penn appétit SPRING 2016
from the ground up
penn appétit EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MANAGING EDITOR EDITORIAL STAFF
CREATIVE DIRECTOR DESIGN STAFF
PHOTO DIRECTOR PHOTO STAFF
Byrne Fahey Chase Matecun Julia Barr, Nina Friend, Amanda Nart, Sara Schuster, Virginia Seymour, Lori Kim Garett Nelson Rebecca Abramowitz, Sherry Huang, Tiffany Wang, Leah Sprague, Carolyn Koh, Amber Song, Kevin Lin, Janie Kim, Emily Huber Isabel Zapata Rebecca Li, Minjun Chen, Katie Zhao, Leah Sprague, Nicholas Lee, Tiffany Yau, Virginia Seymour, Karly Ko
DIGITAL CONTENT DIRECTOR
TREASURER BUSINESS MANAGER BUSINESS STAFF PUBLICITY & OUTREACH CHAIRS PUBLICITY & OUTREACH STAFF
SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM WEBMASTER COOKING CLUB CHAIR VIDEO TEAM INTERNAL SOCIAL CHAIR
Melanie Lowenthal Lena Antin Jenny Sui, Vivian Zhong, Isabelle Bral Maggie Molen, Parker Brown Amy Pinkus, Cooper Robinson, Ilayda Onur, Jessica Landon, Lydia Roberts Sally Shin, Ilayda Onur Camille Jwo Janie Kim Léa Kichler, Keiko Turecamo Ben Blanco
SOCIAL IMPACT CHAIR
SOCIAL IMPACT STAFF
Vivian Zhong, Cristina Lara-Agudelo
letter from the editor Christmas lights twinkle on the poster-covered walls and smooth Coltrane bubbles out of a record player in the crowded dorm room. The homey scent of freshly baked bread fills the air and the crunch of a serrated knife sliding through a crackling crust rises above the clamor of conversations. Conversations, and ultimately relationships, built on bread. Bread and Jamz to be specific—a sentimental combination RA Bobby Lundquist has capitalized on in his weekly open social hour (pg 46). We constantly talk about the ways that we grow food, but rarely do we stop and think about how it grows us. Us as individuals, but also us as human beings. Food and drink, bread and wine. These simple components of daily life are the building blocks of civilization, social relations, and ultimately the way we interact with each other and the world. Food grows our communities and carves out meaning in the human experience just as thoroughly as a farmer digs irrigation canals in the dirt. We grow food in gardens and pastures and in places small and unsuspecting (pg 42) and at the same time food grows us. We fear growth and change, (pg 52) and we embrace it (pg 58). But as much as we consider ourselves to be the masters of the plant and animal kingdoms, food shapes us in a far more powerful way. This semester Penn Appétit explores food and its growth from the ground up. From its origins on the farm, to its transformation into a meal on the table, to its role in growing our communities once the plates have been cleared. With that in mind, take a seat and dig into this special spring issue of Penn Appétit. We hope it grows your perspective on things. Stay hungry,
enjoy a handcrafted beverage on us with the purchase of an entree after 5pm restrictions apply
COMING SOON perqbeverages.com
Valid 4/29/16-7/29/16. Valid only at the UPenn Cosi location. Offer valid for one free handcrafted beverage with purchase of full-sized entrée (full-sized sandwich, salad, flatbread pizza, bowl or Taste Two®). Limit one free handcrafted beverage per person per day. Not valid on online orders. Must surrender coupon upon ordering. Not valid with any other coupon or offer. No alterations or unauthorized distribution allowed. No cash value. Applicable taxes paid by customer. Cosi® reserves the right to suspend or terminate this promotion at any time. “COSI”, “(Sun & Moon Design)” and related marks are registered trademark of Cosi, Inc. in the USA and certain other countries. ©2016 Cosi, Inc. All rights reserved.
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MENU 7 On Our Reading List
Food literature we can’t get enough of
8 Make it at Home
Tips and tricks from our kitchen to yours
9 In Philly Spotlight
Inside the world of bartender Seth Hogan
10 Tips From A Pro
How to brew the perfect cup of joe in your own kitchen
11 New Takes on Old Flavors: Jewish Bites Revisited Noshing and nostalgia at Abe Fisher
14 Trail Food: Noshing in Nature
Darby and Haley make the most of cooking at the campground
18 Coffee Shop Personalities
Think you know your local coffee shop? Check out these guys
20 Setting the Table
Building a meal from the ground up
23 The Art of Plating
Tips, tricks, and taking ingredients from food to art
29 From Huntsman to the Heat of the Kitchen
30 Feast Intentions
Sara Schuster weighs in on cooking, eating, and the importance of the feast
40 Beyond the Brew
Community at Penn through food and drink
44 Planting Seeds
Growing community alongside crops at Bartram’s Garden
48 From the Ground Up
Making sense of growing food at home
40 Beyond the Brew
Community at Penn through food and drink
50 Hospitality Beyond the Dining Room
Restaurants serving Philadelphia in more ways than one
52 Food Traditions
Kombucha and cannolis: the evolution of family recipes over time
55 Against the Grain
Celebrate spring’s bounty with these vi brant grain salads
58 The Future of Farm to Table
Farmers, chefs, and the continuous growth of a movement
How one Penn grad found her way to hospitality innovation
Back to the Basics On Our Reading List Cherry Bombe
Celebrating women and food in two issues per year, Cherry Bombe toes the line between food and culture with stunning photography and clever stories. Can’t find it in the bookstore? Don’t worry, it’s always in stock inside Avril 50 on 34th and Sansom.
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking
Even if you haven’t tasted Chef Mike Solomonov’s ethereally smooth hummus at Zahav, this book is still a must-buy. Gorgeous pictures, a touching narrative, and detailed recipe instructions make this take on Israeli cuisine one of our favorite cookbooks of the year.
If the Penn Appétit editors brainstormed issue ideas at a BYO, we like to imagine that a magazine like Lucky Peach would emerge from the ashes. Creative food writing meets thoughtful analysis in every issue, and the themeslike Fantasy, Ramen, and Chinatownare as eclectic as they are entertaining.
Make It At Home
MINT AND ALMOND PESTO Balance out the richness of grilled meatslike the lamb on page 39 with a spoonful of this. Or just slather it on top of a burger. We’re not watching. cup almonds (toasted) ¼ 1 cup mint leaves 2 cups arugula 1 clove garlic (finely chopped) 1 oz parmesan (grated) 3/4 cup olive oil (the good stuff) Salt and pepper
PISTACHIO AND OREGANO PESTO Slather this on a hunk of toasted sourdough, top with a dollop of ricotta, and call it lunch. cup pistachios 3/4 ½ cup oregano leaves 2 garlic cloves (toasted and finely chopped) 1 oz parmesan (grated) ¾ cup olive oil (the good stuff) Juice of one lemon (about 2 tbsp) Salt and pepper
Make Your Own Pesto: Spring Herbs at Their Very Best BY CHASE MATECUN PHOTO BY KATIE ZHAO Think pesto is limited to basil and pine nuts? It’s time to reconsider. Here are three new ways to make the most of spring greens. Oil, nuts, and herbs. Think of these as your pesto building blocks—tangy and rich foundations to showcase spring greens at their very best. Pull out your food processor or muddle everything together with a mortar and pestle. No matter how you do it, you’re guaranteed to end
up with a vibrant sauce that’ll add a hint of brightness to just about anything you smear it on. Follow these simple steps with any of the ingredient combos below and you’ll have a jar brimming with fresh pesto in no time. Add greens, herbs. garlic, grated cheese, and nuts to food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Small pieces are greatyou want some texture in there.
slowly pour in olive oil until combined. You’re looking for a drizzle able consistency, but nothing too liquidy. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bright and citric is the name of the game here. Let it sit for a couple of minutes so the flavors have time to settle in together—all good things take time.
KALE AND WALNUT PESTO Toss with al dente pasta, fresh out of the pot, and sprinkle with an extra fistful of parmesan for good measure. bunch baby kale 1 (stems removed, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, and dried) ¼ cup walnuts (toasted) 1 garlic clove, crushed Juice of 1 lemon ¼ cup parmesan ½ cup olive oil Salt and pepper
Turn processor on low and
In Philly Spotlight CALVADOS SIDECAR Calvados Sidecar: 2 oz. Calvados ½ oz. Cointreau 1 ½ oz. blood orange sour mix
Blood Orange Sour Mix: 1 part fresh blood orange juice 3 parts orange juice 1 part lemon juice 2 parts egg white plus 1 oz simple syrup to make 1 quart sour mix
Get to Know Seth Hogan: Bartender at The Happy Rooster TEXT AND PHOTO BY VIRGINIA SEYMOUR Start from the beginning, where have you worked in Philly? From the beginning? That’s a long way back. Maybe just the highlights. First place I ever bartended was at The Commissary, it was a famous Steve Poses restaurant back then. From there I went to a bunch of different places, but I also worked at Revival on 3rd Street, The Roxxy, Mako’s, another place called Headhouse Crab and Oyster Co., where I really started to break out with my own drinks. Then I worked at a place called Bar Noir which was huge. I was the shirtless bartender for six years. The shirtless bartender? That means at 12 o’ clock my shirt came off because it got so hot. So it was interesting, to say the least. Then I went to Vango and here, the The Happy Rooster. Bar Noir was my favorite, and I like it here, too. What’s a drink that you keep bringing back? Well this summer I’m bringing back the watermelon cucum-
ber martini. (Shows a picture of himself shirtless, overalls hanging off one shoulder). That’s me at Bar Noir, that was the job basically. That’s how I bartended in 2004. So all in all, how long have you worked in Philly as a bartender? Thirty-four years on and off. I like the clientele, and I like the ability to make my own drinks and do the stuff that I like to do. To come up with your own drinks, to actually make something that other people enjoy is the best thing. And in Philly, well, I love the people. They’re knowledgeable, they know what they like to eat and drink. I like having so many customers who know what they’re talking about and know what they’re tasting because that helps me play with their palates. A bartender, interjecting: Did you have someone in your career who was very influential to you? Because when I started bartending, you were very influential to me — I learned a lot from you. It’s not just about learning how to make the drinks, that’s a very small part of the job. Anybody can make a drink; everyone can
learn by rote. Most of the other bartenders I’ve known have been contemporaries of mine, so we were all going through the same things. There was one bartender here that taught me one thing, and that was chopping ice for a martini. Whe you make a martini, you chop it with three spoons and that makes it as cold as possible. And I’ve never forgotten that, never stopped doing it. What’s the key to staying a bartender — turning bartending into a career, not just a job? Staying a bartender? You have to enjoy the lifestyle. I mean, just being able to stay content as a bartender with yourself. Me? I never plan to get married or have kids, so this is the perfect career for me. I can move around when I want to and meet people, talk to new people every night. And the most important part of bartending while you’re bartending? It’s to know your customers, to guess what they want to drink and make it the way they don’t necessarily even know they want. You sort of get a feeling for people when they sit down, a sense of what they like. And you can start suggesting stuff to them and play with their tastes, because that helps
you grow as a bartender and them grow as a customer. What’s more important, tradition or innovation? Traditional innovation. Come on, what a cop o ut. What does that mean, traditional innovation? That means taking traditional things and putting a new twist on them. It’s the best way to do it. You have to keep growing in bartending because if it stagnates, that’s it. It’s an evolving art form and it has to keep moving or it dies. You know every bottle on your shelf right? Pick one. Well, I really like a scotch. Go with a scotch. This is a Lagavulin. Single malt. It’s sixteen years, and smokey as hell. I love it. Smell it, that’s the peat. That’s a sixteen year aging process in an oak cask. I drink it neat, some people drink it with one cube or just a splash of water. Tonight I’ll be having this, a Stella Artois, and a nice cigar. And I’ll be having...? My Calvados Sidecar.
