Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Food Conference 2012 & The Good Food Jobs Fair

Last March I had the pleasure of attending the Just Food CSA Conference as a volunteer. I scheduled my volunteer shift for early check-in so I would be able to attend the rest of the day's events. I learned so many things that I think about or practice daily. Michaela Hayes lead a great canning workshop featuring Ball products and how to preserve the bounty from CSA shares and the farmer's market. There was a delicious meal for lunch where I spoke with egg producers who have their farms not too far from where I grew up. After lunch I learned about The Greenhorns and all the amazing young farmers out there and what they are doing. The main discussion let everyone in on how the economy is really effecting farmers. And finally the Expo was an fun way to talk to producers and artisans with exciting products and ideas. At the Expo I learned about Animal Welfare Approved and heard more from Winter Sun Farms CSA (an awesome frozen, local produce CSA). All in all, a enlightening and significant experience. 

With that said, it is time to talk about the 2012 Just Food Conference 2012: Ea• Work • Grow the Movement
When: Friday February 24th & Saturday February 25th
Time: Friday: 8am -7pm, Saturday 8am - 6pm
Where: Food & Finance High School 
(525 West 50th Street, New York, NY)
Full Information on the Just Food Website.
Buy Tickets here.

This year's conference will be even more awesome than last year. The first reason for this is because one of my favorite companies is involved in a spectacular way-- Friday night of the conference (February 24th) Good Food Jobs presents the Good Food Jobs Fair
The Good Food Jobs Fair will be February 24th from 5:30pm - 7:00pm at the Food & Finance High School (525 West 50th Street, New York, NY). This is a perfect opportunity to meet with up and coming businesses as well as established ones- think artisans, creative agricultural organizations and more. Taylor and Dorothy of Good Food Jobs expect 40 awesome businesses at the fair. Come to meet, mingle, network and find your dream job! It is a wonderful new addition to the Just Food Conference!

Buy your ticket to the Good Food Jobs Fair here.
If you wish to have a table as a business/organization apply here

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bake for You: Treats from the 518 to your Door!

"Can you bake for me?" The pleas for Linda Kindlon's baked goods have been coming for years. Finally in 2009 after spending hours of her time lost in cookie recipes online she decided to honor those requests in a new way and opened her business Bake For You (BFY). Linda's turning out cookies, scones, cupcakes, brownies and more that all taste like they are coming straight from mom or grandma's kitchen. 

Bake For You makes their treats using as many local and organic ingredients as possible. As Linda told me, her philosophy is "really good ingredients make for a really great product." One of the things I really love about Bake for You are the locally inspired names. The Bake for You kitchen is located along Washington Park so many of the names come from the streets around the park. She also has a cupcake named for her adorable granddaughter Addison. 

Currently Linda is taking custom orders in the Albany, NY area, baking goodies for local businesses and also mailing her treats nation wide through her website. Being from the area, and a good friend of  Linda's daughter, she thought I might enjoy checking out some of her signature cookies in a bit of a taste test. Though I find myself in Albany about once a month, Linda was kind enough to mail me three different kinds of cookies here to my New York address. I was glad to see the mailing presentation so I could tell you about how wonderfully they were sent through the mail since many of you are not local to the Capital District but will be tempted to mail order from Bake for You

What I received was a lovely brown box tied up with ribbons and tissue paper with a little note from Linda and a Bake for You magnet with the company's mantra "Cookies make everyday better!": 

This is just how I would want a package of goodies to arrive when sending them to a loved one! The best part was everything arrived fresh and perfectly in tact. I'm totally sold on the effective packing of Linda's sweets and have already started thinking about who will get a little Bake for You love in the mail this year. 

Now onto the sweet stuff: the cookies! My roommates and I sampled the three different flavors Linda sent; chocolate chip, oatmeal cranberry and the BFY signature white chocolate cranberry. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Food Corps Recruitment...And my reasons for why you or someone you know might want to Apply!

Indeed, it is that time of year again, time for Food Corps recruitment! You may well remember I wrote about the initial recruitment for the first class of Food Corps service members about a year ago. Well I thought the second year of recruitment deserved its very own post because the organization has done a ton of great work in the past year. If you look at their website alone it becomes quickly apparent that this budding program is here to stay.  
So what do you need to know for recruitment this year? 
  • The qualifications for an applicant have not changed, one must be: 18 years or older by the start of service (August 13, 2012), U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States and have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent
  • This year's deadline is:  March 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. No late applications will be accepted and FoodCorps recommends you get yours in early to avoid any tech problems that may arise. 
The FoodCorps site lists the benefits of being a FoodCorps member for one year of service as: 
  • A $15,000 living allowance
  • A $5,550 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award
  • Student loan forbearance
  • Health insurance
  • Partial childcare reimbursements
  • Training and mentorship
  • Alumni network
  • The experience of a lifetime
Now, I don't know about you, but all of that sounds pretty great to me (especially that part about student loan forbearance)! As a service member you will be helping teach the future citizens of our nation, children. Everything from gardening to nutrition to how these things relate to math, science, history and more will be explored and taught. Service members will be working nationwide at different types of projects and organizations who are working to educate about and increase access to fresh, healthy food. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Moroccan New Year's Eve

After a few months of many things pointing towards Morocco- posts from Big Girls Small Kitchen, re-watching that favorite scene from Sabrina when Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford go out for Moroccan and eat with their hands, and yes the Real Housewives of New York "Ya habibi" filled getaway-- I decided the best way to spend New Years Eve-into-my birthday would be with a Moroccan inspired celebration. With all the buzz around Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco I knew just where to look for menu planning inspiration and fool-proof recipes. 

For the party I wanted my guests to feel transported to a lush Moroccan getaway- walls draped with fabric, colorful pillows and mood lighting. With a limited budget I went with some small, multi-colored fabrics hung in one corner of my petit apartment and saved on pillows by sewing covers for my throw pillows from scrap fabric in great prints I found at Jo-ann's. I ordered Wolfert's book in November and immediately started figuring out my menu. There would be at least 8 guests and as I figured correctly, probably more once the day neared. The feast I came up with perfectly fed all 15 people who showed up with hardly any leftovers. Everything I made, following Paula's recipes, came out just right and with complete ease. I did very little prep during the week and had a day of cooking on the day of the party with very limited stress. 

The Menu

Rather than start with non-Moroccan appetizers, I selected recipes from The Food of Morocco that would be easy to eat without fork and knife, but tasty bites to get my guests warmed up for the main dishes. We were having a truly wonderful evening the whole night through, so there are unfortunately not photos for each dish. Feel free to use your  culinary imagination.

Kefta Meatballs
Page 399
From the kefta brochette recipe I made lamb meatballs. Instead of skewering and grilling the meat I made them appetizer friendly by rolling the meat mixture into average sized meatballs that I popped in the oven to cook as guests started to arrive. The recipe involves simply processing the ingredients together in a food processor then preparing them for the grill. I will definitely use this recipe again for parties-- but I will be sure to multiply it to allow 3-4 per guest- the ones I made vanished in a matter of moments! 
Photo courtesy of Khalilah Ramdene