Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International


Who are we?

On the cusp of the transition to 2013, you may be asking yourself a boatload of questions pertaining to your job, your family, your hobbies. How am I making a difference? Is my job meaningful to me? How can I improve my family life in this coming year? Is crocheting for me?

The answers to those reflections buzzing around in your head can probably be summarized in a few words: love, happiness, community, health, etc. Those simple words can mean a lot of things, but constructing the connotations behind the widely understood definitions can bring you closer to others you discover feel the same way.

Organizations need to define what is important to them too. Slow Food has a few words that have brought us all together and I think the beginning of a new year is a good time to revisit our purpose. How will Good, Clean, and Fair influence your life choices in 2013?

Good:

The word good can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.

Clean:

When we talk about clean food, we are talking about nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.

Fair:

We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Recipe

The holidays are upon us. Often this time of year inspires weeks of personal reflection and heartfelt nostalgia while simultaneously evoking a need to scribble out a long list of resolutions. The top of my list for 2013? A juicing cleanse to kick off a healthy new year! But who am I kidding? Now is not the time to start said cleanse- there is still a whole week left in 2012 to indulge in sugar-toned gluttony and deep-fried tastiness!

Here is a recipe from Coronado-based author Jill O’Connor to get you through the holidays with a bit of chocolatey, liquor-laced cheer!

Grown-Up S’mores from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Serves: Makes 15 S’mores


Ingredients:

For the chocolate filling:
8 large egg yolks
1-½ cups confectioners sugar sifted
2 tablespoons white crème de cacao
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons Cognac
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dutch-Processed cocoa power
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

For the marshmallow fluff meringue:
3 Large egg whites
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of marshmallow fluff

For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and granulated sugar until will combined.  Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.  Bake the crest until starts to brown and become crisp, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl until they are thick and the color of butter.  Beat in the Cognac, crème de cacao, Kahlúa, vanilla, and salt.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly, then gradually beat into the egg mixture.

Fold the softly beaten heavy cream into the chocolate mixture just until combined.  Spoon the chocolate cream over the graham cracker curst, smoothing it evenly with a spatula.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to serve, make the meringue: Using an electric mixer set at low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the marshmallow Fluff to the egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.

Carefully cut the S’mores into 15 large squares.  Place each S’mores on a dessert plate.  Top each with ½ cup of the meringue in a large dollop.  Use a small kitchen torch to carefully burnish the meringue until tipped with golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Head, Heart, Hands & Health

To many city-dwellers, the mention of 4-H conjures images of the county fair: kids chasing greased pigs, chicken cages with red ribbons, white and black cows towering over smiling youngsters. While this perception of the century old organization is partly true, the history and current mission of 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands & Health) is much more expansive.

4-H clubs started in Ohio in the late 19th century as the USDA’s Cooperative Extension System were beginning to disseminate new farming technology through land grant universities and regional offices. As it often happens, older farmers were less keen on experimenting with new “advances” in their field (literally). So clubs were formed to attract the younger farmers-to-be to learn about leaderships skills, local economies, and, of course, agricultural innovations.

Nowadays the scope has widened to encompass a number of community activities to help students to learn leadership, citizenship and life skills. Here in San Diego a 4-H club member could be participating in activities from veterinary sciences to marine biology to animal husbandry to ham radio. (Here’s a full list of 4-H activities in San Diego).

Not to say that the agricultural side of 4-H has been abandoned: Slow Food Urban San Diego had the pleasure of working with Henry Kraus, a local 4-H student committed to raising his pigs organically. He is learning about leadership, economics, and agriculture in his community in a big way: bucking the “conventional” model amongst the pressure of adults and peers to raise his pig non-organically must not have been easy! But he stuck to his guns and raised a beautiful healthy pig that fetched a price tag well above the conventionally raised pigs in his midst. As everyone who attended last months Pig Picking at Roots Community Kitchen, the outcome was delicious! Henry, leading by example, is in turn helping to educate other local farmers (or farmers-in-training) about the benefits of raising livestock organically. The four leaves of the 4-H clover (head, heart, hands, and health) are certainly being grown and nourished by such an effort.

Through the support of local 4-H programs here in San Diego we can assist our youth in fulfilling the 4-H pledge and subsequently set the stage for a healthier, kinder, and more educated foodie/farmer community:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

For more information about 4-H, check out their website.