin, preferably nonstick. Divide mixture among cups and bake until puffed and lightly golden, about 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve. Roasted Asparagus Frittata adapted from Serves 8 7 eggs Kosher salt and cracked black pepper 1 bunch fresh asparagus 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Beat the eggs until frothy, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. 2. Cut tender asparagus stalks into 1-inch pieces. 3. Place large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pour in the oil. Add the asparagus to the hot oil. Cook for a minute, tossing. When the asparagus has turned bright green, remove from heat. 4. Pour egg mixture over the roasted asparagus in the skillet. Tilt the pan around on the burner to allow the runny eggs to fill in the empty spaces. When it looks as though the eggs have started to set, lift the edge closest to you, gently, up from its place, with a thin rubber spatula and let more liquid fill in. Cook the eggs for 40 seconds or so, continuing to lift and tilt until the egg on top is no longer runny. 5. Sprinkle cheese and smoked paprika over the surface of the frittata. Bake the frittata until it is firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Watch it closely. 6. Remove from oven and gently guide the rubber spatula around the outside edges of the frittata to loosen it. Flip the frittata onto a plate and serve.
  18. 18. The White Thyme adapted from Makes 1 Cocktail 1 ounce fresh juice from a lemon 1/2 ounce wildflower honey 2 ounces white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) Dash of bitters Club soda 2 sprigs of thyme plus extra for garnish 1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Set aside. 2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, honey and thyme sprigs and muddle them together. Add the white wine and bitters and stir with a stir stick or spoon until the honey is fully incorporated. Pour into cocktail glass, top with a splash or two of club soda, and garnish with a thyme sprig. 16 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Iced Chai Tea adapted from Serves 2 4 teaspoons loose chai spice tea leaves 2 cups water Sugar to taste 3/4 cup of milk 2 cinnamon sticks Pinch of cinnamon 1. Combine the water and tea leaves in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. 2. Remove from heat and strain the tea leaves. Stir in a pinch of sugar (or more). Allow the tea to cool before setting it in the refrigerator to chill. 3. Mix the tea with milk and serve over ice. For a slushy consistency, pour the mixture into a blender, add several ice cubes and blend for about 30 seconds. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
  19. 19. 17 Local and In Season EGGS The Renewal of the Season You may be accustomed to seeing eggs at the supermarket year round, but in winter months those are likely commodity-farmed products. Fresh-from-the- farm eggs have a season, and that begins right now. As the days become longer in the spring, egg laying birds like the chicken, quail, pheasant, duck and geese living in natural light surroundings are at their peak production. Light stimulates the glands that secrete hormones that make the hen lay eggs. The bird breed dictates the variety of shell color but also diet determines quality and even the color of the yolk. “Unwashed eggs without cracks can be stored in the refrigerator for months,” says Kim Snyder, owner of Faith’s Farm, located in Bonfield, IL. Snyder raises free-range, drug-free chickens, heritage turkeys and livestock and services the Chicago area. “Eggs do not ‘go bad’ – they simply will dehydrate,” she adds. To preserve freshness Snyder freezes her eggs. “I like to freeze my eggs individually for what I need. I place silicone muffin cups in my muffin pan. I put one cracked egg in each cup and freeze. When the eggs are frozen they easily pop out of the silicone muffin cups and I place them in freezer bags. Like anything that is frozen there is an expansion and the cells break – so the texture will change, but the goodness is still there.” ec Healthy Eggs: What To Buy Pastured eggs from a local farmer are the best choice you can make for nutrition and flavor. These chickens live outdoors in a pasture, taking in the sunshine and eating what comes naturally: bugs and grass. Pick up fresh eggs at your local farmers market or farmer CSA. When comparing farm fresh pastured eggs to the eggs from chickens that are confined in factory farms, the eggs of pastured hens usually contain: 1/3 less cholesterol ¼ less saturated fat 2/3 more vitamin A 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids 3 times more vitamin E 7 times more beta-carotene 4 to 6 times more vitamin D If you compare a conventional egg to a pasture egg, the appearance is noticeable. — The egg will be larger, darker and more orange color. — The white is bigger and noticeably thicker. A happier chicken produces a nutrient rich, healthier egg. Resource:
  20. 20. K n o w Y o u r H e r b s , 18 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Growing Herbs as Medicine: A Land of Opportunity Story by Becky Liscum, Photographs by Kaitlyn McQuaid There’s a land of opportunity to grow medicinal herbs in our region. With soil, clean seeds and a willingness to learn, farmers and gardeners could contribute to future health. Demand for high quality medicinal herbs grown in China is increasing, but the supply of safe plants is dwindling. Amanda Kreiss hopes to meet this growing demand with crops grown right here in the Midwest by local farmers. Kreiss is the director of Inner Ecology in Chicago, a Lincoln Park facility where medicinal herbs from halfway across the world line the shelves from floor to ceiling in climate controlled rooms. Carefully researched and sourced from safe growers, there is immense healing power stored in these jars. Herbs like the sour-tasting white peony root, known as Bai Shao, are combined with other medicinals and used to treat ailments or disharmonies in the body like headaches and menstrual cramps. Then, there is Gan Cao, or licorice root, which acts as a detoxifying harmonizer which means this herb has the ability to elicit the helpful effects of other herbs when melded into a prescribed formula. Natural remedies, made from the botanicals in these jars, have been used for thousands of years by billions of people and, over time, have Abeen integrated into medicine as a complementary practice. t Inner Ecology, a variety of raw, unprocessed roots, dried leaves and flowers are carefully inspected, measured, weighed and then blended to meet the specifications of a prescription from a certified herbal clinician. The compound is then “decocted” —steeped in boiling water—and then turned into an elixir, which is consumed for improved health. Inner Ecology’s customers are skilled clinicians who order the formulas and then dispense the remedies to their patients. According to Kreiss, they come to Inner Ecology because they know she and her staff will ensure the medicinal herbs are high quality, properly identified, chemical-free and cultivated in earth-friendly ways. It’s a painstaking, yet important process, to determine that sources from Amanda Kreiss evaluates herb samples by sight, smell and taste.
