Election Cake

This year I am baking an Election Cake, long distance, with Martha Baier , Sarah Black and Amy Halloran , inspired by Old World Levain Bakery recipe and story I first heard to on NPR in 2016. I have made elections cakes for every election since inspired by their recipe and the cake the history

I was specially moved by how women who could not vote found a way to participate in the process. I love this open recipe that invite us to use ingredients from each of our regions and use what we have in our homes. I also love that it is sourdough cake! We always took our children to vote with us, but with the pandemic we voted by mail. I started thinking about how we don’t have to go too far for democracy and civic lessons and actions. It can start in our own tables, with our families, breaking bread and eating election cake. And yes vote!

For my version of the cake, I used Maine Grains spelt flour. I soaked dried blueberries, dried foraged apple and dehydrated plums from our friend’s tree in local beer. I went with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and sourdough starter!

Ellie’s Sourdough Empanadas

October 16 is Community Bake Day and I wanted to share a recipe we could make together. We love hand pies and we have several recipes here on storycooking as well as on my Instagram account @elliemarkovitch

We also love fermented flour. This Sourdough Empanadas are light and you can let it ferment several hours or mix and bake, using the sourdough starter as an ingredient to flavor the dough.

Mix: 2 tbsp sourdough starter I used one that was pass pick but fed or from the fridge with work as well. If you don’t have, you can use 1 tsp of dry yeast )

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup oil

2 cups flour (I used Maine Grains 86% sifted wheat )

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

Knead the dough and let it ferment in the counter for 6-8 hrs.

Roll out circles, with them with vegetable, add boiled eggs and beans for extra protein, fold in half, crimp them with a fork fold and press the edges together to close.

Bake 400F on a greased pan for 20 minutes. It makes 15 hand pies. Enjoy hot, take with you for the weekend adventures or freeze them for the lunch box. 

Curtido Spelt Salad

One way to improvise with whole grains is to think of the comfort of sandwiches. A sandwich is a predictable thing, two pieces of bread holding together the satisfying main dish – but since that so-called main dish is often meat and for a variety of reasons people are avoiding meat, let’s reconsider the approach. 

I’ve had to do this in my own family because my daughter is avoiding meat and our meals are vegetable forward. To rebuild our dinners I am making salads that have whole grains and lots of vegetables, as well as some thing to stand in for what we expect to be the star of a dish, the protein. In this salad, Spelt is the bread of the sandwich and jackfruit is the pulled pork.

By reconfiguring standards, I have a new pattern from which to creatively satisfy my family and rework the puzzle of feeding the people I love. Curtido is a Salvadoran slaw often added to sandwiches and it is a wonderful combo with the sweetness of Spelt.

Curtido Spelt Salad

1 cup of Maine Grains Spelt berries, cooked*

1 cup of green cabbage, finely sliced

1 cup of purple cabbage, finely sliced

½ cup of carrots, shredded

½ cup of onions, finely sliced

1 jalapeño, sliced and seeded if desired

2-3 oregano leaves from two small branches or 1 tsp dried

1 cup of jackfruit in brine, drained or used cooked pulled pork.

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

Pinch of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. *Simmer Spelt Berries for 1 hour in a sauce pan with two parts water on the stove top – or until the grains are tender and chewy but not mushy
  2. OR
  3. *Soak Spelt Berries overnight, drain
  4. Add grains to a slow cooker, cover with water and cook for 3 hours on high. Rinse in cold water
  5. To assemble salad: mix all ingredients in a large bowl – including rinsed and drained berries – and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste
  6. Let marinate a few hours to a whole day – serve cold or at room temp

Amy Halloran contributed to this recipe.

Cornmeal Oat Digestive

Cornmeal Oat Digestive

When I take cornmeal from my pantry to make cakes or cookies, I hear my mom’s voice in my head: “Don’t forget to add fennel to help with the digestion.” When my children were babies, she taught me to make fennel seed tea “chá de erva-doce” and give them a few teaspoons at time if they had colic, so we always have it in our pantry. It is a flavor I crave and love. It is a staple on corn baked goods I grew up eating in Brazil. You may leave the fennel out or substitute for spices that you like. My youngest daughter loves to temper chocolate so we finished some of the cookies with dark chocolate drizzles.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen.


1 cup Maine Grains Organic Rolled Oats
3/4 cups Maine Grains Organic Cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tst salt
A bunch of bronze fennel or 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, optional
1 tbs citrus zest
2 tbsp butter, soft at room temp
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

  1. Put the oats in a food processor or blender and pulse to make flour adding the bronze fennel or fennel seeds to incorporate
  2. Mix the oat flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside 
  3. In a large bowl, by hand or with a mixer, cream the butter and sugar
  4. Add the egg and beat well
  5. Add maple syrup and zest till well combined
  6. Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing after each addition
  7. Fold in the walnuts
  8. Scoop 1 tbsp of dough or use a cookie scoop – onto a baking sheet lined with parchment(or greased sheet) – leave 2″ between each cookie
  9. Wet a spatula with water and flatten each cookie to about 1/4″ thick for a crisp cookie or to 1/2″ for a softer cookie, all about 2″ wide
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minuets or till golden brown.
  11. When cool chocolate can be drizzled over the top as shown or left without.


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.

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 storycooking.com. 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

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


Media Educator

2018 – Food + media literacy workshops for non-profits in New York and Maine

Spring 2019 Adjunct instructor, University of Maine, Orono, ME

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 – 2015 Outreach Coordinator, Agricultural Stewardship Association, 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, participate in planning and

delivery of programs that raise awareness of local food systems



07/2019 – Freelancer, University of Maine, Orono, ME

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

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


Other Skills

Social Media

Culinary with emphasis on food literacy, recipe development, and sustainable practices

Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, working knowledge of French