Caramel Bread Pudding

October 15, 2014 § Leave a comment


A recipe that uses stale bread has a special place in my heart. With fall, I am thinking comfort foods again.  One of my favorites is my mom’s delicious bread pudding with raisins, coconut, and/or fruits she feels like or have at hand. In Brazil, it is called “Pudim de Pão”. Bread Pudding is one of my answers to “what to do with old bread?” Certainly do not compost yet! This recipe is nice because you can freeze the old bread for later; keep it soaking in the fridge for a couple days until you are ready to bake or even freeze the batter or freeze the baked bread pudding and eat within a month. For the Pudim de Pão recipe, I started with my mom’s recipe and modified so I can make for my family of 4 or as I did last month, 100 plus servings for people at events like Story Harvest and Oakwood Community Center Soul Cafe in Troy, NY.  I love the see food being used to build community. Thank you Placid Baker for donating the day old bread to both events. Bread Pudding is one of those recipes that I have tasted while visiting or living in several countries. Historians say Bread Pudding dates back to 11th century . If you have bread, milk and eggs… so please do not toss those old leftover pieces of bread. Do you have a favorite bread pudim recipe?


Mom serving bread pudding during Story Harvest 2014 at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.


To start, caramelize a pan, square or round but one that you can fit inside another pan, to bake in a water bath, “banho maria” like I do for “Pudim

Caramel Bread Pudding, Pudim de Pão

serves 8
8.5 inches oven safe pie plate
12 inches of French or Italian stale bread cut up into cubes (about half baguette)
2 cups of milk (almond milk also works well)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
plus 1 cup of sugar to caramelize the pan (or use 1/2 cup and serve with maple syrup)

Soak break in milk 3 to 4 hours.
Heat oven on broiler. Add 1/2 cup sugar to an oven safe dish you will use to bake the bread pudim. Let is caramelize, sugar will melt and until liquefied and golden in color (about 10 minutes). Watch here as it burns very fast.
Meanwhile, mix  1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, milk and bread in the blender for one minute. Pour mixture into prepared, caramelized dish. Place the pie plate in to the roasting pan and pour hot water into a roasting pan. The water will be around within 1 inch of top of the pie plate.
Bake the bread pudim, in water bath for about 1 hour, test with a knife in the center comes out clean. It will turn golden brown on top and start separating from the sides of the mold. Let it cool, refrigerate at least 4 hours
To serve, run a knife around the pan, carefully invert on serving plate.  Serve hot or cold. Keep leftovers refrigerated.


5th Annual Dinner on Bannerman’s Island

October 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Fifth Annual chef-prepared Farm-To-Table Bannerman’s Island Fundraiser.


It is always a great day to be in an Island cooking local foods with a group of people who really care about connecting people and great food. This year was special for me, I had my mom’s help to make one of our family recipes


I made the salad this year. I used Farm Hub corn to make Brazilian Pamonha (“The name pamonha comes from Old Tupi language pa’muña meaning “sticky”). But my version was baked. I served with Little Seeds Garden arugula and baby ginger, and local apples and red peppers.

Consortium chefs prepare a five course farm-to-table dinner (two seatings) in Helen Bannerman’s garden among the historic ruins of Bannerman’s Castle on Bannerman’s Island Castle on SUNDAY, September 14th, 2014 with locally and regionally sourced ingredients.

Our chefs will include:

Jillian Naveh – Thunder Mountain Curry

Josh Coletto – Local 111

Michael Lapi – SUNY Cobleskill

Ellie Markovitch – Story Cooking

Bob Turner – Omega Institute

Tyler LaCorata and Justin Markham – Devil’s Run Brewing Company


Sweet Corn Cake

August 31, 2014 § 5 Comments

sweet corn cake

I have this delicious sweet corn from Denison’s Farm and a craving for Sweet Corn Cake or “Bolo de Milho Verde.” I have my mom’s recipe, but this is one of those recipes that I make while calling her in Brazil. This recipe does not give me all the details for me to make just like hers. This recipe does not come from a cookbook with exact measurements and I like that because it invites me to dialogue, to create and to embrace the new outcomes.

I did not grew up with cook books. Maybe once in a while I would see a clip from a magazine, the back of a box or a pamphlet with a new food advertisement featuring recipes.  What I did see and had and still do have are notebooks. When I moved away from home, to come to the United States, I copied my mother’s recipes into a new notebook to bring with me. She copied hers from her relatives, friends, and still writes them down when she makes something that turns out really good or she does not want to forget. When her notebooks pages would get too greasy or pages would start to fall off, she would ask me to copy the whole notebook. Those were nice summer projects I did as a kid. The old notebooks were passed down to another cook in training. The recipes have names like Aunt Zilma’s bread, Nelza’s torte or Dad’ Cheese.

