Archive | 2015


Coffee, Community and Culture

No More Empty Cups

In May of this year, No More Empty Cups took over an operational coffee shop at the CO2 building on 10th Street in Downtown Omaha and converted the business into a nonprofit organization. Nancy Williams, board president and CEO for No More Empty Pots (the group that runs No More Empty Cups), says coffee, community and culture are their values.

“It’s about gathering around a great cup of coffee, enjoying good food, amazing people and celebrating the things that make us a community,” shares Nancy. She says No More Empty Cups is meant to be an inclusive space where people can just be and learn more about each other, the food we consume and the drinks we enjoy.

Nancy says the operation promotes local businesses and vendors, “So we have Archetype roasted coffee that we sell. Our pastries are from a local small business in North Omaha called Black Bottom Biscotti. We buy our bagels at the Bagel Bin and get our chorizo from the Grey Plume.”

The chorizo is used on the shop’s bagel breakfast sandwiches, which also feature eggs from Thomas Farms and Farmtable Delivery. The milk and cream are from Burbach Dairy while … Read More

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olunteers with Omaha’s City Sprouts and the Heartland Trailblazers visit the oak savanna where some day in the near future, free-range hogs might be fattening up on fallen acorns.  Photo by Clair Celsi

At Loess Hills Young People’s Farm

The Trailblazers of the Heartland prepare pumpkin patches between rows of oats at Loess Hills Young People’s Farm. The Trailblazers are among the community partners that landowner Joe Driscoll envisions having a stake in the future of sustainable agriculture on his property. Photo by Joe Driscoll

Ensuring a Permanent Place for Sustainable Agriculture

By Matt Low

Those of us living in the Greater Omaha stretch of the Missouri River Valley are fortunate to be in close proximity to the Loess Hills, a geologically and ecologically unique landform similar to few places on the planet. For millennia the hills offered diverse habitat and sustainable resources for its plant, animal and human communities, but the last century of intensive agriculture and recreational use has depleted a good deal of that diversity and sustainability, and an additional burden has been placed on those who live in and around the Loess Hills to ensure that the region remains vital and bountiful for future generations.

A pumpkin patch on the Young People’s Farm in late summer. Photo by Joe Driscoll

Fortunately, visitors can come to learn about the sort of stewardship necessary to secure a sustainable future for the hills at places like the Hitchcock … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Community College

Aspiring Chefs Bring Home their first gold

Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for Culinary Arts

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Community College

“In competition, we work very hard to highlight the foods that are important to us here in Nebraska. Every decision on our menu considers seasonality and provenance,” says Brian O’Malley, interim executive director of the Institute for Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College (MCC).

That decision served his group very well as MCC’s Culinary Team Nebraska won their first-ever national award this year at the American Culinary Federation’s student team championship, which was held in Orlando, Florida. In addition to taking part in various skill salons where members were tested on fish or chicken butchery, vegetable cutting or pastry skills, Brian says the team worked together to create four signature courses with 24 portions each.

“There are five people on the clock at competition. One acts as kitchen steward, so they don’t do any cooking or cutting, but the other four who are cooking will each prepare one of the dishes. They help each other where needed, but we set it up with one course per person,” he says.

To prepare for the competition, Brian says they started training in August of last year. Once a week … Read More

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Colleen is very considerate of details, and her avidity for objects made with love is apparent in everything she touches, including her garden.

The Chore-less Garden

By Amy Sand
Photography by Alison Bickel

Growing up, Colleen, her brother and sister were each given several rows to tend and cherish in the family garden. It was a time for bonding: working the land together and sharing in the fresh crop. Here she continues that tradition with her daughter, Eva.

Meet Colleen Christensen, a young professional and new mother whose container garden is less work and more happy-routine.

When I arrive at Colleen’s home, I ring the doorbell and she waves me in. She’s standing at the top of the stairs with her almost-one-year-old, Eva, shyly sitting on her hip. As we introduce ourselves, she plays with Eva. It’s clear this is her natural, fervent self: relaxed, even though she’s had a full day of accounting in Downtown Omaha. As we move through her Millard home, I notice it’s unencumbered with excess, and the small, thoughtful touches stand out: a photo collage with a chalkboard that says “Chris loves Colleen;” an artisan wood picnic table where her family dines. This careful consideration of details, this avidity for objects made with love, is apparent in everything she touches, including her garden.

We leave the kitchen and walk down the … Read More

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Food for Thought

Last year, I was blessed to meet Scott Dinsmore, a young, vibrant and incredibly passionate and inspiring man who believed “that the world would be an altogether different place if we all did work that actually mattered to us. Because when we focus our time and talents on the work that means something to us, it starts to matter to those around us as well. That’s what starts to change the world. One ripple creates another. When enough ripples intersect, you have a revolution.” Tragically, Scott recently passed away, at age 33, while fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams—to climb Mount Kilimanjaro—as part of a year-long world tour with his equally delightful wife, Chelsea.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Scott and his relentless pursuit of following his passion while inspiring thousands of others around the globe to do work they love with his Live Your Legend community. It’s a beautiful case of one man creating a ripple that has produced a revolution.

I’d like to tell you that this issue of Edible Omaha was planned to specifically highlight individuals who are doing work they love, following their passions and creating ripples, but that’s simply untrue. Each issue of Edible … Read More

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A Family Affair: From Farm to Table

“We serve breakfast and lunch with a focus on local and often seasonal items,” says Hans Walsh, manager and cook for Milk & Honey.

