Archive | Winter 2014

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Contents Winter 2014

 

Photo by Brenna and Molly McElenney

FEATURES

SACRED SPACES
TV DINNER
GREEN GROWERS GO TO WORK

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

SPILLING THE BEANS
Putting a Local Spin on Spanish Cuisine
Lincoln Granola Guru Offers Scratch-Baked Goodies
A (Beer) Dream Come True
French Food Made Farm-Fresh

IN SEASON

ON THE PLATE

EDIBLE EXCERPT
Maximum Flavor, Minimum Effort

COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS

EAT LOCAL GUIDE

THE LAST BITE
FarmHER  

 

 

ON THE COVER: Perfectly paired beef and homemade noodles are warm and satisfying on a cold, Midwestern day. Noodles are easier and faster to make than you probably think, are fun to make with kids, and are incredibly versatile. Have a favorite way to use noodles? Post a photo and share your recipe on the Edible Omaha Facebook page. (Photo by Janelle Shank)

 

 

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EatGoodFood

Food for Thought

A theater nut, my daughter Maryssa is fast approaching the end of her high school career and has been dutifully but not eagerly writing college-entrance and scholarship application essays. One particular essay, about why a career in technical stage management is her dream, caught my attention. In this essay, she spelled out her love for theater because every single participant—backstage, onstage or audience—must perform his or her role to make the show a success.

As we launch the inaugural Eat Local Guide, I am reminded how we all play a part in building a sustainable food system for our community, and like any great performance in the theater, no role is more or less important than the other and yet we all must play our part to ensure success.

Since the first issue of Edible Omaha two years ago, readers have been asking for a trusted resource to locate restaurants committed to sourcing local ingredients because it sets them apart, and as eaters who want to know where their food comes from, they want to reciprocate by eating in those establishments.

Happily, chefs and restaurant owners heard the call and stepped onstage into the spotlight. The establishments in the Eat … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Gratitude Bakery

Lincoln Granola Guru Offers Scratch-Baked Goodies

Gratitude Café and Bakery

Photo courtesy of Gratitude Bakery

Gratitude Café and Bakery owner, Kat Cloran didn’t set out to be known for her scones, but six months after she opened up at 1551 North Cotner Boulevard in Lincoln, they’ve quickly become one of the hottest items on the menu. Customers can find Lovely Lemon and Orange Cranberry on the menu daily, along with a seasonal selection. There are also giant cinnamon, pecan and orange rolls and several varieties of seasonal muffins.
Kat’s grandmother, whose picture can be seen throughout the café, serves as inspiration for many of Gratitude’s sweet treats. On my visit there were seasonal pumpkin whoopie pies, decadent triple-chocolate brownies, buttery apple crostatas, a daily buckle and a variety of inspired cookies.
“We’re bringing back the classics but with a twist,” she said on a recent visit, as I bit into a flaky apple crostata accented with cinnamon and fragrant orange zest.
For the holidays, Kat adds some classics into her cookie rotation, including pfeffernuss, accented with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, and a spicy-sweet ginger cookie.
Kat lovingly bakes everything from scratch with local, seasonal ingredients. Eggs come from Common Good Farm, butter from Clear Creek Organic … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Sebastian's Table

Putting a Local Spin on Spanish Cuisine

Photo courtesy of Sebastian’s Table

Sebastian’s Table

Erik Hustad and Gabriel Lovelace are putting a social spin on dining out with their latest culinary effort, Sebastian’s Table. The cousins are already well known among Lincoln foodists for their whimsical approach to local food at their now-retired food truck, Ground Up (GUP) Kitchen and the wildly popular Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom. At Sebastian’s Table, which opened August 2013 at 126 North 14th Street in downtown Lincoln, they’re putting their eclectic spin on tapas, small Spanish bar snacks and appetizers.
“Sebastian’s Table is not just a place to come and eat,” said Brad Widman, marketing director of Ground Up Foods. “You come here to enjoy yourself.”
Patrick Durkin, Sebastian’s chef de cuisine, transforms sustainable ingredients into surprising bites. There’s the shredded duck confit, cooked until meltingly tender in its own unctuous fat, and a delicate flash-fried octopus served with robust, garlicky chimichurri and a sweet pepper aioli. The number one seller is the hazelnut Brussels sprouts. The much-maligned vegetable is charred and topped with toasted hazelnuts, tangy piquillo peppers and an orange gastrique, elevating it to an earthy, sweet-tart experience unlike any Brussels sprout you’ve ever eaten. “We wanted to see … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Logan Yard

A (Beer) Dream Come True

Infusion Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of Logan Yard

For as long as he could remember, Bill Baburek, owner of Benson’s newest craft brewery, Infusion Brewing Company, has dreamed of owning his own brewery. Despite owning numerous successful beer businesses: Crescent Moon Alehouse, Huber-House German Bier Bar, Max & Joe’s Belgian Beer Tavern and Beertopia, a craft beer store, Bill wanted more. So when the right place—the former space of Olson’s Market in Benson—went up for sale in April 2012, he knew the time was right to make his dream a reality. “I’ve always really liked the feel of Benson. It reminds me of some of the neighborhoods in Portland and Seattle that are known for little craft breweries,” said Bill.
Because there are so many new brew pubs opening up across the United States, there’s a long wait for brewing equipment. But just like the location in Benson, another opportunity presented itself to Bill at just the right time. He procured the equipment needed from a former brewery in the Old Market.
“I’ve devoted my life to, and made a living off of, beer,” said Bill, but he doesn’t do the brewing himself. Aaron Bush, who worked for Bill at … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Paul Kulik

French Food Made Farm-Fresh

Le Bouillon

Photo courtesy of Paul Kulik

Many Americans have preconceived notions of French cuisine, often conjuring images of butter-soaked escargot, creamy bisque and foie gras served in lavish restaurants with elegant white tablecloths and prices to match. But Le Bouillon may just change that. 