I wonder if this is why I have a passion for recipes. For me they are more than just instructions. Recipes are living connections to people and time. I treasure and work towards capturing the stories around them when they are happening and the oral history that does not come printed on a recipe card.

Bolo de Milho Verde is a creamy corn cake, almost like a custard, but with the milk added only if needed. Mom says, make it sweet or salty — use the same recipe. So over the phone she tells me how to “adjust” the recipe I have in my notebook. “If you make it salty, you do not need the baking powder,”  (not on the recipe). “Not only can this be baked, but also fried,” she added. The taste is of Pamonha, (similar recipe that is boiled wrapped in corn husks). In the end and I am very happy it turned out delicious, almost like mom’s! PS: I made the salty versions both ways and the second time I did add 2 tsp of baking powder in the salty version and like the results better.

bolo de milho verde


5 ears of sweet fresh corn, cut off the cob (about 5 cups)


4 eggs

4 tbsp butter

1 cup of sugar (or less, to taste, as this is a very sweet dessert)

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (instead of Brazilian matured “Curado cheese” farmed cheese)

1 tbsp baking powder

I added 1 tsp of anise seeds

Add all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, add a few tbsp of milk if needed to keep blending. Bake in rectangle or bunt cake pan.

corn cake

Bake 350 for about 40 minutes and the top of the cake is golden color.

salty sweet corn cake

Salty Sweet Corn Cake — I am calling this a “suflê” !

I used the corn from our garden to make this version and it is more like a souffle.

3 cups of corn, cut off of the cob

2 eggs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp baking powder.

Add all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Bake in 8 ounce size ramekin containers. Oven 350 for 25 minutes.


2014 Farms, Food and Photography Camp week 2

August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment


I believe the past two weeks of Farms, Food and Photography camp was an enriching experience for all who participated. We left transformed as we explored food systems, from how food is grown to the different ways it reaches our table. We reflected and witnessed how important it is to protect the land. We visited farms and talked with farmers who are excellent stewards of the land.

While having lunch at Longlesson Farm, Blake Oakley was reminded that “there is that saying no farms no food. Now coming to some farms, I really understand people do this for a living and it is amazing — their land and everything they are doing. I like how they have continued a way that is healthy for us and the animals.”

Lauren Evans added: “I think it is a great thing to have so many farms that are protected so we do not have as many developments and pollution in the world and we can have more land.”

After lunch the kids got to watch owner Melanie Mason and her dogs by the pond.

“It is wonderful to see the kids experiencing farm life up close from cows to dogs and water retrieval, and of course the day lilies. It was lovely to see them all here,” said Melanie of Longlesson Farm.


This camp is a partnership between the Arts Center of the Capital Region and  Agricultural Stewardship Association.

“We’re thrilled with this program and partnership,” said Teri Ptacek executive director of the Agricultural Stewardship Association. “The student’s photographs and blogs really demonstrate just how much of an impact the chance to connect directly with agriculture can have and why it’s so important to always be able to have local farms and farmland.”

It was featured in the local paper, the Troy Record.   Students also blogged last week and you can read their entries here.

My sincere thank you to the Arts Center and Agricultural Stewardship Association for your support.

Thank you Farmers Brian and Justine Denison, Bob and Melanie Mason, Bob and Mary Pratt, Urban Farmer Howard Stoner. Thank you  writer Amy Halloran, Tolu Fashoro and Hannah Savio from Capital District Community Garden Produce Project and Amy Ellis from Honest Weight Food Co-op; Joseph Mastroianni, Mr. da Silva and individuals who makes this program possible.

Special thank you to The Review Foundation and ASA’s business sponsors of the “Make a Connection with the Land program” : Healthy Living Market, TD Bank, Capital Tractor Inc., Nolan CPA Services, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co., Fronhofer Tool Co. Inc., Stewart’s Shops.

 August 4th, 2014

Hi, this is Blake Oakley writing. Today was really really fun! We talked about cropping our photos and picture story! We also cooked today. We made dirty rice and smoothies. I shelled the peas. Personally the dirty rice was my favorite. It consists of squash, peas, red onions, garlic and of course rice. We used jasmine rice. Ellie taught us that for every hand full of rice counts for a person so you know how much you need to cook. This is Blake telling you have a nice Monday and thanks for reading!