  21. 21. K n o w Y o u r F a r m e r 19 other countries are safe. Now a board certified herbologist, Kreiss spent several intense years studying Chinese medicine, so she could learn about the hundreds of species of herbs and their interactions. Today, more and more people are turning to alternative medicine, so the increased demand for herbs from China has turned the once agrarian business of harvesting wild herbs into an industrialized, commercial, and largely unregulated industry there. With questions of food safety already plaguing Asia, the herb trade is also being scrutinized more closely. According to Greenpeace East Asia, China uses more pesticides than any other country in the world. The environmental organization released a report in 2013, Chinese Herbs: Elixir of Health or Pesticide Cocktail? This report revealed that 48 of 65 independently tested samples of herbs from stores in China were contaminated due to the widespread use of pesticides. Many of those tainted herbs are processed, packaged and shipped to the United States, and may end up on shelves in health food stores. “The san-qi flower contained up to 39 different kinds of pesticides, chrysanthemum up to 35, wolfberry up to 25,” the report states. Most of the herbs tested exceeded the acceptable levels of chemicals as defined by European Union standards. “Due to extreme threats to the environmental “We are really thinking about the big picture of building a healthy, localized, domestic economy of ecologically-based medicine here in this country.” well-being in China, where we necessarily source most of our medicinals, that quality has become less and less dependable. And the level of transparency that we persistently seek, is rarely forthcoming,” says Kreiss. The spotlight currently aimed at food safety also needs to be applied to the herbal industry and it is important to develop a reliable domestic market, according to Kreiss. Know your herbs, know your farmer. —Amanda Kreiss, Inner Ecology Jan Kenyon, a physician from Chicago, turned to Eastern medicine two decades ago when her son suffered severe allergies. Over the course of her career, she began incorporating alternative medicine into her own practice. Now, she hopes to bridge the demand gap for high quality, sustainably grown herbs, by growing and supplying Kreiss with some of her medicinal crops. In 2008, Kenyon pulled up stakes in Chicago and moved to Echo Valley Farm in the Driftless region of Ontario, Wisconsin. Intrigued by the possibility of growing herbs for market, Kenyon attended the Pioneers in Ecological Medicine seminar last year sponsored by Inner Ecology, EcoVision Sustainable Learning Center and a handful of other organizations including and Growing Power. Inspired by herb grower and educator Jean Giblette from High Falls Foundation in upstate New York, Kenyon decided to start growing medicinal and culinary herbs sustainably as an alternative crop. “The learning curve is early and steep,” Kenyon says. “We took a little space that was about 30 by 50 (feet) and it was our garlic plot before. We chose it because it was close to the farmhouse, we knew it had good drainage and it was near the chicken coop, which would provide good fertilizer.” She started out with a business plan and about a dozen varieties. In the first year, Kenyon and her partner turned a small profit. Results aren’t always immediate. Some of the medicinals derive from roots, which can take up to three years to grow before they are ready to be harvested. Kenyon will expand her crops this year and has plans to get more of her neighboring farmers involved. Echo Valley is a community farm and rustic learning center, where folks share the work and the harvest. They are growing medicinal herbs much like the ancient Chinese culture did—mindfully, on land untouched by glaciers. “It isn’t just growing the plants,” Kenyon says. “You know that someone is healing. As you heal the person, you’re helping something much larger, much bigger—you are helping the community.”
  22. 22. Kreiss plans to develop more long-term relationships with farmers like Kenyon, so she can control the quality of the product and sustain high standards for her developing distribution business. She hopes Inner Ecology will serve as the hub for the sustainable local herb market. She continues to work closely with the herb farmers because some of the plants require very specific conditions and need to be harvested at the height of their vitality. “We work with them initially through the trainings that happen and then through subsequent communications. So when they send us a sample they understand what it is we are looking for and it helps them as they continue to develop and work with the plants that they are growing.” Evaluating the herb samples is a sensory experience for Kreiss. “Some aspects of the job are actually quite similar to those of a sommelier. We need to smell them, to taste them in order to discern comparative quality between the same herb that may have originated from different locations.” Terroir (“the taste of the earth”) is very important. An identical crop grown in North Carolina can be very different from the one grown in Oregon or Wisconsin. Soil, climate and weather conditions can affect its taste and potency. When herbs are received at Inner Ecology, they are carefully logged and labeled with information about their origin and harvest 20 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 methods. Kreiss has created a transparent system to track all of her domestic herbs, so if there is ever an issue of contamination, it can be quickly traced back to its source. “We are really thinking about the big picture of building a healthy, localized, domestic economy of ecologically-based medicine here in this country,” Kreiss says. Peonies are high on her crop list, because they provide a critical ingredient in a number of different concoctions. The demand for peonies would create a steady market for herb farmers. “We are inspired to watch a group of domestic farmers in North America begin to re-root this medicine in a way that can bring fresh, vital herbs to patients when they need them to heal,” according to Kreiss. For Jan Kenyon, it has come full circle. From learning, to growing and now helping people with her ecologically grown crops. ec Inner Ecology is located at 1901 N. Clybourn Ave. #304 Chicago, IL, 773-747-1907. For more information: For more information on Echo Valley Farm: Becky Liscum is a co-publisher of Edible Chicago. Through the course of researching this article, she realized that her mother’s homestead in Wisconsin is close to Echo Valley Farm, near the unincorporated town of Ontario.
  23. 23. 21 Learn more about the growing market for medicinal herbs and Inner Ecology. For exclusive video: ()/,!#(!
  24. 24. ) ,)1. Veteran farmer Jean Giblette is passionate about restoring plant medicine to North America. She is a founder of the High Falls Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in upstate New York, whose mission is to further education, research and conservation of medicinal plants. Giblette travelled to Chicago in February for the Pioneers in Ecological Medicine seminar to help educate farmers about the intricacies of growing specific herbs for use as medicinals. Development of clean, domestic sources of ecologically grown Chinese herbs and their North American substitutes can take years, even decades. High Falls Foundation supports the education and encouragement for new growers. A pioneer in the medicinal herb growing community, Giblette shared her best advice to new farmers. “You don’t need a lot of money to start out. You don’t always need rich soil,” she says. “Dreaming is what helps you do what you want to do.” Giblette encouraged the farmers in attendance to set goals and develop a farm plan, which should include getting the soil tested. She suggested growers consider forest farming, or farming in the wild—planting seeds and starters to grow in their natural habitat, as opposed to cultivating conventional row crops. Many herbologists, she says, are looking for wild qualities, where climate and soil determine the potency of a plant. Giblette’s goal in coming to Chicago for the seminar was to encourage local production of Chinese herbal medicine. Her dream is to improve both the health of the community and the agricultural economy by bringing Eastern and Western medicines closer together. ec For more information:
  25. 25. !4RIPTOOUNTIFUL Elawa Farm in Lake Forest We all know that “weekday” feeling – the need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat to the country and find solace in nature. Well, that’s exactly what the Armour family did back in 1917 when they established their own “Gentleman’s Farm” in Lake Forest. Elawa Farm was named after its owners, Elsa and A. Watson Armour, who were members of one of Chicago’s most distinguished families and descendants of the meatpacking giant, Phillip A. Armour (as in Armour-Eckrich Meats). Now tucked away in a quiet residential area of Lake Forest, a little west of Waukegan Road on Middlefork Drive, the Armour’s hobby farm now consists of 16 acres of prairie grass and oak preserves and is located at the north end of the Chicago River. Today, Elawa Farm is a non-profit center and special events destination, jointly operated by the Elawa Farm Foundation and the City of Lake Forest. The property is now complete with a working, 2.2 acre farm and thrice-weekly “garden market” which runs from May through October. An onsite kitchen produces weekly specialties for the 22 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 market, using the farm’s bounty of Midwestern crops, while chefs and teachers rent out the space for adult and kid-friendly cooking classes. Countless couples have celebrated their marriages on the picturesque grounds of Elawa. The property has an old hay barn and a flower garden dotted with antique statues. Burgundy-brick carriage houses are connected by a cobblestone path. It looks like something straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. All proceeds from the various activities and events held on the grounds are used to support the foundation, which manages the farm’s growth and development. “We are blessed that A. Watson’s granddaughters still live in Lake Forest and have been committed to helping preserve the grounds in collaboration with the City of Lake Forest,” says Joanne Miller, Executive Director of the Elawa Farm Foundation. A community gathering place teeming with history, Elawa also serves as a symbol of architectural significance, originally built by renowned architects David Adler and Alfred Hopkins. It has been carefully preserved over the years by the Armours and other interested parties. Perhaps even more important, Miller says, Elawa has become a place for some serious volunteerism. She notes, “we wouldn’t exist without all the help we have here.” Last year, nearly 80 active volunteers clocked 7,358 hours on the farm, at the market and in the kitchen. And, this number does not include the many students who come from local elementary, high schools and colleges on Saturdays to work on community service projects, like building the on-site composting system or cleaning out the root cellar. “Elawa Farm is an important part of Lake Forest that sometimes even residents don’t know about,” says Miller. “I always seem to be meeting new visitors who didn’t know we existed and are pleasantly surprised and who say how lucky Lake Forest is to have such a gem. Many people discover the farm after using the beautiful running, biking and hiking trails just to west of us.” From The Good Earth Story by Amelia Levin Photographs courtesy of Jack Carlson Emily Janson
  26. 26. 23 The History of the Gentleman’s Farm The “Gentleman’s Farm” or “hobby farm” was first established when well-to-do city dwellers bought land in the “country” in what is now Chicago’s suburbs. The country estate was a place to relax and recharge on the weekend and escape the crowded, “dirty” and increasingly industrialized city. These were not working farms—operations did not support the house or income of the owner. They were used purely for pleasure and the land allowed them to engage in outdoor pursuits like skeet shooting and sleigh rides. It was a romantic notion that still has traction today. This generation, in its desire to “return to the land”, visits the farmers market on weekends or takes rustic road trips in search of a good farm-to-table dinner. In 1915, the Armours began building their Lake Forest country estate, which would serve as a weekend home, second to their primary residence at 1200 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. After completing two gatehouses on the Lake Forest grounds, the architects, Adler and Hopkins abandoned the idea of building a farm house and decided to add wings to the Georgian Colonial-style buildings instead. These buildings would house the Armour family, theirs guests and their staff. An outdoor courtyard and tunnel connected the two wings above and below ground. Elsewhere on the property, a red brick chicken coop sheltered a small flock of laying hens, a barn was built for several horses and a few cows grazed in the grass fields. Today, the garden market operates out of an old wagon shed in the courtyard, while weddings take place in the high-ceiling, wooden barn attached to one of the gatehouse wings. In 1954, not long after the death of A. Watson Armour, Lelia and Wallace Carroll purchased the property, expanding the 125 acres grounds into a 600-acre, full working farm. When Wallace Carroll died in 1990, Lelia kept it in the family for a few more years. In 1998, the City of Lake Forest, interested developers, and the land conservation group, Lake Forest Open Lands Association, purchased the property, but the buildings were in such decline, there was talk of demolition and even selling the property for development. Instead, a commitment was made to begin restoration, slow and steady, first the land and then the buildings. In 2002, the current non-profit foundation was established as a way to run and maintain the farm without dipping into taxpayers’ pockets. The Farm Headed by Farm Manager, Jesse Rosenbluth, the farm’s 2.2 acre “garden” yields thousands of pounds of produce and more than 10,000 different flowers each season. “We grow a large mix of flowers and vegetables,” says Rosenbluth, firing off a list that included snap peas, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, acorn squash, carrots, radishes, beets and different lettuces and greens like spinach, arugula and Swiss chard. An herb garden produces mint, thyme, rosemary, basil and much more. Staying true to the garden’s history, the farm also produces 40 different types of flowers, including pink, red, purple,
  27. 27. 24 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Seasonal recipes from Chef Mary are available at Photography Classes at Elawa Farm Learn from Nature Photographer Jack Carlson April 15 22 (2 Tuesdays): Know Your Camera May 9 16 (2 Fridays): Photographing Early Spring June 6 13 (2 Fridays): Exploring Elawa (with Cameras!) June 14, 21 28 (3 Saturdays) Intermediate Photography: The Next Level For more information: orange and yellow zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, snap dragons and the ever-popular, soft and delicate peonies. “Flowers have always been our focus and the jewel of the garden,” says Rosenbluth. Sold as bouquets at their garden market, the flowers yield a much higher profit than the vegetable crop alone. Rosenbluth, Miller, and Garden Market Manager, Sarah Bottner credit local resident and fiercely dedicated volunteer, Dee Dee Burland for rebuilding Elawa Farm years ago. An avid gardener, Burland attended all the city meetings related to the future of Elawa during its transition to a non-profit organization, according to Miller. She also helped bring in the first group of volunteers, who cleared the fields of brush and buckthorn and within two years, helped rebuild and recreate the flower beds and the formal hedging once held sacred by the Armours. They also cleared space for new crops. Though well into her seventies, Burland is still a regular presence in the garden. During my visit to Elawa, I spotted her in the distance pulling weeds and surveying the grounds. “The garden has really been a labor of love for Dee Dee, and she is why the garden even exists today,” says Miller. Rosenbluth now carries the garden torch, and through organic succession planting and harvesting, the farm regularly produces a supply of pesticide-free crops throughout the season. During the winter, he rents a greenhouse space so he can continue growing some crops and start the seeding process early. In March, weather permitting, he’ll start planting the crops for the season. By October, after he has harvested all the remaining carrots, radishes, squash and hearty greens, he will plant garlic for the spring and help prepare the beds for the cold weather to come. “We’re always taking careful notes and looking at what worked from last year,” explains Rosenbluth. It is important to understand the terroir of Lake Forest, which is blessed with rich, healthy soil. “You have
