Archive | Summer 2016

Food for Thought Summer 2016

This spring, three years after planting and patiently waiting, I rejoiced when ready-for-harvest asparagus spears emerged. It’s delightful to harvest a fresh batch for meals, including our Sunday morning frittata with fresh farm eggs compliments of the neighbors. Even better, the asparagus patch produced enough to share with my parents—the very same neighbors who provide with us their bounty of eggs.

I am enamored with adding anything to our land that will reproduce year after year. Right now, I am patiently awaiting the harvest of our first cherries and, in a couple of years, peaches. And this year, for certain, I plan to succeed at harvesting the pears before the deer.

Each of these crops, planted at different times, have distinct needs throughout their life cycle, all essential and varied. First there is planning, then preparing the soil, the actual planting, the waiting and finally the harvest. Along the way, in order to create an ideal environment, protecting from bugs and critters, watering, weeding and fertilizing are all critical. Different phases require different skills and time commitments. Such as it is with business ventures.

After publishing Edible Omaha for nearly five years, Lucy and I recently reflected on our many … Read More

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Top: Ardent supporters of the restaurant, village residents Jim and Linda Pruss frequently drop off vegetables such as these beets, or peppers, eggplant and squash on the restaurant’s doorstep. Middle: A fresh loaf of English muffin bread with housemade peach & blueberry preserves. Lower: A bread pudding made with a cinnamon roll, topped with cream cheese frosting and raspberry sauce.

Garden-Supported Restaurant

Local village residents Jim and Linda Pruss want Eat to succeed and share the bounty of their garden with the restaurant.

Elevating Village Food Culture One Plate at a Time

By Summer Miller
Photography by Alison Bickel

Chef Michael Glissman grew up in Bancroft, Nebraska, but left soon after graduating from high school to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. He later moved to California where he worked with many notable chefs, until returning to Nebraska two decades later.

Lin Schwanebeck sits in the oak schoolhouse chairs, folds her fingers together in front of her and leans forward on her elbows. Light from the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows of Eat restaurant bounces through the soft curls of her gray-brown hair. She sits back, then leans forward again. She wrings her hands and smiles softly.

She has high hopes for Eat, the restaurant she and her son, Michael Glissman, opened 13 months ago in the village of Dodge, Nebraska. Eat is a mix of country sensibility and urban influence with a strict focus on housemade, from-scratch cooking. It is not formally farm-to-table, though neighbors have delivered bags, bushels and boxes of garden vegetables to the mother-and-son duo from the … Read More

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Juice-4-Life-(1)

A Glass of Produce

Juice4Life

Photo courtesy of Juice4Life

In the heart of Bellevue, minutes from Offutt Air Force Base, a friendly juice café is serving up a healthy dose of produce by the glass. A family-owned establishment, Juice4Life opened in the fall of 2014 with the goal to provide wellness and education to the community through fresh-pressed juices.

Looking to offer an honest and healthy alternative for getting fresh nutrients, owners Camille and Aaron James and their daughter, Derrion Shepperd, partnered with Bellevue Produce LLC, which provides sustainably grown produce. With Bellevue providing the produce used in Juice4Life’s juices, the owners have peace of mind about the quality of the ingredients, a critical element in their all-natural, vitamin-packed juices, which have no preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors.

Walking into Juice4Life for the first time, I immediately felt welcome and could smell the amazing aroma of fresh herbs. Derrion, a certified sports nutrition specialist and personal trainer, enthusiastically shared details about their operation and her credentials as well as Aaron’s who is a certified personal trainer.

You can choose your juice based on what Camille, the chief “juiceologist” makes for their subscribing customers––those who place recurring monthly orders––or you can order a … Read More

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freezercorn

Freezer Corn


Yield: 4 pints

10 cups corn, cut from the cob (approximately 12 medium ears, husked)
6 cups water
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅛ cup salt

Place corn in a large stockpot and add water. Stir in sugar and salt, then place pot on stove top over medium-high heat. Boil 10 minutes; remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Do not drain. Pack equal parts corn and liquid into jars or freezer bags and freeze up to 6 months.

—Recipe courtesy of Joyce Birks

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coneflower

Farm-to-Cone Ice Cream Shop

Coneflower Creamery


Owner Brian Langbehn says while he was in culinary school in Chicago, he worked at Sugar Factory, a dessert nightclub. “We made all of our ice creams in-house. We would do all sorts of interesting flavors, and it just blew me away. I thought, Wow! There’s so many things you can do with ice cream, and that kind of started it all,” says Brian.

Later, he was a pastry chef at 801 Chophouse at the Paxton in Omaha where he once again had the opportunity to make his own ice cream, which was definitely his favorite thing to make.
“I moved up and was chef there for six years. While I was there, I met Katie, who is going to be my ice cream production manager. We talked years ago about doing this, how it would be cool to source everything locally and make everything in-house,” Brian explains.

He says they wanted to bring a different attitude to ice cream in Omaha, with the focus more on the process of creating the ice cream and the ingredients going into it. Brian says the shop will source all dairy products locally. Branched Oak Farm is where they will get … Read More

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popsicles3_MO

Fresh Fruit Popsicles


Yield: 6 to 9 popsicles (varies by mold size)

2 cups summer fruit, cleaned and roughly chopped (see variations below)
½ to 1 ripe medium banana
½ cup fruit juice or lemonade
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Popsicle sticks

Add chopped fruit, ½ banana and juice to blender. Blend until combined, scraping down the sides of blender as needed. Taste. Add remaining banana or honey if needed to sweeten.