Paul Kulik, owner of Le Bouillon, is bringing his concept of regional, French comfort food to the heart of Omaha’s Old Market in the former location of the iconic French Café at 1017 Howard Street. “People’s understanding of European food is that of really high-quality ingredients on their plates, and this is predominately associated with Italian restaurants. What had been lost in that conversation is French food,” says Paul. But the Midwest’s availability of fresh beef, potatoes and cheese lends itself perfectly to re-creating the farm-to-table foods found in southern France.

Living in southern France as a teenager, and traveling extensively through Europe, Paul “learned to eat and how to dine—not just consume food.” When it comes to his restaurant, he applies the belief that great food comes from “letting the farmers do the work, having the chef stay out of the way and letting the food speak for itself.”

Taking full advantage of many … Read More

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Photo by Carole Topalian

In Season

Photo by Carole Topalian

Winter has two vastly different sides: one that is cruel and ruthless, and one that fills our souls with warmth, light, family and good food. While winter does wear us down, it also allows for more time inside—particularly in the kitchen.

Farmers markets have closed down for the season and fields lay barren, waiting for spring. The bounty has been halted. It is a time to hunker down, when we are reduced to shivering bundles dependent on scalding beverages and central heating. We combat winter’s bitterness with the bounties we have stored up from warmer, more generous months. Hot comfort food keeps us surfaced—soup, potpies, casseroles, warm cereal—anything to drive the cold from our bones and our kitchens.

LOCAL GREEN HOUSE PRODUCE
Cucumbers
Herbs: Various
Microgreens
Tomatoes

STORAGE PRODUCE
Beets
Cabbage
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onions
Parsnips
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Rutabaga
Salsify
Squash: Winter
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips

MEAT & DAIRY
Beef
Bison
Cheese: Artisan & Farmstead
Chicken
Eggs
Lamb
Milk
Pork

OTHER
Breads & Pastries
Granola & Grains
Honey
Jams & Jelly
Jerky

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Cooking Slow Cover Art

Maximum Flavor, Minimum Effort

Cooking Slow by Andrew Schloss

Review by Lois Friedman

COOKING SLOW
by Andrew Schloss
Chronicle Books, 2013; $35

What’s old is new again—old methods that is. Put the ingredients on to cook in the morning using your versatile cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven, roasting pan or casserole, go about your busy day and dinner is ready hours later when you get home. Or, let everything cook overnight while you sleep.

Seasoned professional, Andrew Schloss, cookbook author, teacher and food writer, brings you this creatively developed cookbook featuring maximum flavor with minimum effort using old methods of cooking with low temperatures over a length of time—the art of cooking slow—complete with outstanding color photographs.

Slow-roasting, -baking, -simmering, -steaming, -grilling and -frying techniques are six of the chapters. Benefits of these techniques include minimizing overcooking because the temperature is set close to the doneness temperature and “better flavor and richer textures compared to cooking in a slow-cooker.” For those who want to delve deep, “this book centers tightly around the specific tenderness and toughness of different proteins and how—and how greatly—they are affected by temperature.” Further chapters cover slow sweets, slow-cookers and sous vide appliances.

Food safety instructions precede the 100 recipes, which … Read More

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Dave believes in keeping all ages of bison together, so the elder bison can teach the calves how to live like true ranging bison.

Sacred Spaces

Dave Hutchinson, owner of Perfect 10 Bison and Hutchinson Organic Ranch, among his bison herd.

We piled into a red Gator prone to overheating and drove into the bison herd. A family of sand-colored grouse popped up from the green-stemmed, red-tipped prairie grasses to find a resting place away from the rumbling engine. I had only seen a living bison one other time in my life, and it was much farther away than the hulking, giants before me.

The animals clearly saw Dave Hutchinson, my driver and the owner of Perfect 10 Bison and Hutchinson Organic Ranch, as a member of the herd, a leader even. The deep-brown-and-umber colored beasts surrounded us; their heads were the size of half my body, but their presence was not intimidating, rather it was calming and serene. Some wallowed in bogs created from the region’s high water table, others tended to calves, but most of them just stood there and stared at us or quietly munched on little bluestem and Indian prairie grasses. Perhaps they have been blessed with an evolutionary peace of mind that comes from being the largest terrestrial animal on the North American prairie, or maybe it was the majesty of … Read More

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Documentaries King Corn and Big River (Mosaic Films, 2007 and 2009), weigh the pros and cons of the unavoidable realities of large-scale American agriculture. 
(Photo by Amy Nissen)

TV Dinner

What the Rise in Food-Themed Documentaries
Reveals About Our Edible Anxieties

A Collaborative Essay by Creighton University’s Rhetoric and Composition Section ENG 150R

Viewers observe anonymous businessmen in suits walking toward factories during the opening of Food, Inc. while two of the film’s primary speakers, authors Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, clearly lay out the stakes of what the audience is viewing: modern American food culture has become more about business than about the health and well-being of consumers.  (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

Early in the documentary Food, Inc. (Magnolia Pictures, 2008) a ruminant nutrition expert at Iowa State University reaches his hand into the exposed stomach of a live cow as he checks for the presence of bacteria that might be gestating there, especially E. coli. The procedure, he ensures the camera crew filming the scene—and therefore the audience viewing at home as well—is not painful to the cow, but this doesn’t make the scene any less shocking to watch. The reason such research needs to be done in the first place? In short, American consumers’ strong desire for cheap, fatty meat. The expert goes on to inform the film’s viewers that the corn-based diet now primarily … Read More

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