I can’t tell which one I like best, Tapioca or Cuscuz de Milho (Corn Couscous is a gluten-free Brazilian dish from the Northeastern region made with coconut flakes).

They were both staples in my house growing up in Goiania, Brazil. I make them for my family often.  When family comes to visit and ask what I would like from Brazil, my answer used to be tapioca and cuscuz flakes, but now Tapioca starch has become a go to gluten free flour and we can find it in most stores. I am not able to find the coconut flakes here in Maine but after playing with different corn products like hominy; fine, medium, white and yellow coarse cornmeal; and grits; I settled on yellow grits. 

Soaking and steaming corn grits is a method that brings me very close to the taste and texture of cuscuz and I am able to use local grits we love.

For 4 servings of cereal, soak 1.5 cups of cornmeal in 3 cups of water overnight or for 24 hours in the fridge. If you forget there it will be ok longer.

When ready to cook, strain the soaked grits, sprinkle with some salt and a tablespoon of Tapioca starch (optional — the  starch makes the couscous more compact)

There a several ways to steam the yellow corn grits if you do not have a ” cuscuzeira” ( Couscous pot)

Bellow is a video of  cuscuz cooked in deep plate wrapped with a clean cloth. The couscous mixture must be facing downwards while it simmers.

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#cuscuznordestino cozido no prato. #CornmealCouscous cooked on a plate. Hydrate 1 cup of cornmeal (farinha de milho ou #milharina ) with 1/4 cup of water and salt to taste. Wait 10 minutes. Make a pile and cover with a clean wet dish towel and cook over a pot with simmering water for 15-30 minutes. This is how I remember being cooked, on my first visit to #Bahia to see my grandmother Antonia and other relatives on my mother's side of the family. I don't have a #cuscuzeira so for a long time I have been waiting to make this way. Couscous came to Brazil from North Africa during colonization, semolina then and here we use corn. It's a staple in the Northeast of Brazil but eaten in many parts of country as well. So today I am eating this #couscous with #tagine . This is a food I love to eat, simple, prepared without any fancy pots or expensive ingredients. It really is nourishiment for my whole being. #rethinkingperfect #cuscuznoprato #readwritecook2017 #storycookingbrazil #storycookingcuscuz

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Another way is to use a steam basket (photo above) or a metal colander/basket lined with fabric over a pot of water. (See photo bellow). Stem for 30 minutes or until cooked. It varies on the grains and grain age, so check once in a while. I have cooked in less time inside my pressure cooker. If you use a pressure cooker, check manufacture instructions, your pressure cooker may come with a steam basket. I got my basket in the picture above used for a dollar at a second hand store and I just insert in my pot.  My mom told me she got us a  Couscous pot she will bring next time she visits. How fun!

Another variation is to stir fresh or frozen corn to the soaked grits and cook as above.

We enjoy as part of a savory breakfast for dinner. With lots of butter or an egg on top!


Rescued Corn

I have the sweetest of memories of the most beautiful and delicious ways one can eat corn in the world of corn eating. So I think. And probably millions of people will say the same, since corn is the world’s third-largest food crop.

My grandparents lived in the country side and my parents gave us the wonderful gift of taking my bother and I there as often as they could. Sometimes the corn was young, sometimes the corn was tall and we would run up and down the fields and grandfather would come out with some ears of corn in his hand and cook in the open fire. Sometimes there were lots of corn in baskets and other times corn being grated for cakes, fritters, custards. There was a small house by the side of the road in the way to my grandparent’s place where we would stop the car and buy a liter of dried corn and the woman helping us would pull some cords and turn the switch on. She would feed a sniping stone the grains and flour would come out in the other side. That gold powder was used for cakes, cookies, porridge, and worked great to thick a broth and be a meal too.

This is not that corn. This imperfect produce, is as beautiful in my eyes. This corn was on its way to trash, rescued by a friend, who gave to me.  Food rescue is important to me and my family. It does make a difference in how we eat, how we fill our plates. It teaches us different ways to preserve and eat since the produce may have a shorter window before it needs to be used. Above all, I can keep writing my family history by creatively using corn in my kitchen. There are some family corn recipes here on In my list still… sweet corn ice cream!