August 5th, 2014

Hello, Syair is speaking and I’m going to tell you readers about what happened today! Now, today we did  a time exposure with our cameras and they were pretty awesome, making silly pics , funny characters and animals. Also, we cooked fettuccine Alfredo, which includes 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 minced shallots, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 cup of heavy cream, salt and freshly ground pepper, 1/4 pound prosciutto, julienned, 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed,1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus more for garnish , 1 pound fresh fettuccine. Then, we watched a demonstration of how to make our own ramen noodles soup in a jar, including putting in some other ingredients. I learned how to make a different kind of Alfredo and it meant a lot to me because, it’s helping me learn how to cook many foods  I’ve never made before. So, have a wonderful day and learn how to cook because it’s fun!


Bellow is the recipe Amy prepared with us.


Here how we made the instant noodle in a jar, recipe from

August 6, 2014


Helloooo Troy, and anywhere else people are reading this, I am Laila Collins. Today we based our meal on Brazilian cooking. Ellie helped us make the most delicious food. We made rice, black beans, collard greens, some sweet potato soup, and cheese balls. It was quick and easy. We had a lot of fun doing this. My favorite part of the meal was the soup. I was surprised, because I don’t like sweet potatoes but the soup was awesome. This meal is vegetarian. So that was good for me because my family and I are doing a no meat challenge for one month and we started August first. This was the second Wednesday of camp and it was even better than the first one!


Cooking grains in the oven.
Brown Rice in the oven. This method works as well for lentils, millet.
Mix 2 cups of brown rice, 28 ounces (3.5 cups) of water ,1 tsp salt, 1tbsp coconut oil and bake 375F on an oven safe dish with a lead for 55 minutes.
Basic Black Beans Slow cooker recipe
2 cups of dried beans, washed and sorted
In a 4­quart slow cooker, add beans and cover with 4 inches of cold water and to soak overnight. In the morning or about 8 hours later, rinse the beans and put it back in the slow cooker, covering them with water by 2­3 inches. Cover the slow cooker with a lead and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4­5 hours.
Season to taste, keep in the fridge for up to one week or freeze 2 to ­3 months.

Couve (Collard Greens)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 collard green leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
In a frying pan, sauté onions and garlic for 1 minute then add the collards and sauté until tender and bright green.

“Pão de Queijo” – Cheese Bread
Thanks to my mom Celeste for creating this recipe that adds a little bit of Brazil on our daily lives–miss you!
●  1 cup of sour cream or greek yogurt
●  1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
●  1 cup plus 2 Tbsp of tapioca starch (Yuca flour) 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make small balls by rolling about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hand. Use the extra yuca flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 25­30 minutes (Remember no peeking!) Remove from oven and serve immediately piping hot.
August 7, 2014

Hi, this is Elsie and Sofia. Today is day 9 of Farms, Food and Photography camp. We went to Longlesson Farm and visited pigs and cows and saw rare flowers. The owners had four dogs that we played with. Their names are Benjamin, Billy Jean, Coriander, and Tarragon. We saw lots of the flowers and took pictures of them. They were really pretty. We learned about cross pollination, making new flowers. We rode a tractor to an old barn made in the 1870’s. We saw the pigs, most were dark brown but one was brown red. The pigs were really cute, one came towards us and looked right at the cameras. Then we saw some cows and caves near the fence we stood by.  After we saw the cows, we went to the old barn, inside we saw a lot of hay. Some hay was rolled up and some was in squares. I really liked the view from the barn you could see the cows and another farm far away, I thought it was beautiful. After that we went to see more cows under the apple trees. The cows were in a big herd with caves.
We went back the the tractor and rode back to the farmer’s house. When we got back we had lunch by the flowers. Then went to the pond with the dogs. We threw water toys in and they swam to get them; it was so cute! After that the bus arrived and we went back to the Art Center.

At the Art Center we made Agar Agar jello and talked about tomorrow.



Camp Agar Agar Jello
1 cup of grape juice
1 tsp of agar agar powder

Mix the agar agar powder with 1 tablespoon of water to dissolve
In a sauce pan, bring juice to a boil with agar agar powder. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into silicone molds. Let it cool and refrigerate for faster setting.
If using fruit, let the liquid cool to room temperature. Pour cooled liquid over fruit until set for a couple of hours or in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Agar Agar also called Kanten is a vegetable gelatin and sets at 50F.

August 8, 2014

We visited Capital District Community Garden Produce Project. They were harvesting for the Delmar Farmer’s Market. They gave us a tour and showed us how to harvest herbs, flowers and tomatoes.



Back at the Arts Center, Laila showed us how her family makes hard candy. We spent the last hours editing and saving all our photos. The images will be featured at Art Show at the Arts Center of the Capital District during Troy Night Out August 29, 2014.