Tips from a Pro
Know Your Grounds: Home Brewing Tips From JOE BY LENA ANTIN PHOTO BY REBECCA LI I live and die by my morning cup of joe. For many of us who live firmly with a mug in hand, nothing beats a steaming cup of coffee brewed by a local barista. But for those who welcome the challenge, brewing a cup at home is a worthy investment. It saves time and money, and allows you selective freedom over your beans. Whether you prefer light or dark roast, fair trade, or
espresso, your selections are unlimited. With this as my goal, I ambitiously set out to craft the perfect cup of coffee from the comfort of my own home. To get started, I asolicited help from Danny Barron, the General Manager of Joe Coffee on 32nd and Chestnut. After countless years in the coffee business, he has his methods down. Naturally, Danny had some sage tips on how to kick start my foray into the world of home-brewed coffee using a traditional electric coffee machine.
START WITH THE GROUNDS
A great cup of coffee starts with the grounds. The folks at Joe use a conical burr grinder to get the most even grind, but an electric or hand grinder will do the trick at home. The key is to strike a
balance—not too coarse and not too fine. If the grounds are too coarse, your coffee may end up too watery, and if they’re too fine, your coffee may be too concentrated. According to Danny, “The general rule of thumb is the longer you mix coffee and water, the coarser you want your grounds. If you’re only exposing the coffee to water for a short time, like espresso, you want finer grounds.” Often, finer grounds yield more flavorful coffee.
Remember: coffee is mostly water. Use clean, filtered water to reflect the quality of your beans. The coffee-to-water ratio should be approximately 1-to16 by weight. If you’re using a typical electric coffee machine, pour the water in and place the
filter inside. Unbleached paper filters are a better alternative to those that are plastic and reusable. Finally, pour in your fresh grounds. Don’t have a scale? Around two tablespoons of grounds will make one cup of coffee.
SIT BACK AND ENJOY
Your machine will do the rest. Be sure to store your leftover beans in a sealed, air-tight container, or they will quickly lose flavor. A good cup of coffee is an art—meticulous detail at each step carries it smoothly from bean to brew. In your own home, you can be sure it’s done right. Experiment with flavor, blast some Norah Jones, and sip in peace. You’ll more pointedly appreciate the richness and intensity of each perfect cup.
New Takes on Old Flavors:
Corn Pork Belly Reuben
Jewish Bites Revisited
BY ARIEL FIELDMAN
My grandmother’s incredulous retort to the breaking of Jewish dietary law, where eating pork, or eating dairy and meat together, are forbidden, caused me to pause mid-description of my recent visit to Abe Fisher. I had looked forward to telling her about the meal, so reminiscent of the dishes I had cooked and eaten with her growing up. I hoped my recount would diminish her disappointment when I told her yet again that no, I had not been to Hillel this week. I had meant to make amends for my lack of involvement with Jewish life at Penn; for the absence of a “nice Jewish boy” in my life that she’d hoped for. Why had I begun my recollection of the meal with, of all things, a pork and Swiss cheese sandwich—why was that what struck
PHOTOS BY MINJUN CHEN
me as something that would convey to my Grandmother that my experience was, inherently, Jewish? Though the pork was far from traditional, the saltiness imbibed in the tender, fatty meat was enough to bring me back to the cold cut counters of the delis that populate Queens, where I would pick out lunch meat for the week with my father. Perhaps it was the bread that brought this dish to the forefront of my mind, it’s dark earthiness, the slight bitterness of rye, the yeasty scent emanating off of its toasted surface, and aligned it with the rye loaves that came home with us from the bakeries of Queens then framed the sandwiches in my lunch box. It was bread strong enough to withstand the melting Swiss cheese, the vinegary bite of the pickled tomatoes, and
the heavy pork belly. When noting our struggle to choose our courses, the waiter suggested we share plates. Though the act of sharing and sampling dishes from around the table seems quite simple, even logical, we often hesitate to ask if we can share when dining out with friends. However, when eating out with family, the practice affectionately known as Jewish pinball is, without question, in effect. One of the petite latkes I ordered, topped with a slice of smoked salmon—which would have been equally at home atop a bagel on Sunday morning— was swapped for a chopped liver-topped square of toasted rye bread. I would never have ordered liver myself, but after just one bite, I questioned why I had ever rejected
Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon
Want to get your hands on the original? Then check out these classic destinations:
Savory Poppy Seed Rugelach
- Reuben Sandwich Koch’s Deli, 4309 Locust St. Gut-busting amounts of corned beef, tangy Russian dressing, and caraway studded rye. Enough said.
its velvety texture or its distinctly rich and gamey flavor, now perfectly offset by the dab of onion jam atop the bread. Between courses, our waiter brought offerings from the kitchen to the table: a savory poppy seed rugelach, and a bite of fish atop a cracker. On weekend afternoons spent at my grandparents’ house, these little bites were commonplace spreads and sweets brought back from my grandfather’s business trips to his native Russia, or sometimes more exotic places like Kazakhstan. The small offerings that punctuated the meal at Abe Fisher reminded me of the smoked fish, assortment of jams, briny sardines, and caviar atop black bread of my grandparents home. Thankfully, the wait staff didn’t attempt to teach me their Russian names, as my grandparents did. Picking a piece of the Manischewitz glazed beef cheeks off my companion’s plate, the cloying sweetness of the wine caused me to recall the unfortunate wine chugging episode at the Friday night service of my bat mitzvah. Manischewitz was the alcoholic counterpart to the Kedem grape juice served at Hebrew school that I was used to. As I recounted the incident to my friends, they laughed just as the congregation had at my faux pas. The slight awkwardness of those formative years of mine seemed close to the surface at this meal, though now softened by time. After the main courses had been cleared, and I had unabashedly snatched the remaining veal schnitzel tacos from
my companion, dessert came. The hazelnut praline babka, at once dense and fluffy, was a simple pleasure. However, dessert became more complex with the addition of Abe Fisher’s bacon and egg cream. I had always been quite curious about egg creams. I had known of them through my father, who had worked at a local diner in Long Beach, Long Island when he was younger. Making egg creams was a frequent task for him, but when I finally tried one, I found it off-putting. I was disappointed—I had so badly wanted to enjoy them with my father. I wondered, plunging my long spoon into the multilayered dish before me, if I could finally enjoy an egg cream. And I did: what came off of my spoon was something that was both savory and sweet. The illicit bacon pieces drowned in layers of maple syrup enriched custard—mingled with crumbled Oreos—were topped with that same chocolate and soda foam as the unfortunate egg cream of my youth. Yes, there was bacon at Abe Fisher. But there was also Manischewitz, and kugel, and latkes. I was even having dinner with a nice Jewish boy, and I finally enjoyed an egg cream. I may not be able to speak to my grandparents in flawless Russian, but I can continue to eat pickled mackerel or onion jam the way they do. Even if I don’t frequent Hillel, I will always think of my grandmother when I bite into rugelach, the same cookies as the ones we savored together years before.
- Latkes Hershel’s East Side Deli, 51 N 12th St. Golden potato pancakes fried until crispy. No salmon here—just good old fashioned sour cream.
- Egg CreamThe Franklin Fountain, 116 Market St. Old school sundaes and 1920’s style define this soda fountain a Philadelphia institution, now one of the only spots in the city where you can still find this iconic treat.
BY DARBY LEVIN AND HALEY WEISS PHOTOS BY LEAH SPRAGUE AND VIRGINIA SEYMOUR ILLUSTRATION BY GARETT NELSON You wake up to the sound of wind rustling the branches outside your tent. You get up – brilliant sunrise, dew on your hiking boots and haul your cooking pot to the nearby stream. Boil water for cowboy coffee. Rub your hands together over the steam for warmth as your tentmates emerge sleepily from their burrow. You’ve got a tiring day ahead – ten miles of trail, lots of uphill, a couple of stream crossings. Tonight’s campfire and dinner seem a long, hungry hike away. You ready your pack, stuffing in some of the same old trail mix you’ve been snacking on for the last three days and a plain PB&J you know will be half-smushed by the time you take a break to eat it. To anyone and everyone who’s lived this morning: we feel your pain. To those who haven’t, we highly recommend you try it. The pain is awesome. There’s a certain magic to knowing that a sight you’re seeing is one that you can only get to if you’re willing
to sleep in a tent and travel on foot for a few days first. But with the sometimes grueling days comes great reward. Backpacking promotes a culture of human connection, and food is the ultimate connector and unifier. As frequent backpackers and lovers of good meals, we’ve experienced the dismay of camp food that strikes us as more than a little lackluster. We’ve also had more indulgent moments where we’ve taken the time and effort to prepare a rare showstopper of a backcountry meal. We know that the only way to improve upon the sweet success of toughing it out to a summit is enjoying a hard-won “backcountry gourmet” meal as the day winds down, swollen feet finally free of boots that always seem to grow tighter with each mile. We’ve cherished this moment huddled under a tarp in the 10 PM Alaskan sunlight, cradling the spicy warmth of a bowl of tortilla soup after a rainy day of sea kayaking.
