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chicago Our Food, Our Stories, Season by Season

pasta Made Easy Illinois Grain sweets and treats Kernel of Truth


winter 2012

CONTENTS Seasonal Recipes 08 Spinach Lasagna with Homemade Noodles and Parmesan Béchamel Sauce 13 Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Bacon 24 Kingsbury Street Café Cheddar Cheese Scones 24 Warm Breakfast Quinoa Porridge 35 Split Pea Soup with Black Forest Ham Find more seasonal recipes at under the recipe tab.

Winter Cocktails 36 Apple Smash 36 Oslo at Dusk

02 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Editors’ Welcome

04 WORTH NOTING Slow Food Presents: Slow Wine 2012

06 COOKING WITH THE SEASONS In Your Kitchen: Fresh, Homemade Lasagna Made Easy By Dana Benigno

12 LOCAL and IN SEASON 13 CALENDAR 14 INCREDIBLY EDIBLE How Sweet It Is: Tushiya Sweets and Treats By Anne Spiselman

16 FROM THE GOOD EARTH Expanding the Horizon of Illinois Grain: Breslin Farms of Ottawa By Monica Kass Rogers

20 THE LAKE EFFECT A Road Well Traveled to Kingsbury Street Café By Susan Oh Photographs by Dan Fisher

26 CHICAGROWS Schoolyard Garden = Improved Test Scores By Amelia Levin

28 FEATURE A Kernel of Truth: Where Do Your Seeds Come From? By Terra Brockman

32 FEATURE Baking by Age Three, Entrepreneur by High School: Baker Amanda Piedt of Piedt Farms By Anne Spiselman

34 THE KITCHEN FILES Soup and Bread Cookbook— Building Community One Pot at a Time By Barbara Revsine

36 LIQUID ASSETS Winter Cocktails: Salute the Season

38 DINE LOCAL LISTING 39 EDIBLE SOURCE GUIDE 40 LAST BITE Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual Excerpt by Michael Pollan Illustrations by Maira Kalman

READ our current issue online anytime at: Pasta cover photo and Pasta Bowl this page by Grant Kessler. Photographs are farm fresh pasta from Pasta Puttana, Chicago, Illinois


Food for thought

PUBLISHER/CO-EDITORS Sweet Pea Media LLC: Ann Flood + RJ Liscum


A FEW WorDS FroM edible CHICAGO We’ve been conditioned to read labels at the grocery store, but did you know that it is also very important to read the labels of the seed packets you buy? In a time when the marketing spin from corporations selling genetically modified seed often portrays beautiful fields of corn and the “home town farmers” who grow it, if you read between the lines, you will see what some are really selling—seeds with bio-toxins, considered a genetically modified organism. New reports also state that there is a danger that pests are becoming resistant to GMO corn. In “A Kernel of Truth: Where Do Your Seeds Come From?” learn why many farmers and scientists say protecting the biodiversity of non-GMO seed stock is vital to us all. Also read about a father-daughter farm team working to expand the horizon of organic grain in Illinois. The Breslins are doing their part to revive heirloom wheat. We’ll also show you a good way to put their organic flour to good use. In “Cooking with the Seasons” learn how to make lasagna noodles in your own kitchen. We give it to you step by step or watch the “how to” video at! Or bake some incredible cheese scones after you read about “The Road Well Traveled” and the Dong family’s personal journey to the recently opened Kingsbury Street Cafe. If your winter cravings include artisanal chocolate or a hot toddy, we’ve got you covered. Winter is a time to simultaneously slow down and catch up. We hope you’ll be able to do both with this issue of edible CHICAGO. Read on…

WEB DESIGN Jennifer Cliff + Mary Ogle


CONTRIBUTORS Dana Benigno + Terra Brockman + Ann Flood Amelia Levin + RJ Liscum + Susan Oh Barbara Revsine + Monica Kass Rogers Anne Spiselman

PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Fisher + Grant Kessler


ADVERTISING SALES Jeannie Boutelle: Donna Schauer:


Edible Chicago 159 N. Marion St., #306, Oak Park, IL 60301 Phone: 708.386.6781 | Fax: 708.221.6756 Edible Chicago ® is published seasonally—four times per year—by Sweet Pea Media LLC/dba Edible Chicago. We are an advertiser and subscriber supported publication, locally and independently owned and operated and a member of Edible Communities, Inc. Distribution is throughout Chicagoland and by subscription for $28.00 per year. ©2012 All Rights Reserved.

to edible CHICAGO and have pristine copies delivered right to your recipient’s door. Subscribe for yourself, or as a thoughtful gift to someone you love. It’s a gift that will last all year long. Subscribe online at, or send a $28 check to: 159 n. Marion St., #306, Oak Pak, IL 60301

edible chicago | Winter 2012

ART DIRECTOR Marianna Delinck Manley




Debra Criche Mell + Kathleen Sheehan

Photo © Vesna Cvorovic |

Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know.

We put the in the

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Locally Grown Fruits and Vegetables, Local Grass-Fed, Grain-Raised Meats, Flour Mixes, Free Range Eggs, Local Cheeses, Baked Goods and MORE !

SATURDAYS 9 am–1 pm

November – May

Geneva Green Market 27 N. Bennett Street Geneva, IL 60134




Worth Noting

SLOW WINE LAUNCHES NEW 2012 WINE GUIDE AT SPECIAL TASTING EVENT In this fast paced world, it’s not often we get a chance to slow down and appreciate time-held food and drink traditions. Chicago has an opportunity to commune with old world wine-makers who are committed to environmental and ethical practices to produce quality, economical wines based upon Slow Food International values. Slow Food, a global movement began more than 20 years ago in Italy, strives to preserve traditional, regional cuisine while encouraging sustainable farming practices. With over 100,000 members within 450 local and regional chapters around the world, the Slow Food movement promotes local artisans, local farmers and local flavors. This year, Slow Food International is launching its first-ever comprehensive wine guide Slow Wine 2012, translated in English. The innovative guide lists an abundance of more than 200 Italian wine producers that practice sustainability in line with the Slow Food philosophy. The publishers conducted extensive 4

edible chicago | Winter 2012

interviews and visits to thousands of vineyards and cellars to determine the merit of the wines. The guide features a symbol-based wine classification system that rates the wines as biodynamic, organic, eco-friendly, and of good value and quality. Slow Wine, affiliated with Slow Food, is featuring the guide along with 45 Italian producers and more than 100 wines. All represent the Slow Food values during special walk-around tasting events in select U.S. cities. Chicago’s tasting event, hosted by Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago, will take place on Thursday, February 2, at Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Admission is $35 and includes a copy of the guide. Slow Food USA members receive a discounted price of $30. Tickets can be purchased online at The English edition of Slow Wine has also been published in digital format for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and is available from iTunes.

Photo © Igor Dutina |

Support local, organic agriculture and food for those less fortunate. We donate at least 2% of our fresh produce to Chicago area pantries for those in need.

Come to the Table in 2012! Join us for our PreSERVE garden project, book club, farm dinners and other activities. Details at:

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Cooking with the Seasons by Dana Benigno


Made Easy in Your Kitchen

This recipe is inspired by traditional lasagna I learned to make while a student at the Italian Culinary Institute outside Venice, Italy. Prior to my three-week trip, the only lasagna I knew was made with prepared (boxed) noodles and layered with cheese. I never knew traditional lasagna in Italy is made by layering béchamel, a rich cream sauce, with thick, tangy bolognese sauce. It contains little or no cheese. The béchamel, when paired with the bolognese, makes thick layers of cheese unnecessary. I like a little cheese in my lasagna, so I added some parmesan to the béchamel sauce to give it a cheesy flavor. In Italy, the chefs use only fresh pasta. Making fresh noodles is a labor of love and it takes some practice to achieve uniform results. To make fresh pasta for lasagna, the dough needs to be rolled as thin as possible. A uniform thickness is preferred, but if your results aren’t perfect, [who me?] I find the slight imperfections make it even more rustic and uniquely homemade. My basic pasta dough recipe comes from a very old copy of Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook published in 1974. I found it in 6

edible chicago | Winter 2012

a thrift store about ten years ago and just had to have it. The book is full of great details and colorful descriptions, which to me, makes Marcella the Italian “Julia Child”. Her book has become my “go to” source for basic dough or classic Italian cooking. Marcella’s writing style is casual and familiar so it feels like I have an Italian Nana coaching me while I am cooking. She evens scolds a bit—“Lasagna is never, but simply never, made with anything but homemade pasta!” I most heartily agree! ec

During the winter months, Dana Benigno hunkers down in her kitchen trying new dishes and dreaming of what to plant in her garden when spring rolls around. She is also the Executive Director of Green City Market and is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago magazine. For a vIDEO INStruCtION on how to make fresh, easy lasagna noodles with Dana Benigno, go to Photo © irabel8 |

At Montalbano Farms, we grow only the best tasting, freshest vegetables and herbs for our customers. Join our CSA to receive fresh produce from our farm all summer. Available at the Logan Square and Glenwood Sunday markets and other Chicago area sites.

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Spinach Lasagna with Homemade For the Noodles Noodles and Parmesan Béchamel Sauce Serves 8 (plus leftovers) 6 whole eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

I love the combination of spinach, béchamel and tomato sauce in lasagna (spinach frozen last summer or store bought works perfectly). You may layer your lasagna with whatever vegetables you like. Using roasted squash with cooked Swiss chard or kale and a salty cheese such as feta is delicious! I use the pasta raw in this dish and make sure my tomato sauce is on the thin side to allow enough liquid to cook the pasta, which absorbs all the flavors while cooking. This recipe will make a large casserole or 9 x 13 inch dish, which makes it perfect for feeding a crowd.

For the Filling 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, minced 4 cups cooked chopped spinach Salt and fresh ground pepper 1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until it is hot.