2014 Farms, Food and Photography Camp week 1

August 2, 2014 § 2 Comments

IMG_2820byEllie Markovitch

We just finished the first week of Farms, Food and Photography Camp at the Arts Center of the Capital Region with Agricultural Stewardship Association

I am really thankful for a community that comes together to make this program happen — 10 days when we explore and discuss where our food comes from. We visit farms, cook and eat from farm to table. The photography lessons and storytelling are used to express art and communicate. Our experiences are shared to build community. The kids are ready to learn and I am right there learning with them!

My sincere thank you to the Arts Center and Agricultural Stewardship Association for your support.

Thank you Farmers Brian and Justine Denison, Bob and Melanie Mason, Bob and Mary Pratt, writer Amy Halloran, Urban Farmer Howard Stoner and Amy Ellis from Honest Weight Food Co-op; Joseph Mastroianni and individuals who makes this program possible.

Special thank you to The Review Foundation and ASA’s business sponsors of the “Make a Connection with the Land program” : Healthy Living Market, TD Bank, Capital Tractor Inc., Nolan CPA Services, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co., Fronhofer Tool Co. Inc., Stewart’s Shops.

Every day this week, my students wrote a blog post and I added the recipes we cooked together. We hope you can join us for the Art Show reception August 29th, 2014 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, during Troy Night Out.

IMG_2703byEllie Markovitch

July 28, 2014 

DAY ONE. “Today was the first day of Farms, Food and Photography camp. It was Great ! Today we made pesto and tortillas. Since it was the first day we introduced ourselves. PS. my name is Yabisi and I like pad thai. Today I took some pictures of the rain. I like the pictures. I took a picture of the Hudson River and that was my favorite picture. I liked because I got a picture of the other side of the Hudson River. Also, the picture someone else took of me was the picture of the day. It made me feel good because someone liked a picture of me.  Today was a great first day. I loved it and I can’t wait for what tomorrow brings. Ciao!”

Corn Tortillas

2 cups of Masa Harina, mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water, a pinch of salt.

In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.

Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

Basil Pesto

4 handfuls of Basil leaves

1 1/2 cloves of garlic

1 handful of walnuts

1 pinch of salt

Juice of half a lemon

Parmesan Cheese

Kale Pesto

1 bunch of fresh kale,  without the stems (you can save the stems for soup)

2-3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

Place kale in a food processor or blender. Pulse until kale is finely chopped.  Add garlic, cheese pulse a couple time. Add lemon juice. Drizzle in olive oil, and continue to pulse until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.

ffp 2014groupbyStephanie Bradshawgroup photo by Stephanie Bradshaw

July 29, 2014

DAY TWO. “My name is Lauren Evans and today is the second day of Farms, Food, and Photography Camp. Today we visited a local vegetable farm, The Denison Farm. It was a lot of fun, and also I got a lot of great pictures. One of my favorite ways to take pictures is called “angle photography”, which is when I take pictures of things that you wouldn’t normally see, or take a photo where there’s an element in it that makes the viewer have to focus to see all of the things in the photo. I have to focus a little harder to create these photos, but they come out looking beautiful. An example is: this picture of a tomato plant I took. I was looking through the greenhouse wall, so it had a really cool effect.”


Soba Noodle Salad, Denison Farm Vegetables

for 12 people

6 ounces of dried soba noodles, cooked for about 4 minutes).  Rinse the cooked noodles.

For the dressing, mix:

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/3 cup of Tamari Sauce

2 inches of ginger, finely grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 TBSP rice vinegar

Chili flakes to taste

3 handfuls of green beans, trimmed; 4 medium carrots, grated

3 cucumbers and 1 zucchini, sliced in half moon. Mix dressing and toss over vegetable. Add noodles and mix well.

We watched and discussed “Food, Inc.” (2008) movie

July 30th, 2014

DAY THREE. “Laurel Stix reporting. Today we walked up to the home of an urban farmer. Howard showed us around his farm, and even his grain thresh and grinder. We got to grind grain grown in N.Y.S. on a bike attached to the grinder. We then walked to the Amy, The Pancake Queen’s house and helped make delicious pancakes out of grain we ground. There were 2 mixes: cornmeal/buckwheat and cornmeal/ buckwheat/wheat. There were blueberry ones and plain ones. After we ate, we walked back to the Arts Center. I didn’t take many pictures at our destinations, however, I did take pictures of the trip there and back. Mostly flowers. Back at the Arts Center, we made Brazilian pancakes with Ellie out of tapioca starch and water and a pinch of salt. They were really good and kind of springy. yummmmmmm! We saw chickens yesterday and today. Tomorrow we go to a farm. They have chickens too. That is 3 back-to-back days with chickens. Well, signing off for now. This has been Laurel Stix for Farms, Food, and Photography. Check out my photo on Facebook. adios.”

Howard Stoner show the rye he grows in Troy, NY.



recipe from Amy Halloran

Basic Pancake Mix Ratio

You will want to make more than one cup, but here is the formula I use.