  28. 28. 25 to be aware of what works in your climate, even 50 miles north or south of us, the soil is radically different,” he says. Rosenbluth also works with local chefs, including Chef John Des Rosiers of Inovasi in Lake Bluff, Riley Missing at Big Bowl in Lincolnshire and several Chicago chefs who buy his surplus and host special farm dinners. Last year, David Blonsky of Public House, dug a pit and roasted a whole pig for a dinner that showcased many of the farm’s greens, herbs and carrots, while the Lake Bluff Brewing Company used Elawa’s hot peppers for a spicy farmhouse ale. The Garden Market and Kitchen Close to 100 shoppers will visit the Elawa Garden Market on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday each week during the season. Every other Friday, is “pie day” and it draws the largest crowds, thanks to Mary McMahon, the award-winning, former Executive Pastry Chef at Trio. Now, she runs the Elawa kitchen and creates those popular pies using local fruit and Elawa goodies, from blueberry to strawberry-rhubarb, nectarine-raspberry, apple and pumpkin. When you walk through the kitchen doors, you are instantly greeted by the scent of pies, scones, fresh breads, and McMahon’s revered extra chunky chocolate chip cookies, baking in the oven. The pea hummus has also gained a cult following at the farmers market, along with the weekly artisan pizzas and seasonal soups like potato leek and kale, Elawa vegetable and hearty squash. The homemade soups fly off the stands even on the hottest days. Shoppers come for the different pestos—arugula, mint, and garlic scape to name a few. The stands also offer homemade baguettes, focaccia, crostinis, croutons, beet-based brownies and selection of dips and salsas using Elawa’s heirloom and sweet-as-candy tomatoes. McMahon checks in with Rosenbluth each week to see what the garden has produced so she can plan her menu. She also manages her own group of regular volunteers, many who come in each week as early as 5am to help her prepare for the market that day. “The volunteers are really the heart of this organization and I have met so many incredible, diverse people as a result,” she says. “Elawa is very rich in history and an important part of Lake Forest—our mission and goal even through our kitchen and cooking and gardening classes is to keep that memory alive.” Though the market sells mostly Elawa Farm produce and specialties from the kitchen, Bottner and team will also source other seasonal, local specialties they don’t grow on site. They will pick up Michigan berries, apples and cider at the Lake Bluff farmers market and eggs from Prairie Crossing. Katherine Anne Confections and Rare Bird Preserves have also made appearances and last year the market showcased a local meat producer as a guest vendor. Bottner hopes to expand upon that this year. “I think what makes us different from traditional farmers markets is not only the fact that we mainly showcase ourselves, but also that we’re selling on-site—our shoppers can literally walk the garden and see where the beets that they just bought are growing.” With the gardens and grounds buzzing with activity from spring to fall, Elawa has involved the local community. Years later, this “Gentleman’s Farm” has become everyone’s farm. ec Elawa Farm is located at 1401 Middlefork Dr., Lake Forest, IL 847-234-1966 Hours: 9am to Dusk. For more information: Amelia Levin is a chef and author who is always looking for inspiration. She often finds it in a garden or on a farm. She is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago.
  29. 29. 26 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 There are many “R” words in our household vocabulary these days as we work at being a more sustainable family. Recycle, repurpose, reuse, refinish and reclaim to name just a few. And, then there is re-grow, the “R” word that most intrigued my kids because it doesn’t make sense. How do you grow something that doesn’t start with a seed? There are at least a dozen items out there that you can re-grow. Some of the more successful ones we have tried are scallions, leeks and potatoes. This winter has been brutal in Chicago and, as a parent, finding things to do indoors on those sub-zero days has been a challenge. On top of having cabin fever, we are yearning for a dose of something green. When it was a little too early to grow “starts” in the garden, we created our little indoor scallion farm, which we began with a bunch of organic scallions. Scallions are an easy and fast vegetable to re-grow—you can expect a fresh bunch every 7-10 days. Fast is good with kids. They will see measurable daily growth with this project and the best way to document this is to take a picture every day. I first learned about this particular re-growing trick one summer in northern Wisconsin when getting to the closest grocery store for scallions was more of a hassle then it was worth. My friend told me that all I needed to do was buy a big bunch of scallions once and I could keep that bunch re-growing on my kitchen counter throughout the summer. As long as there is sun coming into the house, you can re-grow your scallions. You may never have to buy green onions again. ec 1. Use the bottom 3 inches of the scallions, making sure to leave the roots on. 2. Fill a clear glass jar with about 1 inch of water. 3. Place the scallions in the jar. 4. Place the jar in a sunny spot. Don’t place the jar on a window sill in the winter, because it will be too cold there for them to grow. 5. Change the water daily. 6. Take a picture of the scallions every day to record their growth. 7. Harvest and start over. You can plant these starts in dirt in either a pot or in the garden when the soil is warm enough. Kids In The Kitchen Story by Portia Belloc Lowndes Photographs on this page by Kiki Belloc Lowndes Sprouting New Growth: Veggie Magic for Kids
  30. 30. 27 Growing Potatoes: It’s in the Bag Another great “re-growing” project to do in the summertime is growing potatoes in a bag. What I love about this project is that you do not need a garden and it does not take up much room. This is a great project for those who only have a small balcony. Trust me, when it is harvest time, jaws will drop—what started out as a small number of older potatoes has now turned into a bag full of fresh, new potatoes. All you need are seed potatoes, some soil and a container. Seed potatoes are merely older potatoes that have grown “eyes”, or sprouts. Prepare your potato “seeds”. Use potatoes that have eyes on them. These are typically potatoes that are a few days past their prime usage. The eyes may have already sprouted. Organic potatoes are the best. Sweet potatoes take three times as long and I would not recommend russet potatoes—my attempts with that variety have not been successful. I have had the best luck with fingerling potatoes or baby reds. Cut the potato into pieces around 2 inches square. Make sure each piece has 2-3 eyes on it. Place the pieces on newspaper and leave them out at room temperature for a couple of days to dry out. This will prevent the potatoes from rotting. 1. Fill a paper bag or container with organic potting soil mix up to 1/3 full. Roll or fold the sides of the bag down. 2. Pierce your potato bag in several places to allow for drainage. Press about 4-6 potatoes on the top with the eyes facing up. 3. Cover the potatoes with about 3 inches of soil/compost, water and put in a sunny location. You want a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The shoots will emerge in about 7 days. 4. Cover the shoots with potting soil when they emerge again. Keep adding more soil and unrolling the bag to support it each time the shoots become visible. When the bag is full of soil, leave the potatoes to mature. When you see flowers blooming, you will probably have some tiny potatoes in the bag, but be patient, let them grow for about 90 days. Wait until the flowers fall off and the vines start to wither. You can now harvest your crop. ec Portia and Kiki Belloc Lowndes spent the long winter re-growing carrots, leeks and celery. They plan to add ginger to their collection and plant the crops in the ground this spring. Daughter Kiki is also a budding photographer who loves to document her projects. Scallions, also known as spring onions, are milder in flavor than mature onions and are harvested before the bulb fully forms. They come from the same species as chives, the Allium family. Scallions may be cooked, either whole or chopped and can be enjoyed fresh in salads, soups and stir fry dishes. Storing is easy: Place scallions in a jar, cover with a plastic bag and secure with a rubber band. Scallions stay crisp for about a week. Check and remove wilted outer layers if necessary. They also freeze well. Chop them before putting in a bag or container. The flavor stays fresh and they defrost quickly. Scallions also thrive in a jar when placed on a sunny windowsill. When the weather becomes warmer, they will continue to grow. ec
