StoryCooking Summer Classes

StoryCooking Classes with Ellie Markovitch

Summer in Upstate New York is a beautiful time of the year to cook and to connect. I am really excited to team up with ASA and the Arts Center for Farms Food Photography Bootcamp for Adults with ASA  .  This farm-to-table camp is StoryCooking. It combines my love and my art.  We are never too old to go to camp, make new friends, explore beautiful Washington and Rensselaer counties and have a great time! Students will be expected to meet me at the farms, farmer market and the digital lab.  We will have a tour, meet the farmers, cook together, document the day, reflect on the role of farms and food in our lives. And yes, have a blast! Don’t forget to bring your camera! Please see the list of the beautiful farms we will be visiting bellow.

Stable Gate barn and Vineyards, Wednesday July 13th

Dennison Farm, Thursday July 14th

Lant Hill Farm, Friday July 15th

Troy Farmer’s Market, Saturday July 16th

Arts Center Digital Lab, Sunday July 17th



Sunset at Lant Hill. Photo by Ellie Markovitch

I am also teaching how to ferment the garden bounty and how to make sourdough bread at Cafe Dali Mamma. Farms Food Photography Camp for Pre-teens with Agricultural Stewardship Association is on it’s 4th year! We will also cook with kids at Oakwood Community Center or  you can sign them up for culinary camp at Arts Center of the Capital Region.

Please see the date and how to sign up bellow:

June 2, 2016 Soul Cafe Kids Kitchen at Oakwood Community Center

June 7, 2016 Sauerkraut and Fermented Salsa Class at Cafe Dali Mamma

June 14, 2016 Intro to Sourdough bread making at Cafe Dali Mamma

June 27 – August 1, 2016 Farms Food and Photography Camp with ASA Pre-Teens

July 5 – August 8, 2016 In the Kitchen with Ellie Big Kids entering 4th & 5th grade

July 13 – 17, 2016 Farms Food and Photography with ASA Adult Bootcamp


Vertuty with Sveta

In many of my strong food memories, I am watching someone cook. Among my favorites are my maternal grandmother Antonia making tapioca biscuits on an earth oven in the State of Bahia in Brazil. I also loved watching my grandfather Amelio make rapadura growing up. I am a visual person and through the visual language is how I learn best. Cooking with my family, friends and in my community is the love fuel that runs in my veins.


A couple of weeks ago I had a date with my friend Sveta Sandul to make her family recipe for Vertuty, Moldovan cuisine.  Vertuty is a like strudel, a layered bread.  Sveta makes this bread, pastry, every week in her home. They extended the invitation to my  whole family and as always, we had a wonderful time and beautiful and delicious dinner.
Sveta had her dough ready and told me to just add water to the flour until I get the consistency of the dough she was showing me. I kept my eyes on her, on her fast moving hands as she stretched each ball of dough. She opened first with the rolling pan then transferred to her hands and continued opening the dough that looked as thin as paper.
Sveta learned from her mother, who she said made big round ones. She learned to open the dough in a fabric to make it easy to roll.

“After rolling, spray or brush the dough with a little oil or butter before baking.” she said.

With the same dough, she made Plachindy, a fried version, open not as thin, filled with a mixture of  Farmer’s cheese (Tvorog) and an egg and fried in vegetable oil.

When I was ready to make Vertuty this week, I texted her and asked for the recipe.

” I never bother to measure everything and write it down…but you know the dough consistency,” she said.

So I gave my best try and it was super fun to go deep in my memory of watching her and cooking with her.  Please see in the video how she transfer the dough!

Sveta’s Vertuty

About 4 potatoes and 1 medium onion cut into a small dice, seasoned with salt and pepper
a mixture of half  butter and half olive oil to drizzle on the dough before adding the topping and on top of the filling before rolling.

Mix 1 cup of flour with 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of warm water. Mix until all the liquid was absorbed and knead the dough until a nice soft ball. It will be a little sticky, soft and elastic.  Place the dough on a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest 15 minutes.


Cover your working area with kitchen cloth/large kitchen towel, dust it with flour and rub some flour into your hands and rolling pan. Then using your hands, gently stretch and pull the dough. She said if the dough tears, don’t worry because you are going to roll over that area anyway.
Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of oil/butter mixture with a spoon over the dough (see video)
Spread the potato onion filling evenly on the dough. Then drizzle another 2 tablespoons of oil/butter (I think, who was counting? )
Lift the tablecloth and make motion forward so the dough roll and looks like strudel pastry.
Carry the Vertuty on the cloth to transfer it over to a baking sheet.  Sveta made logs, sprayed with oil and baked convention oven 375 for 20 minutes. (Or bake 400 regular oven)
Enjoy out of the oven. We sure did.

Here my first try – delicious.


Thank you Sveta!



