Archive | Spilling the Beans

Real Fun with Real Food, Big Green Tomato

Photo courtesy of Big Green Tomato

By Emily Brocker

You’ve heard of fried green tomatoes, but have you heard of Big Green Tomato? Located on an acreage outside of Fort Calhoun,
Nebraska, Big Green Tomato is a business centered around the love of real, good food.
Founder Michelle Moyes Dill describes the business as a “growing adventure around food.” Through Big Green Tomato’s three
specialty areas—catering, food education and made-for-you products—Michelle seeks to “teach people how to eat better and
have fun with food.”
 
Big Green Tomato is a family affair. Michelle, along with her husband and daughter, moved from Omaha to their acreage over
a year ago. But the dream of starting a business had been around for a long time. “Every time we took a road trip, we’d dream about
opening our own business. Our conversations always came back to food and an idea like this.” Another motivating factor was Michelle’s food intolerances. She couldn’t have some of her favorite foods, so she had to find alternatives. She found better ingredients, and realized that the food often ended up tasting even better.
 
Big Green Tomato’s top priority is using safe and local (when available) ingredients. Some ingredients come … Read More
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Photo by Juliene Marie

Slow Food Fast, Kitchen Table

Photo by Juliene Marie

By DR Brown

After a five-year stint working at fine dining establishments in San Francisco, husband and wife team Colin and Jessica Duggan returned to their Omaha roots this past October. Since then, they have been busy translating fine dining quality, techniques and philosophies into a new restaurant concept sure to please. According to Colin, “Our goal is to bring back the time-honored tradition of eating healthy foods at the kitchen table.

Their Kitchen Table restaurant focuses on providing “slow food fast.” Colin explains: “The key is to use the best local ingredients to make from-scratch dishes.” In their short time in Omaha, they have made connections with more than 15 local farmers and food producers. Produce from those farmers is used by Colin, the restaurant’s chef, to tailor the menu to what’s in season and is available.

Lunch options include a delicious mix of soups, salads and sandwiches using fresh-baked breads. Snacks are available all day.
Take-away dinners are designed so you can enjoy your meal at your own kitchen table. The nightly option for dinner changes daily and
includes a meatless version. The weekly dinner menu is posted on the website. A 1-2-3 single-price … Read More

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STB.BerrynRye

Omaha’s Next Big Thing, The Berry and Rye

 

By Summer Miller

I sat down at The Berry and Rye, a craft cocktail bar located at 11th and Howard in Omaha’s Old Market, on a lazy, cool Sunday
afternoon.
 
It was obvious to me that this place is different. The bartenders are dressed in vests and ties typical of mixologists in fine dining
establishments—not of drink slingers who typically work in bars where food is not sold.
 
The bar’s transition began in January when owners Ethan Bondelid and Brent Crampton purchased what was formerly Myth, a martini
bar. They slowly transformed it into a craft cocktail room that specializes in contemporary interpretations of pre-prohibition
drinks.
 
Not knowing what to expect, I started with Snowfall in Denmark, a pleasantly light and refreshing drink made with Akvavit, absinthe
and muddled peas garnished with a sugar snap pea pod. The grassy, fresh aroma of the pea pod served a dual purpose of enhancing the
flavor and beauty of the drink. Much to my delight, these flavor combinations created a subtle, tender cocktail served beautifully in a
coupe glass.
 
“We really want to give people a range of experiences and flavors. We want to open your mind to the things we can … Read More
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Photo by Emily Brocker

Bringing Fun (and Green) to Town, Omaha’s Blue B-cycle

Story and Photo by Emily Brocker

Omaha isn’t known for its green and fit forms of public transportation. But thanks to Omaha B-cycle and with the help
of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska’s generous resources, we’re on a path to change that.
 
If you’ve been to Aksarben Village or on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus recently, you might have seen some strategically placed blue bikes at stations marked “Omaha B-cycle.” A bike sharing program, it currently has 33 bikes at five stations.
 
When talking about the genesis of Omaha B-cycle, which started in June 2011, program director Ben Turner says, “Most modern cities have a bike sharing program. Why wouldn’t Omaha?” Ben believes that bike sharing allows the community to “engage in a healthier and more fun” method of transportation.
 
A broad mix of people use the blue bikes, in part thanks to the smart design. B-cycles have adjustable seat posts, lights on the front and rear, a basket to store your stuff and fenders, skirt guards and chain guards to keep you (and your clothes) clean.
 