  31. 31. 1DWXUH·V5HPHG %RWDQLFDOV)URP :LQG5LGJH+HUE)DUP by Terra Brockman ,t was a bitter four degrees below zero on the January day that I talked with herb farmer, entrepreneur, and teacher Liz Fiorenza. The previous day her cell phone had been so cold that my call hadn’t gone through, but today Liz was working in her greenhouse, on her farm in Caledonia, Illinois where it was a balmy 75 degrees and bursting with new plant life. The greenhouse and the seven acres of herbs surrounding it have created a second career for Fiorenza. She hasn’t left her first career yet, she still works as a registered nurse. “It comes in handy when you need cash for a greenhouse, or you decide to re-do all your product packaging and labels,” Fiorenza says. Although Wind Ridge Herb Farm requires more time that most full-time jobs, “I don’t get tired of doing this,” Liz says. “I get up every morning and get to go outside and get dirty!” Her energy and good spirits show just how far she has come from the woman who used to suffer from chronic health issues to the woman who started her own herb farm and business. She began her journey as a hobbyist with just four herb plants in her formal garden and is now a farmer growing and processing 450 varieties of herbs on seven acres. When Western doctors and medicines failed to cure her condition, Fiorenza, upon the recommendation of her nurse friends, turned to herbs. “Everything that I tried worked,” she 28 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 says, “it seemed almost miraculous.” Soon she was using herbal teas, essential oils, and tinctures not only for herself, but to treat her children’s colds and flu as well. Suddenly their ailments seemed minor and only lasted a couple of days instead of a week or longer. +HDOLQJ+HUEV The healing properties of herbs have been recognized throughout most of human history. Sophisticated Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicines were used and passed down through oral tradition for thousands of years before they were finally committed to paper. In Western cultures, herbal medicine can be traced back to Hippocrates, often called the father of modern medicine. He based his gentle treatments on the healing power of nature. His famous dictum, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,” was followed by renowned herbalists including Avicenna from Persia, Galen from Rome, Paracelsus from Germany and Culpepper from England. Most of the first modern pharmaceuticals have their origins in herbal medicines. Today, about 25% of the drugs manufactured have botanical origins. While most Western medicines are now synthesized, in Germany there are still some 700 plant-based medicines available and 70% of the German physicians prescribe them for their patients. Fiorenza advocates using the whole plant and believes that isolating and concentrating just one active ingredient may not be the most effective treatment. Because humans and plants evolved together, “I think the whole plant is beneficial because your body will utilize it and accept it more readily when you use it the way it’s supposed to be used.” One way to use the whole plant medicinally is as a tea, and Fiorenza formulates some of her teas to treat specific ailments. Her lemon balm tea has a mild lemon flavor, but the leaves contain powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that help soothe coughs, headaches and some forms of asthma. Liz also formulates a special Because herbs in general are high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, if you make them a regular part of your diet, you’ll find tremendous benefits to your health in the long term. —Liz Fiorenza, Wind Ridge Herb Farm cold and flu tea that takes advantage of the antiviral properties of ginger, lemon balm and elderberries, plus she adds lots of vitamin C from orange peel, rose hips and hibiscus flowers.
  32. 32. 29 :hile Fiorenza does grow some strictly medicinal plants (fo-ti, astragulus, wormwood), most of the hundreds of herbs she harvests are used to enhance and accent foods. She points out, however, that the culinary and medicinal uses always overlap. All 26 varieties of basil grown on the farm are delicious when used on pizza, pasta or made into a pesto, but they also have strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. In Chinese medicine, basil is thought to support and enhance kidney function and, in classic Indian medicine, basil has been used to treat everything from ear aches to malaria to arthritis. Tulsi, or holy basil, is said to be particularly effective as an immune boosting tea, either on its own or combined with other immune boosting herbs such as astragalus and vitamin-C-rich rosehips. Within the Indian culture, it is traditional for people to keep tulsi plants in their homes and gardens and drink the tea or incorporate the leaves into various dishes they eat on a daily basis. This routine use of herbs is exactly what Liz recommends. “Just add herbs you like and are familiar with to the foods you eat every day. Because herbs in general are high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, if you make them a regular part of your diet, you’ll find tremendous benefits to your health in the long term.” Fiorenza is heartened that more and more people are buying herb starts and creating small kitchen gardens or placing a pot or two of herbs on their balcony or porch. Her potted herb and vegetable start business has really taken off in the past few years and now accounts for nearly 70% of her business. Fiorenza attributes this new interest in herbs to the fact they are easy to grow and people want to know how and where their food is grown. But, mostly it’s because of the way they taste. “There’s such a difference in taste and quality between what you grow yourself and what you can get at the store. And it’s so easy to pinch off a few leaves and liven up just about anything. Plus just one herb plant can supply your kitchen all season long.” For those who don’t have a green thumb, Fiorenza has developed a robust product line. “We have dried culinary herbs, infused vinegars, herbal teas, dips, seasonings. Everything is salt-free, sugar-free and preservative-free. We personally grow, harvest, inspect, dry and package the herbs in order to guarantee quality. For me, it’s all about good, healthy products. I’m very picky... or you could say I have great quality control.” Wind Ridge Herb Farm products used to be available at some farmers markets and at her retail farm store, but Fiorenza realized that she couldn’t take all that time away from the farm. “A good business person has to recognize what does and doesn’t work for you or your customers,” she says. “You have to adapt and evolve.” So a year ago, Fiorenza closed her retail location and now sells strictly wholesale. Her herb and vegetable plant starts are now available at many garden centers in Chicago. “Educating people on a healthy lifestyle,” is just as important as growing and marketing quality herb products, according to Fiorenza. So, she also finds time in her busy schedule to give lectures about the many benefits of herbs and Wind Ridge Herb Farm is open for garden tours and farm lunches and dinners. Ultimately, Wind Ridge Herb Farm is all about quality of life. “I love to cook and I love to grow things,” says Fiorenza. “I wanted healthier options for my family and I knew herbs had medicinal qualities. What I’m doing now is just sharing all of this goodness with others.” ec Wind Ridge Herb Farm is located at 466 Quail Trap Road in Caledonia, IL 61011. 815-885-1444. For more information: Terra Brockman is an author, speaker and sustainable food activist. During farmers market season she is often greeting customers at the Brockman family farmstand at the Evanston farmers market. Her favorite way to enjoy herbs is in a pesto, straight from the garden.