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder (the best choice is Rumford)

1⁄2 tsp salt

1⁄4 tsp baking soda

Combine thoroughly and

store in a tightly closed container.


This recipe will easily manage different combinations of flour. I love equal parts whole

wheat pastry, rye and cornmeal. Cornmeal can go half and half with rye flour very

nicely, and I also love straight cornmeal pancakes. Plain soft white pastry flour pancakes

are supreme. You can use hard wheat (bread) flours, but the pancakes will generally be

fairly dense.

You can also add some finely ground nuts – about one third or one fourth the amount of

flour will work fine. The game of pancakes is wide open to interpretations.

You can add some sweetener but I find whole grain flours are super sweet on their own.

You could add some fat to the batter but the pancakes pick up plenty from the griddle;

plus, fat in the batter could make a denser pancake.


To Make Pancakes

1 cup mix

2 Tablespoons yogurt

3⁄4 cup milk

1 egg

* if using just cornmeal, use 2 eggs and cut back a 1⁄4 cup on milk

Combine mix with liquids. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes. The goal is to get the flour

fully hydrated for a smoother pancake.

There is no rule for how thick this should be. If you like thin pancakes, the batter should

pour like melted ice cream. If you want a more cake like pancake, the batter needs to

be thicker. Adjust the liquids accordingly.

  • For a sturdier pancake, add 1⁄4 cup cooked, ground whole grains to the batter.
  • For dinner, add up to 1⁄2 cup cooked or raw diced/shredded vegetables.
  • Onions, peppers and corn kernels are a nice combo.
  • Salami and cheese go very well with cornmeal rye.

Cook on a hot buttered griddle. Whole grain flours tend to brown more quickly than

white flours, so you may need to turn these pancakes as soon as the surface starts to

look like it is setting. The usual flipping time for white flour pancakes is when bubbles

form, but that is almost too late with whole grain flours.

About Me

I’m writing a book about regional grain production and my obsession with pancakes,

Chelsea Green is publishing Bread Rising: The New Crop of Radical Grain Farmers,

Millers, Maltsters and Bakers in 2015.


Ellie’s Brazilian Beijú

2 cups of tapioca starch, large pinch of salt

1/2 cup of water (to test, if you make fist with the flour and when you open your hand it makes a ball that does not fall apart, there is probably enough moisture. If not, add a few sprinkles of water

optional fillings: butter, scrambled eggs, cheese, freshly grated coconut.


Place the flour in a bowl and gradually add the water. Mix well with hands until a crumbly consistency. Pass through a sieve.

Heat up a cast iron frying pan and add the flour, spreading to make a circle (like a pancake). Cook for about a minute and turn when it releases from the pan. Sprinkle your favorite topping, fold or roll and serve immediately.

July 31st, 2014

DAY FOUR by Sergio Zewou. Today we went to another farm and it had  animals, so they poop and it smells. The good thing about it, are the chickens,  they had food and we got to feed them. At first I was bored, but then I see people picking up the chickens and I thought it looks fun so I tried, but I was nervous . As soon as I touch the chickens I felt nervous so i let it go. But then, the farmer picked it up and told us that chickens have ears and if they are white the eggs will be white, if they are brown then it will lay that color of eggs and I was amazed!

IMG_2850byEllie Markovitch

IMG_2804byEllie Markovitch

Food demonstration and taste “fermented foods” ( We taste sauerkraut and yogurt.

How to make water kefir:

IMG_2859byEllie Markovitch

Ellie’ Snacks:

Cocoa Date Truffles

2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste) or peanut butter
1 cup of chopped dates
1/4 cup cocoa powder

- Mix all ingredients by hand, with a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor.

- Roll into small, truffle sized balls.

- Coat in cocoa (or coconut or crushed nuts or anything you want!)

- Keep refrigerated.

 Energy Balls

adapted from All Good Bakers’ Energy Treats

1 cup organic peanut butter

½ cup pure maple syrup

Combine well


1/3 cup chocolate chips mini

1/3 cup finely unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup raw nuts or seeds

Add the above ingredients, all at one time, to the Peanut Butter/Maple mixture, incorporate well.

3 cups old fashioned oats (or a mix of oats and brown rice cereal)

“Balls can be stored in a covered container for up to a week, or frozen if wrapped up tight, to be meted out when needed. They dry up and become very crumbly if left out or refrigerated too long.”