Rescued Corn Fritters

5 cups of corn and 1 cup of chard stems chopped

1/2 cup of scallions, white and greens chopped

1 cup of eggs (4 depending on the size of the eggs you are using)

1/2 cup of cheese, I used a Mexican blend

1 cup of flour

Mix, pan fry until golden. We served with tahini sauce my daughter made and sprinkled with tajini. Tomato salad on the side.

Fermented Watermelon Rind Salsa

After cutting a watermelon for breakfast I am left with the rind and a dilemma. Do I have time to process this or do I compost? I keep looking at the green skin and thinking of its cousin, the cucumber. Would I ever toss all that cucumber? NO! So I take a few bites of the rind for good measure, still thinking, because I know it is edible and quite tasty and it takes me to memories of watermelon rind sweets I grew up eating in Brazil called “Doce de Casca de Melancia.”

A couple more of those firm and crisp bites and I decided I had time to use at least a few cups of the ring and I would compost the rest. “Because it is summer and I don’t have time!” I reasoned again. I could probably have thought the same if it was winter. But as I started cutting the ring, as it often happens, I am gaining time. It is a wonderful feeling. I am opening a window into my schedule that was not there! (And I am even making time to write this post now.) I kept going, until I had about 4 quarts of loose pack ingredients. All the produce together weighted about 5.5 to 6 pounds. So I went for the approximation Sandor Katz  ( Wild Fermentation ) uses to ferment sauerkraut — 3 TBSP of sea salt for 5 pounds of chopped cabbage.  Another approximation I have used, about  2 -3 tsp of sea salt for each quart of produce.  This recipe is more to inspire us to use what we have. It gives flexibility if you have extra tomatoes or extra onions. It had enough liquid to keep the vegetables under the brine, but if you do not, you can add a bit of water or whey. And now we have almost one gallon of salsa for the summer!

Fermented Watermelon Rind Salsa

Almost all the rind of one medium watermelon.

6 tomatoes, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, chopped, without the seeds ( leave seeds in if you would like extra hot)

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch of parsley , chopped including stems

1 hipping TBSP dried oregano

1 hipping TBSP dried ground cumin

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 TBSP sea salt

Mix everything and place in a jar. Vegetables and fruit should be under the brine while it ferments. Cover with a lid. Leave on the counter for approximately 2-3 days and taste to desired flavor. Burp the jar daily to release built-up carbon dioxide.

Transfer to the fridge to store. Bom Apetite!

After tasting I feel like I will add some cayenne pepper!


More time or more starter?

More time, more water or more starter? I am finding the answer
in the words of Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson
“It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.”
This week I gave myself an assignment to play with the amount of starter to see how my sourdough bread would develop.
This exercise took me to my early days of photography class, practicing the “Exposure Triangle.” Understanding the relationship between
Aperture (measure of how open or closed the lens’ iris is)
Shutter speed (measure of how long it remains open) and
ISO (number indication of how sensitive a film or imaging sensor is to light)
This doesn’t only help me take a better photo, it helps me make a choice of how I want to tell a story. What part of the frame do I want to keep in focus? Do I want to show motion?


I am also seeking to learn relationships between ingredients and time to make different breads. Sometimes we want fast, sometimes we want flavor. Each loaf, like a photograph, tells a story that may express our skills, visions and emotions.
I am honored to teach  a photography class: Bread Photo Booth: How to Take the Food Pictures You Want and Tell a Story, Too.

This class will rethink perfection, and use personal aesthetics to consider how images can entice, intrigue and engage. We’ll explore how to tell a story in a sea of perfectly styled photos. Let’s keep the conversation going.