1. Make a mound of the flour on a clean dry surface such as your countertop. 2. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs into the well. Using a fork, begin “scrambling” the eggs until they are yellow and combined. 3. Begin working small bits of the flour into the egg mixture as you continue to stir the eggs. Keep incorporating the flour until the dough has come together. Knead it a few times with your hand and set aside. 4. Clean the counter top and wash and dry your hands. Dust the clean work surface with additional flour and begin kneading the pasta dough until it is smooth and elastic about 8 to 10 minutes. You should have a relatively uniform ball of dough. Place the ball of dough on a plate and cover with a bowl turned upside down. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling. tip: Sometimes the moisture content in the flour varies so if the dough is very dry and not binding together add an additional egg. recipe will make 2 pounds of pasta. For 1 pound, cut recipe in half.

2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.


edible chicago | Winter 2012

Photos: Béchamel Sauce © Viktor1 | Lasagna © irabel8 |

Photos by RJ Liscum

Easy Basic Tom ato Sauce 2, 24-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes

The sauce should be slightly thick with the consistency of thick cream. 4. Stir in the parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

4 whole cloves of garlic 4 sprigs of rosemary 4 tablespoons of olive oil 3 teaspoons of sugar

tip: For smooth béchamel sauce never add very cold or very hot milk to the pan. Cold milk will cause the butter to solidify causing lumps and hot water will cook the flour instantly creating small lumps. room temperature is best.

2 tablespoons kosher salt (or more to taste) Fresh ground pepper

Assemble the Lasagna

1. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook for

When you are ready to assemble the lasagna have all of the

approximately 1 hour. 2. remove the rosemary stems, puree the mixture with a handheld blender. Taste and add seasoning as needed.

fillings plus the sauce ready and near your baking dish. 1. Cut the pasta dough into 2 pieces and then flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Continue rolling the dough into a large sheet of pasta about ⅛ of an inch thick. Using a knife,

Parmesan Béchamel Sauce 6 tablespoons butter 6 tablespoons flour

one big sheet or cut individual strips if you like. 2. Lightly brush your casserole or baking dish with olive oil. Add a small amount of sauce to the bottom of the dish. Next, add a layer of noodles, then a little sauce, then a thin

3½ cups whole milk, slightly warm or room temperature

layer of spinach. Ladle the parmesan béchamel over the

¼ teaspoon salt

spinach. It is not necessary to cover the whole layer with

½ cup grated parmesan cheese + more for top of the lasagna 1. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles wet sand. 2. Begin stirring in the milk whisking constantly to avoid lumps.


trim the dough to fit the bottom of your pan. You can use

the béchamel sauce, just lightly cross the sauce over the spinach. Next spoon some of the tomato sauce over the béchamel. Continue to layer the lasagna until your dish is full. I usually have 3 to 4 layers. remember to reserve a little spinach, tomato and béchamel sauces for the top layer. Finish with a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

3. When the milk has been combined into the flour and

3. once your lasagna is complete, bake in a 375°F oven 35 to

butter mixture, add salt and bring the mixture to a simmer.

45 minutes until bubbling. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

edible chicago | Winter 2012

Photo © Anna Hoychuk |

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edible chicago | Winter 2012

WINtEr FarMErS MarKEtS ChICaGO GrEEN CItY MarKEt Peggy notebaert nature Museum 2430 n. Cannon Dr., Chicago Saturday: 8aM-1PM EvaNStON FarMErS MarKEtS Ecology Center Market 2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston Saturday: 9aM-1PM FaIth IN PLaCE WINtEr MarKEt Various city and suburban locations throughout winter. 312-733-4640 or visit GENEva GrEEN MarKEt 27 n. Bennett St., Geneva Saturday: 9aM-1PM GLENWOOD WINtEr MarKEt 6962 n. Glenwood ave., Chicago. January 8, February 12, March 11, april 1, May 6, May 20: 9aM-2PM hErItaGE PraIrIE MarKEt 2n308 Brundige rd., (Greenhouse) Elburn Saturday: 9aM-1PM LOGaN SQuarE FarMErS MarKEt Congress Theater 2135 n. Milwaukee ave., Chicago Sunday: 10aM-2PM

Photo Š Bernd Juergens |

edible Winter 2012 Events FEBrUarY 2 Slow Wine Tasting Event Join Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago as they host the first ever Slow Wine wine tasting event to also promote the first Slow Wine Guide 2012. The event will feature over 45 Italian sustainable wine producers and 100 wines. Spiaggia, 6-8:30PM. Spaggia 860 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Tickets available online at:

Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Bacon Recipe adapted from Executive Chef

David DiGregorio, Osteria Via Stato. Serves 4.

FEBrUarY 11, 12 Logan Square Kitchen Valentine’s Day Pastry Market Meet and shop Chicago’s best artisan confectioners, pastry chefs and more. 10AM-3PM. Logan Square Kitchen, 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. rSVP requested at:

3 gallons water 2 pounds Brussels sprouts 1 cup kosher salt Bring large pot with 3 gallons of water to a roiling boil with kosher salt. Trim stem end of Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Add to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, depending on size. Drain and remove to a clean dry sheet pan, do not rinse in water. Allow to cool and store in strainer.

FEBrUarY 29 Edible Chicago and Brooklyn Brewery The Quarterly Carousal: A celebration of beer, food and stories. Pick up the latest Edible, taste Brooklyn Brewery’s latest release beer and delicious local food tastings provided by Scrumptious Pantry and JDY Gourmet. rSVP to:

to Make the Dish:

MarCh 3, 4 anD MarCh 10, 11 The national Maple Syrup Festival

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Nationwide baking contest, tastings, music, food and a

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

farm tour. Burton’s Maplewood Farm, Medora, IN.

¼ cup Slagel slab bacon, ¼-inch diced and rendered

More information:

3 tablespoons chicken broth 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano cheese Heat oil in large sauté pan with butter until butter begins to foam. Add Brussels sprouts, browning on cut side. When browned, add bacon and toss together. Add chicken broth, cooking briefly. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmigiano on top. remove from the oven and let stand until warm before serving.

MarCh 15, 16 7th annual Food Policy Summit UIC Forum, 725 W. roosevelt rd., Chicago More information:

MarCh 15, 16, 17 Good Food Festival & Conference The Midwest’s Premier Good Food Event in its 7th year. Trade show, Financing Fair for Farmers and Food Businesses, Workshops, Tastings and much more. UIC Forum, 725 W. roosevelt rd.,Chicago. For tickets and general information:

aPrIL 28 Second annual Pastoral artisan Producer Festival Meet cheesemakers and taste some of the best cheeses, wines, beer and more. Free event: 11AM-3PM. Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago.

Photo © shtukicrew |


Incredibly Edible by anne Spiselman

tuShIYa SWEETS & TrEATS Ramona S. Thomas has been baking for family and friends since graduate school, but a trip to Paris in 2009 inspired the PhD, now 41, to leave her job and 13-year career in education philanthropy to start Tushiya Sweets & Treats early last year. In the City of Light, her quest for the best pain au chocolat took her to a different patisserie every day (her favorite was Ladurée Royale). That experience, coupled with watching Meryl Streep’s character in Complicated make croissants, prompted her to sign-up for the Introduction to French Pastry course for food enthusiasts at The French Pastry School of Chicago. “It was my first time in a commercial kitchen,” she recalls. “I was so excited and felt so at home, I knew that was where I wanted to spend more time.” A Wilton School summer class in cake decorating (known for its high end elaborate designs) followed and soon, Thomas was working on a business plan. “From the beginning, I saw my market niche as people who loved sweets but cared about what they put in their bodies,” she says. “That meant making everything from scratch with organic and/or all-natural ingredients that were as close to their original form as possible: no hydrogenated oil, no corn syrup, no artificial colorings, nothing people had to look up on Wikipedia.” She had already trade-marked the name, “tushiya” which means “sound wisdom,” in Hebrew and Thomas plans to run her business using the same philosophy.

Ramona S. Thomas


edible chicago | Winter 2012

In November of 2010, Thomas received her certification in food safety management and met with the owner of the Logan Square Kitchen, who walked her through the process of getting a business license. She obtained her license in January 2011. At about the same time, she also decided to add chocolates to her repertoire. So, she enrolled in a three-day professional course at the famed Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago to learn how to work with chocolate. She also completed the chocolatier program online with the Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts and Photos courtesy of p{o} stma photography

graduated with honors last spring. Tushiya, with its reputation for baked goods—carrot cake, cupcakes and brownies are the best sellers—debuted handmade chocolate truffles at a fundraiser last May. “I donated two-piece truffle boxes to a few events to get the word out, and the response was tremendous,” Thomas says. “The feedback also helped me fine-tune the product.” After testing quite a few brands of chocolate, Thomas settled on Belgian Callebaut for its creamy smoothness and mild taste. The ganache used on the 12 to15 different kinds of truffles is made from a blend of dark and milk chocolates to achieve the desired flavor and viscosity. Hazelnut pralines (made with toasted chopped hazelnuts, sugar, hazelnut liqueur, unsalted butter, vanilla bean, and chocolate) and classic dark chocolate truffles are her best sellers. They are all hand-dipped in dark or milk chocolate. New this winter is a mangopomegranate bonbon with two ganaches. One layer is mango-white chocolate and the other is pomegranate with a milk-dark chocolate blend. Both layers are enrobed in dark chocolate.

“ From the beginning, I saw my market niche as people who loved sweets but cared about what they put in their bodies.” —Ramona S. Thomas

Thomas has also been crafting molded chocolate bonbons filled with gianduja (a blend of nuts, sugar and chocolates), plain or flavored caramels, and a variety of buttercreams (jam/preserves, butter, chocolate). The chocolate menu changes—she’s dreaming up new combinations on a regular basis. “I’m always experimenting and have about 30 recipes in my head, most of them a twist on the fairly traditional and not really far out (like bacon chocolate)” Thomas says. “I’d like to test a new recipe every day, but having time is my biggest challenge.” Her product line also includes crunch bars (very popular almond buttercrunch and pecan toffee crunch) and nut and fruit bars. She currently buys ingredients—organic cream, honey and preserves, unbleached flour, unsalted butter—in bulk, from places like Restaurant Depot. However, she recently tried passion fruit preserves from Rare Bird Preserves in Oak Park for a buttercream and would like to use other local products if it can be cost effective.