We’ve savored this feeling in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, sharing a fresh cinnamon roll with friends in the pre-dawn grayness of an alpine start. As firmly as we believe that eating in the wilderness makes anyfood taste better, we have to admit that we enjoy some trail staples indoors as well. The three recipes included here are our tried and true favorites, capable of holding their own even if your culinary adventures don’t leave your home kitchen. Even so, as the weather turns warmer, we encourage you to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Cook something new. Camp somewhere untouched. Grab some friends and head outside. Don’t forget that backyard camping counts too. But keep the following tips in mind if you’re planning on a more extended trip. And don’t be afraid to double or triple our recipes. Meals in the backcountry taste best when shared.
Rolls worth waking up early for
Leftovers make a great snack on the trail
Leave No Trace (LNT) etiquette dictates that you leave every inch of nature just the way you found it. No taking anything, and no leaving anything behind. Unfortunately, this means that if you drop any food, you need to be prepared to suck it up and enjoy a little “trail spice.” There are only two ways to dispose of food in the backcountry: eating it or carrying it back out! Take care to camp and cook on durable surfaces. That wildflower meadow may be an Instaworthy campsite – but your tent can crush delicate vegetation. Obey firesafety rules; depending on where you’re camping, open fires (not on a stove) may not be allowed, or may be limited to existing fire rings. Make sure to read up on the local wildlife and learn proper bear c amping practices if you’re going to be adventuring in bear country.
Packing a backpack is like a giant game of Tetris. Everything must be wedged together snugly to save space – so make sure to bring food that is durable enough to withstand less- than- gentle treatment. Most fragile foods can be subbed out for backpacking alternatives. For example: instead of loaf bread, try bringing tortillas. You can still get your PB&J fix, but they are far less prone to squishing inside a pack and take up way less space. You should also try to plan out your meals ahead of time. Fresh veggies and fruits can be great options for first-night meals, but probably won’t last longer than a day or two without refrigeration. To make meal-prep easier, pre-make parts of meals (like the baking mix for cinnamon rolls) and measure and bag ingredients ahead of time. It’ll ensure you only bring as much as you need – and make eating well in the backcountry seem infinitely more manageable.
leave a trace
spice things up We admit it – without the multitude of fresh ingredients and kitchen facilities of the frontcountry, your cooking repertoire in the wilderness can seem a bit limited. But a little bit of spice can go a long way towards jazzing up backpacking staples such as pasta and oatmeal – and it allows you to add your own personal flavor to your cooking. We recommend making a backcountry spice kit of miniature containers. Pack staples such as salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, hot sauce, and soy sauce – and then get creative with your own cooking favorites.
bring every pot and pan Multiday hiking is all about maximizing the amount of necessities you can fit in your pack while minimizing its overall weight. Your grandmother’s 30-serving soup pot? That’ll take up half your pack in an instant, and probably weigh as much as everything else you’re bringing combined. Spare yourself by thinking about what total volume of food you’ll need to cook at any given time, as well as how much pot or pan space it requires. We guarantee it’s less than you think. All of our recipes can be made using only a pot, a pan or fry-bake, a spoon, and a spatula.
Quiche 1 1/4 cups flour 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup butter or margarine 3 tbs water (approximately) 1 1/2 cups diced cheese 1 1/2 cups powdered milk 1 cup powdered egg 1 cup rehydrated vegetables, various 3 cups water Tabasco/cayenne to taste Tools of the Trade: 1 frying pan 1 pot 1 spatula or knife Stove (Whisperlite or something like it) Windscreen (piece of foil you put around stove to keep wind off) Pot grips
Shape windscreen into a circular platform so that fry pan is raised further off the fire. Cover and bake, using a twiggy fire (small fire made of twigs on pan lid to bake from top) on top, 30 minutes or until crust pulls away from pan and filling is set.
Cinnamon Rolls Baking Mix: 2 2⁄3 cup flour 1 1⁄3 tbps. baking powder 1⁄6 cup powdered milk 1 tsp salt Mix all ingredients together. Store in bag until needed. 3 cups baking mix (see above) 1 to 1 1/2 cups water 3 tbs. butter or margarine 3/4 tbs cinnamon 1/4 cup raisins (optional) 1/4 cup nuts (optional) 1/2 cup brown sugar extra flour for rolling Tools of the Trade: 1 Frypan 1 spatula/knife 1 bowl Stove Windscreen Pot grips Combine baking mix and water. Roll out on floured surface, adding more flour to make dough less sticky if needed, into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until creamy and spread on dough. If desired, now is the time to add raisins and nuts. Roll up "jelly-roll" style, pinching dough closed so filling doesn't fall out. Slice roll into 1-inch slices and place them flat in the pan. Shape windscreen into a circular platform so that fry pan is raised further off the fire. Cover pan and bake rolls, using a twiggy fire, for 25-35 minutes or until done.
For crust, mix flour and salt. Cut butter or margarine into flour. Mix until dough forms consistency of pea-sized clumps. Add 3 tbs water to form a dough. Knead dough until pliable and slightly tacky, then press dough into fry pan. For filling, spread cheese on top of crust. Mix dry milk and egg powders in a bowl; slowly add 3 cups water, stirring constantly. Stir in veggies and seasonings. Pour mixture into crust.
Coffee Shop Personalities BY ARIEL FIELDMAN
Whether filled with chilled-out hipsters or type-A college students, every café has a unique vibe. We culled together seven of the best coffee shops on campus and discovered each one’s distinct personality.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY FRANCESCA CATALÀ MARGARIT
United By Blue
255 South 36th Street
3925 Walnut Street
3421 Walnut Street
Tumblr threw up everywhere, and from that sprang WilCaf. You weren’t sure how anyone managed to pull off mom jeans paired with their grandpa’s sweater before, but if you don’t know, now you know. Though being pulled in a million different directions (more than the usual Penn student) is the norm with WilCaf, they somehow manage to pull everything off, and have better taste in music than you. WilCaf ’s true homies are a tight knit group who can all execute the perfect latte, create and name a drink after your favorite pop star (looking at you, Bey), go to a show by a band you’ve never heard of, and follow it all up with a downtown. Blindfolded. Everyone loves you, WilCaf.
Though she probably already has a job, she snaps up that coffee chat spot before you can say JP Morgan. Fierce and intimidating, it’s strange that she's able to eat gelato without gaining a single pound. Capogiro wouldn't be caught dead in anything but black, and she's got the biggest... windows. Seriously, are those real, or did she pay for them?
If WilCaf can pull of a pair of mom jeans, United by Blue can pull off a pair of thrifted mom jeans. ‘Cuz, eco friendly! This is the environmental science major who pretends not to care how they look. But their Patagonia gear is faded just so, so you know they’re using it, and did they mention that they got their alpaca sweater when they were working on a clean water initiative in Peru? Remember to keep your wardrobe cruelty free when you hang with them – they’ll ask you without shame if that furry vest or leather jacket is real, and even if it isn’t, you’ll still feel kind of bad. You may not see them out all that often – they’re getting up early for that cleaning up the Schuylkill event tomorrow! But when you do, they’re always having, like, a rad time.
Metropolitan Bakery Green Line Cafe
3437 Walnut Street
4013 Walnut Street
4426 Locust Street
4000 Locust Street
Though consistently half asleep and always wearing sweatpants, Dunkin is reliable. They’ve got your back. Even though they still eat PB&J over Sweetgreen for lunch, that’s not to say they've got nothing to them – and they don't care what you think about them anyway. Consistent, straightforward, and, when you think about it, a no frills breath of fresh air compared to the rest of your friends. You don't really have to try with Dunkin, just sit and enjoy their company.
Effortlessly stylish, endlessly surprising, always bright and cozy, Metro’s a socialite who pretends not to try too hard. And she’s friends with everyone: the sorority brunchers, the hungover basic betch definitely not walk of shame-ing, the overachiever posting up to finish their 152nd job application, the hipster that comes rolling in from somewhere in West Philly. She’s even friends with the parents hovering anxiously over their newly collegiate offspring, buying a couple of cookies for the road. Metro comes off as effortless, but there’s no way she’s sitting in the window just for the view.
The quiet one wearing a batman shirt under an oversized flannel, tucked in the back of your Gender Studies class. Their nose is probably stuck in an indie 'zine from nearby comic store Locust Moon. Sometimes you'll see them with a group of friends and realize you've never seen any of these people before – do their friends even go to Penn? Do they even go to Penn?
Wait, didn’t you like, take a semester off? Saxbys, back from a leave of absence, seems to have reinvented themselves while... abroad? Working on their start-up? Sure. Whatever. We don’t really care where they were, cause they’re back and weirdly, radically different. Since when did they swap the painful open mic night performances to become a fine arts major? And when did they stop shopping at Old Navy and start dressing in literally anything else? Saxbys has learned a thing or two while away (wherever that was) and may actually be someone you want to be around. Kinda.