I practiced this little formula: starter, water or salt / flour x 100 = hydration


Flour Ambassador Soda Bread

Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

We just got back from a family walk at a local park we go often. The sunshine is melting the snow. We walked under tall evergreens and appreciate how the same trees look with the snow around them. We feel Spring will arrive soon. Yesterday my friend  Amy Halloran  asked me to put together a video using  photos I took of her making her wonderful whole wheat soda bread. It took me back to her kitchen, but this time with my “new eyes.” That’s how I love to cook. We don’t have to go far to experience renewal and new growth, we can revisit and rediscover recipes and ingredients.

Flour Ambassador Soda Bread 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups stoneground white whole wheat pastry flour (I used White Whole Wheat )
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1. Combine dry ingredients with a whisk.
2. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes.
3. With a pastry blender or your fingers, incorporate butter into the flour mixture.
The result does not have to be smooth — some pea-sized pieces are OK, even
4. Whisk together egg, yogurt and milk. Using a fork, blend until everything is just
barely incorporated.
5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead very lightly, just about five times.
6. Pat into a round about 8 inches across and transfer to a buttered cookie sheet.
Score into six  pieces.
7. Let dough rest 10 minutes while preheating oven to 400 F.
8. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown at the edges. (I covered the last 10 minutes of baking)  


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Something green #familywalk #storycooking #evergreen

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Ellie Markovitch Resume

Ellie Miranda Markovitch Bangor, Maine
Cook : Share : Connect

I seek to apply my passion for innovative sustainable food practices and my unique skill
set that includes food preparation, visual and social media storytelling, and community

I am a native of Brazil. I have a professional background in photojournalism and an
MFA degree in Electronic Arts. I am also a skillful cook and social media influencer. My
current work revolves around media and food literacy. I use food as a starting point for
conversations and community building. As a member of the Chef’s Consortium of New
York State, I have helped develop and deliver programs that raise awareness of local
food systems. While in Upstate New York, I also developed and ran educational
programs in collaboration with local organic farmers and the Agricultural Stewardship


Community Development – Food and Media
07/2018 Instructor, Maine Grain Alliance Kneading Conference, Skowhegan, ME
2017 Food workshops in Goiania, Brazil
2012 – 2015 Outreach Coordinator, Agricultural Stewardship Association, Troy, NY
2011 – 2016 Artist/Educator, Youth Media Production, The Sanctuary for Independent

Media, Troy, NY

2010 – 2016 Teaching Artist, Food and Photography, The Arts Center of the Capital

Region, Troy, NY

2012 – 2013 Photography teacher, Unseen America workshops, Workforce

Development Institute, Troy, NY

Spring 2012 Artist/Educator, Tech Valley High School, Rensselaer, NY
12/2011 Artist/Educator, food workshop at the New York Hall of Science, New

York, NY

2011 – Member, Chefs Consortium of New York

Food Industry
2015 – 2016 Cook and Media Liaison, Dali Mamma Cafe, Albany, NY

03/2007 – 07/2008 Freelancer, Paris, France. Produced multimedia packages for The
International Herald Tribune newspaper and media websites
10/2000 – 01/2004 Staff Photographer, The Herald News daily newspaper, West

Paterson, NJ

02/2000 – 09/2000 Photo intern, The Jersey Journal daily newspaper, Jersey City, NJ
05/1999 – 08/1999 Staff photographer, The Lewisville Leader weekly newspaper,

Lewisville, TX

08/1995 – 05/1996 Photographer, Southwestern Oklahoma State University Public

Relations Office
Photojournalism Foreign Assignments
10/2004 Mexico, outsourcing of New Jersey jobs
09/2003 Turkey, New Jersey band tour
05/2002 Poland, New Jersey connections
08/2001 India, New Jersey charitable connections
02/2001 El Salvador, earthquake
08/2000 Puerto Rico, Vieques protests