10:36:41 AM

Thomas has been working out of Logan Square Kitchen and says she loves it. She plans to supplement her friends’ volunteer help with her own interns who will assist her with the prep work and packaging. Her longer-term goal is to expand and rent her own space, eventually opening a retail store in the South Loop. “Then I’ll be able to make the highly perishable, labor-intensive pain au chocolat that I only bake for my Mom,” she says. She quickly adds: “Seeing the enjoyment people get from my pastries and chocolates is a huge reward. And I save all their wonderful email comments.” C





Tushiya Sweets & Treats are available online at www. or by calling 773-234-7141. Truffles and bonbons are $4 for a 2-piece box. Minimum order is 20 boxes and requires two weeks’ notice. Plain brownies and standard-size cupcakes are $30 a dozen. Thomas is currently marketing her pastries and candies to restaurants and retail stores, and she’ ll be at the Logan Square Pastry Market on Feb. 12, with her new, layered ganaches and more. ec




Whenever there’s an assignment that involves sweets, anne Spiselman snaps it up. Throw in the words “Paris” and “patisserie” and it becomes a dream job. She is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago.

T HE SI GNAT UR E R OOM AT T HE 95 T H 8 7 5 N . M I C H I G A N AV E N U E 312 787 9596


From the Good Earth by Monica Kass rogers

Expanding the Horizon of Illinois Grain: BrESLIn FarMS Father-daughter farmers John and Molly Breslin had plenty of farming in their backgrounds, but didn’t at first choose farming as a career. Both John and his wife Peg (Molly’s mom) worked as lawyers—Peg as a Third District Appellate Court judge before John retired to become a jack-of-all-trades, vegetable gardener and fly-casting instructor. Once college-age, Molly headed off to the University of California in Berkeley to study linguistics. But working as kitchen manager for the Berkeley Student Co-op there, Molly found she really enjoyed her interactions with the farmers and organic growers she sourced from for the co-op. Those farmers taught Molly about organic and biodynamic practices, seed saving and more. That led her to work for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Green Youth Farm and for Earth First Farms, selling organic apples. While John’s avocation as a vegetable gardener blossomed, Molly’s dreams of bettering the world through organic farming were taking root. So when Peg’s farmer father had left her 87 acres of prime 16

edible chicago | Winter 2012

farmland in Ottawa, Illinois, Molly and her dad combined forces, enthusiasm and energy and started Breslin Farms on the land the family inherited. When John and Molly took serious stock of the rural Northern Illinois acreage they planned to transition from conventional to organic row crops, the big question was what to grow. Their paired experience had mostly been with vegetables. But during the Stateline Farm Beginnings class they took through Angelic Organics Learning Center, instructors encouraged John and Molly to figure out what products were missing in local markets. “So,” says Molly “we looked around at the CSAs, and Chicago-area farmers markets and determined that you could buy vegetables, meats, cheeses—just about anything, with the exception of locally-grown grains and beans.” Setting out to fill that gap seemed simple enough. But after three Photo © Protasov A&N |

years of hard work, the Breslins have learned the process of growing heirloom beans and food-grade grains in Illinois is fraught with challenge and complexity. Transitioning a farm from conventional to organic practices is in itself difficult. “When we took over, the soil was rock hard,” says Molly. “Because of that, a huge portion of our efforts has had to go into rebuilding and rehabbing the soil toward a living, balanced and healthy ecosystem, above and below ground.” Additionally, the infrastructure for processing food-grade grain in Illinois just isn’t there. “There was a time when people grew a much wider variety of foodgrade grains here, and there was a mill in just about every town,” says Molly. “But that’s all long gone.” As a result, Molly and John’s first crop of hard red winter wheat (best for baking bread) which they harvested last July created a sensation in the neighborhood. “People in neighboring farms would look out and see this glorious acreage of waving, golden winter wheat and say, ‘What is that?’ They’ve grown so used to everything around here being sown in corn, the wheat was a real novelty,” Molly recalls. Figuring out how to store and mill the wheat was a challenge. “We realized, wow, we have to have a way to clean and store and move the grain all at the food-grade level, which is significantly different than if you’re growing for animal feed or to make ethanol,” says Molly. The closest source the Breslins could find for grinding the grain into flour was 100 miles away at the Rogers Creek Gristmill in Milledgeville, Illinois. Marketing the product was yet another hurdle. Because the cost of milling the grain exceeds the actual wholesale cost of the grain itself, the finished flour is a bit pricey for commercial bakeries. Weather is a constant concern, more so than for corn farmers who can replant if bad weather hits early enough in the season. The Breslins raise full-season crops—so if one fails, there isn’t an opportunity to plant a second one. “Wheat is fragile, particularly susceptible to wind and hail, so we worry about it all the time—every thunderstorm has us wringing our hands and crossing our fingers,” they say. But they balance that stress with the positive aspects of their job. “Watching things grow is really gratifying, but I also enjoy interacting with people and watching them get super

MEEt thE BrESLINS at thE GOOD FOOD FEStIvaL March 17 at UIC Pavillion, Chicago Illinois

“ I have never heard anything quite like the sound of the breeze rustling through acres and acres of papery wheat, except maybe the ocean.” — Molly Breslin

Photos: Molly Breslin, courtesy of Molly Breslin. Wheat © viahuta |


excited about closing the local food loop,” says Molly. Once the wheat turns ripe and golden in midsummer, Molly finds it particularly alluring. “It stands out beautifully against the green of the surrounding crops, but also because of the sound. I have never heard anything quite like the sound of the breeze rustling through acres and acres of papery wheat, except maybe the ocean.” John’s favorite sight is “driving through the waving wheat and seeing the harvested grains fill up in the bin behind me,” he says.

From Wheat to Flour as Told by the Breslins We harvested the wheat in July and trucked it to Kaneville, Illinois to have it cleaned. After cleaning, it was placed in a combination of 50-pound bags and large plastic hoppers, and then we trucked it back to Minooka, Illinois to a cold storage facility where we pay by the pallet/month to keep it cold and fresh. Cold storage is necessary because the germ and bran contain essential oils that can go rancid, ruining the product for human consumption. When we have orders placed for flour, or when we run out of our stock, Molly puts 6 bags (300 pounds) of wheat berries in the back of her little silver Prius and drives it to Milledgeville, Illinois (just north of Dixon). She drops it off with roger, at roger’s Creek Grist Mill. He mills it over the weekend (he works another job during the week), and she picks it up a few days later. When we are milling to order, our goal is to get our flour to the customer within 7 days of milling.

The father-daughter team is also looking forward. The recent purchase of their first combine made mechanized planting and harvesting a possibility for the first time this year, drastically reducing labor. They’ve also started researching and experimenting with growing rye, barley, and older, non-hybridized wheat varieties. “We’re especially hopeful about that wheat,” says John. They are not only increasing their yield with new varieties, they are also expanding the horizon for organic grain grown in Illinois. Currently, the Breslins sell whole wheat flour, five kinds of heirloom beans and hard, red, winter wheat berries through their website, and local Chicago outlets including Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square, Green Grocer Chicago in Ukrainian Village, and Open Produce in Hyde Park. ec

Monica Kass rogers is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago. When she is not on assignment, she is busy sleuthing the origins of and restoring forgotten recipes on her website

John Breslin

Since the weather has gotten cooler, we can now drop off 6 new bags when we pick up a batch of freshly-milled flour. roger stores the wheat at the mill for us until the next batch is needed, and we just call him to ask him to mill it—thereby saving a bunch of driving. roger’s standard whole wheat flour, which he tells us is consistent with the industry standard, has about 50% of the bran sifted out of it. This process is called “bolting.” When selling our flour at the Green City Market during the Locavore Challenge, we offered both “bolted” (basically pre-sifted) and “unbolted” (completely whole grain) flour. We found that most people who visited our stand were interested in the complete whole grain, and that we had a hard time selling the bran on its own. As a result, we now sell unbolted flour as our standard “whole wheat flour” and are only offering bolted flour to customers who want to purchase it on a large scale. We think it has a richer, nuttier taste—probably because it has been well-cared for, kept cool, even during the milling process so that the germ doesn’t get rancid. 18

edible chicago | Winter 2012

Photos: Bread and flour © Marco Mayer | John Breslin, courtesy of Molly Breslin

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Catch Us at the Good Food Festival, March 16, 17


the Lake Effect

The Dong family: Monique and Rose Duong with Hoa Dong

Story by Susan Oh Photographs by Dan Fisher

a road Well Traveled to

KINGSBurY StrEEt CaFé In many ways, Kingsbury Street Café is that perfect modern American café: a minimalist space of air and light, adorned with original abstracts by local artists and a menu of classic comforts with a signature, healthy twist. Look deeper—into the heart of the kitchen—and the gleaming 30 year old Hobart industrial mixers and antique chocolate molds hint at the Café’s storied past. The recently opened Café is only the latest incarnation of one family’s American dream that spans decades and across the Pacific Ocean, to the Fall of Saigon. The Dong family, headed by matriarch and baker Hoa, and her two daughters, Rose and Monique, is the force behind the Kingsbury Street Café, a culmination of 30 years of a refugee family working together to survive, thrive and live their passion for good food. Their offerings, such as made from scratch lemon pancakes are ethereal yet custardlike, with fresh blueberries, lemon curd and zest and, to put it over the top, crème anglaise. The veggie burgers made of 20

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bulgar wheat, beets and trio of peppers, are carefully crafted to the delight of patrons. Though the Café is only a few months old, long-time foodies may have experienced the family’s elaborate creations before. The Dong women were behind some of Chicago’s most lauded treats over the past few decades, first with legendary cake designs for Woodridge-based Wilton (a high end baking supplies company and cake decorating school) in the late 1970s, then award-winning croissants and baked goods through the wholesale bakery, Work of Art, and Starbuck’s best-selling Big Dipper donut in 2000. Rose Duong, 40, is the calm and shrewd business head of the family who, through a twist of fate, landed a catering stint with Harpo Studios supplying the legendary Green Rooms with food. She parlayed the demanding part-time job into running the employee café, feeding Oprah Winfrey’s staff for five years before it closed last year.