Setting the Table BY VIRGINIA SEYMOUR PHOTO BY GARETT NELSON
rowing up around a Southern table didn’t always mean fried chicken and collards. Occasionally, I admit, it was both of those things. More than anything, though, it meant that if my mother was stirring a pot, or if my grandmother was icing a cake, I’d be standing on the counter prying a stack of plates from between the crystal punch bowl and the wine glasses. On top of the linen table cloth would go a gold- rimmed dinner plate speckled with tiny red flowers, then the salad plate. After running to the kitchen with empty hands, I’d come back clanking with salad forks, dinner forks, knives, and spoons. Left, left, right, right. It wasn’t an Emily Post-worthy table by any means, but it didn’t need to be up to the 1960s etiquette writer’s table standards. A table sets an atmosphere, whets the palate for the meal to come. Too often we throw our plain crockery onto an empty table, add a few utensils, and leave an otherwise beautiful meal to fend for itself in this design tundra. Not every — or even any — meal requires crisp linen and fine china, but we often forget that, after taking the time to prepare a meal, eating is as much about experiencing as it is tasting. In a busy world, a meal should be savored. A well- set table is a place to stop, even if for only a moment, and enjoy an entire experience: the food, of course, but also how it looks, the texture of the napkins, table talk laced with the ting
of silverware. To transform a brunch into a date night into a family dinner takes more than a change in menu; it takes a change in the table setting, as well. Even just a simple switch in napkins, an addition of candles, or a different set of glassware can reinvent the atmosphere. Set your table from the ground up. First, the table itself. Generally, we only have one dining table, so that table is the foundation of all of our meals. A table need not be covered for a casual meal, especially beautiful or unique tables, but tablecloths or placemats can give visual and tactile variety. Colored plates can add brightness and quirk to an otherwise muted palette, but simple white is the most versatile; it lends itself equally as well to a sleek, modern table setting as it does to a cozy breakfast nook. Mixed tableware can be equally charming when mixed with subtle napkins and flatware. Restaurants, for example,Marcie Turney’s Little Nonna’s,have begun using mixed crockery for their dinner service to match their homey atmosphere. Now, on to napkins. It seems silly to seek perfect cloth napkins for a casual meal when you could just use paper, but buy cloth napkins. You’ll save money and maybe a few trees in the long run. Whether they’re white, colorful, patterned, that is up to you, but a good rule of thumb: if your tableware is patterned, use white or single color napkins and vice versa. While thick,
buttery napkins can be beautiful on the table remember that they often fall short of their purpose. Rougher or more casual cotton napkins can be beautiful as well, and add a nostalgic feel to a sunny breakfast or a simple meal with friends. Before we eat, we still need flatware and serving utensils. Unless you’re privy to the secrets of silver polishing, buy a durable set of plated flatware and be done with it. Unlike mixed tableware, mismatched utensils can look chaotic, but there are always exceptions. If your table setting seems straight from IKEA, a handful of decorative silverware adds variety to an otherwise sterile table. Being much larger in size and fewer in number, bold serving dishes and utensils spark conversation whether they are family treasures or travel souvenirs. Finally, there is no dearth of centerpiece DIY projects in the world, so no one will blame you for skipping the streamer bowl or decorative candy tower. The food should be the focus; small bouquets or beautiful napkin cuffs can add to the final look without upstaging the real star. A well-set table means one that makes it effortless to enjoy your meal and your company. So nix the smelly flowers and dig in. For more inspiration for how to create the perfect table setting from the ground up, check out our blog.
More from the table up:
A table has several obvious requirements: flat, all legs intact, big enough to hold food. But a table can also be a beautiful thing in its own right, not just a support. Whether you have a rustic wooden farm table or a sleek glass top, the table is foundational in a table setting and can guide your setting decisions.
If your dining table is a statement piece, linens are a great way to change the atmosphere and protect a beautiful table. Tablecloths, runners, placemats, napkins: contrasting the color and pattern of your linens with your plates can make the place settings stand out, while opting for a monochrome effect can be simple and make beautiful food shine. Layering smaller tablecloths serves the dual function of covering a larger table and introducing eclectic variety. But table setters beware: combining too many patterns and colors often becomes busy and camouflages the meal.
Most of us do not have endless cupboard space for six different sets of plates and bowls. At the same time, committing to one set of ceramics might become monotonous. Instead, one full set of white dishes will serve most purposes. Add a smaller set of colorful or mismatched plates to mix in for variety and day-to-day use. Eating your avocado toast off a colorful plate will brighten your morning and save any nicer dishes from the chips and scratches of bleary-eyed breakfast use.
Glassware and stemware is perhaps the easiest, yet it often has the most rules. If you are a wine connoisseur you may opt for specific stemware, and if you are really into beer you might use your set of snifters and pilsners correctly. However, that isn’t to say you absolutely cannot drink your whiskey from a tumbler and your cabernet from a lowball glass. By my own admission, drinks go out on my table in three patterns: based on quantity desired, table style, and order they have come out of the dishwasher.
The Art of Plating BY CHASE MATECUN - PHOTOS BY ISABEL ZAPATA
standing in a broiling hot kitchen. Chefs are weaving in and out around me like a pack of sharks in a feeding frenzy, and the raw heat of elephant-sized wood burning oven is berating my back. And me? I’m watching Dominic Piperno, sous chef at Vernick Food and Drink, put the finishing touches on the glistening plate of arctic char sitting on the prep counter in front of me. He furrows his brow as he leans in with a pair of tweezers, not unlike a cop defusing a bomb in a cheesy action movie. He adds crispy bits of skin, a drizzle of oil, and a bright scattering of dill fronds— then the plate is ready to go, swooped away into the dining room like a car merging onto the interstate.
With all of the action and drama that occurs in a restaurant kitchen, why bother focus on plating? Why take the time to tailor the presentation of a dish? Will that arctic char, already buttery and bright, really taste any better when topped just so with crackling bits of skin and a fresh splash of green leaves? If you ask Dominic—or any other of the countless chefs in this city obsessed with making your plate look worthy of an exhibition at The Barnes—the answer is a resounding “yes.” “We eat with our eyes first—there’s no denying it,” jokes Dominic as he prepares for another night of service at Vernick. Building a meal starts with sourcing great
ingredients. But actually eating it? That means sharing the food you’ve made with others. “When you’re building an experience around the meal,” he says, “presentation is key.” But plating a dish isn’t about plastering a plate with sauce or molding food into ridiculous shapes. Good plating, Dominic says, is about “letting the ingredients themselves take the spotlight”—and that’s something home cooks can take to heart. So the next time you’re cooking for friends, why not take an extra minute to think about how you present the meal? Keep these principles in mind and your food won’t just look better, it’ll taste better too.
Play with Textures
That last banana split you had—the one topped with toasted peanuts? Or that kale salad studded with crispy chickpeas? Both are perfect examples of textural contrast. “You’re looking for excitement in the mouth,” says Dominic, “and that makes up part of a dish’s presentation too.”
Create Positive & Negative Space
Keep reading—I promise we’re not launching into an art appreciation class here. As Dominic puts it, “What’s on the plate is just as important as what’s not.” Larger pieces of food should be balanced with an equal amount of empty space. Contrast is key.
Use a Variety of Colors
As with any work of art, we’re attracted to bright colors and vibrant contrast. Dominic suggests balancing beige or neutral tones with splashes of seasonal color— say, fresh citrus in the winter, or bright vegetables in the spring.
Carve Your Meat
Grilling a T-bone steak for two? Sure, those attractive char marks are important, but consider carving your meat for an even more interesting presentation. Let the meat rest, slice it into thick pieces, and shingle it out for visual appeal.
Don’t forget the Garnish
Adding herbs at the end of cooking doesn’t just lend color to a dish--it adds freshness and aroma in a way that other ingredients can’t. Whether it’s a scattering of mint leaves across a cut of meat or a whole handful of fresh dill stirred into a rice pilaf, being generous with herbs pays off.
From Huntsman to the Heat of the Kitchen How One Penn Grad Crafted a Career Bridging Hospitality and Innovation BY NINA FRIEND The kitchen was always sweltering. The clock was always ticking. A man was always holding up a knife and screaming in someone’s face. It was in this environment that Camilla Marcus Siegal learned how to work well under pressure. At least that’s what she used to say in finance job interviews, when employers would glance at her resume and ask, “What’s the deal with your culinary school degree?” Before graduating from the International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York, Camilla was a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She had applied to Wharton with the intention of also completing a degree in Fine Arts, but decided to forgo that dream in favor of going abroad to Rome and creating her own multidisciplinary major. Camilla had been an artist for her entire life, and in college she took her creative side to the kitchen. Twice a week, Camilla cooked “family meal” for the eight girls in her off-campus house. On Sundays, she would make elaborate brunches for her boyfriend’s fraternity. And when she wasn’t whipping up a dish of her own, she explored the up -and -coming Philly food scene. In 2007, the year Camilla graduated from Penn, Philadelphia was not the established restaurant city that it is today. José Garces had opened his first location only two years earlier. Michael Solomonov’s Zahav was merely a dream. It would be five years until Greg Vernick opened up shop on Walnut Street and three until Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran made their name as the 13th Street monopoly. But inaccessibility didn’t stop Camilla. She trekked up to Northern Liberties and ventured to New Jersey. She was always on the lookout for a new restaurant to explore, which is why no one was surprised when she enrolled in culinary school after graduation. By opting to take classes only at night, though, Camilla was able to fill her days helping friends open a restaurant in the West Village. She worked in management spring 2016
PHOTO BY NICHOLAS LEE and operations, diving deep into the business side of hospitality, and when the sun set, she would throw on her pressed chef ’s whites for an evening of studying saucier and sous-vide. While most of Camilla’s ICC peers had ambitions to become professional chefs, Camilla went to culinary school because she wanted to learn the art of cooking. She was burnt out from Wharton’s workload. She wanted time to find her more creative self. “Culinary school was this dream year of energy and excitement and creativity,” Camilla says. “But I had to lay some bricks before I [got] to that next dream move.” Her next step was law school, largely because she felt that type of education could be helpful later on. In the same way that Camilla went into the ICC knowing she didn’t want to be a chef, she enrolled in New York University’s JD/MBA program without any intention of practicing law. More than anything else, graduate school gave Camilla time to think. Though she had a desire to go into hospitality, she also felt a gap in her range of experience. “I was missing the institutional financial knowledge [that would help] make my decisions in a hospitality company that much better.” After graduating from NYU, Camilla took a private equity job, and then moved to work in real estate at CIM Group. Always gravitating toward the more creative options, Camilla ended up focusing mostly on hospitality portfolios. Running hotel projects and implementing retail acquisitions gave her a real-world taste of what she calls “the industry I enjoy the most.” Camilla then landed a job with Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) as Director of Business Development. This position merged two of Camilla’s greatest passions: hospitality and business. She finally felt prepared to dive into the intersection between these fields, and she excelled. USHG Chief Executive Officer Danny Meyer has referred to Camilla as “a dynamo!” The company’s Chief Development Officer, Richard Co-
raine, has said that everyone wanted to be like Camilla. Even though she made a huge impression on the people who dreamt up concepts like Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack, Camilla decided after a year there that she needed to start fulfilling her own dreams. “Tech Table grew pretty organically,” Camilla says, referring to the startup she founded upon leaving USHG. In her business -centric role there, Camilla had observed a “massive influx of hospitality technology companies wanting USHG to adopt or invest or partner.” The problem was that no one on any tech team had ever worked in hospitality. There was an inherent disconnect. And this disconnect was especially troublesome given the reality that five billion dollars had been spent on hospitality technology in the last five years. One day, Camilla and two USHG colleagues went to lunch with two mutual friends. One had recently left Google. The other worked at American Express. At some point during the meal, the five women realized that they had all experienced the same type of detachment between technology and hospitality. Then and there, they decided to join forces and create a platform to bridge the two industries. Right now, Camilla’s startup hosts events as a way to build a community. She hopes to grow Tech Table into a consulting business that facilitates collaborative, cost effective partnerships between tech companies and hospitality organizations. But for the time being, Camilla and her coworkers are trying to ease the process of modernizing a paper- and-pencil industry. They seek to achieve “high tech for high touch.” Camilla says it feels good to be pursuing her own venture, and it feels great when friends from Penn offer to invest in her startup. But the best feeling of all? Merging her love of business with her craving for creativity.