Main Honors and Awards
2018 Featured on, Produce-Waste-Tips
2015 Featured on Edible Capital District Magazine, Seasonal Recipes
2011 Featured on PBS “Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving Special,” Family Recipe
2010 Finalist of PBS Point-of-View ‘This is My Family,’ “4-Minute Memoir: Reflections
on Motherhood”
2008 First place, News Audio Slideshow (Independent) on the Web, National
Press Photographers Association – The Best of Photojournalism
International Competition
2005 – 2006 Judge for the Society for News Design – The Best of Multimedia
Design Competition
2004 Second place, “Losing Mary,” Feature Picture Story, National Press
Photographers Association – The Best of Photojournalism International
2003 Photographer, America 24/7 books, New Jersey. Documented life in the state of
New Jersey as part of a nationwide project
2003 New Jersey Understanding Award, New Jersey Press Photographers Association
2001 First place, Feature photography, New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists

12/2011 Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,

Troy, NY

12/1998 Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Photojournalism specialization, University

of Texas at Arlington, TX

Special Skills
• Social Media
• Culinary
• Video and Audio Production: Still photography, Audio, Video, Photoshop, Final Cut
Pro, Audacity, Soundslides
• Multi-lingual: fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, working knowledge of

Rethinking Perfect


I have been making naturally leavened breads for several years. I was gifted a sourdough starter from my friend Phyllis and I have learned from a very generous community.  I use to look at beautiful pictures of breads and think “oh I hope I can make something like that…”

Now my idea of the “perfect” bread is the one that reflects my life, my family and the food choices we are able to make, which means “imperfect,” but truly wonderful. Each loaf is different and carries the intentions of this humble baker: sustenance, personal aesthetic, community, faith and family.

When I moved to Brazil last year, I took my starter with me on our journey. I didn’t know where we would be and when I would get our belongings out of storage. So I set out to find a simple recipe I could make using flour and water on any kitchen or using any kind of oven.

I started wondering if there was a formula, a way to find a rhythm so that I could make bread part of my family’s life. I read Flo Makanai formula  and couldn’t wait to try. I love that the math comes easy and I can use what I have. I have made 100% whole grain using this formula and also egg bread (eggs, fats and liquids measured as 2 parts).  I have used this formula to make stem buns and focaccia.

Please see some of my notes bellow

1 2 3 sourdough formula

1 part leaven, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour (in weight)

2% salt

Let’s say we will start with 50g

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I want my hands and my heart leading the way I bake. Many times it's about trusting what I have learned but mostly is about not being affraid of taking a chance. Baking with #wildyeast is embracing all the things I can't control or don't know like different flours, change in the weather or events in my life. Each loaf will be different and will have a different story. How exciting! #rethinkingperfect . Here is my wildyeast from a jar that I keep in the fridge. I am planning to make bread so I am going to wake it up by feeding a portion of it water and flour. I do use a scale but I have made the #123sourdoughformula bread ( for how-to follow this hashtag) just by looking at the amount. I added 50g of unfed #wildyeast from the fridge to a container and the same amount of flour and water (100% hydration). So I will end up with 150g . Some Recipes will ask for 30g others 300g of #levain (fed starter) … In warm weather the #levain can be bubbly in a few hours. It gets confusing as we all internalize a process that works for us, but that is one way I do it. For this formula, I will then add 300g of water and 450g of flour (which half whole grain can be a nice place to start) Mix for 6 minutes by hand Do some streach and folds every 30 minutes repeating 3 times. Then make a boule, a round and put the #sourdough in the fridge overnight in a covered container until you are ready to bake. When ready to bake, take it out, shape and let it rise 2-3 hrs and bake. #storycooking #FloMakanaiSourdoughFormula @flourambassador #sourdoughseptember #readwritecook2017

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Before going to bed make leaven:

3 tbsp (50g) starter from the fridge

6 tbsp (50g) flour

1/4 cup (50g) of water

Mix well, cover and let it ferment overnight. In the morning the starter will be bubbly. This is the leaven we will use to make bread.


In the morning, for the bread, mix 6 minutes:

150g leaven fed and bubbly

1 1/4 cup (300g) water

3 cups (450g ) flour (mix as you would like, for example 200g unbleached white, 200g While whole wheat, 50g rye)

2 tsp salt

Let it double, first rise.

During the first rise I often stretch and fold 3 or 4 times every 30 minutes (on a  shape of an envelope. (see videos bellow or hashtag on instagram: #123sourdgouhformula )  to help develop and strengthen the gluten. Then let it rise until almost double at room temperature.

Shape into a boule, round. Place in a floured fabric inside a bowl, covered.

Let it rise about a third in the fridge until you can bake, 8 to 24 hrs.

Score bread

Bake 450F for 30 minutes

or in a Dutch oven covered 25 minutes and uncovered another 25.

To store and keep the starter going, I feed it the same way I make leaven and put it back in the fridge until I am ready to make bread again.

I hope bread making makes you happy, like listening to a favorite song

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Today's bread was a wonderful experience for me, like this song… The bread was inspired by the #123sourdoughformula . Dona Maria José (next photo) and I are getting to know each other while making bread. She shared recipes with me from her life as a cook, as a native of #pantanal . I talked about my desire to b(r)ake freely and more intuitively​. She doesn't have a cookbook or a notebook. Yesterday we fed the starter and made #levain Today: we got the levain amount (1). For the water amount 1×2. For the flour amount 1×3 and a bit more. #rethinkingperfect #sourdough We baked bread in a oven that doesn't say how hot it is. Voice: Luis Vicente, who serenaded and took our picture. Thank you! Música: #MeioDeCampo by #GilbertoGil "Dear friend Afonsinho I'm still here improving the imperfect Giving a time, finding a way disdaining perfection … Despising perfection That perfection is a goal Defended by the goalkeeper Who plays for the national team And I'm not Pele, or anything. If much, I'm a Toastāo Making a goal in this match is not easy, my brother It went ball, and everything!" #pantanal #readwritecook2017 #storycookingbrazil

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Hello Maine

Thank you for following Story Cooking (elliemarkovitch) on Instagram this past year. I hope you enjoyed the photos and recipes under the hashtag #readwritecook2017. It has been a blessed year. I had the opportunity to reconnect while in Brazil ( #storycookingbrazil ) . I took my sourdough every where I went and baked lots of bread. I celebrated cake with family and friends, ate tropical fruits every day and traveled. Now we are back in the Northeast and excited to experience Maine!



What do you want more of in 2017? We want to take 20 minutes every day to
connect with food and words. Join us. Share your stories of reading, writing and
cooking and hashtag them #ReadWriteCook2017 #take20minutes

Do you want to bake your own bread? Cook more at home? Set up regular times
for reading? Cultivating habits is easier with friends, so we invite you to join our

Decide what goal you want to focus on, state it in your first post, and show us
again and again how you are creating patterns in your life.
Show us your flour. Snap a shot of the page you’re reading. Show us your
ingredients. People you are sharing meals with.
The rules? None. The suggestions: set aside 20 minutes a day. Choose one
goal. Switch focus after a week, a month, a year – whenever you want to guide
your attentions to another area.

This idea comes from two friends who want to bridge the gap between Brazil and upstate New York, where they used to inspire each other in cooking, writing and photography projects. Photojournalist @Ellie Markovitch ( is
pushing the reset button, returning to her home country, starting a kitchen from
scratch in Rio de Janeiro. Writer @Amy.Halloran, @flourambassador ( wants to set a tone for growth, and develop a social structure to support it past the first weeks of the new year.

And talking about friends, here some of the faces of my continued inspiration and support:2016-inspiration

My hubby and daughters, Phyllis, my fellow pea in the pod, Liz a photographer, Celeste my mother, Katrin a chef, Justine a farmer and Amy a writer.

The Year in Review


Thank you everyone for checking in and following #storycooking and #storycookingbrazil .

The past year was very intense with many changes for our little family. As you know, we moved to Brazil. We had a lot of celebrations that included good byes, welcomes and a lot of cake! I also got to travel with my husband to Peru and celebrated our birthdays with awesome hikes.

Now we are ready to settle in Rio de Janeiro, the kids spent time with grandma and brushed up on their Portuguese. We ate a lot of tropical fruits and I was able to keep cooking with friends, relatives and local schools. You can find recipes with the photos on my Instagram feed @elliemarkovitch . Yes, you can see above, my #beetlove still strong.