Earth Week

Once a week I go to Nine Mile Farm to cook and to learn from Rebekah Rice, the farmer. What do you do with the sprouted onions and potatoes and the old tired squashes? You eat them! This week, Amy Ellis, Rebekah Rice and I came together to show how we celebrate food in our kitchens, by using all of the produce! The day started with a tour by Rebekah Rice of her biodynamic organic vegetable farm. Visitors pulled veggies from the root cellar and green house then went to Honest Weight Food Co-op and joined me for a Farm-to Table cooking class.

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It was a super fun class! A class on my favorite topics: Local Food, Food Waste and Nose-to-tail and Root-to-Stalk cooking.  Cooking seasonally in Upstate New York is embracing the leftover winter produce while welcoming and Spring early greens and herbs.

Thank you everyone who came. Can’t wait to cook with you soon.

Jack Bostic Curried Squash Soup

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1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

2 pounds of Jack Bostic Squash, peeled and cubed (save seeds)

About a cup of garlic bulbils to make the broth with 4 cups water

1 apple, peeled and cored

1 fresh or frozen lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 red chile, seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Hot peppers, chopped, to taste

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup chopped parsley

½ cup chopped green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onions in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir in vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes. Add water to cover the vegetables. Add all spices, lemongrass and hot pepper. Simmer for 20–30 minutes. Add vinegar, cilantro, parsley and green onions. Adjust salt to taste, let soup heat through. Remove lemongrass and blend the soup. Serve with a drizzle of sorrel sauce.

Sorrel Sauce (Sauce à l’oseille)

  • 1 bunch of sorrel (coarse stems removed, leaves roughly shredded)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt pepper to taste

Peel the shallots and chop them finely.

Wash and chop sorrel.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallots and cook for 2 to 3 min.

Add the sorrel in the pan. Cook until soft on low heat.

Add the crème fraîche, salt, pepper and let it heat over low heat 2 to 3 minutes more.

Blender and serve immediately.

Because of its higher fat content, we can also heat crème fraîche to higher temperatures without fear of it curdling. This makes it a great choice for sauces and soups.

Crème Fraîche recipe

1 cup heavy or ‘whipping’ cream

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

In a jar, combine the cream and yogurt. Cover with a lid let sit in the counter until thickened, 24-36 hours. Stir and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

“Red Velvet Brownies” (Beet Brownies)

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2-3 medium size cooked or roasted beets, pureed, to equal 1 cup

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) or coconut oil

3/4 – 1 cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs, whisked

½ cup  White Whole Wheat Flour (or Gluten Free 1:1 Flour or Buckwheat flour)

1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder or unsweetened baking chocolate bars or dairy free chocolate chips

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350F

In a cast iron pan:

Melt butter and chocolate. Stir in cocoa powder, Stir in sugar. Turn off heat.

Add eggs, vanilla.

Whisk dry ingredients: flour

Fold in pureed beets. Add chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before cutting.

Or  Pour into prepared 8×8 pan and bake as above.

Root Veggie Pancakes made by Rebekah Rice:

 Potatoes (includes some dark blue Magic Mollies), turnips, parsnips, sprouting onions, red onions, eggs

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Delicious salad made by Amy Ellis:

Lettuce, sorrel, lambs quarters, purslane, chick weed and dill, fresh turnips (tops and bottoms), edible flowers


Farm to Table cooking class

Join us for a farm-to-table class April 20th at 9 Mile Farm in Delmar and at Honest Weight Food-coop in Albany, NY. Early Spring cooking in the Northeast is a mix of using up root vegetables and welcoming the early greens.  We will talk about what is in season and how to use the whole vegetable and make the most of our delicious local produce.




I am making this Brazilian treats at Cafe Dali Mamma.

Order #brigadeiros @cafedalimamma 518-443-2233 . Retail and wholesale. Sampler clockwise: white chocolate, caramelized pecans, coconut, matcha, walnut, cocoa and blueberries. Other favorites: curry coconut, peanuts, spiced pumpkin, almonds, dulce de leche, cocoa nibs, ginger sesame, coffee, lavender, raspberry, calendula. All natural #gf. #storycooking

Sweet Potato Chocolate Rye Marble Cake

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2 cups of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes leftover = 2 loaves of sweet potato chocolate rye marble cake for the week. Make that one left for the week! We devoured this cake. The rye, the chocolate or just all of it together! So here a delicious long title recipe adapted from different sources for you.

My girls love to help and marbling is sure fun:

Sweet Potato Chocolate Rye Marble Cake

1 cup of all purpose farmer ground flour
1 cup of rye farmer ground flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes;
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup light olive oil
2 eggs
3 tbsp cocoa powder + 4 tbsp water

In one bowl, add dry ingredients and whisk.
Add Sweet potato, milk, olive oil and eggs and mix well.
Take one cup of the mixture and add 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and 4 tbsp of water. mix well.
On a greased loaf pan, layer half of sweet potato mixture left, cocoa mixture in the middle and the rest of the batter last.
Use a knife to “cut” into the batter to create the marble. Oven 350 for about 1 hour. Enjoy!