Spring Vegetable Panzanella
text by: sara schuster photos by: isabel zapata styled by: garett nelson cooked by: byrne fahey, lĂŠa kichler, chase matecun & brian rogers
my family, Thanksgiving 2013 will forever be remembered as “Vegan Thanksgiving.” Usually, that phrase is then followed by some half-joking variant of “never forget, never again.” To me, Thanksgiving 2013 will forever be remembered as first feast I ever built entirely from scratch. My freshman year of college, I offered my vegan roommate a trip to my home in New York for Thanksgiving. Dabbling at that point in veganism myself (a phase that was ushered to a close by this very dinner), I thought I had a shot at creating a meal that would appease both her and me, as well as my heavily carnivorous family. I sold it to my mother as “all vegan except the turkey,” to which she assented, but with the stipulation that I would prepare it myself. Seemed easy enough. I returned home three days early, armed with what I believed to be an infallible plan. I went to grocery store after grocery store, assembling my side dishes. I read every vegan blog’s recipe for “lentil loaf ” and I taste- tested all the vegan “meat” I could get my hands on. But it wasn’t until I was elbow deep in mashed potatoes, three hours before the meal, that I looked up at my mother and begged for help. My vegan pie crust wasn’t holding its lattice form. I stained my hands purple peeling and roasting beets, and I lied to my uncle about the “sausage” stuffing. I didn’t know how to set the table. As it turns out, the meal was a success. My mother forgave my somewhat hostile takeover and set a beautiful table, opened a bottle of wine for us while we sautéed and chopped and roasted the final few hours away. When I sat down at the table, exhausted, I was greeted with family and friends. Further, when I sheepishly dug into the turkey my brother had carefully basted all day, not a single utterance of “vegan” was heard. Tipsy, warm, and proud, I feasted. So what does this have to do with spring? Or with the beautiful spread we’ve curated for this issue? Well—feasts. I come from a history of large meals. Yet, kitchenless and on my own in college, I started out a little lost. That first Thanksgiving was a reminder to me of the joys of recipe development, of exploring seasonal offerings, of building a beautiful table, and of group meals. The kind of stuff that this issue is all about. With the fresh growth and beautiful new foods of spring coming up from the ground, we considered what growth and development implies in a larger context—things like food communities, locally sourced produce, and the art of plat-
ing. What’s more, we were inspired by the possibility of building a meal together; from creating a table, to putting all that spring has to offer in one colorful bowl, to creating a community that sits down to eat. It wasn’t until a year into college that I found my own rhythm with food, thanks mostly to good (read: patient) friends and pushing myself to cook seasonally (and within my budget). Further, it really was not until I started joining friends for home- cooked meals that I’d sit down across from them and really be reminded of the purpose of a feast. That the beauty of building a meal—fresh ingredients, a few solid recipes, and a desire to sit down with no distractions other than the food—often can lend itself to introducing you to good food and good company.And even if this desire gets a little lost in the cold and dark of winter, spring offers a fresh opportunity to get in touch again with what, with who, and with how you are eating. When digging into a feast, it’s often the i ntentions t hat you taste. The hours of brining that the meat went through, the grill marks on the vegetables in a grain salad. The ripeness of the choices. The layers of flavor, place, and thought that come out in each bite. The time someone took to share a meal with you. No matter if it’s an extra five minutes, or, as we learned at Vegan Thanksgiving, two days, these same intentions underscore our spring issue, our spring feast. A little dedication. A lot of reward.
make it look like they were hit with a light dusting of snow. Refrigerate overnight if possible. Coat a Dutch oven, or any other heavy pot that you have a lid for, with oil and put it over medium-high heat. Make sure the shanks are completely dry and sear until well browned— roughly 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the shanks to a platter and add onion and carrot to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Be sure to scrape up all the flavorful brown bits on the bottom. If the vegetables need a bit more oil to help them soften, add a splash. Once the onions begin to soften, add the garlic. Cook for another three minutes and make sure it doesn’t burn. Add balsamic and white wine to pot. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Nestle lambs shanks in the liquid so they’re about half-covered. Cover with lid and transfer to oven. Braise for about three hours or until meat is tender and nearly falling off the bone. Remove from oven and reserve in fridge up to two days if necessary. To reheat, place in a 200 degree oven for roughly 20 minutes or until warm throughout. Serve scattered with chopped mint and arugula tossed with olive oil, lemon, and salt.
Seared White Bean Salad with Arugula and Feta Balsamic Braised Lamb with Mint and Arugula Olive oil Salt and pepper 2 tsp coriander 2 tsp cumin ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 4 lamb shanks 4 cloves garlic 1 large yellow onion, diced 3 carrots, diced ½ cup balsamic vinegar 1 ½ cups white wine Fresh mint and arugula for serving Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle each lamb shank with cinnamon, coriander, and cumin. Salt them well—enough to
Olive oil and butter Salt and pepper 2 cans cannellini beans, drained 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped 2 large garlic cloves, minced 5 cups arugula ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled ½ cup chopped fresh dill ½ red onion, sliced thinly 1 lemon, for squeezing Heat a large skillet with a thick layer of oil and a pat of butter over medium-high heat. Add beans to skillet in a single layer and cook undisturbed for about two minutes, or until they’re nicely browned. Stir beans and season generously with salt—at least 1 tsp. Brown the other side, then remove to a bowl or serving platter. Toss with arugula, red onion, and scallions. Stir in a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and feta to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust, then serve warm or at room temperature.
Ricotta Toasts with Pear, Honey, and Mint
Think of pears as a starting point for these ricotta toasts. Lightly blanched peas or ripe peaches or nectarines would make equally spectacular toppings.
Nobody has fun at a dinner party where the cook is stressed, so prep the two salads in advance and relax as your guests walk in the door. Just set them aside and dress them once youâ€™re ready to eat.
Seared White Bean Salad with Arugula and Feta
Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad: 1 small loaf of crusty white bread, coarsely torn 5 cups arugula or mixed greens 2 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas (blanch if frozen) 2 cups cherry tomatoes 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Eggs, a couple per person Salt, pepper, olive oil Pesto: 2 bunches fresh basil leaves 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, herbs removed ¼ cup walnuts 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Salt and pepper to taste Tear bread into coarse chunks and toss with oil and salt. Toast in oven until crisp on the outside. Meanwhile, mix all pesto ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in oil to form your dressing. Season with salt to taste. Toss vegetables and greens along with bread chunks and dressing, then let it sit for a few minutes to give the flavors time to mingle. Top with a poached egg or two and serve immediately.
Blackberry and Matcha Layer Cake Matcha Cake: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cake flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 4 teaspoons powdered green tea 1 ¼ cups white sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 3 eggs 1 cup plain yogurt Blackberry Cake: 1 package white cake mix 1 3 oz. package blackberry gelatin 1 cup of pureed blackberries, strained if you don’t want seeds in your cake 4 eggs, room temperature 1 cup vegetable oil ½ cup milk Whipped Cream Frosting: 8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup white sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups heavy cream To make the matcha layer, sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, and green tea powder; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between two greased pans. To make the blackberry layer, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 1 ½ minutes. Divide the batter evenly between two greased pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes on wire racks before removing from the pans. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until smooth. While the mixer is still running, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. To assemble, place one layer of cake onto an 8-inch cake board. Spread about one cup of frosting onto the layer, enough to make a ½-inch-layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top, spread frosting, and repeat until all layers are used. Make a crumb coat around the sides and top of the cake, and let the cake cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once the cake is cooled, finish with a thicker layer of frosting.
or on the grill for about 4 minutes. Remove to a serving platter and top with a generous layer of ricotta, several pear slices, a drizzle of honey, and chopped mint. Finish with a pinch of sea salt and serve.
Brian’s Classic Strawberry Pie Crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 2/3 cup vegetable shortening ¼ cup tablespoons cold water Filling: 1 ¼ cups white sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 tbsp cornstarch ½ tsp ground cinnamon 4 cups fresh strawberries, halved 2 tbsp butter To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the shortening into the mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated. Divide the dough half, and shape each half into a ball. Roll each ball to a 1/8-inch thickness. To make the filling, mix the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, and strawberries until strawberries are completely coated. To assemble, line an 8-inch pie pan with one of the prepared crusts. Pour the strawberry filling into the pan, and top with pats of butter. Top the pie with the second crust, and seal the edges well. If desired, cut the second crust into strips and create a lattice pattern. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Meyer Lemon Limonana Ricotta Toasts with Pear, Honey, and Mint Olive oil 1 loaf of crusty white bread, thickly sliced 2 ripe pears, thinly sliced 2 cups fresh ricotta ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped Honey to taste Sea salt
6 tablespoons sugar ½ cup plus ¼ cup water, divided ½ cup fresh meyer lemon juice ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 3 cups ice cubes Combine sugar and a ¼ cup of hot water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to combine. Allow to cool before proceeding. Add sugar mixture, lemon juice, mint, remaining water, and ice cubes to blender. Pulse until slushy, then serve immediately.
Coat bread with olive oil and toast under a broiler, in a pan over medium-high heat,
Balsamic Braised Lamb with Mint and Arugula
tip Tangy, sweet, and meltingly tender, these rich lamb shanks are the perfect dinner party main. Make them a day ahead, refrigerate, and then pop them in a warm oven to reheat as your guests arrive. We recommend serving it with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Tip: If you can find fresh strawberries, feel free to cut back on the sugar in the filling to compensate for their natural sweetness
Brianâ€™s Classic Strawberry Pie
Blackberry and Matcha Layer Cake
Yup, this cake is a stunner. We recommend you think of an excuse to bake this thing straight away. Your half birthday was last month? Or you survived another Monday? Perfect! Start pre-heating your oven.