Omaha’s B-cycle program has big plans for the future: Beginning with installing stations downtown, they anticipate having 50 to … Read More
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SmPotatoes2

EXCESS PRODUCE CONNECTS GARDENERS AND NEIGHBORS

 

Small Potatoes.Co

By Emily Beck

Local gardeners and their produce hungry neighbors are being brought together through Small Potatoes, a recently launched website that works a lot like Craigslist.

With roots at last September’s Startup Weekend Omaha (an event where local masterminds gather to create companies in a mere 54 hours), the concept and website were created by John Hobbs, John Henry Muller, Logan Yard, Eric Edens, Evan Johnson, Jonathan Narwold, Travis Heppner and Michael Crowley. Th eir mission is to bring together gardeners and neighbors through freshly grown food because they believe that no great-tasting food should go to waste.

Whether you’re an amateur or an experienced gardener, excess happens. Maybe this year your tomato plant went a little crazy and produced fruit faster than you could pick it, and you’re running out of recipes to sneak tomatoes into.

Luckily for you, the fruits of your labor don’t have to go to waste. Local growers with a surplus of produce can simply post it (along with a photo, meeting spot and desired price) on the website. From there, anyone can contact the gardener and request to purchase the produce with just three clicks of a mouse.

This site makes … Read More

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Photo by Sarah Kay Bryan

MAKING BREAD REAL AGAIN

Photo by Sarah Kay Bryan

STICK & STONE BRICK OVEN BAKERY

By Emily Brocker

David Bryan, owner of Omaha’s Stick & Stone Brick Oven Bakery, has always had a passion for food—baking, cooking and creating it. It was this passion that led him to attend the Institute for the Culinary Arts (ICA) at Metropolitan Community College.

David and some other ICA students attended the international bread-baking Olympics competition—the Coupe Du Monde De La Boulangerie—in Paris, France, and it had a profound effect on him. Among what they discovered during their visit were “all the amazing things Paris bakeries had to offer, in particular their bread,” David said. What stuck with David was how the French bakers baked their breads in wood-fi red brick ovens. “When I got home, I started researching how to build a brick oven,” he said.

The ICA later held a competition called the Blue Sky Fund, during which David pitched his idea in front of a panel to open a bakery that specializes in brick oven-baked breads. “I won a $500 grant to use toward the construction of a brick oven,” David stated. He began building his oven last fall, and hopes to have it completed … Read More

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Photo courtesy of Omaha Public Library

BOOKWORMS TO EARTHWORMS

 

Photo courtesy of Omaha Public Library

Omaha Public Library Summer Reading Program

By Emily Brocker

You may not typically associate gardening with a trip to the library, but the Omaha Public Library plans to change that with the 2013 Summer Reading Program, presented by Cox Communications.

This year, the library’s program and workshops focus on getting in touch with your inner green thumb, no matter your age or level of experience. Th e reading program, an annual event held in June and July, is open to all Omaha residents. Last year, the program had over 24,000 participants.

The mission of Omaha Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is “To encourage kids to keep reading during the summer and prevent the ‘summer slide’ that can happen when they aren’t keeping their skills sharp,” said Emily Getzschman, Omaha Public Library’s marketing manager. “We want to make sure kids go back to school in the fall prepared to learn.”

There are three age groups in the reading program. “Dig into Reading” is for children, “Beneath the Surface” is for teens and “Groundbreaking Reads” is for adults. When you finish reading the number of required books or read for the required number of hours … Read More

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Seeds2

SEEDS OF TODAY = SEEDS FOR TOMMORROW

 

Photo courtesy of Omaha Public Library

Common Soil Seed Library

By Emily Brocker

Are you a gardener who’s interested in trying out a new fruit, vegetable or herb this year? Or have you fondly looked back on a past year’s tasty tomato crop or perfect patch of pumpkins and wished you could replicate that same success? Did you know that seeds that come from open-pollinated plants can be saved from one year to the next? And the seedlings will be exactly like their parents.

The Omaha Public Library has just the solution for you: seed saving. New this year, the Benson branch of the Omaha Public Library has a seed library called Common Soil.

The Common Soil Seed Library is a place where gardeners of all experience levels can check out seeds to grow. In turn, those same gardeners share resulting seeds with the library for others to enjoy well into the future. Seed packets that you can check out are housed in an old card catalog. Th e library houses a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs. If you can’t make it to Benson, they’ll even send seed packets to other branches for you to pick up.

“It’s … Read More

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