  33. 33. *HUPDQ·VRPPLVVLRQ( $SSURYLQJ+HUEVIRU0HGLFLQDO8VHV Common culinary herbs not only bring added interest and pleasure to your meals, they also boost your general health in many ways. In Germany, the equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration has a scientific advisory board, Commission E, which reviews and approves herbal medicines. Between 600 and 700 plant based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. Although there is no equivalent “Commission E” in the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost, efficacy and side effects of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use. Here are five common culinary herbs, along with their medicinal qualities. Parsley: The characteristic flavors and medicinal qualities come mostly from its volatile oils and flavonoids: apiole, myristicin, terpinolene, appin and others. Parsley is approved by Germany’s Commission E for treatment of urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder stones. 30 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 Lavender: Pale purple buds, with their distinctive perfume and herbaceous undertones, have been used in teas and sweets. Calming and soothing, lavender has long been used to treat migraine headaches and sleep issues. It is approved by Commission E for aiding the loss of appetite, insomnia and circulatory disorders. Sage: The soft, fuzzy sage leaves with their deep fragrance and rich flavors have been approved by Commission E to improve appetite and to ease inflammation. Rosemary: Pine-needle-like leaves are rich in rosmarinic acid and many other antioxidants, making it a powerful anti-inflammatory. Commission E has approved rosemary to treat blood pressure problems, digestive upset and rheumatism. Peppermint: With its lively aroma and bright flavor, peppermint varieties have long been used in teas, particularly for the treatment of colic and digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and is also generally used for the relief of cold and flu symptoms. Peppermint leaves have been approved by Commission E for the treatment of liver and gallbladder problems. ec — Terra Brockman :KHUHRXDQ)LQG :LQG5LGJH+HUE)DUP 3URGXFWV Wind Ridge Herb Farm Annual On-Farm Plant Sale: May 2-4, 9-11, Caledonia, IL Chicago Botanic Garden Farmers Market, Glencoe, IL Choices Natural Market, Rockford, IL Christy Webber Landscape, Chicago, IL Hyde Park Produce Market, Chicago, IL Wasco Nursery, St. Charles, IL Green Box Boutique, Woodstock, IL Door to Door Organics, Chicago, IL Lynfred Winery, Roselle and Wheeling, IL Nature’s Country Cupboard, South Haven, MI Salem Apothecary, Salem, IN Northwest Metal Craft, Arlington Heights, IL Vignettes of Arlington, Arlington Heights, IL Burlington Garden Center, Burlington, WI Common Culinary Herbs in Season Chamomile Chives Cilantro Dill Fennel Lovage Mint Oregano Parsley Shiso Sweet Basil Tarragon Thyme Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates
  34. 34. 31 Warmth and sunshine never felt so good after the winter we’ve just experienced. There are plenty of reasons to welcome Spring and here are some cocktail beauties to raise a glass and cheer the growing season. Recipes adapted from Market Fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco. Carrot Chic A fresh welcome to Spring. 1 1/2 ounces carrot juice (from about 2 medium carrots) 1/2 ounce fresh sour 1 1/2 ounces orange vodka 1/2 ounce triple sec Baby carrot (for garnish) Rim Ingredients 3 bar spoons super fine sugar 1/2 bar spoon ground ginger Lime wedge 1. Add carrot juice, fresh sour, orange vodka and triple sec to mixing glass. Add ice. Cover and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a baby carrot. 2. To rim the glass: measure sugar and ginger onto a small plate. Stir. Rim outside of glass with lime wedge. Roll the outside of glass in sugar mixture. Set aside. Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri A traditional daiquiri with a kiss of Spring. 2 sliced strawberries (optional) 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (optional) 1 1/2 ounces white rum 1 bar spoon super fine sugar Juice of 1/2 a pressed lime Whole strawberry (for garnish) Rim Ingredients 4 bar spoons super fine sugar Lime wedge 1. In mixing glass, muddle strawberry slices and orange liqueur, if using. Add rum, sugar, and lime. Add ice. Cover and shake well. Strain into sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with a strawberry. 2. To rim the glass: Measure sugar onto a small plate. Rim the outside top of the glass with the lime wedge. Roll the outside lip of the glass on the sugar. Set aside. The Green Mule A fresh twist on the classic Moscow Mule. 3 zucchini wheels 1 cucumber wheel Juice of 1 lime wedge 2 ounces vodka 4 ounces ginger beer Zucchini stick (for garnish) 1. In short glass, muddle zucchini, cucumber, and juice squeezed from lime wedge. 2. Add vodka. Fill glass with crushed ice and top with ginger beer. Stir well. Garnish with a zucchini stick. Liquid Assets Raise a Glass to Spring Reprinted with permission from Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails For Every Season by Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco, Agate Surrey, March 2014 Photography by Tim Turner and Larry Fox
  35. 35. Unraveling the Mysteries of Tea: Tea Master Thresa Griffin of the Napoleona Tea Company Interview by Ann Flood AF: There’s always been a certain mystery around the tea—from where it comes from, how it’s grown and harvested, to the choices of teas to drink and the history behind it. More chefs are using tea as an ingredient in food and cocktails. How were you drawn into the world of tea? TG: Tea is fascinating to me. After water, tea is the number one beverage consumed on the planet. I love history and the story of tea is actually many stories, over many centuries, across many lands. It has been said that if you want to know history, follow tea. So, there is always something more to learn, which keeps me interested and inspired. AF: How does one become a tea expert or tea master—through traditional education? TG: To become very knowledgeable about tea is an ongoing journey of experience and discernment. Traditional cultures often pass knowledge of tea from generation to generation by actually living the life of tea—growing, cultivating, harvesting and savoring tea. I have witnessed this in multiple places of my own travels to Asia and other countries. Tea offers a lifetime of learning. I was fortunate to be able to understand and appreciate tea not only from my own explorations, but also from a very learned Tea Master. And I became a tea master myself after more than two years of dedicated study. 32 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014
  36. 36. 33 AF: How do you choose your teas? TG: I personally select my teas from my own travels to family farms and the people I meet along the way. I am ways searching for locations and tea gardens with interesting stories. Those stories are very important to me, as they provide the history of the family, their process and environs, which all influence the taste and experience of the specific tea, its terrior. I personally prefer single estate or single origin teas, which means that the tea comes from one estate of plantation and is not blended with teas from another estate. AF: Is there a particular tea farmer or experience that had a certain impact on you, that reached you on a more personal level? TG: Stories and moments… these are so important to the understanding of tea. One of my fondest experiences from early on has been the time we spent with a couple in Wuyi Shan, China, whose family lived in and owned an amazing tea valley. We spent hours and hours trekking their land— through tea bushes that were centuries old, pathways and stepping stones carved by their ancestors, streams and hidden little pools of water where they played and bathed as children. And, the land holds a very famous ancient temple where the owners grew up. Upon a little wooden table set with fresh oranges and melon seeds, we shared their Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) tea. What a magical place to grow up. AF: Are the teas you pick harvested without the use of chemicals? TG: In many areas—high elevation teas, for example, pesticides are neither needed or of any interest and the traditional practices do not allow for it. The time-honored practices that these farmers use to produce these gorgeous teas are also important to me. Organic is important and we offer an extensive variety of organic teas. Further, I note how a tea makes me feel and those factors into my selection. Many tea-growing cultures know that tea holds energy—qi. Some of my teas are calming, some are energetic, and some keep me focused. It’s all very interesting and very real. AF: There’s a difference between fresh tea and the tea you would find at a grocery store. Can you describe the difference? TG: Freshness is vital to a vibrant tea taste; for many of out teas, we receive notification once teas are harvested, processed and ready to ship. We also purchase and pack our teas in quantities that will ensure a quick turnaround. Like fresh produce from the farmers market, our teas are grown, harvested and packed with care by families and organizations that carry on the tradition of tea with real pride. This is a different experience from grocery store purchasing, with shelves of teas that may only reach the stores 6 months or more after harvest and shipping. This is a difference to understand and appreciate, and then savor in a cup.