We watched and discussed “A Place at the Table” (2012) movie

August 1st, 2014:

DAY FIVE. Hi.I’m Annabella Kennedy. On this wonderful Friday where most of the Art Center camps are ending, we here at Farms,Food,and Photography are just beginning… We started in the spacious painting room with learning all about light boxes and backgrounds and how that can affect our view of the subject. We took that into consideration as we fixed our DIY light box,got props,and took amazing photos of Ellie’s delicious produce from her garden. But as you can guess, we didn’t just use that produce for photo taking. We used it for our fritattas. We are soon to try them and approve of them, but they smell delicious as we make them. We have greatly enjoyed  this week and are impatient for next week. For now, this is Annabella telling everyone to have a great weekend. We will see you next week. Bye!

DIY Light Box



Elihu Farm Frittata

by Ellie Markovitch

Serves 12

1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces

1 medium summer squash, chopped into small pieces

a bunch of chard, with stems, chopped

4 carrots and carrot tops, chopped

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

6-8 eggs from Elihu Farm, beaten vigorously

½ cup of grated cheese

Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Set oven to broil to preheat (just a note that many wiser than myself probably already know – for the broil function gas ovens apparently need to be adjusted correctly to either natural gas or propane, whichever you’re using – if you live in an urban area you probably have natural gas, and your oven is probably correctly adjusted. I learned over the weekend while re-creating this recipe at home that our oven was not set properly for broiling when large orange flames started coming out on the inside and the whole kitchen took on a very strange smell. It’s a simple adjustment if you know what you’re doing. I clearly did not, but luckily had the right friends in the kitchen at the time).

2. In an oven safe pan (we used a 12 inch cast iron), add olive oil to coat the pan and cook vegetables and oregano until soft, a couple of minutes.

3. Add beaten eggs to the cooked hot veggies.

4. Place the oven safe pan under broiler in the middle rack of the oven, for about 5 minutes until golden and eggs cooked. Check around 3 minutes as ovens may vary in temperature.

5. Serve hot or at room temperature with bread from Placid Baker downtown.


Vegan Frittata recipe courtesy of Yabisi’s family:

For the egg substitution: 1 lb. firm tofu 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk 4 tsp. cornstarch 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 1 tsp. prepared mustard 1 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. turmeric 1/8 tsp. black pepper •Preheat the oven to 375°F. •In a pan over medium heat, sauté the vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. •In a food processor, combine the tofu, soy milk, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, mustard, salt, turmeric, and pepper. Process until smooth. •In a large bowl, fold the sautéed vegetables into the tofu mixture. •Spoon the mixture into an oiled quiche or pie pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the frittata is firm to the touch. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 to 5 servings

Photos and blog posts are featured on:

Arts Center, Agricultural Stewardship Association and Ellie Markovitch’s Facebook pages as well as


dirty rice with garden leftovers

July 22, 2014 § Leave a comment


Each season I find myself in a routine, and I like that, even in the summer. In the morning kids go swimming, I teach, lunches are late. The summer nights are long and the sunsets beautiful over the garden. We spend a lot of time growing, harvesting, and making food together and I really love that. My husband makes great salads, the children run around eating raw veggies. I make sure bread, rice, beans, yogurt are ready to go.


But there are the garden leftovers that does not get put away or preserved.  I just do not like to toss food, so I keep a bag of older veggies, steams, and once in a while I make a big pot of dirty rice. For tonight’s dinner I used onions, a couple of garlic scapes, yellowed onion greens, chard steams and a handful of snow peas. I fried the rice until golden and cooked with broth and garlic. After the rice is ready, I mix to sauteed vegetables. One night last week when I was cooking with our church members at Camp Hunt in Hubbardsville, New York, there was a handful of celery, cabbage, half onion and some lentil sprouts and it become dirty rice for the staff snack.

Happy Summer eating!

how to make dirty rice


Black and Latino Farmers Immersion at Soul Fire Farm

July 11, 2014 § Leave a comment


I had the privilege to join the first Black and Latino Farmers Immersion at Soul Fire Farm the first week of July.  I must say it was truly a journey for me as I planned a menu with Leah and Jonah. I am thankful they let me join the group. I was reminded about our deep need to connect with the land. We got food donation from Honest Weight Food Co-op that made it possible for me to cook several Brazilian dishes for the Immersion.  I cooked foods that I have never made for and with others outside my home. When I share foods that are full of meaning to me, I long to share a story too. My goal was to cook with little waste as possible, using the whole vegetable as well produce that was not “perfect.” As I cooked black beans this time, it was not the recipe I would have made called Feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, with meats; not even the vegetarian version. I read that Feijoada may be just a romantic story I learned as a child. I reflected on the legend of how the slaves may have cooked it, by simmering black beans with leftover meats from the big house, so we added what we had at hand, careful not to waste precious produce.  My hope is that these conversations and skill sharing opportunities teach us not only how to cook but are reminders of how much waste goes into the landfills while so many experience food insecurity.


