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LOCAL Digest, March 27, 2013

'What the kale': LOCAL classes sprout at BOK

LOCALDIGESTauthorBox9PTLast month's Local Digest described all the fun times that resulted from the events of Local Food Week in February. This month, I focus on the exciting upcoming events of Spring: and there are a lot of them! I have some listed below, but by no means all. Check with your local farmers and organizations for even more events. Almost any way you can imagine to get more in touch with your North Central Florida food system, there's an event happening to meet it. And, many of these events also support non-profit organizations and farms that are at the forefront of this exciting movement.

First, a word about what's been coming out of my kitchen for the uninformed.  It's the time of year when jokes abound about the acronym "CSA" (Community Supported Agriculture) really being KSA (Kale Supported Agriculture). Those of us eating locally and getting CSA's have been appreciating our culinary inventiveness with this highly nutritious green. And 032813DigestKALEgoodness, have I been eating a lot of it. Kale in a pesto (like Blue Oven Kitchens' Garden Caviar, available at Dorn's Liquors and at the Union Street Farmers' Market on Wednesdays); kale sautéed with onions in olive oil, home-dried herbs, and a little salt; BKT's (local bacon, kale, and roasted turnip sandwiches with mayo or homemade herb aioli); pot of kale with other greens such as collard, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, beet, onion; kale gratin; kale curry soup; kale and herb cream cheese bagel sammies; etc.; etc.; etc.

I had a friend joke last year about getting some Kurtz and Sons milk and making kale ice cream. I told her, "That's taking it too far." So she, in turn, suggested adding some carrots (also in season) to sweeten the deal. I told her to go ahead and let me how that went. I never heard back. Whenever I mention it, a red herring is quickly resorted to and the subject is changed.

But keep those creative juices flowing because soon enough, it will be yellow squash season. It is the only time, according to Garrison Keillor, that one must lock the doors to one's car in the church parking lot lest you come out to find bags of the stuff on your front seat.

So now: are you looking for some fun, local foodie stuff to do this Spring? Check it out!

Blue Oven ArtWalk and Shortcake Night: Friday, March 29th, 6-8 P.M. Make your own strawberries shortcakes with from-scratch biscuits and local strawberries from The Family Garden. All ages welcome at this family-friendly event. Fair warning: you may be called upon to whip cream, slice strawberries, or make biscuits!

Crones Cradle Spring Garden Kick-off: Saturday, March 30th, 9- 3 P.M. We will offer workshops on gardening. Starter plants will be available for purchase on our store's porch. Our country store has books and information available as well as beef, eggs, produce, jam and jellies, pickled items, and bread. The price will be $3.00 per person per workshop. No charge for admission.  Crones' Cradle Conserve Foundation:  For more information on all events, contact:  catcrone@aol.com or 352.595-3377

Blue Oven Kitchens' Cooking Classes: In the newly opened Blue Oven Kitcehns facility at 1323 South Main Street – is offering a variety of cooking classes.

032813StregaPIZZA 101 BY STREGA NONA'S OVEN: Saturday, April 13th, 4–6 P.M. Join Strega Nona's Oven for a 2 hour hands on pizza making class where we will discuss several tips & techniques for making delicious pizza from scratch. We will talk about the history of pizza as well as dispel some common myths & misconceptions. Each student will hand craft one batch of pizza dough to take home for future use. Each batch of student dough yields (4) 12-14 inch pizzas. That is enough dough for 2 pizza nights at home! After the pizza dough is made you will then assemble and fire your very own signature pizza in our wood fired pizza oven from dough the instructor will have on hand. Please visit www.streganonasoven.net to register for your class today. Pre-registration required. Questions? Contact Kenny Kingswell: kkingswell@cox.net

CHEF MICHEL MALOISSEAU'S COOKING 101 SERIES: A three-part cooking class with French Master Chef Michel Maloisseau. Classes may be taken individually for $25 per person, or as a series of 3 for $65 ($22 per person). A minimum of ten people is required for the classes to be held, and there is a maximum of 20 people. Pre-registration required. You can tentatively register by emailing Val@blueovenkitchens.org with your information to hold your place or places, and to help us to know whether we can hold the classes. She will then email you your confirmation and give you information on where to send the check to complete registration. Dinner provided. More class information and class schedule can be found on the BOK website

FIRST SUNDAY COOKING CLASS: Learn how to make all the recipes in each month's Hogtown HomeGrown. Each month's two to three hour class is part demo and part intensive hands-on, so bring your best knife and cutting board as we cook our way through the recipes. We will create fabulous food from farm-fresh produce and local items. And then, of course, we will eat it all! This small group cooking experience is taught by Stefanie Samara Hamblen, cooking instructor for Blue Oven Kitchens and owner of Hogtown HomeGrown. Pre-registration required. More class information and class schedule can be found on the BOK website.

FOURTH WEDNESDAY HEALTHY KITCHEN DEMOS: Each one hour demonstration will teach kitchen and cooking basics, while featuring local and seasonal food. Every month will have a new focus to help you cook up a healthier life. Using farm-fresh produce and local items, we'll cook a meal based on what we've learned, and then, of course, we will eat it all! Healthy Kitchen Demos are taught by Stefanie Samara Hamblen, cooking instructor for Blue Oven Kitchens and owner of Hogtown HomeGrown. If you have any questions please contact Stefanie at 352 374 8561.

THIRD SUNDAY VEGAN COOKING CLASS: Join Liz Horne at Blue Oven Kitchens, any or every third Sunday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m., for a vegan cooking experience. Each month we will make a complete dinner, exploring ways to make food delicious and satisfying without the use of animal products. At the end we sit down and eat together. Extra portions to take home may be available for sale. Email lizhorne@ufl.edu or call 352-377-8365 to register. Limited to 12 participants.

MUSTARD MAKING CLASSES 1 AND 2: Dates and times TBA. Contact Val@blueovenkitchens.org for more information.

Interested in finding out more about Blue Oven Kitchens? Please look for full updates on the BOK website, Facebook and through the GLOB of course! With this facility, we will create new ways for you to support new and expanding food entrepreneurs and small farmers who want to create delicious food products for your enjoyment. Email Val Leitner if you would like more information on how to volunteer your elbow grease, if you would like to become a sustaining sponsor to Blue Oven, or if you would just like to help us buy a stand-up mixer for our facility!

Want to know more about what’s local and what local means in our community? The Local Digest is a monthly piece on all things local in North Central Florida, from food to economics to environment to community. Local, you see, isn’t just a way of buying or a way of eating: it’s a whole system of the social, economic, and environmental values that mark the character of where we live, and how we seek to improve the health of those values. It is a column about sustaining our region and what we love most about it.

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