“We were some of the best fed employees on the planet. Rose took the food service to another level,” says Becky Liscum, a former Harpo senior field producer. “Whenever I had friends coming to the show, I would take them across the street for Rose’s lunches because they were something special.” “One of the best things about working for Oprah was the Harpo café,” says long-time employee Jim Kelley, a co-producer of the Oprah Show who ate at the café nearly daily. “Every two weeks was Mexican day and the line up would be around the corner,” he says. He raved about the puff pastry, fluffy yet substantial, and filled with savory veggies or meats. The legendary sandwich bar, lined with freshly roasted, free-range turkey and chicken, local cheeses and Chef Hoa’s housebaked breads, was inspired from the staff canteen at the Hearst Corporation in New York City where Ms. Winfrey sent Rose to get ideas before she took over the staff food service. Kelley says, “I was so happy to hear

the Shift to Sustainability The Harpo employee café, with rose Duong at the helm, began its transition to free-range and sustainable food options in the spring of 2008, following The Oprah Winfrey Show episode Do You Know Where Your Meat Comes From? She says, “The show taught me so much about how poorly we treat animals and then eat food that’s been poorly handled. We have to change our eating habits and diet.” Following the show, rose incorporated free-range eggs and naturally raised meats. “We started changing to local vendors and local farmers. We found a lot of our produce from City Farm and our local farmers markets,” she says. Mindful menus with sustainable food choices were one thing, but going vegan was a whole other level. In January 2011, many staff members of Harpo Studios, along with millions of viewers took The Oprah Winfrey Show’s Vegan Challenge when participants were asked to take on a strictly vegan diet for one week. Hard core dairy and meat loving staff members gave up the cream in their coffee, the butter on their bagel, the meat on their plate and replaced them with substitutes…all vegan. For seven days. “By the third day, people were getting agitated,” rose recalls with a giggle. The challenge in the kitchen became immense—making two hot vegan dishes a day, plus sides, soups, salad bar and dessert in the Harpo Café, especially substituting stock ingredients like butter, honey and cheese. “I was surprised to find vegan butter delicious,” says rose, adding


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“I was brought up that if you have chocolate, have good chocolate; butter over margarine.” For Mexican themed days, there were vegan chorizo sausage and vegan chicken, soy-based ingredients she found unexpectedly flavorful. rose researched and talked to many purveyors about product. She’d been familiar with inventory at Whole Foods, but working on the Vegan Challenge opened her eyes to another culinary world. rose points out the difference in our attitude to food in North America compared to elsewhere in the world. In many other countries, people shop for food by the ingredient in small specialty shops, whereas in North America we have monolithic warehouses. The quality of food isn’t made a priority. “They shop for the food, whereas we shop for convenience,” she says. After the Vegan Challenge aired, rose continued to offer vegan options daily at the Harpo Café and sourced ingredients for Meatless Mondays. At the Kingsbury Street Café, the scale of a family restaurant doesn’t always make it possible to stock only locallygrown, sustainable produce, but they do what’s possible which is a significant portion of the pantry and offer vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, like the Vegetable Wrap—stir fried veggies & tofu wrapped in rice paper— along with Vegan Mahi Tuna and Quinoa Porridge. In the home, rose and her family added more fresh vegetables to their diet, ate less meat and used more organics. But that part was, well, natural and easy, she says. “If it’s naturally raised and organic, the quality and taste is so good that there’s no going back,” she says.

she’d opened this restaurant.” Others seem to think so, too. “So much flavor, so much mouth party... so much, so much!” raved one recent Kingsbury Street Café customer in an online review of the lean pork belly bahn mi sandwich with spicy mayo on a house-baked baguette. Another review site reads, “Terrific brunch menu with excellent coffee; delightful pastries. Cheese scone sublime…” You could say service through sustenance is a family tradition with the Dongs. In 1975, as Saigon fell, Hoa Dong said goodbye to her elderly mother who insisted on remaining behind and fled with her two young daughters and younger sister. Her mother, a skilled baker, pressed her prized Sunbeam hand-held mixers in Hoa’s hands, telling her that no matter what happened, she could always take care of her family by baking something good to eat. “But we lost everything when we climbed the wall to get to a helicopter,” says Hoa, the white-haired matriarch with tiny, deft hands. For years, Rose and Monique recalled nothing of that day or Vietnam except flashes of scenes from their childhood. They bounced around refugee camps in Guam and then Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, from where they would make their way to Pound Ridge, New York, the home of Captain Robert Blair who knew Hoa’s family in Vietnam and sponsored them to come to the United States. Life in the U.S. was safe but alien. “We’d walk the aisles of the supermarket and there was nothing we recognized as food,” says Rose, adding, “No produce or spices. The only rice was Uncle Ben’s.” Hoa, who didn’t feel she had any useful skills, fell back into baking after donations to a bake sale drew raves. But back in the 1970s, only men worked the bakeries and she couldn’t find meaningful work no matter where they went, from White Plains, New York, to Stamford, Connecticut. She’d go into each bakery looking for work with a gorgeously decorated cake in hand. “They’d look at the cake, they’d look at me and then back at the cake,” recalls Hoa, adding, “They just couldn’t believe I’d made such a

Left: The Dong Family, 1974, in Binh Duong, Vietnam, before the fall of Saigon Below: Rose with her Aunt Susie at a resettlement center in Fort Chaffee, AK

thing.” She eventually found work at a German bakery in Greenwich, Connecticut. A weeklong cake decorating course held by Wilton took Hoa and the girls to Chicago in 1976. By the end of the week, Norman Wilton himself hired Hoa as one of four cake designers published in its famed annuals that advanced elaborate designs. Hoa began teaching local immigrant Vietnamese women how to bake and decorate cakes out of a cake supplies store on Lincoln Avenue. After a fire destroyed the store, nine year-old Rose said to her mother, “Why don’t you open a bakery?” Work of Art bakery was born on Diversey and Clark, supplying to such customers as Neiman Marcus and Jewel for the next ten years. Its feather-light yet tender croissants would be named “Chicago’s Best” in a blind taste test by the Chicago Tribune in 1983. When high rents forced them to relocate to a cheaper venue on Halsted near the Ogden bridge, they became pioneers of the area notorious for the Cabrini Green housing projects. Starbucks came calling in 2000 but Hoa didn’t want to make just any old donut and came up with a giant buttermilk donut they called the Big Dipper. Soon, Starbucks stores throughout the Midwest, from St. Louis to Indiana and Missouri, all wanted the best-selling donut. “We worked 20 hours a day,” says Monique, thin and stylish in head-to-toe black, who designed the interior of the Café and whose artwork graces some of the Café’s walls, adding, “I’d wake up in a panic, thinking, I’ve got to go make donuts.” When they had just about had enough of the wholesaling business, Rose found out from a local grocer that Harpo Studios was looking for a caterer. She went and introduced herself and soon her family would supply the studio with baked goods twice daily and within five years, run the whole canteen. “So many people were on a diet, they didn’t eat a lot of dessert,” says Photos courtesy of Chef Rose Duong


Kingsbury Street Café Cheddar Cheese Scone

Warm Breakfast Quinoa Porridge

Recipe by Chef Hoa Dong. Makes 20

2 cups water

5 cups King Arthur pastry flour 3 tablespoons baking powder ¼ cup sugar ¼ teaspoon sea salt 6 ounces organic butter (cut into cubes) 2 egg yolks 1½ cups organic milk ¾ pound shredded cheddar cheese 1 egg, beaten 1. Combine all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add butter and mix for 3-4 minutes. Add yolks and pour milk into mixture to develop into gluten form. 2. Place dough on a working table and pat down into ¼ inch thick rectangle. 3. Sprinkle cheddar cheese evenly on top of dough and cut into triangle wedges with a sharp knife. Transfer to baking sheet lined with silpat, leaving space between each wedge.

Recipe from Kingsbury Street Café. Serves 2

1 small cinnamon stick 1 cup organic red quinoa (rinse thoroughly) 2 tablespoons agave nectar (plus more for serving) 2 tablespoons walnuts 1 tablespoon cranberries 1 tablespoon dried apricots 3 tablespoons flax seeds 1. Bring water and cinnamon stick to a boil in a small saucepan. 2. Add quinoa and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until ¾ of the water has been absorbed. 3. Stir in agave nectar. Cook covered until almost all the water has been absorbed. Discard cinnamon stick and transfer into small bowls. 4. Top with walnuts, cranberries, apricots, agave nectar and flax seeds. *Option: substitute milk or almond milk in place of water for taste preference.

4. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Rose, “so the people at Harpo didn’t know we had an award-winning bakery.”

this place,” says Rose, a smile spreading across her face. It’s a smile that knows it’s home.

Both Rose and Monique, honor students, grew up in Chicago. Rose graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago and Monique, the School of the Art Institute. The sisters met, dated and married their respective college sweethearts and started their own families. All throughout, they worked together, both in the kitchen and at home.

Full disclosure: Edible Chicago co-editor Becky Liscum was a Harpo employee for 15 years.