What was different at the Immersion’s table, was that this was the most welcoming group. They listened and tried everything I cooked with an open heart. Soul Fire Farm is a safe place and we ate food made with love, from each others’ hands, and tasted the terroir of amazing food grown from under our feet. We ate with gratitude and intention. We ate wholesome foods! Special thank you to Leah Penniman for allowing me to publish her essay to this post as she poetically reflects on the week.

Black and Latino Farmers Immersion was a little peek into what is possible in a mended world.

Following her essay are the menu and recipes. Thank you to Capers Rumph for sharing some of her beautiful photos.

Reflections on the Inaugural Black & Latino Farmer Immersion at Soul Fire Farm
by Leah Penniman

“Land is the only real wealth in this country and if we don’t own any we’ll be out of the picture.”

Ralph Paige, Federation of Southern Cooperatives

 We are an uprooted people. Our ancestors were stolen from land in West Africa, forced off of land in Mexico by NAFTA, driven off of land to take up the Trail of Tears. Some of us re-rooted. For 400+ years we tilled the red earth of the American South and we joined the ranks of “foreign-born” agricultural workers building the foundation for this country’s wealth and power. We knew the land and belonged to the land, but the land did not belong to us. Brutal racism – maiming, lynching, burning, deportation, economic violence, legal violence – ensured that our roots would not spread deeply and securely. In 1910, the height of Black land ownership, 15 million acres (14%) of farmland was owned and cultivated in our community. Now, less than 1% of farms are Black-owned. Our ancestors were forced, tricked, and scared off of land and joined the 6.5 million Black people in the greatest migration in American history, the migration to the urban North.

We were a land based agrarian people from Africa. We were uprooted from Africa and we spent 200 years developing our culture as black Americans and then we left the South. We uprooted ourselves and attempted to transplant this culture to the pavements of the industrialized North. It was a transplant that didn’t take. I think if we had stayed in the South we would have been a stronger people and because the connection between the

South of the 20s, 30s, and 40s has been broken, it’s very difficult to understand who we are.”

August Wilson, playwright

The Black and Latino Farmers Immersion at Soul Fire Farm is a humble attempt to rewrite part of this story, to reclaim our ancestral right to both belong to land and have land belong to us. The knowledge of the earth is written into our DNA. The trendy skills of sustainable living – canning, work parties, urban chickens, natural building – are not at all new. Monica White’s book “Freedom Farmers” explains how Black Southern farmers cooperatives kept alive these ancestral ways of knowing and honed them into a specific art. This past week at BLFI, we did our part to revive this knowing.

Aspiring growers joined us from local Troy and Albany and as far as California and Florida. Each person placed incredible trust in us and the process, many camping for the first time, eating whole-food version of Diasporic cuisine, working hard in hot sun and dreary rain, and engaging in deep personal reflection that allowed uncomfortable and new feelings to surface. It was, as one participant put it, “the best thing that ever happened to me.”

After an orientation where community agreements were established (e.g. do not make assumptions, show up fully…) we established a routine that married flexibility with clarity, grit with introspection. Each day, beginning at 6:30 AM we got our hands on the land. There were 3 hands-on blocks per day, ranging from 1-3 hours – a gentle introduction to the corporeal rigors of farm life. We took time to explain the how and why of each task and shared a great variety of experiences – harvesting, CSA packing, chicken care and rotation, mulching, tool weeding, hand weeding, bed preparation, tomato pruning, pest management, direct seeding, and transplanting. Anticipating the emotional fatigue of the group heading out to weed for the 3rd day in a row, I reminded us of the difference between earth’s economy and capitalism. In contrast to the linear nature of capitalism, a life bound to the earth is cyclical. We pick the weeds and they grow again and so we pick them again, on an on, for all our days. And we find beauty and presence in the picking.

There were still learning spaces as well. During the longest work block we would break for a field class. During this time, we addressed natural building, orchard planning, tractor basics, and herb cultivation. Jonah did a beautiful job balancing times when it was correct for him, as a white person, to step forward and share knowledge (e.g. tractor class) and when to let others share their wisdom and expertise. During some of these blocks he led conversations with the other white allies, Lyssa and Capers, about their role in ending racism. We also had wonderful contributions for guest facilitators, including Naima and Adaku’s midday movement break where we shared yoga, improvisational dance, and Thai massage. I offered an afternoon class on farming theory, which included crop planning, Black land history, and soil fertility management. Finally, as the sun waned, we held space for deep personal reflection. Beatrice led us in sitting and walking meditation. Adaku brought us lovingly through a forest labyrinth wherein we were prompted to engage with our senses and our hearts. Tonya led us in a healing hum circle that dissolved into giggles and I offered a ritual herbal bath with a meditation on the beauty and completeness of our unadorned selves. The forest and pond provided our temple and kissed us with rain mist.