Empanada Thursday

Thank you Edible Capital District for featuring my recipes for roasted vegetable empanadas, pumpkin compote and curried butternut squash lentil soup. I am honored. Beautiful magazine and gorgeous photos by Brent Harrewyn.


I come from a place known for it’s “ Empadão de Goiás ” A pie filled with meats, olives, boiled eggs, and more.

I love making pastry or pastel. It is a tradition in our home making them with our children. As the Media Chef at Dali Mamma,  I get to make them at work too. Every Thursday.


Above, black bean mole empanadas at Dali Mamma in Albany, NY.

I have being making empanadas since we opened in September.  Rachel Reed and I have a lot of fun using seasonal ingredients, Farmer Ground Farm flour, and making Glutten Free and vegetarian versions. Stop by to try these delicious savory and sometimes sweet hand pies. #‎empanadathursday





Fermented Carrots


I love my hashtag #farmkitchencook.  I love looking at the photos of foods I make while cooking at Nine Mile Farm. I have a notebook with recipes and notes I hope to blog, but I do not get to do every week. But I always take pictures and you can see them on my Instagram feed. I am posting at least one photo of something I cook everyday in my kitchen.

Tonight, I would like to share this delicious simple recipe Rebekah Rice and I adapted from Wild Fermentation  and Cultures for Health

We started with lots of carrots “seconds” or “imperfect” carrots, that were very beautiful and delicious. We made 3 batches!


I used a kitchen brush to clean this organic carrots. I did not peel them.


We decided to use some cabbage to keep a good fermenting environment as it has been very hot in Upstate New York this week and this ferment is ready in about 4-5 days.

Fermented Carrots

5 pounds of carrots, grated

1 pound of cabbage, grated

4 tbsp sea salt

1-2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix carrots, cabbage, ginger, turmeric and sea salt. Using a potato masher, press until there is enough liquid to cover the produce.

Transfer the carrot/cabbage mix to a gallon glass jar, pressing to submerge completely underneath the liquid. Cover with a large cabbage leaf, add weight to keep the produce submerged under the brine. If you do not have enough liquid  from the vegetables, make extra brine. For the brine, mix 1 TBSP of salt with one cup of water, stir well and add to the vegetables as needed.

Cover the jar with a tight lid or use paper towel secured with a rubber band.

I like to use a cabbage leaf or a piece of fruit like a pineapple round, depending on the jar and add another jar inside to keep all the vegetables under the brine.

Ferment at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture. We like it firm so 4-5 days in the summer time. (If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.) If the ferment start to dry, add more brine.

Once the ferment is done, put a lid on the jar and move to the fridge.


Camp Season

ffpsession1day1byellieFriday was the last day of 2015 Farms, Food and Photography camp. This is the third year I teach the Agricultural Stewardship Association Camp at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY.  This summer, we featured different sessions and it was wonderful to meet new students on session one and work with returning students on session two.


When Monday come around, we gathered in the conference room and I shared our exciting plan for the week — farm trips, photography lessons, cooking and sharing recipes, and reflecting on the important role that farms and food play in our lives. We still kept the week open to new experiences. Students voted on the foods they wanted to learn to cook and skills they wanted to gain.

Some wanted to make time-lapse videos, some wanted to learn to chop or make pasta from scratch. Others wanted to learn how to photograph action or how to use macro. By Friday, all of them had used digital SLR cameras and ipads to to document their experiences, visited farms and cooked with local ingredients! Thank you Andrea, Madison and Ashely for all your help! Thank you Amy Halloran for the amazing pancake clinic.

Thank you Homestead Farm, Denison Farm, Lewis Waite Farm and Washington County Fair for your wonderful hospitality.

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I am really thankful for the community that comes together to make this program possible.

Special thank you ASA’s business sponsors for their support of the “Make a Connection with the Land program”

Title Sponsor: Salem Farm Supply, Inc. Lead Sponsors: Stewart’s Shops and TCT Federal Credit Union. Other Sponsors: CaroVail, Currin Compliance Services, LLC,Fronhofer Tool Company, Kelly + Sellar Ryan, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, O’Brien Insurance Agency. Grant support from: New York State Agricultural Society Foundation and the Review Foundation.

Pictures of the foods we cooked are on my Instagram feed #farmsfoodphotography  Bellow some reflections from the students:


Aiyana seeing above, making pizza during the camp. “Putting an egg on pizza is something I have never heard of and in this class, I learned that experimenting can have good outcomes, even with food. I took some risks and got out of my comfort zone this week. I’m proud of that. I learned how to capture a moving object without making appear as if it were still.”