“We went through so much hardship, with our mother raising us on her own,” says Rose, “We wanted to help out because that’s just what we do.” Hoa, now in her 60s, still wakes daily at 3:30am to bake the day’s goods while Rose joins her at the Café later in the morning around 8:30. Monique is in charge of décor and elaborate and artistic decorations of the baked goods, such as the handmade, life-like sugar lilies laid out in rows and rows one afternoon. They bicker goodnaturedly, contradicting each other, telling stories and finishing sentences, as families do, especially one that has worked together for 30 years to create a common dream. “We have our heart and soul in 24

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Editor’s note: According to family tradition in Viet Nam, after marrying, the women keep their maiden names and the children take their father’s last name. Rose and Monique have their father’s name, Duong, while their mother Hoa has her father’s last name, Dong. But, according to Rose, they consider themselves the Dong family. ec

Susan Oh is a Chicago-based writer who is learning to bake when she isn’t sharpening her writing pencils. She is a recent Scholar to the Wesleyan University Writers Conference, an Asian American Journalists Association’s Knight-Poynter Fellow and Ford Foundation Fellow. Exclusive VIDEO with Chef Rose Duong on

ChicagoGROWS by amelia Levin

Schoolyard Garden =

IMPrOvED tESt SCOrES Kids playing in gardens. Science lessons taught by teachers with gardening tools and seeds. Higher test scores. Smiles. Laughter. Dirt. Community. Greenery emerging from concrete. And vegetables. Lots of vegetables. A flourishing garden at an urban, public school is something many of us have only dreamt about. But in some Chicago neighborhoods, it could become a reality as early as this spring. A Colorado organization started by two restaurateurs is looking to expand its successful community program that brings edible gardens to blighted neighborhoods. The Kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, a longtime “farm-to-table” restaurant— before that was a common phrase—has ventured into philanthropy, giving back by building gardens in schools. Seven years and 52 Denver-area schools later, chefs and co-owners Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson decided to formally found The Kitchen Community as the restaurant’s philanthropic arm. With added funds and investments, the organization now plans to expand its school-based Learning Garden project to other parts of the country. First stop: Chicago. 26

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“We started exploring different cities and saw an enormous amount of enthusiasm for it, particularly in Chicago,” says Musk. He cites a multitude of benefits from the Colorado edible schoolyard project and he wants to replicate those results. “The data for these gardens is phenomenal. Studies from the American Dietetic Association have shown that sixth graders more than doubled their fruit and vegetable intake from about two servings to five a day, and other research shows the gardens improve test scores as well.” According to the Journal of The American Society for Horticultural Science, fifth grade students who participated in handson science lessons in a school garden scored 15 points higher on science tests on a 100 point scale than students who learn in a typical classroom. The gardens are also shown to improve math scores, Musk points out. Six Chicago schools were chosen to pilot the project, although the waiting list at one point grew to more than 30. Participating schools have seen remarkable success in the classroom but there is another pay off —it also beautifies school grounds, Musk says. Set up in a serpentine-like

structure, the modular gardens are built using a mixture of curved and straight raised beds that can be arranged to fit within the school’s existing blacktop or concrete space, ranging in size from as small as 500 square feet to up to 3,000 square feet. “These gardens are designed to be part of the playground to encourage spontaneous play,” Musk says. The raised feature helps prevent trampling, and each bed comes with its own fullyintegrated watering and drip system via underground piping connected to the property’s existing irrigation setup. It’s literally plug-in-and-grow. “These beds are designed to be ‘set it and forget it,’” Musk says. That’s a good thing, considering part of the project’s goal is to avoid adding more work to a teacher’s already busy day. Due to the self-irrigation systems and generally low maintenance requirements, one garden manager can comfortably oversee up to 10 gardens at once. The Kitchen Community will help recruit this manager and also the trainers needed to help the teachers develop lesson plans for the gardens. “We’ve found trainers who are Photo © paulphoto |

Creative Expression Because of the open nature of the garden, security and vandalism could, in theory, pose a concern. However, in reality, no such problems have occurred in the Denver school gardens, The Kitchen Community’s Kimbal Musk says, even in some of the roughest neighborhoods. “We found instances of school vandalism actually dropped across the school when we put the gardens in,” he says. It may be due to the calming nature of the school gardens and also the fact that students have pride in their creation, including artistic expression. Bed exteriors can be painted or decorated with signs indicating what’s being grown where. And shade structures can be added and customized by the students, further adding to a sense of ownership.

really passionate gardeners, and sometimes we’ve found other teachers who are passionate about teaching, but have learned about gardening. So what’s grown in these gardens? “Different types of vegetables, fruit, herbs—whatever the students and community decide,” Musk says. The students also get to decide where the harvested produce goes. Some of the bounty could be sold to the school’s cafeteria, while some could go to local restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets. Essentially, the experience becomes a business lesson. “It’s just as important to learn about the economics and math behind gardens and farming,” Musk says. During a cold and snowy winter the gardens go dormant but the learning continues inside the classroom where students learn about planting and sprouting seeds. Planting occurs in the spring, and during the summer the gardens open up to volunteers from the community who can come in and help manage their growth, Musk says. A Learning Garden can cost as much as

$50,000 to install and $10,000 per year in programming and maintenance. The first six Learning Gardens in Chicago will be 95% funded by The Kitchen Community, with the rest raised through school fundraisers. The organization also offers support to apply for grants that fund school gardens, which can pay for most of the school’s costs. There is also hope that aid from the city and local donors can also pick up some of the remaining cost. The response from the Chicago education community and the Mayor’s office already has been more than positive, Musk says. “People can see how these gardens may help reverse the unfortunate trend in obesity, let alone improve test scores.” When you calculate these benefits and multiply them across Chicago, the results can be positively exponential. ec

Amelia Levin is a chef, writer and editor with a passion for food and farm policy issues. A regular contributor to Edible Chicago, she covers stories on the streets of the urban jungle and along the back roads of the rural routes.


A Kernel of Truth:

WhErE DO YOur SEEDS COME FrOM? by Terra Brockman

Spring comes spring-loaded with hope. The first green leaves, the first warm sun on your shoulder, the first ecstatic birds greeting that sun—all make the heart sing with the possibilities of spring. But for gardeners and farmers, those hopes are surrounded by uncertainties: Will it rain enough? Or too much? Will the spring be too cold? Will the summer be too hot? Will the crops be damaged by high winds or a freak hailstorm? Will the first frost come too soon? Now there is one more uncertainty to add: Who owns the seeds your vegetables come from? Every vegetable you eat started with a seed, a miracle of life inside a hard overcoat. Before 1985, indeed, before the dawn of agriculture, no one owned the genetic material under that overcoat. Seeds were the original “open source” item—available to anyone who gathered them up to save or plant. But in 1980, all that changed. That year, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty that you could patent life forms—a human-made micro-organism created in a laboratory—just as you could patent a machine or widget manufactured in a factory. In ruling that genetic coding could be owned, the Supreme Court opened the doors to corporations (mostly pharmaceutical and chemical companies) wanting to own and manipulate the genetic material found in seeds. Their first targets were companies that owned commodity crop seeds, since that’s where the acreage and money are. But in the 2000s these corporations turned to “specialty” (fruit and vegetable) crops. In 2005, Monsanto inserted itself into family gardens when it bought the world’s largest vegetable seed company, Seminis. Seminis Seeds supplies thousands of varieties of seed to 28

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Burpee, Park Seed, Territorial, Johnny’s Seeds, and many others. A complete listing of vegetable varieties offered by Seminis (and owned by Monsanto) can be found on their website. This list includes many favorites of both home and commercial growers, including “Packman” broccoli and “Big Boy,” “Better Boy,” and “Super Marzano” tomatoes, varieties available at neighborhood garden centers. Then, in 2008 Monsanto purchased De Ruiter Seeds, one of the top vegetable breeders in the world. Now more than 55% of store-bought lettuce, 75% of U.S. tomatoes, and 85% of peppers pass through Monsanto’s fingers before they reach your mouth. This means a full 98% of all the world’s seeds are now owned by six companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Aventis, Mitsui, and Dow. John Swenson, a Chicago-area advocate for open-pollinated vegetables (and a seed-saver himself) believes big seed corporations have dangerous short and long-range objectives. Photo © Bogdan Wankowicz |

“Short range, of course, is profit. Long range, their objective is a monopoly of the seed business, forcing all those who grow plants to buy their increasingly harmful products.” University of Wisconsin plant breeder Dr. William F. Tracy concurs: “Placing the responsibility for the world’s crop germplasm and plant improvement in the hands of a few companies is bad public policy. The primary goal of private corporations is to make profit, and…this goal will be at odds with certain public needs.” Among those many “public needs” are the need for democratic access to seeds, the need to know the nature of the vegetables we buy and eat, and the need for more biodiversity. But concentrated corporate ownership of seeds has led to far less biodiversity in U.S. seed catalogs: in 1981 there were about 5,000 varieties commonly available, while today there are less than 500 varieties. Tom Stearns, founder of High Mowing Organic Seeds, laments, “What you have predominantly is somebody in a greenhouse or laboratory somewhere making judgment calls about where they think the greatest profit is for developing new varieties. Generally, they’re paying no attention to the nutritional, ecological and economic health of the people eating the varieties, the health of the farmers growing it or the health of the communities.” Swenson is blunt alleging that corporations owning and manipulating seeds are “holding the food consuming public at gunpoint.” Once a seed is patented, the farmer is not allowed to save seed to plant the next year, and both farmer and consumer become utterly dependent on seed companies, losing

their independence and self-sufficiency. They also lose access to information about that seed and the vegetable that comes from it. There is a bright spot on the horizon. Many individuals, nonprofits, farmers, and independent seed companies are busy ensuring seed access, diversity, community building, and a seed heritage for future generations. Groups like Fedco Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, and Seed Savers Exchange are increasing their membership and seed offerings year after year. The first step many of them took after Monsanto acquired Seminis, was to stop carrying Seminis varieties. One such company is the worker/consumer cooperative Fedco Seeds. The president of Fedco, C. R. Lawn, explained “the current industrial seed system rests upon the unholy trinity of biotechnology, corporate concentration and intellectual property rights.” His seed company rejects that mindset and along with hundreds of other small seed companies, has signed the “Safe Seed Pledge” originally put forth by High Mowing Seeds, a Vermont company.

are a gardener or shopper or both. Ask your farmer where he or she gets their seeds, and whether those companies have signed the Safe Seed Pledge. You decide who you want the decision makers to be simply by putting your money in their pockets whenever you buy seeds or vegetables. This spring, inform yourself, dig in, and plant a seed. Just make sure it’s a seed of delicious self-sufficiency and independence, a seed of hope. ec

terra Brockman is an author, speaker and founder of The Land Connection, a nonprofit with a mission to preserve farmland. Ever passionate about the local foodshed, she also sheds light on issues that affect the diversity and sustainability of the planet.

Here is the main text of the Safe Seed Pledge: Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

Pasture raised, 100 percent Angus No hormones or antibiotics Single family farm in Lena, Illinois

As the plant breeder Dr. William Tracy reminds us “The future of our food supply requires genetic diversity but also demands a diversity of decision makers.”