Abundant, whole-foods meals punctuated the day, prepared by rotating groups of participants with resident and guest chefs and featuring items from our respective homelands – Dominican Republic, Haiti, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Nigeria… We packed tightly around two tables and held the space with rousing, percussive gratitude songs and mildly chaotic passing of plates and food. Guest Brazilian chef Ellie Markovitch magnetized us to the kitchen with her deep reverence for food and the stories it holds. She also taught a class on whole foods preparation, during which, even the children Neshima and Emet were taking eager notes.

Throughout it all, there was a magic that cannot be captured in words. At one gratitude circle, Emet stammered, struggling to offer his thanks precisely and settled for, “I just feel so intertwined with you all.” It is true. During soils class, one participant offered a metaphor to help me explain cation exchange capacity, which compared Wu Tang Clan (high CEC) and Mos Def (low CEC) and the knowing, appreciative laughter said it all. “I see you.” The sense of family was so safe and palpable that Jonah found himself reading the speech he wrote for his brother’s wedding, which compared mulch to love. It was such that when Adaku and Lissa had to leave early, the entire group surrounding them, singing Stevie Wonder in harmony, collapsing into an “everyone hug.” It was such that, even as rain soaked bedding and cell phones, folks did not flinch – choosing love and joy over stress. It was such that the tears flowed freely at the final close and even waiting for the bus in the parking lot, we could not help but to dance.

Black and Latino Farmers Immersion was a little peek into what is possible in a mended world. Our people were once traumatized and confused, I believe. We mixed up the oppression of racism and named it the Land herself and strove to divorce ourselves from Her in an effort to get Free. But, without the land we cannot be free. Henry Kissinger said, “Control oil and control the nations; control the food and control the people.” When we get together in our dignity and power, own our means of survival, make decisions about the food system, learn to grow the food that nourishes us, cook for one another, and heal with one another – we return to wholeness.

 “Grab this land! Take it, hold it…dig it, plow it, seed it, reap it, rent it, buy it, sell it, own it, build it, multiply it, and pass it on!”

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Blessings for your week

Jonah, Leah, Neshima, & Emet


Photo by Capers Rumph

Crysbel “Mariposa” Tejada, left, cooking radishes and garlic scapes with coconut milk while Ellie makes feijao refogado com alho (refried beans with garlic) seasoned with cumin and olive oil, photo bellow. Served with pao de queijo, rice, salad



Brown rice was cooked with the cobs of corn to make extra tasty and tossed with sauteed radishes and garlic scapes


but the corn we ate raw in a corn/parsley salad


Photo by Capers Rumph

Watermelon Gazpacho

One large seeded watermelon
Half watermelon (8 to 10 cups chopped) seeded and blended with the other half watermelon (8 to 10 cups of mashed)
2 cups melon, diced, or other fruit, we used apples
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cucumber, sliced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Juice of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons fresh mint, minced.
In a blender, puree half of the watermelon until smooth and freeze it. In a large bowl, combine the frozen watermelon puree, the other half of the watermelon mashed or chopped, diced cucumber, melon, salt, lemon juice. Serve with fresh mint. 


Photo by Capers Rumph

making Virado, which translate “Turned”.  Cook bananas in oil or butter, add whisked eggs, continue turning until cooked, add grated cheese, turn until melted. When the dish comes out of the sides, finish with toasted Yucca flour to taste–serve hot


Photo by Capers Rumph

Molho Maionese  da Celeste sem ovo (Eggless Mayonnaise)

1 potato, cooked and chopped
1 carrot, cooked and chopped (gives the yellow color above)
1/2 cup cold milk (or soy or water from veggies)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 TBSP of vinegar
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of black pepper
spices to taste for variation (celery, mustard, etc)
½ cup of olive oil

Blend together the potatoes, carrots, liquid, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and black pepper until smooth. Stirring constantly, add the oil slowly, until you get the consistency of mayonnaise. Sprinkle paprika to serve.


1 lb hominy (yellow or white cracked dried corn)

1 quart milk or coconut milk

1 cup grated coconut

1 cup roasted, crushed peanuts

raw sugar or maple syrup to taste

1 pinch of salt

1 cinnamon stick


Wash and drain dried corn and soak in cold water overnight.

Cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes according to your pot instructions or until tender or slow cook crock pot low for 8 hours.

Add strained cooked corn to coconut milk or milk, grated coconut, roasted peanuts, maple syrup, pinch of salt and cinnamon. Serve hot or cold


  • RSS Latest Images

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Archives


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers