2014 Farms, Food and Photography Camp week 1

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, Beju de Tapioca or Tapioca

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.

here  a video I found online that shows the process how I learned from my mother: http://youtu.be/hUwPVs2MD2E

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” (http://www.wildfermentation.com/making-sauerkraut-2/). We taste sauerkraut and yogurt.

How to make water kefir: http://fromscratchclub.com/2013/01/24/diy-project-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 storycooking.com



2 thoughts on “2014 Farms, Food and Photography Camp week 1

  1. Mary Pratt says:

    Good morning, Ellie and her food pioneers. Bob and I enjoyed your visit very much. You’re a great group of photo students, and I’m sure are also learning a lot about cooking .

    I read Sergio’s post about our farm and the various “aromas” from the sheep and the chickens. We are so used to being on the farm that we don’t notice the farm smells very often. I’ve always thought that if a person can’t stand the smells of the animals, then they probably picked the wrong kind of farming to do.

    I forgot to show you some of the wool from the sheep. I love the smell of the wool, and the soft fibers, and all the different colors. A long time ago, I learned how to spin the wool into yarn, but haven’t had much time to do that lately.

    One of the students brought rice with veggies for lunch, which I heated up in the microwave. I noticed it contained dried fish, another aroma.
    But I forgot to tell him that Baba, the young man who worked for us for a few years and who came from Cameroon (a country in Africa near Nigeria) sometimes used dried fish with rice in his lunch.

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