Walsh’s sister and brother-in-law, Ellen Walsh-Rosmann and Daniel Rosmann, own Milk & Honey. They also run Rosmann Family Farms with Daniel’s parents, brother and sister-in-law, where the restaurant gets its organic beef, pork and eggs. And it’s definitely filling a niche in Harlan, Iowa, where Hans says there aren’t many restaurants serving locally grown and sourced food.

Hans says Ellen and Daniel felt that Milk & Honey would give the rural community a new experience. It’s something they might find in Omaha but wouldn’t necessarily want to drive to try.

Milk & Honey opened at the beginning of June, and Hans says they’ve already got some regulars, but he’s also seeing lots of new faces walk through the doors.
“So today we had a grilled cheese sandwich. The sourdough bread came from Culprit Bakery in Omaha, the goat cheese came from Doe’s and Diva’s Dairy in Honey Creek, Iowa, and the heirloom tomatoes from Botna Burrow in Hancock, Iowa. Everything came from around here,” explains Hans.

The bacon apple cheddar melt was also on the menu … Read More

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Photo by Alexis Abel

Big Win at American Cheese Society Competition

Photo by Alexis Abel

Dutch Girl Creamery

Charuth Van Beuzekom put her Nebraska-made goat cheese on the red carpet this summer, at what can only be described as the Academy Awards of Cheese, officially known as the American Cheese Society (ACS) competition. Charuth is the cheesemaker behind Dutch Girl Creamery, a Lincoln-based goat dairy that is part of Shadowbrook Farm. Dutch Girl Creamery is a farmstead dairy, meaning the cheese is made with milk from the creamery’s on-site herd.

Rosa Maria, her entry to the ACS competition, is a take on a Spanish-style aged cheese and won first place in the Farmstead Goat’s Milk Category. Two other Dutch Girl Creamery cheeses, Natalie in Grey and Garden Herbed Chèvre, both were awarded third place in their categories. Charuth’s cheese stood out among a crowded field of contenders. This year’s event, held in Providence, Rhode Island, had 1,779 entries from the United States, Canada and Mexico competing in a range of diverse categories.

This big win is the culmination of over seven years of recipe development. After receiving some sage advice from an early mentor to “make the type of cheese that the market needs,” Charuth set out to create the aged, … Read More

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Photo by Trisha Hughes

Turkey Reuben

Photo by Trisha Hughes

Yield: 1 serving

1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
4 ounces heritage turkey
4 tablespoons sauerkraut
Swiss cheese

Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. Place one slice in a thick-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon 1 tablespoon dressing on the bottom slice of bread and spread to cover. Top with turkey, sauerkraut and cheese. Spoon remaining dressing on the other slice of buttered bread and top sandwich, keeping dressing side down. Grill until bread is golden brown, covering pan if needed to thoroughly heat sandwich ingredients. Flip sandwich carefully and brown the second side. Remove from pan. Let cool 1 minute before slicing in half and serving.

Recipe developed for Edible Omaha by Julie Kolpin and Mary Oswald.

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Top: Seed-saving begins in the field where Betsy carefully clips the stems of cilantro.After clipping the stems, Betsy places them on a white bedsheet (second photo) and gathers it up to bring the plants inside for drying, which can take several days. In the third photo, Betsy stomps on a bundle of dried radish seedpods and leftover brown twigs. Her dance breaks the dry pods, causing them to release the seeds within. Bottom: After most of the pods have burst, Betsy uses screens to sift out the extra pieces of radish plant, leaving a layer of brownish-red seeds.

A Law that Saves Us All

Betsy Goodman and
the Nebraska Seed Law

Story and Photography by Emily Beck

In the United States, it’s illegal for a citizen to walk across the street, ring a neighbor’s doorbell and empty a cupped handful of seeds into that neighbor’s hand.

Everywhere except Minnesota and Nebraska.

It wasn’t always this way—for centuries, seed sharing is exactly how farmers were able to keep growing crops year after year while keeping a rich diversity of varieties. But now the seed industry rules agriculture, and since the 20th century, farmers have begun to rely on it instead of their own expertise.

Methods and knowledge passed down have been lost, along with their importance. Today, lower numbers of farmers save seeds than 100 years ago. And the Seed Law prevents the free, non-commercial sharing of seeds.

Betsy Goodman, a 28-year-old, fifth-generation Omahan, doesn’t think this makes much sense. So she decided to do something about it.

Top: Seed-saving begins in the field where Betsy carefully clips the stems of cilantro.After clipping the stems, Betsy places them on a white bedsheet (second photo) and gathers it up to bring the plants inside for drying, which can take several days. In the third photo,

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Photo by Trisha Hughes

Gingerbread-Apple Bread Pudding

Photo by Trisha Hughes

Yield: 12 servings

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup boiling water
¾ cup molasses
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered ginger

4 tablespoons butter
6 large eggs
4 cups milk
⅓ cup local honey
2 large apples, diced (Granny Smith or other semi-sweet variety, peeling optional)

¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl sides if necessary.

Mix boiling water and molasses together. Add to butter and sugar mixture; stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and ginger. Add dry mixture to wet mixture in large bowl and combine thoroughly, scraping sides of bowl to incorporate all ingredients.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes, covering loosely with foil if top of bread browns too quickly. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Carefully remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes … Read More

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