  37. 37. AF: How do you package your teas? TG: We offer loose tea in a variety of packaging options—all of our packages are eco conscious from the small paper packs to larger paperboard canisters. To keep our products cost effective and very fresh, we offer our premium and artisan teas as an online emporium and ship our teas from our location in Libertyville, Illinois worldwide, usually the same day. AF: How do you make the perfect cup of tea? TG: Just three main factors will make a great cup of tea: selection along with quantity of the tea you like, the temperature of the water and the steeping time. That’s really it but time and temperature do vary with the tea. We label each of our packages with quantity, steeping time and water temperature to ensure that you get the perfect cup of tea. AF: Any books on tea for a novice drinker that you can recommend? TG: Tea expert Helen Saberi wrote Tea: A Global History a few years ago, which offers an informative, easy to digest reference on tea, with recipes as well. James Norwood Pratt has also written a series of books, and he is well respected in the field. 34 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 AF: Do you offer classes? TG: We offer small group and private tea classes and are expanding these classes this year with more tea tastings and food pairings. We are also investigating tea tours in the upcoming year. Sri Lanka will be our first tea tour: a one week “farm to cup” adventure focusing on all things tea—living on a plantation, hand-plucking tea in the fields, exploring the culture and not only drinking it, but enjoying tea in local dishes. Many cultures have this tradition of eating tea, for health and for the taste in both savory and sweet dishes. ec For more information: Ann Flood is Co-publisher of Edible Chicago and is discovering a whole new world of tea choices.
  38. 38. -DVPLQH*UHHQ7HD XUHG:LOG6DOPRQ 35 Recipe adapted from Chef Sanford D’Amato Serves 6 to 8, make ahead 1 pound center-cut filet of fresh wild salmon, skin-on, about ¾-inch thick (ask fish monger to remove pin bones) Dry Cure: 2 teaspoons Jasmine Green Tea 1/2 cup kosher salt 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1. Place the tea and half of the salt in a mini-food processer and grind until fine. Mix together with the remaining ingredients for the cure. 2. Cut the salmon filet in 2 equal pieces. Place one piece of the salmon skin side down in a stainless or glass pan just large enough to hold it. Spread the dry cure evenly over the salmon filets on the flesh side. Place the other side of the salmon on top of the first filet, flesh to flesh. Cover with plastic wrap and place another smaller pan on top, then place a weight (at least 5 to 7 pounds) on top of that and refrigerate for 24 hours. Exclusive recipe courtesy of James Beard Award winning Chef Sanford D’Amato, author of GOOD STOCK: Life on a Low Simmer. Recipes for drained beech mushrooms, lemon jam, tea gel and frisée can be found at Tea used for this recipe is Jasmine Green Tea from the Napoleona Tea Company. For more information: 3. The next day, open the filets and baste them with the accumulated juices and reverse the positions of the filets (bottom on top, etc.), then repeat above process. On the third day, remove the cure from the filets—the fish is now ready to serve. Carefully scrape off any dry cure left on the fish. Cut thin slices off of the skin and garnish with drained beech mushrooms, lemon jam, tea gel and frisée.
  39. 39. What’s in Your Tea Cup? Local Blends by Lori Watts-Branch of SenTEAmental Moods Tea Interview by Becky Liscum Tea may be harvested half way around the 36 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 world, but there’s a little bit of Illinois in Lori Watts-Branch’s cup. She is the creator of a line of teas that blend locally grown herbs and flowers together in seasonal, small batches for a unique taste. SenTEAmental Moods can be found at several Chicago area farmers markets, and select specialty stores. BL: Tea can be for a wide range of palates, from those who drink from one basic tea style to folks who take in the sensory experience of tea with different herbs. What lead you to go beyond just sourcing and selling quality tea leaves and into creating different blends? LWB: My primary goal has always been to provide a healthy and tasteful beverage for my customers. I have found that many people want to enjoy tea for the health benefits, but don’t care for the taste of traditional teas. A popular way of compensating for this problem is overloading tea with sweeteners, which then diminishes the health benefits. I blend generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to boost the flavor profile. I also offer tisanes which are herbal blends, and have no caffeine. BL: How do you come up with the different blends? And their names? LWB: Sometimes an idea will just pop in my head, or a customer may ask about a particular ingredient. A few ideas have come from farmers who are seeking new ways to put their crops to good use. Naming is the fun part. A few names stuck during the creation of a blend. Once we asked customers to name blends and came up with “Big Blue Sky” and “Strawberry Fields”. We will be doing more of that at farmers markets. BL: Tell us about your philosophy of sourcing local, organically grown herbs? Why is it important to you? LWB: My relationship with local farmers has made me appreciate the importance of the farming industry. Farmers have proven to be a far more reliable source of information to me than any other type of research. They educate me on crop quality and flavors. BL: What is the most unlikely herb or flower you have incorporated into a blend?
  40. 40. 37 LWB: The most unlikely ingredients I use are tomatoes and sweet potatoes. I tend to use herbs with caution because of the medicinal qualities. BL: How do you enjoy your tea? Do you start with taking in the aroma? LWB: When examining teas, I always smell before cupping. I can tell if tea leaves are stale or over exposed by their smell. Quite honestly, if something doesn’t smell good, you are generally not going to want to consume it. BL: People have been aware of hibiscus tea, but may be less familiar with other flowers that can impart flavor to tea. What other flowers do you use? LWB: Tea leaves are the product of the Camilla Sinesis plant primarily grown in south east Asia and Africa. Flowers, roots, bark and other parts from other plants are not tea, but can be brewed as tea. The hibiscus flower is very popular known for having a tart flavor. I also use chamomile, cornflowers, roses petals, sunflowers, and jasmine. BL: Tea is often very centering for people, and also has health benefits. LWB: I don’t make medicinal claims on teas or tisanes. However, I truly believe that taking a moment every day to calm down with tea lowers stress. Stress plays a large role in triggering health problems. BL: Are there culinary uses for your teas? LWB: Our blends have been used by Katherine Ann Confections in truffle and marshmellow recipes, JoSnow Syrup in a jello recipe. We are also experimenting with some bakers. ec For more information: Becky Liscum is Co-publisher of Edible Chicago and loves the aroma of blended teas.