Beyond The Brew COMMUNITY GROWTH THROUGH FOOD & DRINK
BY NICK JOYNER PHOTOS BY ALEX FISHER
Bryan Choo, Coffee Club founder
“I mean it is pretentious but it’s not something that’s exclusive,” admits Bryan Choo, as he smiles above a cup of hot tea and betrays his club for another warm beverage. Bryan founded Penn’s own Coffee Club two years ago out of an interest in examining and exposing others to third wave coffee: the idea that the drink is an artisanal specialty, made nuanced through meticulous roasting and brewing practices. Coffee Club is Bryan’s latest addition to his collection of community- building initiatives, following on the heels of The Thought Dialogues and The Dinner Project. Coffee Club first was first introduced to educate people about specialty coffee and make it accessible for tasting and consumption. The organization sponsors weekly open coffee bars on Sunday afternoons, in which students can try several different pourover brews for free. But as Bryan watched the club evolve and establish its legitimacy as a collective of coffee connoisseurs, he saw its purpose shift toward facilitating social interaction. “As I got more into coffee I saw it as a way to create spaces that can bring about intimacy,” he explains. “Now the main mission of Coffee Club is to create community in a meaningful way. We
want to create convergence points for people to come together and get to know each other, to form friendships, and hang out with their friends.” This desire to block off a portion of the week for human interaction was born out of Bryan’s time spent studying the way that technology influences relationships and reduces personal communication. “Part of having coffee is being forced to speak face to face. It’s about having that hour every week to see your friends in person—and that’s a very different kind of connection.” But Coffee Club is no insular institution, and the fall semester saw it grow exponentially in its reach and partnerships. “It’s been a huge focus this semester to not only see how our coffee can be a platform to attract people to different venues, but also to see how we can create an environment for people to better understand parts of Penn they don’t normally interact with,” Bryan explains. Last semester, Coffee Club hosted speakeasies at St. Elmo’s and supported magazine launches for Penn Appétit and The Walk. As it branches out, Coffee Club hopes to use open coffee bars to showcase groups like Penn Six and Penny Loafers. Yet, much of the social intimacy of Coffee
Club can be seen in Bryan’s preceding organizations. The Thought Dialogues, which he started in response to a string of suicides in the first two months of the spring semester in 2014, is still ongoing and brings together ten to fifteen strangers to talk for two hours. “There was a lot of conversation centered on these broadly experienced social issues, but no one felt comfortable enough to talk about them,” Bryan explains. The sessions usually begin with a shared coffee or dessert tasting designed to form a mutual bond. Deprived of their phones and other distractions, most participants fall into deep and focused conversation. Bryan describes The Thought Dialogues as a place of safety and education “centered around creating a space where people would feel comfortable discussing issues that were close to their hearts.” Alongside The Thought Dialogues and Coffee Club, Bryan also previously built a social initiative centered more heavily around food, called The Dinner Project. Having organized supper clubs at home, Bryan aimed to deconstruct the way that Penn students simply pencil meals with their friends into their schedules by creating another space for discussion and bond-
The Dinner Project
You wonâ€™t always find seared octopus at sessions of The Dinner Project. Past mains have included everything from whole roast fish to pasta carbonara, and side dishes are as varied as the random ingredients that guests bring. The one constant is the promise of after dinner drinksâ€”usually piping hot cups of coffee brewed by Bryan himself.
ing. The Dinner Project is all about taking time out of one’s day for serious interaction. Guests are asked to bring one raw ingredient to contribute, so that the group of roughly ten people can bond over a shared cooking experience and the collaborative dish that they Frankenstein together. When I first attended The Dinner Project, there was an unmistakable calm in the room as group of overworked, overstressed college students hunkered down for an evening of grilled octopus, wine, and pasta. The conversation was as rich as promised; I learned about the intonations of the Swedish language and discussed the film festivals of the world. One of the other guests in attendance, Léa Kichler, now a veteran Dinner Project attendee, spoke about her first exposure to this community. She remembered the occasion fondly: “I really struggled with the social structure of Penn until I went to that dinner and realized that there are people that I can totally engage with. At dinners like these there’s no obligation to leave, you can sit down for hours, and you’re all enjoying this good food that you have in common. It was the most meaningful conversations I’d had with people at Penn and I didn’t even know them.” Unlike a BYO or other large group gathering, where the conversation skims on generalities and the focus is often on alcohol, The Dinner Project emphasizes the basic human connection in sharing and cooking a meal together. In seeking out other campus groups that create shared experiences centered around food and drink, Coffee Club recently found a partner in Bread and Jamz, senior RA Bobby Lundquist’s official office hours for the freshmen on his hall, which is held every Sunday night. In his junior year, Bobby envisioned his office hours as a place where freshmen and upperclassmen could break bread and interact in a relaxed and non hierarchical way. After he bakes his goods in the Goldberg Lounge—which he prepares with anyone who’s interested in learning— Bobby props the door open to his McKean single and invites students in. At a typical Bread and Jamz, you can find oatmeal pie and hot tea along with bread and fruit preserves. Bobby offers up his bed and several chairs for anyone who stops by. The mood is relaxed, and people shuffle between small conversation groups and pause to listen to the Fleet Foxes record constantly spinning in the background. “Most communities at Penn are exclusive in a way that may create a culture where people feel pressure and don’t interact in a meaningful way,” Bobby explains. “I hope that Bread and Jamz en-
courages people to be sincere and really listen. I think of it like an antidote to some of the cultures and communities at Penn that didn’t bring out the best in me in terms of how I treated myself and other people.” Bobby describes these communities that he and Bryan have created as alternative spaces. In an alternative space, Bobby says, “We create a community that is more reflective of what our norms actually are.” Bobby explains that the relationship between emotional nourishment and physical nourishment is important to community building, just as inter-group support can help to bolster alternative communities at Penn. “We overlap with the same spirit of a community that brings people together with food. What Bryan and I have bonded over is that we’re both working towards helping people form meaningful relationships in spaces that we’re able to facilitate.” When so much of social life at Penn seems crammed between obligations, it’s rare that an organization tries to actively create a space where students can slow down and circle up with cups to chat. As Bryan describes his initiatives, “These are places where you can meet new people, but really how you decide to build your community comes from individual impetus. As much as people would like to come to these events, if they don’t follow up and think differently about the relationships they have encountered in these spaces, they can’t really enjoy the richness we are hoping to create.” In a school of more than 10,000 undergraduate students, groups often insulate themselves and preclude social interaction with others. In this way, Coffee Club, Bread and Jamz, and their associated projects are necessary recesses from life at Penn. In their communality built around food and drink, they draw on one of the most fundamental sources of human attachment, something far deeper than chatter in the lecture hall. To this end, Bryan hopes that Coffee Club can create spaces to promote interactions and be seen as a convergence point for people from all groups. “My hope is that Coffee Club is something that transcends individual communities and is seen as community for all. There’s something about sharing a drink together where you strive towards finding commonalities with the person you’re talking to,” he adds, nearing the bottom of his sacrilegious cup of hot tea. “There’s an intentionality in the space we create in that it’s okay to go up and talk to strangers. At Penn that’s not always evident.”
“IN THEIR COMMUNALITY BUILT AROUND FOOD AND DRINK, THEY DRAW ON ONE OF THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL SOURCES OF HUMAN ATTACHMENT, SOMETHING FAR DEEPER THAN CHATTER IN THE LECTURE HALL.”
How the community farm at Bartramâ€™s Garden empowers locals through food BY CARISSA BRONES AND LORI KIM PHOTOS BY REBECCA LI
e use this space as a family album to make contact with our past and make sense of our present,” Chris Bolden-Newsome explains. He’s referring to the African diaspora garden that grows lush with sorghum, okra, collard greens, and bitter melon—not the array of produce that one would expect to find in a Northeastern garden, but nonetheless growing among the concrete masses that construct the city of Philadelphia. Bolden-Newsome is the farm manager at the Community Farm and Food Resource Center (CFFRC), which is located on four acres in the southwest quadrant of Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre public garden and National Historic Landmark just a few miles southwest of Penn’s campus. The CFFRC is a joint initiative of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI), a program of the Netter Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Bartram’s Garden, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), and the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Bolden-Newsome works alongside CFFRC’s Project Manager Ty Holmberg to codirect the Community Farm. Despite their different backgrounds (Bolden-Newsome comes from a family of social activists and Holmberg is a former science teacher), the co-directors explain that their motives for joining the food justice movement are similar. “What I’ve seen over the years is a lack of access to good food and a general disconnect from what we eat,” Holmberg explains, attributing this disconnect to health-related issues like obesity. “Our work focuses on the intersections of race and class, which is centralized in the food system, which we use as a model for building sovereignty,” Bolden-Newsome adds. “Food is universally recognized as an absolute right and is so central to health problems and other issues in the neighborhood. We hope to help the community find power.” The African diaspora garden, which was planted two years ago in collaboration with Penn’s AfricanAmerican senior honor society, Onyx, is an example of Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg’s effort to empower their community through food. “Our neighborhood is 97 to 98 percent of African decent,” including a growing population of West and Central AfricanAmericans who also make up a large portion of the CFFRC’s market shoppers and youth program students. According to Bolden-Newsome, any
given cohort of shoppers or students will be a third to a half West or Central African American. Incorporating these members of the community into the CFFRC is central to Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg’s initial goal for the farm. Holmberg explains that the diaspora garden “gives people the tools to build relationships with food” by offering fruits and vegetables with which community members are familiar. Providing traditional food options is also a means of empowerment among community members and is essential in building a sense of shared identity: “We all come from food traditions, and when people eat together the food that their ancestors ate, there’s a rootedness... It regrounds you.” There is a monetary layer to the Community Farm’s programs as well. In addition to cultural access to food, Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg also aim to make access to nutritional food more affordable. “Southwest Philadelphia is one of the hungriest zip codes in the country,” Bolden-Newsome explains. Through projects like the Good Food Bag, the CFFRC is able to provide local residents, including those who live in the Bartram Village public housing campus, with fresh produce at affordable rates. The project works much like a community supported agriculture (CSA) program: community members receive a package of fresh produce, the “Good Food Bag,” which also includes recipes, for only five to ten dollars a week. Additionally, many of the students who are paid to work the farm come from the surrounding area, as do the market shoppers. Thus, “the dollar is circulated through our community,” further empowering the community through its food system. A large part of Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg’s building of a co -dependent community is intergenerational involvement. A recent project, developed primarily by a community advisory council, had students interview elders about their food waste and usage. In turn, the elders shared their own recipes that the youth then prepared. The primary goal with this project is to encourage youth and their elders to educate each other in order to form intergenerational connections. Another current project that also encourages intergenerational connections is the Home Garden Bed Program. Community members who live by the farm can purchase a bed for their home gardens at an affordable rate, and students are the ones who plant the beds. An additional benefit is that the program encourages people to grow
their own food, thus being better connected to what they eat. But, Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg admit that implementing a community- powered food system isn’t easy, especially since few precedents exist. They admit that “Most systems follow the topdown model,” but “[we] are working to build the power from the base, which is unfamiliar to many people.” They aim to centralize the experiences of community members with efforts like the aforementioned community advisory council in “trying to listen to the community better.” Despite monetary or social pushbacks, Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg say that, after seeing transformations in both the farm and the community, the effort is worthwhile. Holmberg, having finished his fifth year as Co-director, recently graduated his first group of high school students who work on the farm. “I’ve definitely seen behavior changing in the students, in their diets: they’re reading food labels, not drinking soda, taking home vegetables from the farm,” Holmberg says. Beyond healthy habits, students also partake in financial literacy projects. Holmberg adds that he has also seen a change among community members “who are rebuilding relationships with their families by growing food together. In a lot of ways, the Community Farm has become a place for individual communities, for people making positive choices around their health.” While change certainly doesn’t occur overnight, Holmberg explains that the goal of the Community Farm is simply “to plant seeds”—to plant seeds in the ground that foster cultural growth and physical health, to plant seeds in students to develop healthy and sustainable habits, and to plant seeds in the community that facilitate empowerment. “The crux is simple yet controversial— we recognize that our community members have very valid and absolutely essential life skills and experiences,” Bolden-Newsome explains. “We are honoring and being led by the experiences of the people in the community.” And while their bottom- up approach is novel and its own right, Holmberg concedes that the fundamental idea of growing a community through food comes about organically: “There’s something very cool about planting a small seed and being able to eat it,” he pauses. “And there’s something very human about growing food and being connected to the earth.”