CDK Angus beef is available at: Two Brothers Ripasso Sam and Harry’s

That’s where YOU come in—whether you

Family farmers in Grundy County, Illinois since 1866

Brian Severson Farms Organic Corn on the Cob Frozen Bi-Color Sweet Corn

Available at select Chicagoland Whole Foods Markets


The Seed Sharer by Terra Brockman A lawyer who never practiced law, John Swenson is a brilliant polymath, who, among his many other pursuits, has been searching out and supplying rare seeds to local farmers and others for decades. Most Chicago farmers market customers have no idea that those Espelette peppers, or Mongolian chives, or Japanese rakkyo, or Persian garlic were among John’s many gifts to local farmers. Those gifts also include the beautiful Striped Italian tomato, which John stabilized from a cross between Antique Roman and Banana Legs. When you talk with the 82-year old Swenson, you notice three things: he knows everyone, he has never failed to find a seed, and, he is having a lot of fun. Here are excerpts from our conversation in mid-November: I had my first garden when I was five years old, and just never stopped being curious about plants. I joined Seed Savers in 1985, and soon

got very interested in garlic and shallots– things that don’t produce seeds. Then I got involved in the search for garlic that does produce seeds, and that took me all over Soviet Central Asia. One of the things I really like to do is find plants for people. About 25 years ago, when I was researching the etymology of Chicago, I was at the Newberry Library. I met another scholar there, an anthropologist who was working with the Blackfoot Indians, and we got talking. He mentioned that these people were trying to find their sacred tobacco and he said, “I have no idea where to find it.” I told him, “I do.” It took two phone calls, about 20 minutes, and I had someone send him the seeds. Then a couple of years ago Kris and Marty Travis of Spence Farm called. They said Rick Bayless had encountered a small tomatillo in Oaxaca, Mexico that he particularly liked. “Can you find it?” they asked. “Well, yes, I said. I happen to know the USDA scientist who knows all the Oaxacan tomatillos.”

And so I found them the one Bayless wanted, and they’ve been growing it at their farm in central Illinois ever since. I just like to help people find plants. Sandy Haggert in Glenview started Feed the Dream, an organization with a health and nutrition mission for the poorest of the poor in mountain villages in Guatemala. I said, “Do your people in Guatemala have a wish list? Something they really want?” And she said, “Yes, the one thing they really want is chaya, their native plant.” Chaya is known here as tree spinach— it’s a Zone 10 tropical plant, a large shrub about 12 feet tall. It doesn’t produce seeds, so I found a source for cuttings of chaya. Sandy took those cuttings to Guatemala, and she said she couldn’t convey how good it was to return their own plant to those people. I love to help reconnect people to their plant heritage. I figure if you have seeds, share them. What good is it if you just grow them in your own garden? It is wonderful when people care enough to share.

Midwest Seed Companies That Have Taken The Safe Seed Pledge: ILLINOIS




Borries Open Pollinated Seed Corn Farm 16293 E. 1400th Ave  Teutopolis, IL 62467  Tel: 217-857-3377

Garden Harvest Supply Inc. 2952W 500S Berne, IN 46711

Sand Hill Preservation Center 1878 230th St  Calamus, IA 52729  Tel: 319-246-2299

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds 12123 Darby Rd. Clarksville, MI 48815

Safeguard Seeds P.O. Box 1036 Mokena, IL 60448 Tel: 855-730-7333 Underwood Gardens  (now part of Terroir Seeds, AZ)

1414 Zimmerman Road Woodstock, IL 60098 PO B ox 1795 Richmond, IN 47375 Tel: 866-229-0927 Nature’s Crossroads, LLC 230 West Church Lane Bloomington, IN 47403 Rich Farm Garden Supply 985 W. State Rd. 32 Winchester, IN 47394 Urban Farmer 5427 N. Delaware Street Indianapolis, IN 46220 30

edible chicago

Seed Savers Exchange 3094 North Winn Road Decorah, IA 52101 Tel: 563-382-5990 Fax: 563-382-5872

WISCONSIN St. Clare Heirloom Seeds P.O. Box 556 Gillett, WI 54124

Michigan Heirlooms 209 E. Wardlow Rd. Highland, MI 48356 Orchard House Heirlooms 216 S. Paul St. Dowagiac, MI 49047

Terra Brockman is a sustainable food advocate and the author of the Seasons on henry’s Farm. At a time when consumers are demanding more information about who grows their food and how, many seed corporations are providing less—manipulating the seeds in ways that most consumers are unaware of. For example, as I am writing, I see a variety of genetically-modified sweetcorn featured on the homepage of Seminis seeds. of course they don’t exactly say that’s what it is—here’s their ad copy: Seminis® Performance Series™ Sweet Corn hybrid Obsession II is one of three new fresh market sweet corn hybrids that offers both above-ground and below-ground insect protection, while also offering tolerance to Roundup WeatherMAX® and Roundup PowerMAX®. By closely examining the language, consumers can begin to comprehend that Seminis is offering genetically modified sweetcorn for human consumption. The first clue is the “TM,” and the next clue is that the corn “offers insect protection.” This means the corn has been modified so that every cell of the plant, including the kernels you eat, contains a genetically engineered bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin that kills insects. It doesn’t kill people, of course, but if it kills insects, it is most definitely toxic. And eating a plant in which insecticide is embedded is worse than eating a plant that has been sprayed because you can’t even try to wash it off. As my neighbor and long-time organic farmer Willis Weigand was fond of saying, “If it ends in –cide, it’s poison.” In 2011, a Canadian study found that the GMo toxin inserted in Bt field corn was found in the bloodstreams of 93 percent of pregnant women—just from its presence in processed grains and highly processed food products. Eating a whole ear of genetically modified sweetcorn would most likely deliver even more of the genetically modified Bt toxin into our bodies.

Photo © Elena Schweitzer |

Another clue as to how this corn has been genetically modified is that it is tolerant of Monsanto’s herbicide roundup®— meaning that an ear of sweetcorn from these seeds will have been sprayed multiple times with a chemical that has been shown to have deleterious effects on soil, wildlife, and humans. If there was truth and transparency in the description of obsession II, it might read: Seminis® Performance Series™ Genetically Modified Sweet Corn Obsession II is one of three new fresh market sweetcorns genetically engineered to tolerate multiple applications of the toxic herbicide, Roundup® and to produce the insectkilling pesticide Bt in every cell of the corn plant, including roots, leaves, and kernels. A study published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that Monsanto’s GMo field corn led to organ toxicity in mammals. Monsanto countered with its own statement denouncing the study, calling into question the research methods. But

according to Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, this GMo corn is linked to a new pathogen causing crop failure and a sharp spike in livestock infertility (up to 20%) and spontaneous abortions (up to 45%) in cattle. But, just as other GMo foods are not required to have special labeling, consumers will have no way of knowing if they’re purchasing genetically modified sweetcorn. According to SourceWatch. org and others, this is because of a cozy revolving-door relationship between industry and government regulators. John Swenson, a Chicago area non-GMo seed advocate points out that while chemical and biotech companies “have unleashed a whole legion of plants, the toxicity of which is unknown, the USDA seems to be indifferent.” Although government complicity with corporate ownership and genetic modification of seeds is one more item in the litany of woe that is our modern world, hope springs eternal...especially in the spring.


Baking by Age Three, Entrepreneur by High School

aMaNDa MarIE PIEDt’S PIES aND CaKES by anne Spiselman

If you visited the Logan Square Farmers Market last summer or the summer before, you may have noticed the stall of Amanda Marie’s Bakery next to the Piedt Farms stand. You might even have picked up one or more of the mini pies she sells—blueberry-raspberry, cherry, pumpkin, or pecan caramel apple—to eat on the spot, or a fullsize pie to take home. The young woman selling the pies is Amanda Piedt, who makes them using fruit grown on her family’s Eau Claire, Michigan farm. Amanda’s business has been surprisingly successful since she started it in 2009—and she’s only 20 years old. Amanda started baking when she was three and joined her mother, Deborah, and her grandmother, Margie Hardy, in the kitchen to make cakes for the holidays. Piedt says, however, that she didn’t get serious about it until she began high school. “I’d come home every day after school and bake from recipes I found online,” she recalls. “If I wasn’t satisfied with a recipe, I’d change it and make it my own. That was the really fun part.” A recipe for chocolate chip cookies was the first one she altered by substituting butter-flavored shortening for half of the butter to add volume. During her junior year, Piedt was whipping up cakes and selling them to friends and family when she learned she needed a licensed kitchen to continue, so she developed a game plan. For her senior class project she had “to work on a career path.” The summer before her senior year began, she got a head start by applying for— and receiving—the necessary food establishment permits, licenses, and inspections, so when classes started in the fall, all she had to do was document the process to receive classroom credit. “My teachers were really impressed,” she says, “but I couldn’t have done it without my mother, who helped figure out all the licensing issues and paid the start-up costs of about $5,000, and


edible chicago | Winter 2012

Photos: Pie © Marie C Fields | Flour, Butter, Eggs © Arpi |

my grandmother, who’s letting me use the lower level of her duplex, which is next door to our house, as my bakery kitchen for free.” Piedt’s first official customer was the Farm Bureau Oil Company, a mini gas station/shop right down the road. Area farmers go there for their morning coffee. The owner added slices of Amanda Marie’s apple pie in October 2009 and two years later, she’s still making weekly deliveries. A nearby restaurant, Timberline Inn, bought whole pies from Amanda for about a year and the Cass Street Inn, a new customer in 2010, generally stocks her cookies, holiday cakes, and in the fall, her caramel apples. With her clientele building slowly— Thanksgiving 2009 brought a lot of pie orders— Piedt continued on her career path. Right after high school, she enrolled in the year-long baking and pastry program at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Indiana, which is about 45 minutes from home. She received her certificate in the winter of 2010 and is now studying business at Southwestern Michigan College. Once she finishes school in the spring, Piedt plans to focus on expanding her customer base. She estimates she currently has about two-dozen regulars, more around the holidays, but she already has plenty of business savvy. Piedt Farms started at the Logan Square Farmers Market three years ago. Amanda, however, didn’t “tag along” until the second year, when she saw the market was profitable for her family and for other bakeries. They tried a few other markets in the city, but those didn’t work out. “It has to be worth the time making and packaging five kinds of little pies plus big pies, and getting up really early Sunday morning to drive into Chicago,” she explains. It makes for a long day when you tack on the drive back home. The 300 hundred-acre farm has been in the Piedt family since 1835. The farm’s biggest crop is apples and the family grows “at least 15 varieties”. They also grow other fruits and vegetables: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots, pumpkins, zucchini and carrots, all of which go into her cakes and pies. Piedt is quick to point out that this free bounty gives her a tremendous business advantage because fruit is usually the most expensive ingredient in a pie. When the fruit is in season, she freezes some for winter, so that she can make pies like blueberry-raspberry— one of the most popular flavors and her personal favorite—all year long. She says that the apples often last the winter in a cold fridge without

freezing. Piedt tends to use a variety in the pies, mixing sweet and tart. “Last week it was Granny Smith and Honey Crisp,” she adds. The wide variety of fruit also turns up in cakes, fillings, frosting and in her cheesecakes. There never seems to be a shortage of ingredients, just time to get all the baking done. Her mother, grandmother, and friend Virginia Campos help out in the kitchen when she is very busy.