  41. 41. All Natural, Fresh, Local, Artisan Crafted, Healthy, Kosher Certified and Delicious Tofu We use only the finest locally grown Non-GMO soybeans with no additives or preservatives to create our flavorful tofu in small batches. Our tofu products are naturally cholesterol and gluten free and contain no transfats. Call now for samples and ordering info: 773-784-2503 Phoenix Bean, LLC | 5438 North Broadway Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 | t: 773.784.2503 | f: 773.784.3177 | | 0IVLKZINMLIZQ[IVKPMM[M[UILMWVW]Z 1TTQVWQ[NIZUNZWULIảNZM[PUQTS .QVL][I0-/:--6+1A5):3- A7=:47+)4+0--;-+7=6-: ^Q[QW]Z_MJ[QMNWZITTZMIQTTWKIQWV[ Q[QW]Z.IZU;WZM̉W]Z[)^IQTIJTM 38 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 8FFLMZ%BJSZBOE.POUIMZ.FBU$40QUJPOT 0OMJOF0SEFSJOHBOE)PNF%FMJWFSZWBJMBCMF $BMM 7JTJUVTBUUIF'BSNÐ #SVODIQSJM BTUFS BOE.BZ .PUIFST%BZ %JOOFS+VOF 4FQU 0DU
  42. 42. The Lake Effect Story by Anne Spiselman Photographs by Kaitlyn McQuaid RRNLHV DUQLWDV 39 The Sweet and The Savory Cookies Carnitas is one of the more unusual food businesses to be born at Chicago’s Green City Market. Brad Newman and Michael Taormina started the stand in the spring of 2011 to showcase the taste of pork from Becker Lane Farms and their venture has been growing ever since. With the December 2013 debut of their eponymous bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, the evolution promises to continue. While they say the odd name Cookies Carnitas mostly reflects the initial Green City Market menu, Newman and Taormina have shared a vision for this concept ever since they met. A mutual friend introduced them when “Mikey,” as Brad calls him, moved to Chicago from San Francisco six years ago. “We both grew up in diverse neighborhoods, Mikey in San Jose and me in Chicago,” Newman explains. “And, what we saw on the streets were multifaceted, multicultural spots like combination panaderias/pizzerias and panaderias/ taquerias. We wanted to do something that was fast food with a farm-to-table sensibility. In other words, slow food served fast.” Both men had spent their entire adult lives in the hospitality industry, so they had a good sense of the challenges they would face. Newman, went to Spain and cooked for 18 months at a Madrid hotel after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1997. When he returned to Chicago, he worked at restaurants ranging from Charlie Trotter’s to the University of Chicago Quadrangle Club. He also spearheaded an experimental program at the Francis W. Parker School and Latin School of Chicago where everything served to the students—breads, juices, pickles—was homemade. Taormina was a bartender and server in California. He says he moved to Chicago to get “back of the house experience,” although he also waited tables at local restaurants, among them Room 21 and Perennial Virant. Newman hired him to help with the school program. He specialized in baking. The Green City Market project came about when a good friend who sold raw Becker Lane pork at the market, suggested Newman and Taormina cook the pork to show off the quality of the product. This friend, David Yourd of JDY Gourmet, also introduced them to farmer Jude Becker, who produces “world class” organic pork from hogs that are half Chester White and half Berkshire. They were impressed by Becker’s progressive approach and his client list of top restaurants. The first summer, they began with an Italian classic: porchetta. “We cooked whole pork middles, which weigh about 65 pounds deboned, right at the market, on an antique Rotisol rotisserie mounted on the back of a motorcycle trailer that Mikey hauled with his Nissan Altima,” Newman recalls. “We’d pull the pork off the rotisserie with the crispy skin, slice and serve it on toasted homemade ciabatta rolls, slathered with onion jam and fresh coleslaw in a vinegar-based dressing.” The sides were potato chips fried in pork fat and chiccarones made from the pork skin. In keeping with the theme, they also used rendered pork fat for cookies featuring oatmeal from Three Sisters Farm and dried Michigan cherries from Seedling Fruit, both fellow market vendors. “We got a lot of business right off the bat, thanks partly to the Mike Taormina and Brad Newman of Cookies Carnitas “We wanted to do something that was fast food with a farm-to-table sensibility, in other words, slow food served fast.” —Brad Newman, Cookies Carnitas
  43. 43. built-in audience of market-goers,” Taormina says. Later in the season, the pair introduced their signature carnitas sandwiches. When the weather got colder, they added chili to the menu, which they continued to serve when the market moved inside for the winter at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. The second summer, they stopped lugging around the rotisserie and brought a Big John charcoal grill instead. “We could heat big pots of the carnitas and chili on it and grill the ciabatta,” Newman explains. For the carnitas, Newman slow cooks picnic-cut pork shoulder and pork butt with a mix of five chilies from Genesis Growers. He dries the chilies and braises the pork with water, local beer, orange juice and mirepois. Five chilies including guajillo, piquillo, chipotle, ancho and poblano, pork shoulder and black beans from Nichols Farm go into the chili. When they scored 800 pounds of premium pork bellies from Becker Lane, they also added pork belly sandwiches to the menu. Newman dry-roasts the meat with a rub, then braises it, slices it thick and grills it over charcoal at the market. A new cookie joined the lineup too. Similar to a toll house cookie, it incorporates bacon instead of chocolate chips and is glazed with Burton’s maple syrup, a bit like a doughnut. This winter at Green City Market, they only made a few minor changes. They brought in a portable electric grill, which they used to sear pork belly. The meat is tucked into soft El Milagro corn 40 edible CHICAGO | SPRING 2014 tortillas to create made-to-order tacos. The tacos are then topped with cabbage from Nichols Farm and Orchard, black beans from The Three Sisters, roasted tomatoes from Genesis Growers and finished with Mexican crema. Invited to participate in a couple of the pop-up markets around town, they created their own selection of spice blends to sell as holiday gifts. The biggest development however, has been their new restaurant, which they acquired in large part because they needed a place to prep their products for the market. For a couple of years, they used the kitchen at LM Brasserie on S. Michigan Avenue. Ready to have their own kitchen, in July of 2012 they found the old, rundown pizzeria, Barry’s Spot at 5757-5759 N. Broadway, which they decided to rent. The landlord of the building sold the restaurant equipment and other assets to Newman and Taormina. To make the best use of the building’s awkward footprint, they divided the space into a 1,400-square-foot restaurant and a 700-square-foot corner café. Newman says the coffee shop is the first café to sell Sparrow Coffee, which is roasted in the West Loop and is available at some local upscale restaurants. House-made scones, muffins, biscotti and pies also are on the menu, along with oversize cookies in half-a-dozen flavors: chocolate chip, triple chocolate, peanut butter, cowboy (oatmeal, salted nuts, chocolate pieces), Taylor’s (toffee and pecan) and the original (oatmeal-sour