from the ground up BY BYRNE FAHEY ILLUSTRATION BY AMY CHEN
he health app on my iPhone usually tells me that I’ve walked around four miles that day. On a good day, say, if I actually made it to my 9 AM in Fisher-Bennett, or if I decided to go for a run, it might be a little more. Over winter break, swaddled in blankets, the little red heart app frowned at me as it told me I’d walked .04 miles that entire day. Meanwhile, my food has usually traveled around 1500 miles to get to my plate. More than anyone could walk in a day, probably about as much as I walk in a year. Why is it that our food comes so far to get to us? Eating locally should, in theory, be the most convenient option. Our ancestors ate out of their own backyards. Planting, nurturing, growing, harvesting, and eating were second nature. But thanks to the good old Industrial Revolution, it has become the norm in America to eat food which has traveled hundreds of miles to reach our lips. Now, most people only know seeds as they relate to their March Madness brackets. The Earth’s circadian rhythms are interrupted daily by the rumble of tires on pavement, the hum of a conveyor belt, and the white noise of fluorescent grocery store lights as our food journeys from ground to plate, with several dozen stops in between. In an increasing effort to support local farmers and reduce carbon footprints, restaurants around Philly and beyond have put sustainability and the use of local ingredients at the forefront of their missions. Today, when “locally sourced” lands itself on the label of an overpriced jam, it is a signifier not of ancient practices, but of modernism and cutting-edge cooking. The latest overarching trend in the food industry is, ironically, just a harkening back to simpler times. There are occasions when I pride myself on eating locally. In high school, I worked at a gourmet crêpe stand at a farmer’s market. I spent hours in the prep kitchen, smashing ripe Jersey blueberries for jam and whirring up pesto with local basil and parmesan. Despite popular demand, we didn’t serve bananas or Nutella, two crêpe staples, because neither bananas nor hazelnuts grow in New Jersey. If we ran out of eggs during a busy day at the market, I’d skip about ten feet over and buy a carton from the farm stand spring 2016
next to us. At the end of each shift, I’d whip up the perfect crêpe for myself: egg whites, melty Pennsylvania cheddar, vibrant pesto, flecks of flavorful sun-dried tomatoes, crisp arugula, tangy balsamic, and whatever roasted veggies we had on hand that afternoon. Each time, it was undeniably delicious. Each time, it was made even tastier with the knowledge of how little each ingredient had traveled to get there. But I won’t argue that 3 AM McNuggets are killer, and I don’t want to begin to think about where those might come from. Convenience, today, means eating food from afar. But it doesn’t mean we can’t try to slip in a locally sourced sandwich here or there. Just before the glory days of crêpe-making, I began to wonder about where my food comes from. I had just started reading food blogs and cookbooks for fun. As my friends scrolled through infinite wall-to-walls on Facebook, the surprisingly dense world of online food media consumed me. I watched Food, Inc., in health class, and then again on my own because I enjoyed it so much. I read a blog post about home gardening, and it tipped the scale for me. Suddenly, growing my own food was something I had to try, despite having only ever planted a bulb during an Earth Day celebration in Kindergarten. At the first hint of springtime sunlight, I ordered a raised garden bed kit and headed to my town’s gardening center to pick up seeds. I decided to plant spinach and carrots in my two little boxes and set to it, happily dirtying my hands as I filled the beds with soil and placed them on the roof of my garage. The mini garden was my passion project that spring. I nursed it daily, or at least as much as you possibly can for two square feet of dirt. I took pictures of the boxes every afternoon, as if the unbroken soil looked any different from day to day. At the first glimpse of a teeny green sprout emerging from the soil, I exploded with glee. My friends were skeptical. As I showed off pictures of my little buds in the back of the softball bus, I was gently taunted. My brief aspirations to become a farmer were shut down by my practical teammates. But I persevered, more excited for the salad I could eat at the end of the season than for anything I’ve ever ordered at Sweetgreen.
At long last, the time came. My spinach leaves had grown large and luscious. The frizzy green carrot tops were piquing my curiosity too much to wait any longer. I wish I could say that I made the best salad ever, that it was an amazing lesson in home gardening and sustainability, and that I’ve done it every year since, bringing my raised beds to Penn with me. In reality, my salad sucked. The spinach leaves turned out to be covered in tiny bugs (not a shocker when grown organically), and even after washing each individual leaf, I was too disgusted to chew them. In my overexcitement to garden, to finally know exactly where my food came from, I’d completely crowded the carrots. They ended up puny, pathetic, and grossly bitter. Turns out veggies have a personal bubble, too. But even though my celebratory salad was remarkably displeasing, there is still something special about eating something you grew in your own backyard (or in my case, on the garage roof). My salad was partially saved by the same secret ingredient that made the crêpes so exceptional – the satisfaction of knowing you did something good for the Earth with this meal. In today’s world, it’s impossible to always eat locally, sustainably, organically, and all the other measures by which we often judge our food. But as with anything, we can try. I no longer have the space for a mini-garden or the patience to wait four months for a salad. I no longer work at a crêpe stand with a bounty of local produce at my literal fingertips. I do, however, have access to dozens of farmers markets across the city, including one right outside the Penn bookstore. I can choose a Linvilla-grown apple instead of an imported banana. I could sign up to split a CSA–– a seasonal subscription for a delivery from local farms–– with friends. I can keep trying (and failing) to keep a basil plant alive on my window sill. When there are so many little ways to make an effort, I should try to make sure my food isn’t traveling more than I travel in a year. And when I can’t, I can at least remain cognizant of the miles through which my food somehow made it to my plate, give a dutiful nod to the globalization gods, and check to see where it came from. penn appétit
the crossroads of food & social impact
BY BEN BLANCO PHOTO BY TIFFANY YAU When you think of social impact and business, do you think of your stomach? Likely not, but Philadelphia does: with a growing number of charity -driven restaurants and organizations, Philly is catalyzing change throughout the food industry. This change is coming in many ways. Consider Rooster Soup Company, which is poised to open with the help of a successful $170,000 Kickstarter campaign. Rooster Soup will be a sister restaurant to our beloved donut and fried chicken 50
joint. From the bones of the chicken that Federal Donuts pumps out, Rooster Soup Company’s broth will be born, and this will be the base for their various noodle soups. Many Penn students who frequent Federal Donuts on 34th and Sansom support these community efforts without even knowing it. Rooster Soup Company plans to donate its future profits to Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative, which provides meals and other services to those in need. But what sets Rooster Soup Company apart from most non profits is its sustainability. Along with the money provided to Broad Street, Rooster Soup Co is also an advocate for sustainable food with a business structure that allows it to repurpose cast -off
ingredients. Outside of creative fundraising techniques like the ones used by Rooster Soup Co, other food related non profits offer innovative services to the community. Puentes de Salud, an organization that provides education and health care for immigrants, is working with the restaurant community through their initiative “Plates 4 Puentes” to provide affordable insurance and connect non -English speaking restaurant workers with health insurance providers and social services. Partnering with restaurants such as Zahav and Tria, Puentes de Salud raises money for health and education programs that are sorely needed in those communities. pennappetit.com
South Philly Barbacoa takes a different approach to supporting immigrants in Philadelphia. Even from its roots as a neighborhood food cart, the owners of South Philly Barbacoa, Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller, have been vocal activists for immigration reform. Using their newly-opened brick and mortar restaurant on 11th Street as a base, they host events to raise money and awareness for the plight of undocumented workers in the United States. Describing their mission and inspiration, o wner Benjamin Miller says, “We can make it a more equitable society, with rights for all, if we can acknowledge the system is broken as it is. The system doesn't allow us to hire the workers we spring 2016
need, and the workers have to work under false premises. I want to see all workers have dignity and protection, and human rights. We use our restaurant and our family as an example of undocumented people who are contributing positively to society. We also serve many customers in the affected community, and instead of finding a loophole for my wife, or a creative solution to our immigration case, we decided to join the fight for rights for all. We have been getting a lot of support from local chefs and are building a movement.” Instead of asking for the support of businesses, some food non profits let customers directly pay it forward. Rosa’s Fresh Pizza works to combat hunger by
allowing patrons to pay for an extra slice that will feed another customer in need. On the wall are messages from customers, ranging from “Have a great day,” to “From one homeless story to another, we did it! So can you.” The model is a simple one, but it inspires many people to donate slices, knowing they are directly helping others. Whether it is a restaurant built to promote sustainability, or chefs advocating for the rights of others, Philadelphia is a rising food city fighting for its community. Join them in taking a stand by eating, advocating, and lending a hand to the many organizations working to make a difference through food.
growth from one generation to the next BY JULIA BARR PHOTOS BY LEAH SPRAGUE
hen my mother moved into her first apartment at the start of medical school, her mother sent her with a stack of blue notecards, each containing a carefully selected recipe. They were easy recipes using simple ingredients that a forever-busy medical school student could pull together on the latest nights or after the longest days. The notecards were a fool-proof instruction manual for autonomous adulthood, but my mother has held on to them to this day, perhaps demonstrating that they represent more. The handwriting, the choice ingredients, the meticulous instructions,
these were all mementos of home that my mother could bring with her. We crave food in the same way that we crave the comfort of home: the smells and flavors that transport us to our mothers’ kitchens, the familiarity of recognizable tastes, the memories that come flooding back with these sensations. Perhaps this is what Olga Sorzano, founder and owner of Baba’s Brew, experienced when she first found herself craving kombucha while pregnant with her first child, a year after moving to the United States. Having grown up in Siberia, Olga experienced the culture shock of moving to the United States in
2000, especially in the change in diet. When everything else changes so suddenly, “everyone eventually goes back to what they were raised on,” Olga points out. To many people, kombucha is a popular new beverage with a score of health benefits. Perhaps this is true; Olga describes her grandmother offering kombucha as a cure for anything. However for Olga, kombucha falls under the category of “new things that are really forgotten old things.” Although Baba’s Brew has only been in business for one year, it is rooted in deep family traditions transported here from overseas and has acted as a way for Olga to
“Intertwined with ancestral recipes are the values passed down through generations of the Terminis.”