Amanda Marie’s Baking Tips

For Piedt, experimentation remains a source of enjoyment and a way to maintain an edge over the competition. “Most bakeries only have five or so cakes, but I have dozens because I keep playing with recipes,” she says. She recently tried out a pumpkin pie with streusel topping—using her “very honest” family as guinea pigs.

is incredibly flaky, and

A month after graduating this May, Amanda will get married. Juggling school, work, and her personal life is a challenge, but Piedt envisions a time when she and her family will have a bigger and better fruit stand with a retail bakery on the farm. If all goes well, she’d like to build an attached kitchen, and with her husband-to-be in construction, she points out, she should be able to get a good deal.

working quickly are the

“This has been an amazing experience,” she says. “I’ve always been self-motivated, but I’ve learned how to be more organized, to take responsibility, and to communicate with customers. I love being self-employed, and creating a profitable business makes me really happy.” As long as she keeps turning her baked goods out of the oven, she’ll make her customers happy too. Amanda Marie’s Bakery returns to the outdoor Logan Square Farmers Market in June, 2012. Home base is: 7349 E. Main St. (for pick-up only), Eau Claire, MI 49111; 269-325-2664; www. ec

Piedt is cost-conscious and buys ingredients, like flour, in bulk. Her pie crust although she won’t divulge the secret, she does offer some tips. “Getting the measurements right and keys,” she says. “I just use a big knife for cutting the shortening into the flour; you don’t really have to get the mixture down to pea-size pieces. And I’m careful not to overwork the dough, so for example, I don’t use strips for a latticework top that have been rolled out repeatedly.” Her advice for fillings: Don’t mix in too much cornstarch or they’ll be dry. And for baking: Watch closely, especially if you’re opening and closing the oven often; you just want

Anne Spiselman has written for nearly every major Chicago publication and is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago. Her off the beaten path finds include every now and then, a slice of homemade pie.

the crust to be golden and the filling to be bubbling. She’ll bake a couple of pies in a 410°F oven, but if she’s making a large batch, she’ll use a convection oven at 385°F. Over-baking is a big risk for cakes, too, so she recommends longer cooking at a lower temperature.


the Kitchen Files by Barbara revsine

Soup & Bread Cookbook— Building Community One Pot at a Time By Martha Bayne Surrey Books, $20.95

Losing her decade-long job at The Reader ignited a major shift in Martha Bayne’s life. The staff had formed close ties and for some, the search for a new job was also a quest for a new “community.” Her Soup & Bread Cookbook— Building Community One Pot at a Time chronicles that search and, in the process, explores the “…true power of soup…its ability to serve as both potent metaphor and cheap, tasty dinner.” Bayne’s first plan was to move to Washington Island in Wisconsin to write a book about the effect an experiment in sustainable agriculture has on a tightly knit island community. The plan failed, and at age 40, Bayne found herself back in Chicago in the winter of 2009 with her bank account depleted and the city mired in a serious economic downturn. A job as a bartender at the Hideout, an out-of-the-way tavern and music club near the Home Depot on North Avenue, was a start, but business was slow. “[That] winter the recession hit the city hard,” Bayne writes, “and even thirsty home remodelers were scarce. It was cold. I was lonely. And then one night it occurred to me to serve soup” at the bar. Right from the start, soup night was more about developing a sense of community than it was about growing the Hideout’s business. Bayne had experienced first-hand the positive effect the soup kitchen her father ran in their church’s basement had on both the volunteers and the recipients. And as a college friend from Oberlin reminded her, Bayne had also attempted to introduce soup to the “beer and pizza” crowd of fellow students—a tougher crowd to please. Bayne’s stint as a food writer meant she knew a lot of people who knew how to cook, either as a vocation or an avocation. After tapping several people to bring soup for the first dinner, she stocked the Hideout’s minimal kitchen with mismatched crockery from resale shops and announced the inaugural Wednesday night event via Facebook and a newly launched blog. “The food was free, but we put out a bucket for donations, and we collected more than $100 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository,” Bayne says in the book’s introduction. “It wasn’t a disaster. In fact, it was kind of a hit. Even the gas company guys came by for a bowl.” Soup & Bread night at the Hideout is still on Wednesdays, beginning in January and continuing until mid-March, when the 34

edible chicago | Winter 2012

days get longer and the chill moderates. The mix of diners and soup makers is eclectic and is so the range of offerings. Seasoned chefs and amateurs alike have provided everything from Mexican tortilla soup to Thai khao tom and Ethiopian doro watt. Some culinary expertise is assumed, but as seasoned soup cooks will attest, a soup doesn’t have to be complex to be good. With a year of soup nights behind her, she teamed with graphic designer Sheila Sachs and illustrator Paul Dolan to self-publish a spiral-bound cookbook based on recipes from the popular ritual. That lead to the current book, a publication of Evanston-based Surrey Books, also done with Sachs and Dolan. Like the first, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Bayne and Sachs have done “soup and bread” dinners in Brooklyn and Seattle. Now, with the publication of the latest edition of the book and the inclusion of a step-by-step “do it yourself” segment, the communal dining concept is accessible to everyone, a universality aligned with the author’s mindset. ec

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and a bowl of soup. That’s exactly what delights Barbara revsine in the winter months. Make it a cookbook and a crock of homemade goodness, it doesn’t matter what the temperature outside is. She is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago magazine.




Tr y Brooklyn’s latest beer, Mar y’s Maple Porter, pick up the latest issue of Edible & tr y locally made snacks.

TUES, FEB 29TH, 7-9PM SHEFFIELD’S 3258 North Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL RSVP to with “Quarterly Carousal #1” in the subject line

brooklynbrewer | @BrooklynBrewer y

Opposite photo © Robyn Mackenzie |

Split Pea Soup with Black Forest Ham Serves 6 Adapted from a recipe by Amy Lombardi included in Soup & Bread Cookbook 1 pound bag dry split peas 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups chopped carrots (bite-sized pieces) 1 to 1½ cups Black Forest ham (also chopped into bite-sized pieces) 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves (minced) 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon thyme (optional) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 10 cups water (hold two in reserve) Sea salt and fresh ground pepper 1. Strain and rinse peas. Dig around and remove any stones or unsightly shells. 2. Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven to medium low and add olive oil. Add carrots, ham and garlic and cook slowly, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring a bit here and there. Lower heat if any browning occurs. 3. Turn heat up to medium high; add peas, bay leaf, thyme, butter, and 8 cups water. Stir (from the bottom) and cook 30-40 minutes, occasionally giving a turn (again, from the bottom). Take note of the soup’s consistency; the peas should be starting to absorb the water, allowing the soup to thicken. If this is not happening, cook for another 10 minutes uncovered, then stir and proceed to next step. 4. Turn heat down to low; add 1 teaspoon sea salt, stir, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Soup should have a few inches of water on top, but will thicken when stirred. If it seems too thick, add more water (¼ cup at a time) and cook for another 10 minutes. remove bay leaf, add fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve with sliced, toasted ciabatta.


Liquid assets

Apple Smash Recipe courtesy of Bruce Sherman, Chef and Co-owner of North Pond Restaurant in Lincoln Park 1 red apple, ¼ inch dice 1½ ounces calvados (apple brandy) ½ ounce oloroso sherry ½ ounce cider vinegar-brown sugar syrup* 1 bottle hard apple cider (dry) 1 green apple, sliced in rounds Celery salt to taste 1. In a pilsner glass, muddle quarter cup of diced red apple. 2. Add calvados, sherry and vinegar syrup. 3. Fill glass with ice and stir. Top with hard cider, and garnish with slice of green apple sprinkled with celery salt. *In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool and reserve.

Oslo at Dusk

SaLutE ThE WINtEr SEaSOn In some cultures it is a winter tradition to toast the vitality of the crops in the next growing season and to put forth wishes for an abundant harvest. We offer you two delightful ways to salute the season.


edible chicago | Winter 2012

Recipe courtesy of Leanne Strickler, Distillery Ambassador for North Shore Distillery and Mixologist at 2Sparrows. Leanne was also selected as a runner up in the 2011 Edible Communities and St. Germaine National Can-Can Cocktail Contest. 1 ounce chocolate syrup (Monin Organic Chocolate Syrup) 1 ounce cinnamon syrup (recipe below) 1 ounce half and half 2 ounces vitamin d milk 1.5 ounces north Shore aquavit Combine both the syrups, and the milk and cream. Heat through until fairly warm, and stir to combine. Add in aquavit, and garnish with a cinnamon stick and whipped cream.

Cinnamon Syrup 4-5 cinnamon sticks 1 cup sugar 1 cup water In a small saucepan combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the flavor is where you like it. Cool and store in a container. This will keep about 2 weeks.