Pour into molds or small paper cups and place in freezer for at least 1 hour but no more than 2 hours. Remove from freezer, place Popsicle sticks into center of each mold and return molds to freezer. Freeze at least 8 more hours or overnight.

For a chunkier version: Reserve ¼ cup chopped fruit to add into blended mixture before pouring into Popsicle molds.
Variations

Berry:
Equal parts blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries

Watermelon Berry:
1½ cups watermelon and
½ cup berries

Cantaloupe Kiwi:
1½ cup cantaloupe and
½ cup kiwi

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

Photos by Mary Oswald

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CUBE chef Mario Ocha

Classic Urban Eatery Bistro

Mario’s CUBE in Tomāto Tomäto

 

CUBE chef Mario Ocha

“I just really want people to have excellent food,” says Mario Ochoa, 27, owner of Chef Mario’s CUBE located within Tomāto Tomäto, Omaha’s indoor farmers market.

Mario is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, and has lived in Omaha for 20 years. A graduate of Omaha South High School and the Institute of the Culinary Arts program at Metro Community College, Mario competed and excelled in culinary competitions throughout high school and college.

Chef Mario’s CUBE, which stands for Classic Urban Bistro Eatery, opened this past April and is “doing pretty good,” according to Chef Mario. “We’ve been growing at a good pace,” he says. “We’re taking baby steps, which is awesome.”

Chef Mario’s CUBE and Tomāto Tomäto are separate business ventures but work well together because they both use the same suppliers for their food and both wish to support organic and locally sourced eating.

Chef Mario’s CUBE has a limited menu, but they prefer it to the alternative. “We can make sure that everything on that menu is there because we love it,” Mario says. The chicken panini, made with fresh, locally made bread and chicken from Plum Creek Farms … Read More

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little-picklers-4-6

Little Picklers

 Even Kids Can Do It!

By Amie Petronis Plumley | Photography by Alison Bickel

 

At my house, we try pickling all kinds of vegetables that we get at the farmers market or from our garden. Even if my kids don’t think they like a vegetable, they might like it pickled! Many traditional recipes call for boiling water or waiting a few weeks until the pickled vegetables are ready to eat, but who can wait that long? Not us! This quick pickling recipe is great for making with kids because it does not require cooking or special canning supplies. Cooking with kids also offers many real-world learning opportunities. Besides learning to follow a recipe, kids develop kitchen skills, use math and reading concepts, discover science and work cooperatively. Who knew you could learn so much from a pickle?

In the Kitchen with Kids

Pickling is a fun and easy way to get kids excited about cooking. Picky eaters will often be more eager to try something new if they help to make it. Somehow, everything always tastes better when you make it yourself. Making pickles offers opportunities for kids to learn simple knife and measurement skills, but only you know … Read More

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For dessert, guests were treated to an apple and aronia berry cobbler.

Celebrating “Rural Vitality”

Sawmill Hollow Family Farm and Golden Hills Resource Conservation Development partnered with Chef Clayton Chapman of the Grey Plume to host an open-air dinner in April celebrating “rural vitality”: a thriving community of farmers, producers, consumers, thinkers and even politicians committed to fortifying the traditions and values.

By Matt Low | Photography by Linda Gentry

In the last decade, the growing popularity of the farm-to-table movement has come a long way in bringing consumers into direct contact with the growers and producers of the food they eat. That a new coinage (“farm-to-table”) is needed to describe the seemingly basic act of acquiring food directly from a farmer is evidence that this transaction has either, at best, been taken for granted or, at worst, disappeared completely for most consumers. Nevertheless, as chef and author Dan Barber argues in The Third Plate, there is a “promise of farm-to-table cooking” that warrants further consideration, because when its core principles are followed by chefs and home cooks alike, such meals “take their shape from the constraints of local agriculture and celebrate them.”

However, as this movement becomes more popular, a paradox has also emerged. Unsurprisingly, this paradox mostly concerns how the movement is … Read More

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Photo by ©Admiral District

Not Just a Meat Shop

The Blackstone Meatball

Photo by ©Admiral District

The Blackstone Meatball’s head chef, Matt Baum, used to play music with singer-songwriter Conor Oberst, and through that connection, he and his business partner, Phil Schaffart, traveled extensively, eating their way through various towns. “We would go to certain places and say, ‘We could do this in Omaha and it would be a hit,’” says Matt.
By far, their favorite was the Meatball Shop in New York. But Matt explains instead of lifting the idea entirely, they decided to do things the hard way and rewrite the whole menu, making it more applicable and open to Nebraska tastes. Matt says they are sticking with the spirit of the Meatball Shop but making it their own.
“But we’re not just doing meatballs. We are going to work with local farms to bring in produce that we can highlight. It might be Brussels sprouts from a particular farm or micro basil from a guy’s greenhouse here in Omaha. All the proteins are coming from within a 150-mile radius. All the beef is certified Angus. We are dealing with Midwest farmers and Midwest beef. The pork will be from Omaha’s Truebridge Farms,” he says.
There will … Read More

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