Aiyana favorite picture was of a boy with his pig at the fair. “It gave me insight onto farmer’ lives are like, especially children. This boy told us about farms and what it’s like to be involved in farms that treat their animals with great compassion and tenderness. There were other children that were even attached and had strong relationships with their animals. It was beautiful.
I also learned some different skills in photography. I now can focus on objects and adjust the lighting and the shutter speed.
While taking photos, I try in use different angles to create an interesting picture.”



Sofia, above, seeing while being photographed by campers, said she enjoyed cooking. “Yesterday we went to the Washington County Fair. There we saw a horse show, cows (like this one,) pigs and many more animals. Something that I really liked about this camp was that we got to experience different foods and take a lot of photos. For example, we made homemade pizza, West African peanut soup and much more.


Campers making pancakes with Amy Halloran at the Arts Center

Hanna said she learned a lot of new skills in photography this week, including how to use macro.”It helped open up my mind to different types of photography using small details and composition. I had fun everywhere but I really had a good time exploring and taking photos of downtown Troy.”


Wren, right, seeing above with Hanna is one of our returning campers.

“Reporting for Farms, Food and Photography on our breaking news:
>On Wednesday, we went to The Washington County Fair for the day. We spent all day photographing animals and their emotions. When we got back to the Art Center, we cooked African peanut soup. It must have been good because it was gone after ten minutes.Today we made fresh pizza with sourdough as crust. It was a really good taste and we all enjoyed it. Hanna and I put fresh pesto and mozzarella on ours, and it was delicious. Along with the pizza, we learned how to use controlled lighting and change the settings on the camera to take the perfect portraits. We all got to pose while people took our pictures and it was really fun. Well that’s all I’ve got on this story today, now back to our current news broadcasting.


Last, but not least, campers wanted me to post the sourdough recipes we made


Camp Sourdough Pizza

2 1/2 cups sourdough starter, room temperature

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (more if needed to adjust consistency)

(if short on time, add 1/2 tsp yeast to speed up the process)

In a  large mixing bowl, and whisk flour and salt. Pour in the sourdough starter and olive oil. Mix it together with a wood spoon and  to make a wet dough. Cover the bowl tightly with lid and let it sit on your kitchen counter until doubled in bulk, could take 4- 8 hours. (if short on time, add 1/2 tsp yeast to speed up the process)

Flour your working surface, using your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes , then cover it with a large bowl, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 500 F.

Separate the dough into 2 balls. The dough will be weat, so roll spread the best you can onto a baking sheet with parchment paper or heated baking stone until 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 5 minutes without the toppings.

Remove the crusts from the oven, add your favorite  sauce, toppings, cheeses. Return to the oven and bake a further another 5-6 minutes, or until cheese is melted, crust is golden.


For the Sourdough Crackers, we used King Arthur flour recipe


Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

When I started cooking at Nine Mile Farm in Delmar NY on Thursdays, I imagine I would learn, from Rebekah Rice, how to organically grow new foods. I planned to feed the farmers, put produce going bad to good use while developing recipes and bring home leftovers as a payment. But last but not least have fun.


Before the produce gets to me, the food is touched by many hands, not machines. ( Reflecting on this makes me follow in love with the produce before I even start cooking!) Someone is sorting seeds, someone is planting, someone is weeding, watering, transplanting. On harvest day, someone is selecting, counting, sorting and by the time it gets to me, the cook, It has layers of stories that I may not ever know or hear during the few hours I am there each week. I appreciate the stories, I can taste them.

I have not cooked alone and that has also being great. Cooking along side farmers helps me understand what is like to cook and eat in season. The farmer told me: “Well, we have early onions so far, so that is what we will use!” So the Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce will have early onions and garlic scapes and some of last year’s sun dried tomatoes. I am also super happy about that!

I am learning so much from other cooks in the kitchen and improvisation is at the heart of this process. I rely on techniques I have internalized and just keep myself open to use what comes my way.


Mid-week I get a text with what Rebekah, Azuré and Christian are harvesting, what they may have extras and what is coming up. I am of course reading these e-mails 11pm right before going to bed and then I can not follow sleep thinking of what a good problem it is to have lots of garlic scapes and rhubarb. Yum, raw rhubarb on a tabbouleh salad and I am making beef patties and really need a barbecue sauce…

Problem solved. Yes, I am sure I can make some kind of rhubarb barbecue sauce?… I can figure out the details in the morning. I went to bed satisfied.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce adapted from

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
about 2 pounds of Rhubarb
1 to 1/2 cups of sun dried tomatoes
1/2 bunch of young onions
2-3 cups water, more as needed
1 1/2 cups of garlic spaces, finely chopped
1/3 cup rapadura
1/4 cup honey
3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp mild pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer, cooking with the pot lid propped open, but to keep your stove top clean. Cook until rhubarb is tender, about 20- 25 minutes.