Photo © M ichelle Marsan |

WISMA by john deS roSIerS

Wisma is affordable, sustainable and local. Our dishes are delicious, & made from scratch daily. We do this to ensure quality products for your family using local farming and seasonal food items. Come in an be part of a new and better way of thinking, living, & eating. 24 E Scranton Ave Lake Bluff, IL 60044 847.234.1805

French Market at Ogilvie 131 N. Clinton, Chicago IL 60661


528 N Milwaukee Ave Libertyville, IL 60048 847.362.4117


ThE edible SOUrCE GUIDE The Edible Source Guide is a condensed listing of advertisers in this issue. Please support these fine businesses as they help bring edible Chicago to our communities. Also visit for a more detailed listing including addresses, social networking platforms and advertiser events. Fa r M S + C S a PrOGraMS

Fa r M E r S M a r K E T S

Burton’s Maplewood Farm

Marion Street Cheese Market

Chicago Green City Market

Jake’s Country Meats

Year round farmers market in Chicago, supporting local growers and artisans. 773-880-1266;

100% pure maple syrup from Indiana. No preservatives. Also offering infused syrups with brandy, bourbon and rum. 812-525-2663;

Artisanal cheeses, wines, artisan food products, gift baskets and bistro. 708-725-7200;

Pasture raised, natural pork without antibiotics. Phone/online orders, Chicagoland farmers markets. 269-445-3020;

Majestic Nursery + Farm Sustainable farm growing fresh produce, herbs, premium annuals, and are artisans of flowering container arrangements. CSA share memberships also available. 630-553-9924;

Mint Creek Farm 100% grass fed lamb, goat, beef and veal. Chicagoland farmers markets and phone/online orders. 815-256-2202;

Montalbano Farms Small farm producing fresh, locally grown produce, fruit and herbs for Chicagoland. CSA Shares. 630-882-8008;

Richert/Phillips Farms Certified organic farmers in Northern Indiana. CSA farm offering vegetables and seasonal natural fruits and berries. Servicing select Chicago suburbs; 574-370-2306; EVEnTS + SErVICES

Country Financial Insures your car, home and family. Also a proud presenting sponsor of the Chicago Farmers Markets and the annual Country Chef challenge. 866-268-6879;

Edible Chicago and Brookly Brewery team up for a celebration release party; the new winter publication along with their seasonal beer, Mary’s Maple Porter. Snacks provided, free event Tuesday, Feb 29th, 7-9PM. RSVP requested:


edible chicago | Winter 2012

Nordic Creamery

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread + Wine

Fine gourmet, artisan cheese and butter from Westby, WI. Available online or at Green City Market: 608-606-2585;

Small batch, high-quality cheese, wine, artisan food products. Events, gift baskets, and sandwiches: 800-721-4781;


River Valley Ranch and Kitchens

Provenance Food + Wine

Membership club where guests enjoy fine dining at some of Chicago area’s finest restaurant establishments. ChicaGourmets host over 70 events annually for 700 members. 708-383-7543;

Hand crafted salsas, bruschetta, dips, mushrooms, soups, more.Online, wholesale, farmers markets. 888-7117476;

Two neighborhood Chicago specialty shops selling foods and beverages from local purveyors. 773-384-0699;

The Scrumptious Pantry Authentic

The Olive Tap


Gourmet market, olive oils and specialty vinegars. Available online or at stores. Two Chicagoland locations. 888-642-5472;

Geneva Green Market Year round farmers market in Geneva, supporting local growers and artisans. 847-501-0430; F I n E D I n I n G C LU B S

FO O D D I S T r I B U T I O n

foods with big taste from small farms. 301-979-9751;

JDY Gourmet Custom distribution and marketing for local farms, food artisans throughout Chicagoland. 773-561-7539; FOOD DELIVErY

Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks Year-round home delivery of fresh, local, organic food from independent family farms throughout Chicagoland. 847-410-0595; FOO D + B E VEr aG E PrODUCTS

Brian Severson Farms Year-round frozen organic corn on the cob. Fresh in season. Whole Foods Markets in Chicagoland. 815-584-1850;

Brooklyn Brewery Award winning, seasonal and specialty beer since 1988. Currently distributed in 25 states and 20 countries;

Slow Food Chicago An educational organization with a goal of creating good, clean, fair food. Supporting local farming and public awareness through projects and special events; r aD IO B rOaDC a STI n G

Standard Market A specialty market in Westmont offering fresh foods, butchered meats, bakery, top quality fish and seafood. Extensive cheese shop and wines. A celebration of food; 630-366-7030;

The Mike Nowak Show


Sundays from 9AM-11AM on WCPT 820AM. Entertaining, lively discussions on gardening, urban farming, recycling, protecting our environment and more.

Fresh from scratch, locally sourced take out specialty foods and beverages. THREE locations: Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Chicago French Market. Info: 847-234-1805;

S P E C I a LT Y r E Ta I L FO O D S TO r E S

Dirk’s Fish + Gourmet Shop Chicago’s premiere sustainable fish and seafood shop. Events, demos and cooking classes. 773-404-3475;

Green Grocer Chicago Features organic and locally produced foods, beverages and specialty items. Free regular tasting events. 312-624-9508;

Photo © Seregam |

EAT LOCAL, DINE LOCAL LISTING The following eating establishments are committed to sourcing locally and seasonally from regional growers, family farmers and purveyors whenever possible. The business names listed in green are certified by the Chicago Certified Green Restaurants® association and practice environmental sustainability. The green fork after the name represents membership to The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op.

This guide can also be viewed online at







Nana Organic


The Bedford

Big Bowl

Contemporary American cuisine with German and Southern influences, craft beers and fine wine selections

Chinese Thai Food/Asian Fusion Fresh ingredients, authentically prepared

Family owned restaurant featuring local, organic, sustainable and seasonal products 3267 South Halsted St., Chicago, IL 312-929-2486; E D G E W AT E R

Uncommon Ground Local, seasonal, organic menu and entertainment 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, IL 773-465-9801;

Gold level LEED certified green restaurant Farm-to-table menu with cuisine inspired by Central America and Spain 161 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, IL 312-669-9900; RIVER NORTH

NAHA Seasonal, American cuisine with influences of the Mediterranean


500 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 312-321-6242;

Big Bowl

Osteria Via Stato

Chinese Thai Food/Asian Fusion Fresh ingredients, authentically prepared 6 E. Cedar St., Chicago, IL 312-640-8888;

Signature Room on the 95th Fresh, seasonal menu with a dazzling skyline view 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 312-787-9596; NEAR NORTH

Uncommon Ground 3-Star Certified by the Green Restaurant Association Local, seasonal, organic menu and beverages 3800 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 773-929-3680;

Inovasi Innovative American cuisine featuring high quality, locally sourced menu 28 E. Center Ave., Lake Bluff, IL 847-295-1000; NORTHWEST

Big Bowl Chinese Thai Food/Asian Fusion Fresh ingredients, authentically prepared 1950 East Higgins Schaumburg, IL 60173 847-517-8881;

620 N. State St., Chicago, IL 312-642-8450;

Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen

The Purple Pig

Farm-to-table sourced, local and organic American menu

House-made charcuterie, cheese, classic Mediterranean fare

110 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, IL 815-356-9980;

500 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 312-464-1744;



Chinese Thai Food/Asian Fusion Fresh ingredients, authentically prepared

Piccolo Sogno

60 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 312-951-1888;

464 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 312-421-0077;

Fresh, seasonal rustic Italian fare, house-made pastas


Saigon Sisters


Innovative, fresh Vietnamese cuisine

4111 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 773-472-4111;


215 Parkway Dr., Lincolnshire, IL 847-808-8880;

Seasonally prepared, locally sourced Italian dishes and wines

Big Bowl

Eco-Friendly, using sustainable farmed and/or organic products

1612 West Division, Chicago, IL 773-235-8800

567 W. Lake, Chicago, IL 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago French Market 312-496-0094;

Photo © Robyn Mackenzie |

Marion Street Cheese Market 3-Star Certified by the Green Restaurant Association Eco-friendly bistro featuring American dishes sourcing organically, locally 100 S. Marion St., Oak Park, IL 708-725-7200;

If your restaurant is sourcing local food, isn’t it time you let our readers know? Contact us today to advertise in Edible Chicago’s Dine Local Listing: 708-386-6781. Email:


the Last Bite

FOOD ruLES: aN EatEr’S MaNuaL by Michael Pollan Illustrations by Maira Kalman

rule 1. Eat Food. These days this is easier said than done, especially when seventeen thousand new products show up in the supermarket each year, all vying for your food dollar. But most of these items don’t deserve to be called food—I prefer to call them edible foodlike substances. They’re highly processed concoctions designed by food scientists, consisting mostly of ingredients derived from corn and soy that no normal person keeps in the pantry, and they contain chemical additives with which the human body has not been long acquainted. Today much of the challenge of eating well comes down to choosing real food and avoiding these industrial novelties.

When Michael asked if I would like to illustrate this book, I said two things. First, YES. Absolutely YES. Second, that Cheezdoodles had a beloved place in our family history. He did not hold that against me. This is a great country. Vast. Complicated. With plenty of room for extremes. Everyone eats food. That is the universal connector. Life is fragile. Fleeting. What do we want? To be healthy. To celebrate and to love and live life to the fullest. So here comes Michael Pollan with this little (monumental) book. A humanistic and smart book that describes a sane and happy world of eating. It asks us, gently, to hit the reset button on manufactured food and go back in time. I like going back in time. It gives me more time. To walk around and savor the world and the food in it… — Maira Kalman 40

edible chicago | Winter 2012

Reprinted with permission from Food Rules: An Eaters Manual By Michael Pollan With illustrations by Maira Kalman Copyright © The Penguin Press (November, 2011)

Join the Good Food Movement

FamilyFarmed EXPO is now the Good Food Festival & Conference Join us for an amazing day of educational workshops, chef demonstrations with some of the Midwest’s finest chefs paired with local farmers, and over 150 exhibitors of local and artisanal food products. • Make Your Own! series including a butcher demo, in-depth bee and chicken keeping workshops, and more. • Preserve It! workshops with certified Master Food Preservers, expert chefs, bakers, and farmers sharing secrets on cheesemaking, fermentation, canning, and pickling. • Grow Your Own! workshops feature a variety of local experts who will demonstrate ways to live more sustainably and use limited space and resources to grow food. • Food court featuring local, farm-fresh food. • Family-friendly Kid’s Corner, children 12 and under free.

Presenting sponsor:

• Tickets on sale January 2012, buy online and save! • Saturday Exhibit Hall open 10 am to 6:00 pm. Presented by:

March 15 – 17, 2012 UIC Forum Roosevelt & Halsted, Chicago

Edible Chicago Magazine | Winter 2012 | No 15  

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