“the bakery had always been a part of their home; the cannolis, employees & customers were an extension of their family.”
return to her roots. Reflecting on her new shop she explained, “the story of Baba’s Brew is really the story of my life.” This story of life intersecting with food traditions is also the at the heart of Termini Brothers Bakery and has been for three generations. When I asked Vincent and Joseph Termini, brothers and current owners of the family business, if they remembered when they started helping out in the bakery, they couldn’t give me a definite age. The bakery has always been a part of their home; the cannolis, employees, and customers are an extension of their family. When I first set foot in the flagship bakery, employees dressed in crisp white uniforms greeted me while others continued browsing the open displays of baked goods alongside their customers, offering suggestions and answering questions. It was a scene frozen in time, yet also an image indicative of a philosophy that remains central to the Termini brother’s tradition even after 95 years. In talking to Vincent and Joseph, they repeatedly emphasized how little their grandfather had when they
first left Enna, Sicily, to join his brother in the United States. However, he did bring with him the recipes he learned from their local town baker, the same recipes still used in the bakery. There is a timelessness to the Termini’s bakery— most of the equipment and even the floors and aluminum ceiling are original, having endured 95 years of use. “There’s flavor in the boards,” John, the retail operations manager, mused, running his hands over the wooden work tables. It is upon all of this— flavors, memories and legacies of hard work sustained by a set of core values— that Termini Brothers Bakery thrives. When asked the key to his success, Giuseppe Termini famously said, “we make good stuff.” This simple answer has been the essence of the Termini tradition since its foundation, rooting itself in not only their pastries, but also their customer service. Intertwined with their ancestral recipes are the values passed down through generations of Terminis. Humility, generosity and hard work combined with an emphasis on forming relationships with customers forms the bakery’s legacy as much as their
cannolis and cookies. “They can copy our product,” described Joe Termini, “But they can’t copy our philosophy.” When I cooked with my grandmother, I was collecting her memories of food and adding my own. If I inherit my mother’s blue notecards when I move into my first apartment next year, I will not just inherit a survival kit— I will become part of this tradition. Food tells stories. Stories of when, where and with whom, but also of deeper family connections. We pass down our recipes like heirlooms, gifting our special tricks and memories to others. Because as important as taste is to a meal, the notes in the cookbook margins and our treasured memories of the flavors can be equally moving. And when we are far from home, whether we are starting a new chapter in our lives or moving overseas, we can bring with us recipes and memories to keep us connected. As we create the foods of our past in our new homes, we sink the roots of tradition in new places and allow their growth to touch new people.
Against the Grain: Untraditional Salads That Make The Most Of Spring Produce
Five other seasonal ingredients to swap in:
thinly sliced spring onions
fresh runner beans
Herby Avocado and Barley Salad
RECIPE BY CHASE MATECUN PHOTO BY ISABEL ZAPATA Makes 4 Servings 3 cups cooked pearled barley 1⁄2 cup chopped parsley 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro 2 thinly sliced scallions 2 sliced avocados 1 handful crumbled feta cheese 2 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper Boil pearled barley according to package instructions, then drain well and place into a bowl. To prepare the dressing, combine lemon juice and olive oil and add salt to taste. Toss the dressing with the barley while it’s still warm,it’ll absorb the flavor more readily. To assemble, toss the cooled grains with the herbs and scallions, then scatter the crumbled feta and sliced avocados on top. Taste as you go to make sure the barley is well seasoned. Add salt, lemon juice, or oil to correct.
Wheat Berry Salad With Orange-Thyme Vinaigrette
RECIPE BY BRIAN ROGERS PHOTO BY ISABEL ZAPATA Makes 4 Servings 3⁄4 cup wheat berries 1 tsp thyme, minced 1⁄4 cup olive oil 1 tbsp red wine vinegar salt and pepper 2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese 2 radishes, thinly sliced
1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced 1 orange, peeled and segmented Boil wheat berries according to package instructions, then drain and place into a bowl. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together thyme, remaining olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. To assemble, toss wheat berries, vinaigrette, goat cheese, radishes, onion, and orange segments. Taste as you go and garnish with additional thyme, goat cheese, and radishes as needed.
Blood Orange and Farro Salad with Crumbled Feta
RECIPE BY SARA SCHUSTER PHOTO BY NICHOLAS LEE Makes 4 Servings 3 cups cooked farro 4 small blood oranges, peeled and segmented 1⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese Several handfuls of arugula 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 4 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper Boil farro following package instructions. Remove farro from the pot and drain well, then immediately place in a bowl and toss with the arugula to wilt the greens. To prepare the dressing, mix the balsamic and oil and add salt to taste while waiting for the salad to cool off. Toss the grains and dressing, then fold in the blood oranges and feta. Taste as you go to make sure the salad is well seasoned. Add salt, balsamic, or oil to correct.
the future of farm to table
innovation from the seed up
BY AMANDA NART
ILLUSTRATION BY LILY KRAVETZ
farm-to-table movement has achieved such success that the practice of consciously sourcing local products now exists as the culinary norm. When the effort first rose up in response to the flood of processed food in American cuisine, it made simplicity artful, as ingredients became central. This focus on ingredients now drives much of New American cuisine. But with the widespread adoption of farm-to- table practices comes a question: how will chefs continue to grow and innovate within the framework of the movement while still managing to distinguish themselves? The answer lies in deepening the relationship between farm and kitchen. It was around 2:00 p.m. and the sounds of service prep reverberated through the empty dining room of Fork Restaurant in Old City. As the brunch line for Fork’s sister restaurant, High Street on Market, wrapped past the window, I sat with John Patterson, Fork’s Chef de Cuisine. As he explained a restaurant’s responsibility to showcase the best produce, he jumped up and grabbed a sample of pale green,blanched rutabaga tops-- a tender, fresh bite with a background taste reminiscent of horseradish. Ian Brendle, farmer at Green Meadow Farms, cultivated the tops, an ingreidnet usually left over at the end of the harvest, by burying them in nutrient rich soil. This allowed for themto flourish well beyond the maturity of the rest of the plant. By avoiding waste, he achieved this unusual product, which is a perfect substitute for other out-of-season greens in the winter months. The innovation on the part of the grower spurred the creativity of Fork’s staff as they worked to find the best ways to use the ingredient, which now garnishes both their shrimp carpaccio and duck dishes. Out of necessity, small farms have always been a space for innovation and the repurposing of ingredients. Countless waste minimizing initiatives, like composting, come from farm practices. This effort to avoid waste at any cost drives novelty. As Dan Barber, one of the most prominent voices in the farm-to-table movement, has publicly pointed out, most great cuisines began as peasant foodbuilt out of people creating beauty from scarcity. This tradition lives on in small farms. Farmers are constantly searching for new ways to present their products, which provides material for chefs to explore new flavor dynamics. When a provider brought in green peaches, for example, Fork’s staff began to explore the different ways they could transform the unripe fruit. They
found that pickling or fermenting them sparked entirely new sets of flavor combinations that they had never imagined before. As Patterson explained, “Even if it’s just one ingredient that inspires, it leads to five, six other conversations, and to experimentation with other ingredients and looking at products differently... through these collaborations. Through working with another person that’s just as passionate [and being able to] feed off that energy.” Today, the conception of a dish exists as
“Patterson envisions a food industry in which the best cultivators of produce receive just as much recognition as quality meat and dairy producers do.” a co-creation between chef and cultivator as farmers present chefs with new and different ingredients, sparking a series of innovations in the kitchen. The relationship between restaurant and farm is one built on a solid foundation of trust, where both sides feel comfortable with the character of each other’s work and process. Patterson details the three most important aspects when they are seeking to build a relationship with a local purvey-
or: character of the provider, quality of the product, and uniqueness of the product. Fork’s philosophy bases itself on using the locale and creating elevated, regionally inspired cuisine, which means not only incorporating regional food traditions but also relying on local sources. The future of farm- to- table rests on the deepening of this relationship between farmer and restaurant, which will allow for ingenuity and passion in each step of the food creation process to create a better end product. Patterson sees the potential for growth in the farm-to-table movement through the utilization of “small impactful ingredients [that lead to] aha moments” in the kitchen. Chefs have the capability, the responsibility even, to provide a platform for the best products that local purveyors have to offer. This goes beyond buying staples from local farms, which of course remains an important practice, but it also entails supporting local farms by featuring and elevating their unusual ingredients and raising awareness about the work that these farms are doing. Patterson envisions a food industry in which the best cultivators of produce receive just as much recognition as quality meat and dairy producers do. Restaurants can be a forum to educate diners about new ingredients, like the rutabaga top, and to start the conversation about where food comes from and, more importantly, how it is cultivated. Yet while restaurants are essential in supporting local food providers, community backing is more important than ever. Patterson points to the rise of Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, as key to supporting the work of small farms through the winter months so they can have revenue even in times of lowcrop yield. In return, the consumer receives bountiful fresh produce throughout spring and summer. Additionally, farmers’ markets remain central to building a conscious community, providing a space where consumers can learn more about the work that farmers are doing as well as how to use unfamiliar and intimidating ingredients-making them more accessible for homecooks and communities at large. While farm- to- table cooking used to center on the chef ’s knowledge of an ingredient’s origins, now the focus is shifting towards the conversation about the entire production process from farmer, to chef, to consumer. Seeking out passion and skill at each step of this process will elevate farm- to-table to new heights by making sure that it stays grounded.